T1he l2aughing beehive3

Bee-friendly beekeeping

Via deze knop komt u op de nederlandse versie van de website "de lachende bijenkast"

Operati6ng method

My method is based on how honey bees live in the wild. Unfortunately, man made the life of the honey bee difficult: varroa, pesticides, monoculture, greed, etc. For all these

reasons it is now impossible to leave the bees to fend for

themselves. Sometimes we are forced to intervene. 

Geert prefers to label his method as ‘bee-friendly beekeeping’ rather than ‘natural beekeeping’, though they have a lot in common.

What you can help the bees with is to ensure that there is sufficient supply of food sources in the vicinity of the bees, in terms of nectar, pollen and propolis. If there is not enough food, the bees hardly survive the winter. Keeping bees is easy in itself. It is we, the human being, who have made beekeeping so technical and in my view only for profit. 

Swarming bees is natural and should be normal. It is important to inform the neighborhood in which you live about your beekeeping activities and to explain the swarm of bees. Bees today suffer a lot from the Varroa mite. A natural enemy of the Varroa mite is the predatory mite (Stratiolaelaps scimitus). This predatory mite has also been found on honey bees in the wild.

Every disturbance of the bee population is, for the bees, a waste of energy and as a result the bees consume more honey to calm the people again. The cutting out of drone brood is out of the question, because it weakens the bees of the next generation. I don't even want to think about the artificial insemination (AI) of queens with all its consequences for the future.

As a beekeeper it is best to start with a swarm. If you cannot get a swarm, start with one of the available bee breeds. The following year you have what people like to call street bees, because you cannot determine by which drones the newly born queen has been fertilized. In this way you strengthen the genetic profile of the bees by preventing too much narrowing of the gene supply.

Be open to ideas from other beekeepers, because we need each other. If you have found the ideal solution for a particular bee problem yourself, share it with your colleagues.

100% bee-friendly beekeeping, first the bees then us!

Who am I?

My name is Geert Steelant.

I've had a passion for nature since I was a child. Also in my professional life, more than 40 years, I have always worked in nature with many passions in a wide variety of activities, in different branches. For 10 years I lived and worked as a gardener on a castle estate in France, a real bee country.

There I met Antoine, a beekeeper from an old family of beekeepers with a tradition since 1851. Antoine managed more than 200 hives on his estate. One day I said to Antoine: "I would like to learn the profession of beekeeper". His answer was simple, but it hit me: "Being a beekeeper is not a job, it's a passion." Antoine lived and thought like a bee. He was a pure Warré beekeeper, with an enormous respect for the bee and her way of life. Through Antoine I learned everything about bees and beekeeping in a simple and above all natural way.

After a decade in France, I returned to Belgium with beautiful memories and a wealth of knowledge about bees and Warré. However, due to lack of time and place, beekeeping stayed behind closed doors for a while. In 2014 I had a stroke and after a long rehabilitation, I started beekeeping again in the way Antoine gave me. Because our bees are doing badly, I want to mean something in the beekeeping world and I want to pass on my knowledge to the younger generations. 

Warré beehive

Which hive to choose?

My personal choice for bee-friendly beekeeping is the Warré beehive for various reasons.

The abbé Éloi François Émile Warré (9 March 1867 at Grébault-Mesnil - Tours le 20 avril 1951) has made a large but simple study of how bees behaved in the wild.

He made 350 different beehives and the Warré beehive was born from these because, according to his findings, the bees behaved best in that hive. 

The beehive is small and only has an inner size of 30 cmx30 cm, the height per box is 21 cm and the thickness is 2.5cm. There are 8 frames per box. 

The original Warré beehive did not have a queen grate or a Varroa grate.

I've adjusted the beehive a bit (this has been done by others in the past) to do beekeeping in a bee-friendly way  as I see it. You can of course use any other beehive to do bee-friendly beekeeping, and as I said, the type Warré has my preference.

Working with a Warré hive has more differences than e.g. beekeeping with Simplex.

Warré beehive plans

There are a lot of Warré beehive plans on the internet.

First and foremost, of course, the link to the inventor of the Warré beehive  L'abbé Éloi François Émile Warré.

He has written a book about this. You can download the book here.

The plans can be downloaded here.

Beekeeping in these bee hives has been described in many ways.

Initially, the beehives were always enlarged by adding bins from the bottom, because it is assumed that bees build from top to bottom and that is certainly true!

There was no queen grid and no Varroa grid.

The bees enter on a solid bottom via a small flight hole. In each box there are 8 top bars with a wax insert. 

The bees start to build their comb the way they want it.

In the nearby future Geert his Warré plans will be available her on the website too. 


Requests to give lectures are slowly starting up again. The lectures are given in accordance with the Covid-19 rules that apply at that time. If there are changes in these Covid rules that prevent the lectures from taking place, we will immediately announce this on the website.


6 okt

Poserende honingbij

De voordracht vindt plaats op 6 oktober 2020 om 20.00 uur in Bonheiden. Wilt u bij deze lezing aanwezig zijn dan kunt een e-mail sturen naar Paula via e-mailadres paula.d(at)telenet.be


11 okt

Poserende honingbij

Op 11 oktober 2020 geeft Geert een voordracht op een conferentie in Brussel. U kunt zich voor deze lezing niet meer aanmelden. Er is reeds een wachtlijst voor meerdere voordrachten. Wij laten het via de website of Facebook weten wanneer er weer eentje gepland staat. 


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