Tree beekeeping culture

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Inscribed in 2020 (15.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Tree beekeeping culture includes knowledge, skills, practices, traditions, rituals and beliefs connected to wild bees breeding in tree hives or log hives located in forest areas. Tree beekeepers take care of bees in a special way by trying to recreate the primeval living conditions in tree hives without interfering with the natural life cycle of the bees. Tree beekeepers have no goal of intensifying honey production, which is one of the features that differentiates them from beekeepers. Tree beekeeping therefore requires advanced skills and knowledge of traditional methods and tools. Tree beekeepers are lifelong learners: through direct contact with swarms and the natural environment, they constantly acquire new knowledge about the life of the bees and the ecosystem. There are also numerous social practices resulting from the practice as well as culinary and traditional medicine traditions. As in the past, the transmission of the element takes place mainly in tree beekeepers’ families and through the act of brotherhoods. Nowadays, however, workshops offer another mode of transmission during which participants learn from each other through group activities. Tree beekeeping fosters a sense of community belonging and a shared awareness of our responsibility towards the environment.

Piotr Piłasiewicz, Augustów. The founder of Bractwo Bartne while leziwo climbing the pine tree hive in Białowieża forest.
Stanisława and Tadeusz Konopka from Kadizidło in Kurpie. Tadeusz is the grandson of Konstanty. When tree beekeepers had to leave the forest on administrative demand in the XIX century, he moved 180 log hives o Tatary. Tadeusz and Stanisława are making wax candles in a traditional way using parts of amber to obtain a special aroma
Teofil Pyśk from Czarnia on Kurpie, owner of 8 hive logs. Son of Ryszard, tree beekeeper who had 30 log hives.
Tree-beekeeper stands near his tools and equipment for forest tree-beekeeper. There are a leather rope for climbing, a box made from bark of linden, a wooden wheel for lifting the log-hive, wooden pincers for wax pressing, a chisel on long handle for hollowing out cavities in a log-hive, a knife for cutting wax with honey.
A tree-beekeeper in his costume with a box make from pine-wood. He is collecting honey from a log-hive on the tree. He has opened the wooden desk to have access to collect the honey wax.
Sławomir Niemcewicz, Budwiedź, Augustowska forest. He inherited 19 log hives from his grandfather. Nowadays, he keeps bees just in one log live.
Getting the wax from honeycomb melted in hot water; squeezing through the fabric with special wooden pincers.
A tree-beekeeper with his family is near his log-hives, where he should make cavities for bees.
Marek Kowalski from Zielonka. He takes care of one of 9 historical log hives of Krzysztof Heyke in Kobyłka.
Getting the wax from honeycomb melted in hot water: squeezing through the fabric with special wooden pincers