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Keeping Backyard Bees (KBBees for short) is a joint effort by Mother Earth News and Grit magazines to create a hive mind of information on bees, beekeeping, pollen, hives, honey, and much more. Our readers may be seasoned beekeepers, they may be interested in starting a hive, or they may even just be concerned about the well-being of bees and want to know what they can do to help. Whatever the reason, we’re glad you’ve stopped by.
The following is an excerpt from Keeping Bees and Making Honey by Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum (F&W Media, 2008). This spectacular book offers an in-depth profile of nature’s most effective pollinator and covers all aspects of modern beekeeping, including where and when to get your bees, different types of hives, how to harvest and […]Read more »
It’s old news that beekeepers are struggling to provide diverse, pesticide-free forage for their colonies, as scientists have been voicing alarm about the decline in pollinator populations for more than a decade. But part of the solution to help today’s stressed bees may be in your own backyard: Consider the incredible quantity of nectar produced […]Read more »
Colony Collapse Disorder When colony collapse disorder (CCD) hits a colony, the bees literally disappear. You open the hive, and no one is home. No dead bees. No signs of disease. Just nothingness. And its scale is shocking. Some commercial beekeepers have lost thousands of hives in the blink of an eye. The losses have […]Read more »
Experienced beekeepers are keenly aware of which flowers provide bees with nectar, when those flowers are in bloom, and whether the right balance of rain and shine has encouraged them to bloom in abundance. In beekeeping jargon, when there is a bounty of nectar for bees to forage, a honey flow is said to be […]Read more »
Every visit to the bee yard, I learn something new. Either about beekeeping in general or about my particular colonies. In previous years, I have gone four to six weeks without opening a hive. This spring and summer, the longest is two weeks. It is one thing to read about bee behavior and quite another […]Read more »
Ask 10 beekeepers the best way to remove bees from the honey super and you’ll get eleven answers. As with anything else, every beekeeper has their preferred method for accomplishing any task. In this post, I’ll be examining how to remove the bees from the super so the honey can be harvested. Whenever a hive […]Read more »
The first warm, sunny day in early spring when the temperature reaches 45° to 50°F (7° to 10°C) is a great time to pay a visit to your apiary. This first visit of the year involves primarily a quick check of the hives, simply to make sure they are still alive. A trip to see […]Read more »
Mason Bees, also known as orchard bees are docile pollinators that are easy to keep and provide a myriad of benefits for the pollinator community. In nature, mason bees build solitary nests with mud in hollow reeds, woodpecker holes or other small openings. To keep mason bees all you really have to do is provide […]Read more »
Nourish skin with a combination of beeswax and various body butters rich in fatty acids in this homemade Solid Lotion Bar recipe. Modern beekeepers commonly wonder what to do with all the beeswax their hives produce. Thankfully, the possibilities are endless, from holistic and decorative uses to various homemade health and beauty products. Learn how […]Read more »
Visiting more than 2 million flowers to produce a single pound of honey, bees are some of the hardest workers on our planet—and quite possibly nature’s best cosmetologists. These wondrous winged creatures pollinate about one-sixth of the world’s flowering plant species and about 400 agricultural plants, and from their hard work springs forth a plethora […]Read more »