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Discussion Starter #1
I just extracted the plants bees foraged on in the Middle Ages/Medieval period from the book by Nicol Jacobi, written in 1568.

- white clover (Trifolium repens)
- cherry trees, especially Prunus cerasus
- quince
- peaches
- almonds
- apple
- pears
- preform of canola (Brassica rapa)
- poppies (Papaver)
- alder buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula)
- hemp (Cannabis sativa)
- vetches (Vicia)
- heath (Erica)
- honeydew from oaks and firs
- willows (salix)
- lime trees (Tilia)

It is highlighted in the book, that bees do not really thrive on flowering trees alone and they do often fail to store enough winter stores when there is nothing else than trees. Depending on the weather. The bees were placed near cultivated fields, especially with canola and hemp.

The so called "four-fields-crop rotation" was very common. That means different crops were rotated and one year nothing was cultivated on that field. "Greenfields" Those greenfields had a lot of white clover which was one of the main honey crops that time.

Most important crops: summer and winter canola, hemp and white clover.
Trees: lime trees and frangula.

There was litte honey to be made in the midst of deep woods. Also it was advised to lay out fields of vetches and white clover and canola just for the purpose of feeding bees on. Together with planting bee trees, which are fruit trees and frangula.

A lot of references in that book to beekeeping by the Romans, especially the beekeeping book by the Roman author Virgilius. The Romans did lay out fields for bees, too.

It seems the deep in the wood story of bees is simply a myth and bees were following humans for a long long time.

Title: Gründlicher und nützlicher Unterricht von der Wartung der Bienen
Year: 1568
Author: Nicol Jacobi (and others)
Online: http://gdz.sub.uni-goettingen.de/dms/load/img/?IDDOC=431204
 

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Nice book! Interesting information too.
 

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Yes. It is very surprising that beekeeping has not changed much since 1568. And in fact since the Romans. Very much has been known. For example in that book it is described how young brood is transfered from one hive into the other to cure queenlessness. And many more. It is also described that Romans had observation hives. They simply used a bladder or thinned leather as a window. Sometimes I wish I could travel back in time to see all this.
 

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Yes. The German language wasn't "standardized" those days and people were writing however they spoke the words. So the same name was written: Nicol - Nichel - Nikel - Nikolaus...

That certainly makes things difficult!
 

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>...Nicol Jacobi...

I've been looking for this book for the last 15 years... I had his name as "Nichel Jacob" and no reference to the title of the book... maybe that was my problem?
Sure would be nice to have an English translation, how's your German Michael? ;)

Dank Bernhard mein Deutsch ist ein bisschen eingerostet!


Don
 

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For example in that book it is described how young brood is transfered from one hive into the other to cure queenlessness.
I thought I read on this forum somewhere that the bees did not move brood from hive to hive....
 

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I thought I read on this forum somewhere that the bees did not move brood from hive to hive....
I think he means the ROMANS moved brood from hive to hive. That would not surprise me ... they did it to people. Supposedly that's how armored cavalry (knights) were introduced to England.
 

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I think he means the ROMANS moved brood from hive to hive. That would not surprise me ... they did it to people. Supposedly that's how armored cavalry (knights) were introduced to England.
That makes sense...:rolleyes::eek:
 

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It appears, from posts on another forum, that you might be slowly translating this. Are you documenting it as you go? Thanks so much for the insight!

Aaron
 

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>It appears, from posts on another forum, that you might be slowly translating this.

Let us know. If you are not, I may try to get it translated... or at least transcribes so I can use google to translate.
 

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...The so called "four-fields-crop rotation" was very common. That means different crops were rotated and one year nothing was cultivated on that field. "Greenfields" Those greenfields had a lot of white clover which was one of the main honey crop...
I saw this done a lot when I was a little girl. Sadly I don't see it much anymore, seems to have been replaced by fertilizers and pesticides. BUT, I lived in a rural area then and now I live in the burbs so my impression of the change in practices could be wrong.

Bernhard, thanks for sharing. Very interesting. Once when I was researching something else at a university library I ran across a microfilm account of medieval orchard farming practices. It spoke of when in the season to manure the fields, etc... Unfortunately, as I said, it was on microfilm and I was looking for something else so I couldn't spend a lot if time on it. If memory serves it was in old English.
 
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