Jim Tew describes the inside of a feral beehive

What’s the inside of a natural beehive like? According to beekeeping expert, it’s quite different from the hives that we construct for our bees.

In the video below, Tew draws out the comparison.

Tew spoke to the Blount County Beekeepers Association  on Aug. 11, 2014), and the five-minute video segment below is part of one of his presentations.

Tew talked about the many differences between places where the bees make their own home and the boxes that we build for them. For instance:

  • Ventilation in a natural hive can be almost non-existent.
  • The old, dark comb is like a human live, absorbing toxic chemical and other substance.
  • Old comb can hold moisture to be released when it is needed by the bees.
  • A “bottom eco-system” exists under the nest — something we completely eliminate in our Langstroth hives.
  • Seeing drones in hard winter “is not a mistake.” Are the bees making a genetic contribution to the environment?



In 2011 Tew retired after 34 years as the Ohio State Extension Beekeeping Specialist at Ohio State Univ. He has taught and has conducted applied research on honey bees and their behavior, specifically pollination behavior.

He writes monthly articles for Bee Culture and has written two books,Beekeeping Principles and Backyard Beekeeping. He enjoys woodworking, photography and feeding ungrateful birds. He can be reached at: tewbee2@gmail.com, twitter.com/onetewbee and facebook.com/tewbee2.

Previous articles about Tew’s presentation to the BCBA are here:

Tew: Beekeeping is different from what it was 30 years ago http://wp.me/pIG6q-jV

Beekeeping expert Tew talks about bees and their environment at August BCBA meeting http://wp.me/pIG6q-jB


Key words: bees, beehives, natural beehives, beehives that bees build, Jim Tew, Ohio State University, Alabama Extension Service, permanent homes for bees, casting swarms, Bee Culture magazine, eco-system, old comb, dark comb, drones in winter

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