This paper covers research during which a large number of feral hives were dissected, described and analyzed. There is a whole lot of interesting information here. This information laid the ground work for Seeley's subsequent research on swarm behaviour. Decades later, this is still the source most people refer to for information regarding bees living on their own in tree cavities.
Some items of interest are cavity diameter and volume, comb width, as well as entrance position and size.
With American beekeepers in particular, the idea of upper entrances for ventilation is very popular. What Dennis observed while using a water feeder inside a hive by placing a plexiglas cover on top of his hive, seems to go against that practice.
He observed that very little condensation occured during the winter. A good deal of condensation did occur during the spring and fall, but the bees quickly made use of this. His feeling was that this saved them the work of collecting water from outside the hive, and provided a needed water source for his bees when an external source was not necessarily available.
Will his ideas work for you in your climate? I don't know, but I do feel the topic of ventialtion and upper entrances probably deserves a little more thought and consideration than most bee books suggest.
This doc offers a quick glimpse into the tradition of collecting honey from Apis Laboriosa the giant bee which live exposed on large combs under over hanging rock on the side of cliffs in Nepal.
Very interesting to get a sense of bee culture in very different circumstances than I'm accostomed to, even if the emphasis seems to be a little to heavy on Jimmy's experience rather than that of Nepal honey hunters.
Dave and Jon and both certified master beekeepers. They are from Illinois and Arkansas respectively, so the show offers the perspective of both southern and northern American beekeeping. This podcast is recorded live and the audience is welcome to log in online or phone in with questions.
To get a sense of the style and format have a listen to episode six where they discuss mite management:
A study performed southern tip of Gotland,an island in the Baltic sea where 150 colonies were left unmanaged with varroa mites. After 6 years it appeared that a host-parasite co-adaptation occured with the 5 colonies, plus an addition to 8 swarm colonies that remained.
There's lots of lists of flowers to plant to help the bees out there, but this is the first time I've seen a scientific comparison of the attractiveness of different plants.
Figure 3 from the paper seems to offer a quick glimpse at which types of flowers were the favourites.
I've been interested in agastache (anise hyssop), since reading praise for it in beekeeping literature a few years ago and because it's native to North America. This gives me a little extra incentive to try planting a little more of it.
I sent Mihail a question and he was quick to remind me that this study was only conducted in one area and results may vary in different regions. So you may want to take this research as inspiration to try setting up a test garden near your own bees and see how your results compare.