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When my husband first showed interest in beekeeping, one of my biggest fears is that we would accidentally end up with a “Killer Bee” colony. I had heard rumors of Killer Bee colonies coming up from states like Florida to the north. Images of bee swarms chasing us in angry pursuit and thousands of deadly […]Read more »
Every honey harvest is exciting, but our first is something I won’t likely forget! We’d been waiting and tending to our bees for almost two years… hoping, wondering and (frankly) worrying. But that first taste of golden nectar made it all worth it. Since our first harvest quite a few years ago, we’ve somewhat streamlined […]Read more »
Now that you have harvested honey and the bees have been tucked away for winter, it is a great time to review the season while your memory is still fresh. An honest review of your beekeeping year will help to improve next year. So let’s get started! What worked This is the easiest and most […]Read more »
Editor’s note: The author’s garden is likely in plant hardiness zone 6b or 7a. This is reflected in the plants selected this post. Nectar dearth is a phrase that you hear frequently in beekeeping. Simply put, it means that instead of your honeybees finding readily available nectar and pollen-producing flowers, they are chowing down on their stored honey. […]Read more »
Once again, I find myself gloriously behind the times. In this particular case, a few thousand years behind the times. I built and maintain a wall beehive — a colony housed in the wall of my bedroom. I have been calling it my Observation Hive because it has a plexiglas cover on the inside wall, […]Read more »
You have decided you need to feed your bees. Maybe you just installed a package in a new hive, and they have to build out all of the frames. Maybe you just moved a hive to a new location and you want to give them a boost. Maybe you caught a late season swarm and […]Read more »
The garden is starting to dwindle. The other morning I woke as the sun was coming up and, I couldn’t tell for sure, but it looked as though we had a bit of frost on the north side of the lawn. The tomato plants are turning black and there are dots of gold and red […]Read more »
If you live in an area with the invasive Argentine ants, chances are you have issues with them getting into your hives. These non-native pests have colonized most of California and the southern parts of the U.S. Their massive super-colonies make them difficult to control, especially in the bee yard. These ants can easily overwhelm […]Read more »
Before we work with a new package of bees, we spray them with a 1:1 ratio of water and dissolved sugar. Spraying helps calm the bees and allows you to more easily maneuver them into the hive. It’s not a good idea to use a smoker with a new package because you want to encourage […]Read more »
When my husband told me he wanted to keep bees I was NOT on board with the idea. When I was 11 years old my dad was stung by a bald face hornet, had a terrible reaction, and went into cardiac arrest. He made it through, but it was one of the most terrifying experiences […]Read more »
Extracting honey every August for 20 years has honed my honey house preparations. Similar to painting, the prep takes longer than the actual work. I never extract in the house, as it will bring stray bees in along with the frames. I have a potting shed adjacent to my bee yard which I have set […]Read more »
Beekeeping, especially urban beekeeping, is picking up steam and buzz. When I first attended a beekeeping basics class put on by the local beekeepers club 20 years ago, older men in coveralls dominated and the joke was that the average age of a beekeeper was “from 57 to dead.” As a younger woman in the […]Read more »
Bees are mesmerizing. One of my favorite things to do is sit out by our hive and watch the bees bringing back pollen. Even this small glimpse into their world…only that ledge of coming and going is fascinating. In today’s world of sharing our lives on the internet, beekeepers feel the draw to document their […]Read more »
The smoker makes the beekeeper’s relationship with honey bees civil. Without the smoker, beekeepers would suffer many more stings during a hive inspection. More stings equate to more bee deaths, so all around the smoker is a good thing. What is a bee smoker? A smoker is a tool used by beekeepers to calm bees while […]Read more »
As many beekeepers know, the uses of having a beehive on your farm are plentiful. Honey has numerous health benefits, in addition to being a delicious natural sweetener. The wax can be used for a countless number of things around the home, including candles and beauty products. My partner and I decided to become beekeepers […]Read more »