Heinrich Storch “At the Hive Entrance”

Heinrich Storch: At the Hive Entrance. Observation Handbook. How to know what happens inside the hive by observation on the outside. Brussels: European Apicultural Editions 1985.

At the Hive Entrance

A healthy colony must have peace if it is to perform its productive role. On principle a visit should only be made once the keeper has determined at the hive entrance that something is not in order. It is not always easy to know what is happening inside the hive by observing the hive entrance and this is only learnt after many years, especially when the keeper is alone and there is no-one to give advice. (…) Therefore it is in the best interest of every beekeeper to learn this field as fast and as thoroughly as possible. It is not only the ears and eyes of the observer which must participate, but also his senses of smell and touch, and above all his heart, spirit and intelligence.” (p. 5)

This booklet serves as a reference book rather than a reading book. We make an observation and here we can get to know what it means. The search can be narrowed down not alphabetically, but according to the time of the event: “during the winter”, “the day of the cleansing flight”, “spring”, “the main period of flowering”, and “preparing for the winter”. The winter bottom board cover and the “observations on the construction frame (according to Paschke)” are discussed in a separate chapter.

Even if nowadays it is often taught that everyone can simply hold bees – in the allotment garden or as a chic city beekeeper on the balcony or roof; it is not quite so easy and it is irresponsible to the animals. Many wish to become beekeepers having no previous knowledge of the field. (…) But apiculture is not an occupation where one can permit oneself to act in that way without paying dearly for it. For as long as the hive hides only mysteries, for as long as he cannot understand the events, not knowing the causes or consequences, as long as he cannot realize and understand the relationship that exist between nature and the hive, his harvests will not and cannot be anything but very modest or else they will be due to luck alone. (…) Furthermore, where does the idealism of these beekeepers, who remain rooted in ignorance come from? In their hands, the colonies have to endure all sorts of torment and suffering throughout the year and even often misery and death.” (p. 67)


With this important booklet, the author makes a necessary contribution to understanding the processes at the apiary – even after almost 70 years!