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Beekeeping in Hungary, by Edina Toth

Beekeeping in Hungary

A Father and Daughter’s Tale

Beekeeping is not just a hobby; it is a profound connection to nature that can span generations.

My father, George Császár, was a master beekeeper for more than two decades in Hungary. For fifteen extraordinary years, my father and I embarked on an unforgettable beekeeping adventure. Our journey as migratory beekeepers, tending to 55-60 hives each year, brought us face-to-face with the challenges of honeybee diseases, such as varroa mites, European foulbrood (EFB), wax moths, and other pests.

At the tender age of six, my father introduced me to the captivating world of beekeeping. It was a transformative moment that ignited a lifelong passion within me. Fascinated by the honeybees' intricate society, we embarked on a shared journey of learning and discovery, where my father selflessly imparted his extensive knowledge and experience. Our beekeeping journey was not without its trials. These challenges threatened our colonies on multiple occasions, and we endured the heartache of losing almost all of them. However, our determination and knowledge guided us as we implemented meticulous integrated pest management strategies, such as regular hive inspections, prompt treatments, and stringent hygiene practices.

In our beekeeping practice, we relied on long hives. The long hives are quite common among beekeepers in Hungary. It was standardized in 1902 by Imre Szabo Boczonádi. These hives were named after him as "Nagy Boczonádi", or shortly “NB.” We also used Hunor hives that closely resembled the popular Langstroth hives. The long hives, with their horizontal design, provided better brood rearing conditions and reduced swarming tendencies. Meanwhile, the Hunor hives' accessibility and adaptability facilitated efficient honey production and extraction.

Harvesting the liquid gold was a labor of love and a culmination of our efforts. With a manual honey extractor, we carefully extracted the honey on-site, ensuring its freshness and quality. Our gentle approach and meticulous handling of our honeybees during this process minimized stress and preserved their well-being. The reward was not just the golden honey but also the satisfaction of knowing we had successfully nurtured our bees.

Honey bees entering a hive.

Throughout our journey, my father and I shared a deep admiration for these incredible creatures. Beekeeping became more than just a livelihood; it became a profound connection to nature and a source of wonderment.

We learned to appreciate the intricate harmony within the beehive, the delicate dance of the bees, and their vital role in pollination and honey production. Although our beekeeping journey had its fair share of challenges, it was a bond forged between a father and a child, united by a shared passion.

The memories we created and the knowledge he imparted upon me will forever remain treasured.

My father's guidance and our mutual love for beekeeping have shaped me into the person I am today, instilling in me a deep respect for nature and a commitment to environmental stewardship. Even though my father is no longer with me, his legacy lives on through my continued dedication to beekeeping. I carry his teachings in my heart and strive to honor his memory by nurturing and protecting these marvelous creatures that have brought so much joy and purpose to our lives.


About the Author: Edina Toth

Edina Toth was born and raised in Hungary in a family deeply connected to the world of honeybees. Her father, a master beekeeper with over two decades of experience, instilled in her a passion for beekeeping from a young age. Following in her father's footsteps, Edina dedicated herself to continuing his legacy.

She is currently pursuing her second master’s degree in Environmental Science at Oregon State University focusing on the field of beekeeping. She is immersing herself in extensive research, studying various scientific publications, attending workshops, and collaborating with other beekeepers to deepen her understanding of honeybee behavior, hive management techniques, and sustainable practices.

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