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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 17th year of beekeeping in April 2022. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bees in trees. An amazing afternoon!

Today in Lithuania we went to an ancient bee museum in the Dzukija national park.  Near Musteikiai village is this museum where the beekeeper practices natural ancient methods and keeps all his bees in what we would call bee gums or tree trunks as hives.  He has a hand built tool for hollowing out the tree cavity and uses various methods for keeping the chunk of wood that he uses for the entry closure in place.  

He starts his smoker by lighting a dried mushroom with a strike of flint against a handmade metal tool.  He lights his smoker effortlessly.  Here's a video made by someone else of this same beekeeper lighting his smoker.

Notice his hat and veil below.  He wove his hat and added the veil.  In the hive below he showed us how he is hoping that the now small colony will eventually grow to fill the open space above the divider he has made.  Like one does in a top bar hive, he will move the divider up as the hive grows.  He cut some honeycomb from this hive, used a feather to brush off the bees and gave us each a chunk to taste.  

He also demonstrated how he climbs into bee trees to reach his hives.  He has 31 hives in the trees....some are on the ground at his museum and many are in the trees.  He climbed up this tree trunk on protruding branches as steps. He also showed us how he hoists himself up on a rope step that he makes by looping the rope around the tree, making a slip knot, stepping into the slip knot over and over, up the tree.

Then he hooked up a homemade pulley system and slid down the tree.  He gathered his basket and smoker and shinnied back up the tree to inspect the hive.  When all was done the simple rope system was easy to disassemble and he headed for home.

I brought honey from Atlanta to thank him and he gave us all candles that he had made.  What a fabulous day in Lithuania!


  1. Penny6:15 PM

    Fascinating, Linda! Sounds like a wonderful trip.

    Those ancient beekeepers sure had to be fit and stay that way. Bet that limited the number of beekeepers (and honey harvested).

  2. I kept thinking about fitness while I watched him. He offered to let any of us climb up into the trees and Noah who is 16 and our guide Lukas who is 33 were the only takers! This man only had a hatchet as a tool and I think he may have made the handle for it. His rope was woven of linden and linen (both - we asked twice). Both are locally grown. He rides a horse to work from his home one kilometer away.

    BTW Julia and I ended our day with a honey massage at a spa in Druskininkai, the spa town where we spent the night

  3. Hives in trees - that must make for interesting inspections and good exercise! It's incredible that this beekeeper is keeping alive ancient beekeeping traditions.

  4. I wonder if there are any modern day conveniences in his lifestyle?

    Fascinating post, Linda. Thank you for sharing your experiences.


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