|photo by Daniel Boschung|
I recently authored a Tree Beekeeping article for The Permaculture Magazine (Issue 83). You can download the full article from here.
Tree hive beekeeping is a 1,000 year old practice of keeping bees in slots, cut high above the ground into living pine, lime and oak trees, akin to the natural homes of bees.
Traditionally, pine trees that are older than 150 years are selected. The trees are marked with a unique family mark called a Tamga, cut into the bark at the base of the tree. The crown of the tree is removed so that the tree grows in girth. After 70 years, the third generation of beekeepers in the family cut the slot, about 4-5m (13-16.5ft) from the ground. Ideally the pine needs to be at least 80cm (30in) in diameter. The family line will then manage the hive for 200-300 years. The tree is not harmed; indeed it is believed that the tree is invigorated by the wound.
Related: The Last Tree Beekeepers