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”

Casting swarms – it’s what bees do

What is the purpose of a colony of bees? Pollination? Wrong. Bees do this by accident. They don’t realize how much they’re helping humans and wouldn’t care if they did. Making honey? Wrong. Bees make honey because this is a stable food source. The fact that humans like honey is again irrelevant to the bees.Continue reading “Casting swarms – it’s what bees do”

Berenbaum: Effects of feeding sugar rather than honey show unintended consequences

The sugar water/corn syrup/fruitcose vs. honey debate for feeding your bees is a long-standing one.   Recently, I found a Scientific American podcast interview from 2009 in which May Berenbaum, University of Illinois entomologist and bee researcher, discussed that very question with Steve Mirsky of Scientific American. Here are some of the main points BerenbaumContinue reading “Berenbaum: Effects of feeding sugar rather than honey show unintended consequences”

Bee boxes: one size can fit all

When I was exploring getting into beekeeping, I was standing in the barn of a friend who had kept bees for more than 30 years. The barn was full of “bee equipment,” and my friend was trying to explain some of it to me. I remember one thing he said. “If I had to startContinue reading “Bee boxes: one size can fit all”

The joys of goldenrod

To most Americans, goldenrod is a weed. To Europeans, however, goldenrod is a much-prized plant that gardeners go out of their way to cultivate. To many people in ancient times and a growing number in the 21st century, goldenrod is a medicinal herb that has many uses. To honeybees, goldenrod is a major source ofContinue reading “The joys of goldenrod”

New thoughts about old comb

If you look at most any list of “best beekeeping practices,” you will probably find this item: Remove old comb from the hive and replace it on a regular basis. It’s one of those items that gives people like us — who are trying to be good beekeepers — a guilty conscience. We may removeContinue reading “New thoughts about old comb”

The joys of crimson clover, part 2: the video

Crimson clover provides an abundant source of nectar during the early spring just as the hive is set to do some serious foraging. If you want this to happen, however, you need to do some planting in September (as we said in an earlier post). The blooms of crimson clover are red and showy andContinue reading “The joys of crimson clover, part 2: the video”

Bees need water: a video by Jim Tew

We recently posted a short piece on the fact that bees need water, and it’s up to the beekeeper to make sure they have it. This is a good follow-up to that post — especially since it reminds us that bees need water, no matter what season of the year. The video below has ourContinue reading “Bees need water: a video by Jim Tew”

Remember: Provide water for your bees

Bees need water just about all year long — especially in these final hot, dry days of summer. Water is vital for a number of functions the bee must perform, particularly cooling the hive, so it’s up to the beekeeper to make sure the bees have a good source of clean, fresh water close toContinue reading “Remember: Provide water for your bees”

Jim Tew describes the inside of a feral beehive

What’s the inside of a natural beehive like? According to beekeeping expert, it’s quite different from the hives that we construct for our bees. In the video below, Tew draws out the comparison. Tew spoke to the Blount County Beekeepers Association  on Aug. 11, 2014), and the five-minute video segment below is part of one of hisContinue reading “Jim Tew describes the inside of a feral beehive”