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I can see in their face that they expect a finite answer. They want my blessing or a warning against a certain hive style, but they are destined for disappointment. As with so many questions in beekeeping, my answer is not a simple “yes” or “no”. Read on for an exploration of this common query.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 »
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 »
Solitary cavity-nesting species such as mason bees are attracted to logs and dead trees, as well as hollow branches such as bamboo or sumac. Elderberry stems also are good because they have a soft pith that’s easily cleaned out. David Green of pollinator.com says don’t place elderberry stems out too late in spring because they […]Read more »
About a month ago I had the pleasure of talking with Dave Hunter, owner and founder of Crown Bees, a company that “advocates for, raises, and sells hole-nesting bees that pollinate significantly better than the honey bee.” Dave is very enthusiastic about helping pollinators and has a wealth of knowledge about these important insects. He […]Read more »
The first warm, sunny day in early spring when the temperature reaches 45° to 50°F (7° to 10°C) is a great time to pay a visit to your apiary. This first visit of the year involves primarily a quick check of the hives, simply to make sure they are still alive. A trip to see […]Read more »
Want to attract mason bees to your orchard or garden? Provide bee boxes where they can lay eggs. Particularly useful in orchards, mason bees (also called blue orchard bees) can visit hundreds of flowers per day. They don’t make honey, but they collect pollen for nest holes where they lay eggs, and then plug the […]Read more »
Mason bees look for tiny holes in the wild to lay their brood. Bee friendly places might be holes bored into trees by other insects or the stems of dried reeds and other plants. Ideally, the hole should be around 8mm (around the width of a pencil) and 3-4 inches deep. The female bee will […]Read more »
Making nucleus hives or “nucs” is a good way to expand your apiary without spending a lot of money and without the worry of introducing Africanized genetics from packaged bees. (Now that Africanized bees inhabit our more southern states, this is a concern.) You also will be creating queens that are best acclimated to your […]Read more »
This is my first summer keeping bees in straw hives called “skeps.” Come follow my journey!Read more »
On a very frigid winter day a couple of months ago, I bundled up in my down parka and went to the bee yard to do my daily “Clear Away.” Two of my Top Bar hives came with bottom entrances—those long slits that run across the bottom of the hive face. Taking a thin stick […]Read more »