Winter for the beekeeper: It’s time to think about spring, summer


With winter approaching (in some places it’s already here), the beekeeper has two jobs: Make sure the bees in your hives have plenty of food. Think about about what’s going to happen in your apiary in the spring and summer. Neither of these jobs involves a lot of work at this point, but they shouldn’tContinue reading “Winter for the beekeeper: It’s time to think about spring, summer”

Miss Apis Mellifera sums up ‘poisonous honey’


Some honey can make you sick. Some nectars can kill your bees. Don’t worry. The “poisonous honey” is not likely to be on your grocery self, and it is very unlikely to be in the jars of stuff you took from your apiary this summer. For us East Tennesseans, however, the poisonous nectar is notContinue reading “Miss Apis Mellifera sums up ‘poisonous honey’”

Many beehive viruses introduced by varroa, researcher says


Many of the viruses now being discovered in beehives are introduced by the varroa destructor, according to Philip Moore, a bee researcher at the University of Tennessee. Moore spoke to the November meeting of the Blount County Beekeepers Association on Nov. 10 on emerging trends in honeybee health. The picture he painted is not a prettyContinue reading “Many beehive viruses introduced by varroa, researcher says”

Beekeeping involves year-around planning, BCBA told


Good beekeeping involves planning for two or three seasons ahead, according to Michael Wilson, a bee researcher at the University of Tennessee. Wilson spoke to the November meeting of the Blount County Beekeepers Association on Nov. 10 on “overwintering” and said that any plans a beekeeper has for overwintering bees should start in the springContinue reading “Beekeeping involves year-around planning, BCBA told”

Overwintering, bee health on the agenda for Nov. BCBA meeting


The November meeting of the Blount County Beekeepers Association will feature the topics of overwintering bees and bee health. We’ll be hearing presentations from University of Tennessee researchers Michael Wilson, who will discuss proper overwintering practices for beekeepers, and Phillip Moore, who will talk about how to protect the health of your bees. John McDadeContinue reading “Overwintering, bee health on the agenda for Nov. BCBA meeting”

BCBA to hold annual Christmas party on Dec. 8


The annual Blount County Beekeepers Association Christmas Party will be on Dec. 8 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Sandy Springs Road. The time is 6:30 p.m. We have special entertainment planned for this year: Off Kilter, a musical ensemble from Maryville College. This group gets rave reviews wherever it performs, and the students should provideContinue reading “BCBA to hold annual Christmas party on Dec. 8”

Researchers in Australia working on self-pollinating almonds


One of the things I tell people who ask about bees is that in this country, bees pollinate 100 percent of the almonds we grow. And almonds, I add with only a slight flourish in my tone, are California’s number one agricultural export. It won’t happen anytime soon, but one of these days, I mayContinue reading “Researchers in Australia working on self-pollinating almonds”

How a swarm decides: An NPR story on the democratic nature of honeybees


Thomas Seeley’s book, Honeybee Democracy, describes all sorts of fascinating behaviors of honeybees. None of those behaviors is more interesting than how a swarm of bees chooses a place to live. Here are the basics: Scout bees — older, more experienced bees — leave the swarm to look for a good location. The bees thatContinue reading “How a swarm decides: An NPR story on the democratic nature of honeybees”

Beekeepers are using Russian bees to fight varroa


One of the developing non-chemical methods to fight varroa is to use Russian bees and to acquire Russian queens. That’s what Tom Conlon, a beekeeper in Massachusetts and a member of the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association, is doing. A recent article in a local Massachusetts newspaper about him says: As a member of theContinue reading “Beekeepers are using Russian bees to fight varroa”

Feds’ pollinator report delayed until after Christmas


If you were looking forward to sitting by the open fire on Christmas Eve and the reading the report on how to save pollinators that President Obama mandated in June, forget it. The White House has announced that the report will be delayed until after the holidays, according to Greenwire, a service of EENews. TheContinue reading “Feds’ pollinator report delayed until after Christmas”