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The Sun Hive - In the Form of the Bee

The Sun Hive (Weissenseifener Haengekorb) forms the core of the Natural Beekeeping Trust's commitment to bee guardianship.  Based on the principles of bee-centred apiculture, the Sun Hive is an ideal conservation hive for our pollinating friends the honeybee.  Although one may be favoured with some suplus honey from time to time, honey 'production' is not the main purpose of the hive.

Made from an ingenious combination of skep baskets woven from rye straw with wooden support structures, the Sun Hive is intended to be installed at a height of at least 2.5 metres (8 feet). The bees are thus in their aerial realm and fly above the heads of passing onlookers. The shape of the hive harmonises with the movement gesture of the bee colony and enables the bees to design their brood nests according to their own innate criteria.

The hive was designed by German sculptor, Guenther Mancke, and represents the fruits of many years of research into the nature of the honeybee colony. 

Sun Hive-making workshops are open to experienced beekeepers; beginners by arrangement - please contact us for further information.  These workshops - organised jointly by the Natural Beekeeping Trust and Tablehurst Farm - take place over two and a half days at our base in Sussex and involve weaving the straw skep baskets, which are built to precise measurements. The courses are led by Rachel Hanney, whose tutorial skills are unsurpassed and whose passion for the hive has inspired numerous beekeepers, who have joined our workshops from all over the world. Please meet her here.

Dates of workshops planned for 2014 are listed here. To save us administration time, please state clearly the date of the workshop you would like to attend and direct your inquiry to rachel (at) naturalbeekeepingtrust (dot) org.

The workshop fee includes tuition, pre-made wooden hoop frames, support structures, a copy of the Sun Hive book and organic lunch and refreshments on Saturday and Sunday (Bring and Share supper on Friday). The price does not include accommodation or food (other than the aforementioned meals), both of which are the responsibility of the student to organise and pay for independently.

Please note that a course booking will only be confirmed upon receipt of payment in full. A course booking taken without payment will be treated as unconfirmed and the Natural Beekeeping Trust may accept another confirmed booking in its place.

  • The first swarm of the year 2012 introduced to a Sun Hive here 
  • A short film of the first inspection of a Sun Hive  here

Brood comb of a sunhive colony