We use more holistic bee keeping practices. For better quality honey and healthier bees. By this I mean we are not giving the bees antibiotics which is a common practice in the bee keeping world. We don’t migrate the hives so the bees get comfortable where they are. If we thing the bees have a problem, we look for natural solutions to fix them many times this involves planting herbs around the hives that help the bee's health in different ways, or drive off intruders like ants. We are also using mostly Top bar bee hives. The top bar hives allow the bees to build their own combs from the bar down giving the comb a more natural shape and size. When the bees build their own comb they can tailor the comb to whatever size they need, vs a pre-stamped foundation. Pre-Stamped foundations are made to a specific size more likely to encourage the growth of a worker. The idea is more workers more honey, where are 2 major problems with this. The first is that the size isn’t perfect, because of this it increases the gestation period of the brood making them more susceptible to Verona mite infestation. The 2nd down side is that when more workers are produced, less drones are produced. Drones meaning “males” with less males we are constricting the genetic diversity of the bees. Another reason top bar haves are not used commercially is that the bees will tend to swarm more often. As swarm is when hive reaches a healthy size half the bees leave with the old queen to go look for a new place to live, while a new queen takes over the old hive. This is considered bad for commercial productivity but it’s actually good for the bees. Swarming means are Queens are staying fresh, there getting mated naturally and this is all good for genetic diversity. Most of the industry is using pre-mated mail order queens that are artificially inseminated. Here are Greenwich Cove Meadery we think that nature does a better job. So this type of bee keeping does produce less honey, and more expensive honey but we think it’s a significantly better quality honey, and it’s more environmentally friendly. Our hives can’t produce enough honey for all the mead we make yet, but we supplement what we can’t get on our own with top quality local New England Raw honey.