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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 more we learn about honeybees, the more fascinating they are. They live not as individuals, but as a super-organism in a perfectly ordered society and they are in every way adapted to live purposeful and productive lives without wasting time, energy or natural resources. Here are a few glimpses into their complex world. […]Read more »
In recent years, the role of wildflowers in feeding honeybees has been widely misunderstood. Yes, wildflowers are a precious resource. Yes, there are not nearly enough of them. But no, they are not going to save the day. No matter how many packets of bee-friendly wildflower seeds are nobly given out and scattered, they are […]Read more »
If you want to increase your chance of successfully attracting a swarm, you can add an attractant to your bait hive. Lemongrass is very similar to the queen bee’s scent. Honeybees find the mixture of lemongrass and beeswax irresistible. Yield: 3 ounces Ingredients 2 tablespoons beeswax 1/4 cup olive oil 40 drops (2 milliliters) lemongrass […]Read more »
Wicker Garden Furniture Much of the garden furniture today is made of plastic rather than wood. If you are lucky enough to have a set of old-fashioned wicker or bent willow garden furniture, you can use this recipe to keep it in top shape. Yield: 1 (12-ounce) jar Ingredients 1/2 cup beeswax 1/2 […]Read more »
Preserving the wood used to enclose raised garden beds is a conundrum. Popular wood preservatives contain toxic heavy metals that leach into the soil of a vegetable garden, potentially contaminating the soil and any food growing there. But because garden boxes are exposed to the weather and remain perpetually damp, some kind of preservative is […]Read more »
These wax tarts replace chemical room fresheners, promoting healthier indoor air. These are useful in the kitchen to remove dank odors without toxic chemicals. Each wax tart is about 1 1/2 ounces. This project includes three homey scents: citrus, calm, and alert. Yield: 5 wax tarts Ingredients 1/2 cup beeswax 1/2 cup cocoa butter 1/2 […]Read more »
Armed with these guiding principles, you’ll be able not only to plan your own space but also to impress friends with brief but impressively knowledgeable lectures on how to plant specifically for honeybees! QUANTITY, QUALITY AND VARIETY Plentiful supplies of varied forage are essential to help honeybees withstand the impact of disease and harmful environmental […]Read more »
Beeswax Crayons Every fall, boxes of crayons come home with the school supplies. Most crayons are made with paraffin wax and stearic acid. Soy crayons are made with hydrogenated genetically modified soybean oil. Some brands of crayons may contain lead and asbestos. So while technically, crayons are “nontoxic,” they are not necessarily benign. You could […]Read more »
Beard balm is a leave-in conditioner that softens, moisturizes, and helps style your beard. The beeswax in beard balm offers a light to medium hold, but its main job is to seal in moisture. A well-made beard balm will also condition the skin, leaving it soft and moisturized. Beard balm is a thicker, more moisturizing […]Read more »
Welcome to summer and all it entails: barbecues, hiking, evening walks—and bee stings and bug bites. Take heart: You don’t have to spend the entire season scratching. Many of the best anti-itch remedies are as close as your backyard, kitchen or local health-food store. No single remedy will work for everyone, so experiment to see […]Read more »