Beekeeping Basics | Buzz Beekeeping Supplies

Beekeeping Basics

The Hive for Beginners – Wisdom from the Past

This article (edited) was written in 1883 in “The American Apiculturist” by J. E. Pond, JR.

Beehive“In selecting a hive, no one will pretend to think for a moment of using other than one that contains movable frames.

The day of hollow logs, bee-gums and box-traps, has gone by never to return; but in the selection of the frame, there is so great a diversity of opinion, that a beginner in bee-culture may well pause for a moment before he makes a permanent choice; and any advice or information that tends to clear away the doubts from his mind will probably be welcomed by him.

honey bee hivesI have been engaged in bee-culture many years, and during that time have experimented with most of the leading frames in use, and have adopted the standard Langstroth frame, as the one that seems to meet the many requirements called for, to secure the best results.

I do not propose to decry any other frame, and will say right here, that success in apiculture depends more upon the man who engages in it, than upon the form or style of frame he uses.

He who enters into this work intelligently, and with a well-rooted and grounded purpose, imbued with a strong determination to succeed, will hardly fail, no matter what frame he may choose; but if he makes the right choice at the start, success will be more easily achieved.

The Langstroth frame was the invention of one of the ablest apiarists the world ever saw; to him and his labors should be given all praise. The introduction of the movable, sectional frame, by the Rev. L. L. Langstroth, formed an era in bee-culture, and gave an impetus to the business.”

Today,133 years later, the Langstroth hive is still the standard in the industry 133 years later.




Honey Bee Life Cycle

The Honey Bee Life Cycle

 Honey bee life cycle: a description, drawing and information about the colony.

 The honey bee life cycle goes through 4 basic stages.  More detail is added in the diagram below, but the key stages are:honey-bee-life-cycle

  1. Egg
  2. Larva
  3. Pupa
  4. Adult

All bee life cycles go through these stages, although there are great variations between the life cycles of solitary, honey and bumblebees, (as explained elsewhere on my site – see links.

But for now, let’s focus on the honey bee life cycle.   Here’s my little drawing giving an overview (you can download a larger PDF version below):

Unlike bumblebee colonies, honey bee colonies can survive the winter, provided they have enough food resources, are able to keep sufficiently warm, and are free of diseases and predators.

However, in the winter, colonies are smaller than in the summer: there are no drones, and perhaps part of the colony left the hive (in a swarm) to form a new nest elsewhere.

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Honey Bee Life Cycle – Mid-State Beekeepers Association

There are three kinds of honey bees that you will find living inside a beehive – the Queen, the Worker and the Drone. Honey bees are highly specialized.  A hive needs each of the hive members to perform their job well, or the hive will not prosper. They must work as a unit and be willing to sacrifice themselves if need be to keep the hive alive and thriving.

The Drone is the male bee.  He has a very large and thick body.  A drone performs no functions inside the hive. In the hive, he rests and is fed by workers. His sole duty is to fly around at an altitude of 40 to up to 200 feet in search of virgin queen bees on their maiden flights. His odds of finding one are slim, but if he is fortunate to meet and mate in flight, the virgin queen retains his endophallus (storing it inside her body for future use) and he falls to the ground and dies.

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The Secrets of Successful Beekeeping

This article and the advice that follows comes from G. M. Doolittle, which was printed in the January 1877 edition of the American Bee Journal.

To be successful, the apiarist must have a simple, movable; frame hive of some kind; and for box honey, the brood chamSecrets of Successful Beekeepingber should not contain over 1550 cubic inches inside the frames. All know that bees gather honey, and that the eggs laid by the queen produce bees, consequently the more eggs the queen lays, the more bees we get; and the more bees we have, the more honey they gather.

In fact, the queen is the producer of the honey. Therefore, if we wish good returns from our bees, we must see to it that we have good prolific queens and that they fill the combs with brood before the honey season commences, so that when the honey harvest comes, the bees will be obliged to place the honey in the boxes, as there will be nowhere else for them to store it.

But how shall we secure combs full of brood, and plenty of bees to carry on the labors of the hive by the time our honey harvest begins?

As soon as spring opens, our bees should all be examined by lifting the frames of each hive, and if the stocks are weak, the bees are shut to one side of the hive by means of a division board, so as to keep up the necessary heat for brood-rearing, on as many combs as they can cover.

As soon as the queen has fhoney bees and beekeepingilled these combs with eggs, we spread them apart, inserting an empty comb between those occupied with brood, and in a few days’ time the queen will till this one also; and so we keep on until every available cell is occupied with brood.

Thus it will be seen that instead of the queen laying her eggs on the outside of the cluster, she lays them in the center of the brood-nest, where they should be. After the hive is full of brood and bees, it does not make so much difference, as the weather is warm, and bees are plenty, so that the queen can deposit her eggs anywhere in the hive.

As soon as the strongest stocks are full, take a frame of brood just gnawing out and place it in the weaker ones, giving the strong one an empty comb for tint queen to fill again, and so keep on until all are lull.

When this is accomplished, put on boxes; and, as we said at the commencement, if any honey is gathered it must be put in the boxes. Each box honey bees beekeepingshould have a small piece of comb attached to the top as a “starter”, to get the bees to work more readily in the boxes; the center tier of boxes, if possible, should be full of comb, left over from the previous year.

As soon as the first few boxes are filled, they should be taken off, before being colored by the bees passing over them, and empty ones put in their places, thereby causing the bees to work with renewed vigor to fill up the vacant space left where the full ones were taken out. And thus we keep taking out full ones, and putting empty ones in their places as long as the honey season lasts.

This, in short, is the way we work our bees to secure the yields of honey.



Bees Are Not Domestic Animals

Bees have been kept by man from an early stage in the development of human civilization, yet it cannot be said that they are domesticated. In all of their activities, bees under the care of man do not differ from bees in a wild state.

Breeding in various ways has modified the bee but, in so far as the natural instincts are concerned, it is doubtful whether any appreciable change has been brought about and in the greater number of phases of bee life no change has even been attempted.beekeeping supplies

An escaping swarm takes up its abode in a hollow tree and the bees are often then spoken of as “wild, ” but this adjective is just as applicable to the bees in the apiary.

Certain animal trainers become proficient in handling savage animals through their knowledge of the ways of these beasts. Similarly the beekeeper, by studying the behavior of his bees, comes to know their habits and is governed by this knowledge.

This comparison of bees and wild animals must be construed not as intended to inspire fear in the uninitiated but to point out that the beekeeper actually is dealing with animals unmodified in their instincts by their long association with man.

By the proper use of smoke and especially by the way the colony is handled, the beekeeper can seemingly do with his bees as he pleases.

The fact is, however, that he cannot overstep the bounds set by the instincts of these animals.

It is therefore an incorrect conception of the ability of the beekeeper to state, as did Langstroth, that bees are capable of being tamed.

In view of these facts, the necessity of a thorough knowledge of bee activities is most evident.


Excerpted and edited from:

Beekeeping; a discussion of the life of the honeybee … 1915. Phillips, Everett Franklin, 1878-1951.



Russian Honey Bees

Russian Bees – Russian Honeybee Breeder

Hybrids vs. Pure (certified) Russians:  As with any strain of honey bee, Russians will interbreedRussian Honey Bees with other strains of honey bees, which results in hybrids that have the characteristics of both strains. While designed and tested hybrid breeding programs take advantage of useful hybrid vigor, uncontrolled hybrids often display undesirable hybrid vigor; they may have increased aggressiveness,  reduced honey production and a decrease in their ability to withstand  mites and detrimental expressions of other traits as well. “Russian honey bees” and Russian hybrids are advertised for sale by non-RHBA members. There is very little chance these so-called “Russians” are pure bred and they are unlikely to have the exceptional characteristics of pure-bred Russian honey bees.

Russian queens from certified members of the Russian Honey Bee Breeders’ Association (RHBA) members are not hybrids. Rather, they are pure bred from a broadly based closed breeding population selected for resistance to varroa and increased honey production.  They are bred and DNA tested to be genetically pure Russians. As such, their traits are those which they were bred for by the USDA Bee Laboratory in Baton Rouge from queens imported from Russia and continue to be improved by the combined efforts of the Russian Bee Breeders Association. The RHBA is the sole owner of the Pure Russian Honey Bee Stock for breeding purposes. RHBA members sell only pure-bred Russian honey bees selected for resistance to varroa mites and superior honey production.

russian honey beeRHBA currently has 17 lines of Russian genetic stock.  RHBA members are assigned two lines each to select and propagate. Lines belong either to a white, blue or yellow block and inbreeding is prevented by having members of each block provide queens each year from his two lines to members in the other two blocks. These queens are used to establish drone source hives to produce drones to mate with queens of each member’s two lines. This prevents inbreeding and maintains genetic diversity among the 17 lines.

Swarming tendency: You often may hear rumors that Russian honey bees swarm a lot. That is likely true when no precautions are taken to reduce swarming. Russian honey bees are like all other strains of honey bees. They will readily swarm without proper management; however, management of Russians to reduce swarming is successful but may be very demanding. They respond quickly to environmental cues that stimulate brood production. They buildup in population very quickly and if the beekeeper is not paying close attention, they soon can be to swarming strength. Queens must be given plenty of drawn combs in which to lay eggs and space to expand the brood nest .

Russian honey bees are unique in that colonies will often have active queen cells but do not swarm.  You might call them “emergency queens”. It might be compared to a colony producing emergency queen cells when a queen is lost, but just one step ahead. The queens are there to emerge and quickly take over egg laying responsibilities if a queen is lost. Although usually the unneeded cells are destroyed by the bees. According to Dr. Tom Rinderer, who bred the Russian lines, about one of every five Russian colonies will have more than one laying queen without swarming . Since the size of the brood nest is controlled by worker bees, such two queen colonies are no larger than colonies with one queen.

The Primorsky Russian Honeybee – Foley’s Russian Bees

What is the Russian Honeybee? First off, it is not an Italian or a Carniolan but it does have several of their characteristics. Genetically, a Russian honey bee is Caucasian with some Italian and Carniolan lineage.
They are a dark bee with black abdomens with grey hair. Although they share some Carniolan and Italian characteristics, they definitely have their own “Russian” characteristics.russian bees
The Russian honeybee refers to honey bees (Apis Mellifera) that originate in the Primorsky Krai region of Russia.
This strain of bee was imported into the United States in 1997 by the USDA’s Honeybee Breeding, Genetics & Physiology Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in response to severe declines in bee populations caused by infestations of parasitic mites.
Why Russians?
Some of the earliest frustrations as a new beekeeper is winter losses and having to treat for tracheal mites or verroa mites.
The Russians are extremely adept at dealing with both of these issues as their species has survived through them for hundreds of years.
Typically Russians run a little higher in price for a queen, but when one considers the savings of chemical treatments and better survivability; they are a great value.
Additionally, their prices have declined in recent years and can be bought for the about the same price as Italians or Carniolans.
The sources are still more limited so getting an order in early is essential.



Bee Sting Treatment

8 Natural Bee Sting Treatment Options – Natural Health – MOTHER …

Oct 15, 2013 –Bee stings can be deadly if a person is allergic to the venom. If you or a family member is allergic to bee stings and gets stung, remove the stinger and seek emergency medical attention right away. Do not rely on a natural bee sting treatment alone. Use an EpiPen (epinephrine auto-injector) if you have one.

Any person who is stung by a bee, needs to be monitored for signs of anaphylaxis (life-threatening reaction). About 3 percent of bee sting treatmentpeople stung by bees quickly develop this condition.

Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Itching/redness
  • Hives/welts
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of faintness or dizziness

If there is any concern that a person is developing anaphylaxis, call 911 right away.

You can also take over-the-counter Benadryl, but this will not stop the anaphylaxis; it will only slow it. You must seek emergency medical attention immediately for bee allergy.

Non-Allergic Bee Sting Treatment Options

For a quick recovery from non-allergic bee stings, you have three things to do to begin the healing process:

1. Extract the stinger.

2. Clean the wound.

3. Get pain relief.

The first and most important treatment for a bee sting is to remove the stinger as quickly as possible and by any means.

The bee’s hind end contains a sac that holds venom, and it may continue pumping more venom into the skin if not extracted.

So, don’t be slow about – get the stinger out. You can use your fingernails, a pair of tweezers, or even a credit card to scrape out the stinger. But, be careful not to break the stinger and leave it buried in the skin.

Second, before using a home remedy for bee sting treatment, clean the wound with soap and cool water. This will help remove any bacteria that can cause infection.

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Bee Sting Treatment That Is Natural And Found At … – Survival Mastery

Bee Sting Treatment If you get a honeybee sting, this is not a fun experience, which is why you must be aware of the bee sting treatment you need to use.
bee sting remedyThe pain you experience can last up to many hours or even days, if the correct cure is not applied immediately.
Such situations including bee stings usually arise in the summer as that is when the honeybee is out and about and also when individuals are out maintaining their garden.
Thankfully, there are many remedies that you can easily find around the home to use in order to get some relief from both the pain and the sting.

Before you start to cure those bee stings with any of the remedies (listed below), it is vital that you take the first and foremost step, which is to remove the sting from the skin.

The bite area consists of a black spot, which is the sting. This needs to be both removed and cleaned so venom is prevented from spreading any further.

In order to remove the sting, you can use a pair of tweezers or simply wash the area with the bite using water and soap.

Another factor you also need to keep in mind is that one swelling and pain remedy may work for one person, but may not for another.

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Raising Honey Bees

Raising Honey BeesFor more than 5,000 years, beekeepers have managed bees to retrieve their honey. Management of a beehive takes good stewardship and requires time and knowledge of bees. While it is not hard work to care for a hive, you do need to open them and inspect them regularly. Bees need to have a good store of honey and room to expand if their population grows.

Bees need to be left enough honey to feed the hive through the cold seasons when they cannot find flowers to produce their food. After you have ensured the bees have enough for their population, the extra can be used for your family and still have some to sell or barter. This is a great way to boost your family income.

The Honey Bee Hive

To begin beekeeping you need some basic equipment. The hive is your first piece of equipment and you can add to that as you learn more about keeping bees. To assist you in choosing your hive, look at our Glossary of Beekeeping Terms and learn what the basic parts of a beehive are needed. There is also bee terminology listed you should learn to better understand how to be a beekeeper.

Langstroth hive illustratedLooking at the illustrations should show what you need for your hive. Many beekeeper suppliers offer starter packages that include everything you will need to begin your first hive.

Once you have your hive and all the necessary parts, you need to select a location to set it up. The attached illustration shows how you should elevate the hive and not just have it sitting on the ground. Concrete blocks are a good source for elevating hives. There are wooden stands you can purchase which have been made especially for setting hives on. They need to be placed high enough so they are not in the grass.

The attached illustration shows how your basic beehive should be setup. Most beekeeping manuals describe the use of shallow honey supers (check glossary) on top of the deep hive bodies. Some beekeepers use the same size supers as the body. This is something you will learn as you continue with beekeeping as to what works best for you.

Using the same size super as the body allows you to buy or make just one size and the foundations can also be all the same size. If you use the deep supers the weight of them can be a drawback as they can weigh up to 100 pounds when full. The pros to using the deeper supers are they will decrease the amount of handling as compared to the shallow supers.

There is a trick to using only nine frames in the standard ten frame super. When evenly spaced in the super, bees will draw the comb out further. This method puts the capping’s up higher on the edge of the frame and will decrease the amount of time it takes to uncap them. Spacers can be purchased or you can make your own to make sure you get the correct spacing on the frame.

Frames are an essential in the basic equipment you need for your hive. The frame allows you easy and quick access to check on the condition of your bees, and the removal of the honey. The frame needs to be setup with a wired foundation.

These are sheets of beeswax with two important features:

  • They have to contain embedded wires to help support the comb and make sure it doesn’t tear when you take the honey out.
  •  It has to be embossed with the exact shape of the honeycomb that will be taken out of it. This will ensure you get a nice, uniform comb.

The Honey Bees

Once the hive is complete and set in the proper location, you are ready to get your bees. The best place to purchase your first hive of bees is from a commercial supplier.

Installing the Bee Package

keeping beesWhen you get your bees home, you will need to feed them sugar syrup as they will have used up the supply sent with them on
their journey. Giving them nourishment is important and simply done by making a simple syrup with two cups of sugar mixed with one cup of boiling water. Mix the syrup thoroughly and allow to cool.

Once the syrup is cool, use a small paint brush and paint the solution onto the wire sides of the cage. The bees will calm as they eat and will take as much as you put on. Don’t soak them with the syrup, simply brush on a coating and let them finish cleaning it off. It is best to wait until late afternoon or early evening to place the bees into their new hive. If needed, you can store them in a cool, dark place until the time is right.

Before placing the bees in their new hive, you should check that you have:

  • A bottom board on a solid base
  •  A hive body and its cover ready
  •  Have enough frames- five or six with the foundation in the hive body
  •  Have remaining frames available and handy for when needed
  • Have your bee suit or jacket on
  •  Have your gloves ready
  •  Have your smoker (check glossary) handy and ready to use
  •  Have a package of sugar syrup and brush ready

You are now ready to open the bee package and remove the tin feeder can.

When you open the package you will see the Queen suspended inside a small cage at the top of the package. Remove the cage with the Queen inside and any bees that are clinging to it. Close the package so no other bees can get out.

The Queen’s cage should have a small stopper on one end to prevent her from escaping. Beneath that stopper is a plug of sugar which the bees will quickly remove to allow her out. Gently place her cage, with the stopper removed, nearest the center of the hive and allow the bees to work at setting her free.

how to keep beesWith your smoker, give the package a gentle puff of smoke and remove the closure. Shake gently until a bunch of bees go right over the Queen’s cage. The remaining bees should be shaken out and into the space where the frames were taken out of the hive body. The bees will want to find cover in the darkness of the hive and join the rest of the bees.

There are always some bees that stayed behind in the package so set it near the entrance and allow them to find their way inside. Gently put the remaining frames of the foundation into the hive body and place the inner cover on.

You will need a feeder at the entrance or just inside an empty hive body with the same simple solution you fed them when you got them home. Monitoring the bees is important to ensure they are healthy, getting enough food, and starting to work.

It may take about a week before they completely settle down in their new home and during that week the Queen will start laying her eggs. When you see that the bees are going outside the hive and collecting their own pollen, you can stop feeding them. You can now remove the feeder and extra hive body and replace the top cover over the inner cover.

Working with Your Honey Bees

To begin work with your hive use the smoker. Give the hive a few good puffs of smoke directly into the hive entrance. Lift the covers, top and inner, and make sure smoke goes into the super. This will make the bees calmer and allow you to work around them more safely.

The smoke masks alarm pheromones, a chemical released by guard bees or others when you enter their hive. The smoke also Working with Your Honey Beescreates a feeding response in the bees as they think their hive is in danger. They will fill up on honey in anticipation of having to flee the hive. A bee that is full of honey will have a harder time stinging. Do not puff the smoker too much as you do not want a hot smoke or actual flames as this will endanger the bees.

Bees can do most of their own work; they generally just require monitoring from time to time. When you check your hive, wear light colored clothing as bright colors appear to agitate bees. When you use your beekeeping clothes, smoker, gloves, and hive tool (check glossary) you should have relatively no problems working around the bees. Working calmly and steadily is also suggested as they will react less to smooth movements than those which are too fast and unsteady.

Remove the covers and using the hive tool lift a few frames out to examine them. Check to see if the comb is fully drawn out and being filled with honey. Check if the combs have been capped off and are ready for you to extract the honey from them. While checking these, look at the bees and make sure they appear healthy and active.

When finished replace the covers. If you have used smoke to settle them, the bees will clear the hive of any remaining smoke after you’ve replaced everything and life for them will settle down and soon be back to normal.

beekeeping equipment suppliesThe Honey

While checking the hive if you have found the supers to be full of capped honeycomb, it is time to remove your honey. Before you take the honey, you must be sure to remove the bees from the super.

To do this you can use a commercial product called, Bee-Go. It is a chemical solution you place on top of the hive in place of the top cover.

You can do this by making a fume board out of an old hive cover and staple a layer of burlap over it. The burlap will act as an absorbent pad to apply the chemical too. The bees do not like the odor given off by Bee-Go and will descend deeper into the hive.

It generally only takes a few minutes for all the bees to move down so you can extract the super to remove the honey.

Another product that works well to move the bees is, Fischer’s Bee-Quick. It works under the same principle as the Bee-Go.

Extracting the Honey

Using a mechanical extractor will make removal of the honey much simpler. If you are not using frames specially designed to take sections of the honeycomb out, then you really need to have access to a centrifugal type extractor. These extractors are not cheap and can be built at home, but you will have better luck with a manufactured model. One idea is to check with other beekeepers inhoney extractor your area to see if they would be willing to pool together on a purchased one.

From the full supers, you need to remove the wax caps on the combs. Each of the cells will be full of honey and the caps need to come off to get the honey out. One method is to have knives submerged in hot water and use them to slice the caps off. When one knife cools and no longer slices the cap evenly, change knives and take a fresh hot one. Place the caps into a pot as a lot of honey will drip off of them which you want to keep. There are specially heated knives you may eventually want to invest in.

Place the frames into the extractor once you have removed all the caps with the top bar facing outward. This is important to make sure you get all of the honey out of the comb. As the honey is extracted from the frame, replace them in the super. The honey will accumulate on the bottom of the extractor and you will need to drain it off. Run the honey through a few layers of cheese cloth to remove any wax, pollen, or bees. You are now ready to pour it into jars of your choice.

Winterizing your Hive

Bees do not hibernate or sleep during the winter months. They will form a cluster and generate heat to survive the cold temperatures. This generation of heat will create moisture or condensation and standing water is not a good scenario for your hive’s survival. In the wild, bee supplysbees maintain a single entrance at the bottom of their hive so they are able to fan fresh air or ventilate the hive. Try to mimic nature by using a thicker wood to act like a hollow log and let the bees seal up the cracks as they would naturally. Try not to open the hive at all during cool or cold weather. In nature, bees also protect themselves against mice or other varmints that look to steal their food during the cold months. Again, you will have to help them guard their entrance by placing barriers up so they cannot be invaded. Winterizing the natural way also means leaving them enough honey to eat during the winter. If unsure as to how much to leave, it is better to wait until spring to harvest to ensure your hive can survive.

Any supers not being used by the bees for the winter need to cleaned, inspected for damage or rot, and stored in 50-gallon sized lawn bags until ready for use next summer.

The information in this article does not cover all the fascinating facts of beekeeping. It is the hope that it will motivate you and get you started on wanting to expand your knowledge and begin your beekeeping.


Natural Beekeeping

First Ever Natural Beekeeping Convention Makes a Buzz in Pasadena This Weekend – Pasadena Now

Pasadena Now – While bees may be perceived as intimidating sting machines that produce sweet honey, the scientific and beekeeping communities consider them the unsung heroes of the planet. The tiny aerial insects are responsible for pollinating 80% of the world’s plants and without them world would be a much different place.Natural Beekeeping

Pasadena’s flora-and-fauna-rich landscape has cemented itself as a bee friendly environment among local experts and is the perfect home for the Natural Beekeeping Conference that kicks off this weekend, set to feature demonstrations and lectures about all things beekeeping from local and international experts in the field.

“Our conference is geared towards the backyard beekeeper who wants to do things with a more natural twist. We’ve imported the top minds in the natural beekeeping world to come speak,” said conference organizer and Honey Love CEO Chelsea McFarland whose non-profit provides educational outreach and advocacy efforts to protect the health and well-being of honey bees.

Pasadena’s bee friendly status is a rarity when compared to worrisome global phenomenon of bee colonies disappearing called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“If you have an amazing garden and want to make it even better, the natural progression is to keep bees. It’s very important to keep known genetics in your urban yard,” said Keith Roberts, President of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association and owner of beekeeping retail store The Valley Hive.

“Pasadena was the area to be this year,” said Roberts who went on to say he extracted thousands of pounds of sage honey in the Pasadena/Altadena area alone.

Many factors play a role in possibilities regarding to the disappearance of bee colonies including parasites and pests, pathogens, poor nutrition, and the use of pesticides on plants as the number one cause of speculation according to the USDA.

“Pesticides are always a threat regardless of where the hives are,” said Roberts.

These foreign chemicals tend to do more harm than good due the their artificial properties, in which pollination by managed honey bee colonies adds at least $15 billion to the value of U.S. agriculture annually through increased yields and superior-quality harvests, according to the USDA.

natural bee keepingBees colonies are affected less by CCD in urban environments due to the lack of pesticide use that is all too common in large scale agriculture, according to Honey Love.

“We aren’t seeing colony collapse disorder as much in the city,” said McFarland

Aside from the importance of bees in regards to sustaining a substantial part of life on Earth, they have become specimens of interest to scientists and engineers in fascinating ways.

Dr. Michael Dickinson is a scientist whose lab at Caltech focuses on flight control and how animals transform sensory information into a code that controls motor output and behavior. According to Dickinson, the unique anatomy of bees provides a basis for the development of cutting edge aerial technology in the 21st century.

“These animals are exploiting some of the most exotic flight mechanisms that are available to insects,” said Dickinson in an article published by Caltech. “The knowledge garnered from actual insects start to become important engineering principles by which we design these things,” said Dickinson.

Although urban areas like Pasadena are more sustainable place for bees to thrive, they are still in need of habitats that they can call home and is a simple addition anyone can add to their property with just a small amount of tender love and care.

You don’t have to be a skilled beekeeper to contribute to the well being of bees in your neighborhood.

“We encourage people to put out a swarm box which is something bees can move into. It’s a great thing that people can do who live in the city,” said McFarland who also mentioned the importance of providing basics such as adequate water for bees.

To help promote his all-natural approach, 40 year beekeeper Jerry Dunbar participated in the creation of this video series demonstrating his practices and the …

Beek Out This Summer at HoneyLove’s Natural Beekeeping … – Modern Farmer

Husband-and-wife team Rob and Chelsea McFarland are passionate about honeybees and want you to be too. Last year they spearheaded the legalization of urban beekeeping in Los Angeles, published Save the Bees with Natural Backyard Hives, and now have organized a natural beekeeping conference set for August 19 through 21 in Pasadena, California.

“We started the Natural Beekeeping Conference as an alternative to the traditional beekeeping conferences put on for commercial beekeepers,” Chelsea tells Modern Farmer in an email. “There isn’t currently a conference for natural beekeepers—especially not one that addresses backyard beekeeping issues—so we decided to create one.
”The couple launched HoneyLove, an LA-based nonprofit bee conservation organization in 2011, with “a mission to protect the keeping honey beeshoneybees by educating our communities and inspiring new urban beekeepers,” says Chelsea. It has grown to be the largest urban beekeeping group in Southern California.
The conference in August is for natural beekeepers—those who use chemical-free practices—of all stripes, but with a special focus on those who raise bees in an urban environment.
You’ll see several luminaries of the natural beekeeping world at the conference, including Michael Bush, the author of The Practical Beekeeper—Beekeeping Naturally; Dee Lusby, known as the “mother of treatment-free beekeeping;” May R. Berenbaum, professor and department head in the Department of Entomology at Cornell University; and Les Crowder, author of Top-Bar Beekeeping.
Plus, there will be workshops, hands-on demonstrations, the latest in natural beekeeping techniques and findings, exhibitors and sponsors, and even tastings of raw honey from around the world. It’s an opportunity to connect with other “beeks” (bee geeks),
June 15, 2016 webinar on Common Sense Natural Beekeeping with Kim Flottum, author and editor of Bee Culture Magazine.

Backyard Bees

The Colony-Killing Mistake Backyard Beekeepers Are Making – NPR

NPR – The Colony-Jonathan Garaas has learned a few things in three seasons of backyard beekeeping: Bees are fascinating. They’re complicated. And keeping them alive is not easy.

The Fargo attorney lost hives in his first two years as a novice beekeeper. With nine hives now established near his home and a Backyard Beescouple of University of Minnesota bee classes under his belt, he feels like he’s got the hang of it, although it’s still a challenge.

Every two weeks, he opens the hives to check the bees and search for varroa mites, pests that suck the bees’ blood and can transmit disease. If he sees too many of the pinhead sized parasites, he applies a chemical treatment.

Attorney and hobby beekeeper Jonathan Garaas Dan Gunderson | MPR News

“You can get the book learning. You can see the YouTubes. You can be told by others,” he said, but “you have to have hands-on experience. When you start putting it all together, it now starts making sense.”

Scientists wish every beginner beekeeper was as diligent.

While experts welcome the rising national interest in beekeeping as a hobby, they warn novices may be inadvertently putting their hives — and hives for miles around — in danger because they aren’t keeping the bee mite population in check.

Many hobbyists avoid mite treatments, preferring a natural approach, but that’s often a deadly decision for the bees, said University of Minnesota bee expert Marla Spivak.

…and more »

Hiving my first package of honey bees. This is quite the experience the first time you do it! Season 1: Episode 1.


Backyard beekeeping yields sweet rewards –

HEBRON – His flat hive tool in hand, Keith Crigger slowly and meticulously scraped bee glue, known as propolis, from a new beehive box on Randy Merrell’s farm near Hebron.

Crigger pried open the top box and judiciously lifted and inspected each frame. He was vigilant in returning each one in the same order. Bees are clean and orderly.

raising honey beesAs Crigger worked his way deeper into the boxes, he was optimistic about what he saw.

“See the caps?” his wife Lori Crigger asked standing from a distance. “This hive, which was added in April, is going to produce some honey this year.”

Keith and Lori Crigger are beekeepers that harvest honey from hives on six farms in Boone, Grant, Kenton and Gallatin counties. They sell their Crigger Farm honey products in 45 retail shops across the commonwealth and at local farmers markets.

But the honey business that keeps Keith working full-time in his retirement started as a hobby seven years ago.

Beekeeping is a pastime that more people across Northern Kentucky are adding to their lives. Residents are placing bee boxes in their backyards and joining the increasing number of beekeeper groups, like the Northern Kentucky Beekeepers Association which meets once a month.

Conservationists are delighted.

In the past decade, the honeybee population hit an all-time low. There are many theories about why the number plummeted. The abundant use of pesticides and disease are popular ones.

Honeybee numbers are back on the rise, thanks to those who are putting on their bee suits and building hives.

“I think more people are realizing the importance of bees in the pollination of plants,” said Jerry Brown, Boone County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.


Urban Beekeeping

Urban Beekeeping

Beekeeping is all the buzz in New York City – Reuters

While in other parts of the world honeybees have been creating a buzz because of their rapid decline, in New York their population has been soaring for the past few years, literally.

The number of urban beekeepers has exponentially grown according to Andrew Coté, President of New York City Beekeepersurban beekeeping Association, with registered beehives growing ten-fold in the past five years.

In Manhattan, many keep their hives on rooftops, including skyscrapers and office buildings which make for “fantastic apiaries”, according to Coté.

“Tending beehives on top of New York City and other urban areas is nothing new. However, there has been something of a renaissance in the past five to eight years and it has gained great popularity,” he told Reuters on Tuesday (July 26).

Coté tends hives on a dozen of skyscrapers throughout Manhattan, including the ones on the 76th floor of the Residence Inn hotel near Central Park, which at 723 feet (220 meters) is the highest apiary measured from the ground in the world according to management.

Since we have put the hives in two and a half years ago, we have done a fair amount of research, and we haven’t been able to find a hive higher than we are at this point,” explained Timothy McGlinchey Area General Manager of Residence Inn Central Park.

The hotel started the “Broadway Bees” project as part of their green initiative as bees are the main pollinators of flowering plants, including many fruits and vegetables.

The rooftop hosts six hives which totals to about 180,000 honey bees, all in robust condition.

Bee populations are in sharp decline around the world, under attack from a poorly understood phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. One reason is believed to be the bees’ exposure to excessive pesticides and chemicals in rural areas and the lack thereof in New York makes the hives healthy, says Coté.

Urban BeeKeeping Tips For Beginners

We have just finished our first honey harvest. In total we got 76 jars with an average weight of 355g. Not bad for a first year that started with a package of bees at …

Top Ten Urban Beekeeping Questions

Our latest Beekeeping Podcast was released last week. Beekeeping…

Top Ten Urban Beekeeping QuestionsOur latest Beekeeping Podcast was released last week. Beekeeping News from New Zealand and around the world. Listeners questions answered and tips shared from Gary and Margaret Beekeepers from New Zealand.This week we are talking about:-* Wild bee loss bad for breed* Ten Questions to ask before starting Urban Beekeeping* Wellingtons Mayor is a Buzzing.Click on the play button on below page:-Or subscribe on itunes, details at the bottom of the above page.

Popularity of urban beekeeping not helping to make up for declining countryside populations, says research…

urban beekeeperThe popularity of urban beekeeping is not helping to make up for declining countryside populations, according to new research.

The report also found that city-dwelling honey bees are three times less likely to survive than their feral cousins. This raises significant questions about the longer-term outlook for bees as intense urbanisation reduces habitat around the world and urban beekeeping helps to plug the gap.

Researchers from North Carolina State University analysed 15 feral colonies living in trees or buildings without human contact and a further 24 managed by beekeepers in urban, suburban and rural areas in and around the city of Raleigh.


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