IFOAM Apitculture Forum


What is organic beekeeping?

The principles of organic farming and organic husbandry likewise apply for organic apiculture and the processing of beekeeping products. Therefore, the specific requirements of the species must be taken into account for aspects like keeping, feeding and breeding of honey bees. In order to guarantee a natural and sustainable apiculture, the prevention of diseases, the use of natural materials and additives as well as closing the farm cycles are a top priority. The holistic farming approach as one of the principles of organic farming suggests that also the bees are kept organically. On many farms, however, not the farmers is keeping the bees, rather a relative, an acquaintance or a tenant. Thus, the beekeeping has always been managed separately from the farm, either organically or conventionally, against the principle of organic farming.

The following basic requirements result from the principles of organic agriculture:

  • Keeping of resilient breeds that are adapted to their location
  • Breeding and propagation through the swarming process and with foundationless frames
  • Selection of colonies according to vitality
  • Overwintering with extensive honey and pollen supplies
  • Supplementary feeding with the colony's own honey and feed in organic quality
  • Applying bee-friendly husbandry practises
  • Optimisation of preventative measures for disease and pest control

Technical topics


  • bulletproof.com: Blog Entry "Apitherapy: The Many Benefits of Bee Products"
    Studies show that bee products may help manage autoimmune diseases, cancer, Alzheimer’s, HPV, Lyme Disease, multiple sclerosis and arthritis – bacteria in bee stomachs could even act as alternatives to antibiotics.

Bee biology

Bee and beekeping videos

Bee health


Bee feeding

Honey and Honey Quality

  • teca.fao.org: Annex "Revised codex standard for honey"
    Applies to all honeys produced by honey bees and covers all styles of honey presentations which are processed and ultimately intended for direct consumption.

Beekeeping organisations

Native and wild bees

Practical advice for organic beekeepers


Bee promotion

Beekeeping organisations

  • authentic-routes.com: Website "ApiRoutes"
    Offering taylor-made travel to beekeepers in different countries to destinations around the globe.
  • veterans-and-bees.com: Website "Rehabilitation program Help On Bee Wings"
    Program "Help on bee wings" as a chance for wounded and injured war (anti-terroristic operation) veterans to gain confidence and hope in life and work.

Bee and beekeeping books

Native and wild bees

Impact of pesticides


  • africanbeekeeping.org: Website "African Beekeeping Resource Centre (ABRC)"
    The African Beekeeping Resource Centre (ABRC) is a non-profit South based NGO registered in Kenya working on beekeeping development across Africa. Subscription keeps you up to date with all the news from the African Beekeeping Resource Centre.
  • apinews.com: "Apinews - La Apiculture del mundo en un solo lugar"
    Find latest news, publications, courses and information on bee health issues covering all countries. Also available in Spanish and Portuguese.
  • beesfordevelopment.org: Event calendar of "Bees for Development"
    Find current bee events (mostly UK related)
  • beetime.eu: "Beekeeping news in the EU"
    Subscribe to the newsletter and you will receive weekly updates of interesting beekeeping news on per email.
  • pollinis.org: Website "Pollinis"
    The French website Pollinis offers a wide range of bee-friendly approaches, including political action.
  • vita-europe.com: "Vita - We care for your bees"
    The website contributes regularly to different bee health issues