Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Finding land, working a small plot or anything else countryside related
User avatar
DocDoesFarming
Posts: 263
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:26 am
Location: 福島県
Has thanked: 283 times
Been thanked: 384 times

Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by DocDoesFarming »

Seems that Japanese beekeeping is a hell of a lot easier than back home, is that the case?
I'd like to harvest my own honey and make some good old fashioned mead at some point.
Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.

User avatar
Zasso Nouka
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 3328
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:37 am
Location: Chiba Prefecture
Has thanked: 2697 times
Been thanked: 2136 times

Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Zasso Nouka »

I've kept western bees back in the UK and from what I understand Japanese beekeeping is a lot more hands off or perhaps more suited to the 'lazy' beekeeper. You don't have to inspect the frames or look out for queen cells and they don't suffer from varroa mites or many of the diseases western honey bees get and if you live in an area with suzumebachi they can defend themselves from those where as Apis Mellifera can have a whole hive wiped out in a few hours.

All you have to do with Apis Cerana is add a new layer to the bottom of the hive every now and then and harvest a few layers from the top of the hive in the autumn. You don't try and prevent them swarming in the spring you just make or buy a new hive and then you have two colonies rather than one. The only drawback is you will get quite a bit less honey per hive but you won't have to do so much to keep them maintained.

User avatar
DocDoesFarming
Posts: 263
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:26 am
Location: 福島県
Has thanked: 283 times
Been thanked: 384 times

Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by DocDoesFarming »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:39 am
Japanese beekeeping is a lot more hands off or perhaps more suited to the 'lazy' beekeeper.
Sounds perfect for me then.
The local Michinoeki has a 4/5 tier hive going for 5000 or so, although I suppose I could just get the plans off the internet and make it myself.
What's the honey like compared to western stuff?
Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.

User avatar
Zasso Nouka
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 3328
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:37 am
Location: Chiba Prefecture
Has thanked: 2697 times
Been thanked: 2136 times

Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Zasso Nouka »

There's a complete guide on how to build them here on the Weekend Beekeeping Channel, I'm going to have a go at making extra layers from there now we've been given a table saw.

5,000円 sounds like a pretty reasonable price, if you have a welder or access to one these bases might be worth knocking up Beehive Base, they allow bees access from all around the base so they don't have to concentrate at the front entrance when under attack by suzumebachi and you can check how full the hive is by sliding the plywood sheet out and using the camera on your smartphone to snap a picture.
DocDoesFarming wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:38 am
What's the honey like compared to western stuff?
Sadly I've yet to taste it as we haven't currently managed to capture a swarm but it does sell for considerably more than western honey.

VanillaEssence
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:58 pm
Has thanked: 70 times
Been thanked: 100 times

Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by VanillaEssence »

Sorry if it’s already been mentioned in this thread, but the Flow Hive seems like such a great invention for the lazy bee keeper. Absolutely what I’d be using if I had bees despite it’s pretty steep price

User avatar
gonbechan
Founder
Founder
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 am
Has thanked: 1774 times
Been thanked: 972 times

Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by gonbechan »

DocDoesFarming wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:38 am

What's the honey like compared to western stuff?
It completely depends on what flowers the bees are getting nectar from, but on the whole it has a lighter taste than 'western' honey.
There is even a quite popular (if you can find it) Onion Flower Honey from the Seto Inland sea area. Its really good

User avatar
Zasso Nouka
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 3328
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:37 am
Location: Chiba Prefecture
Has thanked: 2697 times
Been thanked: 2136 times

Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Zasso Nouka »

VanillaEssence wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:19 am
Sorry if it’s already been mentioned in this thread, but the Flow Hive seems like such a great invention for the lazy bee keeper. Absolutely what I’d be using if I had bees despite it’s pretty steep price
The flow hive does indeed seem like the ideal option for a more hands off/lazy approach to beekeeping. My only concern, and admittedly I have no knowledge to back this up but when keeping bees in the UK if you get any honey from rape seed plants then it crystallizes very quickly and won't come out of the comb. Now I'm not sure if rape seed is grown in Japan but many cultivars of Brassica rapa (closely related sub species) are, ie turnip, mizuna, chingensai, komatsuna, etc, etc and I don't know how nectar from these species behaves in the comb or if Apis Cerana are able to process it in a way so it doesn't crystalize.

However rapeseed plants provide many benefits to the bees as it produces lots of nectar and pollen early in the spring before other sources are ready and there is a work around so all is not lost, you have to harvest the honey as soon as it is capped before it crystalizes.

User avatar
gonbechan
Founder
Founder
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 am
Has thanked: 1774 times
Been thanked: 972 times

Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by gonbechan »

Personally I think the flowhive did an amazing job getting so many ordinary people interested and involved in bee keeping.
It is a marvelous thing if you just want a little bit of personal honey without the hassle of needing all the equipment necessary for extracting the honey etc.

User avatar
Zasso Nouka
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 3328
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:37 am
Location: Chiba Prefecture
Has thanked: 2697 times
Been thanked: 2136 times

Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Here's an interesting video on the Flow Hive



Perhaps he might be being a little bit negative but if you hear what he's saying and think about it you could avoid the pitfalls, ie waiting until each frame is fully capped so that you don't injure or decapitate a lot of bees when cracking open the cells.

Wendy
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:45 am
Has thanked: 140 times
Been thanked: 114 times

Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Wendy »

Here is an interesting bee story

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/honey ... QuMIOhvea0.


through the snopes website originally produced by the New York Times.