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Practicing beekeeping for over 20 years, I have seen the precipitous decline in bee populations. I just lost all three of my beehives this past year, more than at any time in my beekeeping career. Yes, I can replace them, but it is costly at about $180 for each mini beehive nuc. At that point, […]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 »
The Polar Vortex landed a blow to the Mid-West where Five Feline Farm is located. Many of the beekeepers in this area report a significant loss of colonies over the harsh winter. One beekeeper described opening a hive to find bees appearing frozen in place. The entire colony dead. Our losses are not confirmed at […]Read more »
My beehive died again this year. The death of this hive marks the third year (and the fourth hive) that I’ve failed to shepherd one through the winter. I have attended multiple beekeeping classes and workshops, a mentoring session, and read several books on beekeeping. I am by no means a novice. For the last […]Read more »
When people ask me how they can help bees, I used to say, “Plant a pollinator garden!” I would then rattle off a list of bee-friendly flowers and shrubs to get them started. Then I had an epiphany. A tree provides much more forage than any patch of flowers ever could. It’s so obvious, but […]Read more »
Honeybees work. They work all spring and summer to store up enough pollen and honey for their colony to survive the winter. However, sometimes, their best efforts are not enough and they can end up starving to death if their supplies run out. As you have read, in the early spring and late fall when […]Read more »
There are generally two ways in which you can raise Mason Bees. You can go at it with a hands-off approach and let nature take its course or you can take some quick and easy additional steps to ensure a healthier Mason Bee population. Any help really that you’re willing to provide will be appreciated […]Read more »
For Northern beekeepers, it is way past the time to prepare for winter, but in the southeast, we still have 90° F days and the goldenrod is finally in full bloom! The weather this year has been a complete downer with it raining almost every day from 03 June until 09 September and then Hurricane […]Read more »
We recently checked back on our hive after installing the new beetle jails to replace the beetle blasters. As I wrote about earlier, I haven’t been entirely satisfied with the beetle blasters and was looking for alternatives. In the comments to my post, many other beekeepers have shared their own strategies there for trapping small hive […]Read more »
A walk away split is exactly what it sounds like. Split the hive in half and walk away. Let the bees do what bees naturally do. Honeybees are predisposed to maintain the species by swarming. A beekeeper can take advantage of this instinct and control the swarming action by creating a split. This keeps the […]Read more »