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The Barefoot Beekeeper

The Barefoot Beekeeper was the title of my first book, published in 2007. Since then, I have written several more books, aimed at people who want to keep bees in a simple, reasonably natural way, without investing a lot of money and free from the synthetic chemical treadmill.

This podcast is irregular, variable in content and hopefully somewhat useful and interesting to beekeepers of all flavours.

You can find my website at and you will find me on Facebook and rarely on Twitter.




Jan 29, 2011

Propolis is often regarded as something of a nuisance by conventional beekeepers, and most beekeeping courses spend more time telling you how to get rid of it or avoid it that what can usefully be done with it.

My interview subject today, James Fearnley, has been studying this remarkable substance since the 1970s, and after listening to what he has to say, I hope you will look at propolis with a more open mind.

James Fearnley initiated the first international standard for propolis and was one of the first people in the UK to commission serious scientific studies into propolis (at the Universities of Oxford and Manchester). He is recognised worldwide as an authority in the field and is the author of Bee Propolis - Natural Healing from the Hive, Souvenir Press 2001. This pioneering book is probably the most comprehensive overview of research into propolis in the English language. It explains how to use propolis as part of everyday care, with advice on preparations and dosages, as well as describing the usage of propolis throughout history and across large areas of the world.

James' web site is

Phil Chandler
eleven and a half years ago

Bees use propolis to line the inside of their nest and to seal gaps. A small amount is also used to line the cells in the brood nest, so the best time to observe this behaviour will be during the spring and summer in an area with a thriving feral population.

Pat R.
eleven and a half years ago

I've listened to this podcast many times. I'm fascinated with the idea that the bees can collect resins from trees and flowers of the area to combat the areas' diseases. I would love to be able to see and shoot a video of the bees actively getting resins from the trees. Can you advise me where to look?
Oregon Coast, USA

over thirteen years ago

This was a fascinating interview. James has such a breath of scientific knowledge, but is also willing to carefully speculate given his expert background. He provided great insights to the value of propolis to bees, the environment, and humans. As a beekeeper, I've definitely gained a new perspective on propolis and the hive's immune system.

Charles Reynolds
over thirteen years ago

With regard to your dentist and doctor not knowing about it,

I have a brother who is a pharmacist. He says there are so many new drugs being released onto the market each week, there is trouble keeping up. Therefore, they mostly focus on those drugs which are potentially dangerous to the user, when used incorrectly. Propolis, like most other homeopathic or herbal medicines, are less likely to harm you and so go largely ignored by the mainstream medical profession.