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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.
It’s an old story that sweeteners can be bad for our health if we use them excessively, but the question is which one is better for our health – sugar or honey – considering that at the end of the day we’ll still use one of them. While the effect of honey is similar to […]Read more »
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 »