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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 »
Beehive art is becoming more and more popular in the bee yard. Painting hive bodies a boring white was the norm when I started beekeeping 20 years ago. Fast forward to the present and everyone is trying to outdo themselves with wild and beautiful designs decorating the bee yard. Art and beekeeping?. Great combination […]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 »
Two years ago we added bees to the Chiot’s Run Family. We picked up 10,000 ladies from Dave, a local guy who sells them. He knows what he’s talking about, these were the hives in his front yard. On our way home Mr. Chiot’s looked at me and said, “This has the makings of a horrible nightmare. […]Read more »
Tired of buying compressed smoker fuel, I looked for alternative fuels that would work better and were available around me. I have already used pine needles but after some research found oodles of natural materials ripe for the picking in my backyard. The variety of materials that you can use is only limited by your […]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 »
Why the smoker? A necessity for preventing bee stings, even more than wearing your trusty bee suit, the smoker disrupts the bees’ normal cascade of defense when they perceive a threat. Smoked bees will flee from the source of smoke (you!) rather than advance in a defensive reaction.The result is less flight and stinging behavior. […]Read more »
Winter survival of honeybees is one of my most frequently asked questions from people curious about bees. With the extreme cold temperatures hitting most of the East Coast, this topic has come up again and again. A healthy full-size colony, with an adequate supply of honey, and a strong healthy queen, can survive extreme temperatures. […]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 »