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Treebeekeeing recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Poland

In Krakow, on the 4th of October, 2016, delegates from Bractwo Bartne met with the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage. On this proud day, tree beekeeping (bartnictwo) became officially recognised as a part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Poland. The application was prepared by our organisation and Prof. Krzysztof Hejke.


Tree beekeeping enjoys a more than 1,000 year old history in Poland. The golden era of this profession was from the Middle Ages up until the 16th and 17th centuries, when the territories of modern Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and the Ukraine formed one country and culture under the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

However, since the 19th century, the tradition of tree beekeeping has been almost entirely replaced by conventional beekeeping. Despite this, the craft has survived in many remote villages inside Belarus. We have managed to find and check the few links that connect us to the bygone era of tree beekeeping, in what is today modern Poland. Together with Prof. Hejke we have located and interviewed the last remaining people from the Kurpie and Augustów Forest regions, who have preserved elements of their familial tree beekeeping traditions. These include living and working in harmony with and respect for nature and its laws. One of the people we located is Mr. Niemkiewicz from Augustow Forest. His father taught him a special kind of log hive beekeeping many decades ago. This is the only kind of beekeeping that his family know. Mr. Niemkiewicz joined us in Krakow on the day we celebrated the recognition of tree beekeeping as a part of Polish history, tradition and culture.


Mr. Niemkiewicz at his bee farm. Photo by Prof. Krzysztof Hejke




Mr. Konopka from Kurpie, presenting his log hives made from tree with hive which was cut down many decades ago. photo by prof. Krzysztof Hejke


Tree beekeeping (PL bartnictwo) is a set of practices, knowledge and traditions focusing on honey bees, their habits, preferences and behaviours. It is based on the belief that honey bees are better off living high above the ground and that man should not interfere in the development of the bee colony.

Tree beekeepers hollow out the trunks of living trees (tree hives) or logs (log hives), so that bees can settle in them. Tree beekeepers seldom visit their hives – usually only a few times a year. The collecting and harvesting of honey is usually in autumn, traditionally after the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (8th of September). Only a small amount of honey is collected, so that the bees can live from the rest.

It is believed that only a righteous and honest man should take care of bees. The status of a tree beekeeper is therefore something to be proud of.






Invitation for 3nd Treebeekeeping Workshop in Augustow Forest

We invite You for a 3nd Treebeekeeping Workshop organized by our Foundation in Augustów Forest, 14-16 of October, In a pine log with a height of 150 cm, each participant using a chainsaw and traditional tools will make an loge hive. The work will be carried out under the supervision of two experienced tree bee-keepers. We would put one of the ready log\’s on the tree together and make the will winter preparation with some of our settled hives. So in addition to log making, participants will learn about the trees suitable for making tree-hives, learn how to choose a suitable
place to hang a log-hive, how to attract swarms to Your log/tree hive, and gain basic skills in the use of leziwo – traditional rope’s with seat used by tree bee-keepers in the area of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The workshop would be held in the forester\’s guest hose of Lipiny : just few hundrets meters from Bielarussian border in heart of Augustow Forrest.
Cost: 160 EUR / person including accommodation, insurance, breakfast and lunch. Sign up for our Workshop by sanding email on with Your details.
As a feedback You will get instruction how to book Your place in it by doing partially advanced payment of 50 EUR.



Tree-beekeeping exhibition in Warszawa

At 27th of January in National Ethnographic Museum in Warszawa an important event for promoting and recognizing treebeekeeping was held. Exhibition „European treebeekeepers…” by prof. Krzysztof Hejke was launched. We are very proud that our foundation Bractwo Bartne / Fratrum Mellocidarum had the input in preparation of the exhibition and it launch by financial and essentially support for the author. Exhibition is showing also our Vision of treebeekeeping as an common element of culture, history and heritage of Slavic nations, common to Belarusians, Ukrainians,
Lithuanians and Poles. What more important treebeekeeping never extinct there, till now there’s still more than 800 log hives on the trees across Belorussia. For our organization this is the source of inspiration, knowledge for our activities. This exhibition we also consider as a first step to officially recognize treebeekeeping as an part of our national heritage.

Opening of the exhibition start at 15:00, and despite it was a middle of the working day it gathered about 150 spectators. For invitation of Bractwo Bartne plenty of people engaged in treebeekeeping from across Poland arrived: starting from Upper Silesia, Spala, Bialowieza National Park and Wigry National Park. There was even an beekeeper from Pinsk in Belorussia who came specially for this event. Among guest was many representing of beekeepers associations, delegations from Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, prof. Mariusz Grzegorzek rector of Lódz Film School and Wojciech Walulik mere of Augustow, one of the hubs of new days treebeekeeping in Poland.
Exhibition is located on second floor of the museum and it’s consist from 2 big rooms and fragment of hall all together around 150m2. Expect photos showing treebeekeepers at work from those country while climbing, hanging loges or working with bees on the trees You can find there original log hives bring from North east Poland Lithuania and Belarusia as well as original tools and climbing equipment still in use in our East neighbours. Although on the exhibition we can find not only traditions but also very interesting shots from bees in the trees like rear photos of bees living in the natural hollowed in the lime tree made from inside the hive, and transmission broadcasted live from the log hive. All together the exhibition is wonderful journey through history, tradition and nature aspects of treebeekeeping.Exhibition could be seen in Warszawa in National Ethnographic Museum till 29th of February, later we hope to move it to other towns or if possible transferee it abroad with help of Tree Beekeeping Internationally.

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