Vishersky National Park (Baharev Anton)

Bees are an integral part of the forest fauna and an important element of its ecosystem. They harmoniously coexist together and complete each other. The forest owes a lot to bees, and bees owe a lot to the forest. The forest provides them with food, sharing its energy of vital juices, as well as with shelter, protecting them from harsh winds, hot sun’s rays and crispy winter air. Bees in their turn foster natural reproduction of many kinds of trees and herbaceous plants, assist in preserving plant species and help maintain biological balance.

Primeval humans used to look for tree hollows with wild bee nests and to destroy them by taking out honey together with beeswax, propolis, pollen and drone brood. Foraging was gradually replaced by manufacturing, and people started making artificial hollows for bees, hollow logs. A wild honey hunter developed into a log beekeeper.

Log beekeeping in the twenty-first century is virtually non-existent, being only practiced in a few places on the planet.

2006 celebrated the establishment of log beekeeping apiaries in Vishersky National Park, among the wild taiga and mountain ranges of the Northern Urals.

Lands in national parks are prohibited from being cultivated. Any exploration or mining, wood cutting, harvesting of medicinal herbs, gathering of mushrooms, berries or flowers, construction of industrial or agricultural buildings, or unauthorized access are strictly prohibited.

The ancient taiga has been left untouched and is a part of the great Parma, the primeval forests of the Komis. Mountain slopes, Alpine meadows and the low-bush tundra, dense woods, rocky stream and river banks hide relict plants, 30 kinds of which have been included in the Red Book of the Urals and Russia. Animals and birds can hear occasional camera snaps of scientists instead of rifle shots.

Log beehives are located on the borders of the national park. One of them is called “The Small Round Hole”. Two branches of the Vishera river divided by a long isle met as one at the border of the national park, and the whirl washed out a deep hole on the river bank. There is a small wooden house among old fir and pine trees, with a tiny bath house on the side. The second apiary is in the worldwide famous taiga district Lypya, where the Lypya river flows into the Vishera. This place was a long-time residence of a Ural hermitess Serafima Sobyanina, or the legendary Sofya. There are no roads to Lypya, and old Mansi trails overgrew with forest shrubs and trees. This place is only reachable on a boat. It is true wilderness with not a single industrial plant within 200 kilometers, where the air, water and soil have not been polluted.

Summers are very short here, lasting for about two months. Snow often starts melting in early June, and tree leaves already change their color in late August. However, life is in full swing in the national park. A triumph of flora and fauna is everywhere, with big and small animals playing around, cheerful bird signing, and grasses in the meadows reaching human height.

With summers being very short, bees have to make high-quality honey so that even small amounts would be sufficient for the colony during long and cold winters. Bees process the collected nectar exceptionally thoroughly; therefore northern honey is enriched with beneficial properties and is unrivalled in the entire world. Northern bees are strong and able to withstand harsh weather conditions. They do not require the use of any veterinary drugs; hence northern honey contains no harmful chemicals. Queen bees are highly fertile and lay up to three thousand eggs per day. Worker bees utilize the daytime to the maximum to collect honey and can carry up to 85 mgs of nectar in their mouth.

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