Japanese natural beekeeping

Pile box hive
This hive has a very simple structure. It does not contain any removable frames. The structure is simply a box with a small entrance. Like log hives, bees are allowed to freely build comb unrestricted by frames.
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Pile box hive
Japanese honey bees
The Japanese honey bee is one of the subspecies of Apis cerana. Other subspecies can be found in Korea, Taiwan, China, Thailand and several other asian countries.
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Japanese honey bees
Giant hornet
Hornets are the most common predator of Japanese honeybees. Attacks by Japanese giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia), the world's largest hornets, and Japanese yellow hornets (Vespa simillima xanthoptera) are relatively common in late summer and fall.
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Giant hornet

Introduction

Japan has two honey bees, the native Apis cerana japonica (Japanese honey bee) and the imported Apis mellifera (Western honey bee). In 1877 (1), the Western bee was imported along with Langstroth hive to Japan. Due to its higher honey production (2), commercial beekeepers started keeping only Western bees after that. On the other hand, more and more people have started keeping Japanese bees as a hobby (3), using a simple hive called a pile box hive.

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FAQ

How do you treat for varroa mite?

The Japanese honey bee is resistant to the varroa mite. Varroa mites originally only occurred in Asia, on the Asian honey bee.

Can you export queens?

Unfortunately I cannot export queens to other countries. Unlike Western honey bees, it is challenging to rear queen bees of Japanese honey bees. Therefore, queen bees of Japanese honey bees are not commercially reared or sold in Japan.

References

  1. Kojima, Y., Toki, T., Morimoto, T., Yoshiyama, M., Kimura, K., & Kadowaki, T. (2011). Infestation of Japanese native honey bees by tracheal mite and virus from non-native European honey bees in Japan. Microbial ecology, 62(4), 895. DOI:10.1007/s10493-016-0072-z
  2. Theisen-Jones, H., & Bienefeld, K. (2016). The Asian honey bee (Apis cerana) is significantly in decline. Bee World, 93(4), 90-97. DOI:10.1080/0005772x.2017.1284973
  3. Shinkai, R. (n.d.). The website “Archives of Japanese Honeybee Beekeeping.” Retrieved June 15, 2021 from https://www.feastproject.org/en/blog_mitsubachi-website/

About us

We started keeping Japanese honey bees over 20 years ago as hobbyists. We started a company to share this type of hive and beekeeping technique. Please feel free to contact me via my Facebook page.

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