All About Splits: The Three Major Techniques for Splitting your Colonies by The Daily Guide to Beekeeping


, , ,

Whether you are a hobbyist, sideliner, or a commercial beekeeper, spring is a busy time for many beekeepers. Of all the spring tasks, splitting colonies may be the most crucial. Whether beekeepers split to expand their operation, to re-queen their colonies or control varroa, splitting is an important, yet time consuming task. In many ways, splitting is a right of passage for beekeepers.

Read full article here: ALL ABOUT SPLITS: THE 3 MAJOR TECHNIQUES FOR SPLITTING YOUR COLONIES — The Daily Guide to Beekeeping

Goals in Beekeeping and Upper Entrances


, ,

As with all beekeeping we have to ask ourselves what our goals are. Do we want to keep bees just to have bees? Do we want to keep them in as “natural” a way as possible? Do we want to make bees for sale as nucleus hives? Or do we want to manage our bees for honey production?

If one wants to manage their bees in as natural a manner as possible then do so by following their lead. Thomas Seeley and others have determined that honey bees will choose a dry cavity approximately 40 liters in size with an entrance of approximately 2 square inches. The bees select that size because it gives them what they need to meet their ultimate goals – reproduction and survival. They build up fast, fill it, and swarm which has definite advantages for them from pest, disease, and reproduction standpoints. If we want to keep bees more naturally we simply need a gum log or empty 40 liter box with a hole bored in the side – no frames, no foundation, nor fancy hive accessories.

But most of us don’t keep bees naturally. The moment we step away from that gum, skep, or single 40 liter box we are managing them in a manner to accomplish our goals not their goals. I’m not interested in raising bees in cavities like they select. I’m interested in managing bees in cavities I select based on the goals I wish to attain. But that’s not so bad. My bees benefit from disease management, protection from starvation, and pest control which they would not have if left on their own.

For me that’s different management and different box configuration for making queens, a different box configuration for overwintering, and lots of boxes for honey production. And it’s also lots of management every step of the way. Adding ventilation, boxes, making early splits, treatments, IPM, regular assessments, and interventions just so I can support them while they focus their efforts on plundering the local nectar resources.

Regarding upper entrances, they are added when needed for ventilation, reduce brood nest congestion, and increase traffic efficiency. They also create a disruption in the swarming process. They allow nectar to be cured quicker with less effort increasing the bees’ efficiency, decreasing their caloric expenditure, and saving precious wing wear and tear for their future as foragers. But managing upper entrances also means getting them back off when they are no longer needed which is after the nectar flow and prior to the major pest onslaught such as hive beetles and yellow jackets. For the most part it is a two month a year manipulation. It is work for me which increases the efficiency of the hive such that they can grow far beyond what nature intended. But it requires management.

Beekeeping is science based management. It is not for the lazy nor for procrastinators. Most people want their beekeeping to be something in between a gum standing in the backyard and what I strive for. Most probably don’t want large hives – they want a little honey and a well pollinated garden. That’s great. For them they can choose any number of hive types such as Langstroth, TBH, Warre, Long Lang, etc. and have good outcomes while enjoying their bees. It’s all good if you know your goals and follow your ideals and science.

Usurpation in the Bee Yard


, , ,

Interesting event in the bee yard. A couple weeks ago I performed a cut out on a top bar hive that had gone burr comb crazy. I cut and rubber banded brood into deep Langstroth frames and brought it home. After letting them settle down I inspected the hive and was pleasantly surprised to find the queen unharmed. She was nice and big and had a dark color. Happy with myself, I closed them up. I did note that they seemed less than industrious and after over a week they took little sugar syrup and other than attaching the old brood comb to the frames they were not building new comb. There were plenty of loafers around the front while seemingly there was plenty of work to be done!

Then, they were gone! Not like a swarm or a new package sometimes absconds in a few days. It had been well over a week; maybe ten days. It could be they were thinning down the queen for flight. I though to check if that fat, heavy queen had been left behind but she was gone. It also seemed they might have waited until almost all of the brood hatched out before they left.

I checked all the trees because I look at all my hives daily and they had been there the day before. Nothing. Then I checked the swarm traps. Nothing. Not even scouts.

I resigned myself to losing them. Then I noticed a hive I had split the week earlier. It was three doors down from the absconded colony. The split had a queen cell but I didn’t think a laying queen yet. And the split had been a weak split of just a few frames of bees. But wait. Now the split was bubbling over with bees. By now you’ve guessed it. A usurpation had occurred. Wyatt Mangum writes about this happening especially during summer when a normal swarm would have almost no chance of otherwise surviving because of dearth. Wow.


Honey Bee Usurpation



Happy Birthday Charles Dadant


, ,

10320494_675197675868065_9048284071600579477_nHappy Birthday Charles Dadant ! -Born May 22, 1817
Share Birthday Wishes for Charles Dadant !

Biography of Charles Dadant (1817-1902)

Mr. Charles Dadant was born May 22, 1817, at Vaux-Sous-Aubigny, in the golden hills of Burgundy, France. After his education in the College of Langres, he went into the mercantile business in that city, but ill-success induced him to remove to America. He settled in Hamilton, Illinois, in 1863, and found a profitable occupation in bee-culture, which in his hands yielded marvelous results. He soon became noted as one of the leading apiarists of the world.

After a few years of trial he made a trip to Italy, in 1873, to import the bees of that country to America. Though at first unsuccessful, he persisted in his efforts and finally achieved great success. He was the first to lay down rules for the safe transportation of queen bees across the sea, which is now a matter of daily occurrence.

Later on, in partnership with his son C. P. Dadant, he undertook the manufacture of comb foundation which has been continued by the firm, together with the management of several large apiaries, run almost exclusively for the production of extracted honey.

Although well versed in the English language which he had mastered at the age of forty-six, with the help of a pocket dictionary, Mr. Dadant was never able to speak it fluently and many of the readers of his numerous writings were astonished when meeting him to find that he could converse with difficulty. His writings were not confined to American publications, for in 1870 he began writing for European bee-journals and continued to do so until his methods were adopted, especially in Switzerland, France and Italy, where the hive which he recommended is now known under his name. For twenty years he was a regular contributor to the Revue Internationale D’Api-culture, and the result has been that there is probably not another bee-writer whose name is so thoroughly known, the world over. Mr. Dadant has been made an honorary member of more than twenty bee-keepers associations throughout the world and his death which occurred July 16, 1902, was lamented by every bee publication on both continents.

Mr. Dadant was a congenial man, and a philosopher. He retained his cheerfulness of spirit to his last day.

In addition to his supervision of the revision of this book, he was the author of a small treatise of bees, “Petit Cours d’ Apiculture Pratique.” He also published in connection with his son a pamphlet on “Extracted honey,” Revised into the French Language was also undertaken by their united effort. This book has since been translated into the Russian language.

Source: (1905) Langstroth on the Hive and Honey Bee
Author: Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, Charles Dadant, Camille Pierre Dadant

Source: Langstroth on the Hive and the Honey Bee, Eighth Ed., Edited, Enlarged and Completed by Chas. Dadant and Son, 1905.


A quick-start guide to honey bee antennae by Honey Bee Suite


, , ,

Every few weeks a photo of a fly lands in my inbox, always accompanied by the same question: “What kind of bee is this?” The answer is simple. If your insect has short, stubby, barely visible antennae, it is not a bee.

On the contrary, a bee antenna is long, graceful, mobile, and insanely cute. But beyond that, the antennae are a bee’s major data collection tools, containing receptors for touch, taste, and smell. Antennae can also detect temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide, along with gravity and wind speed.1 Much of what a bee “knows” arrives through those two slender filaments.

The word antenna is derived from the Latin antemna. On Roman sailing ships, an antemna was a type of horizontal mast-mounted spar designed to spread square-rigged sails. With a little imagination, perhaps you too can envision your bees with rigging. Sail ho!

Read full article here: A quick-start guide to honey bee antennae — Honey Bee Suite

Happy Birthday Anton Janša (1734-1773), the first teacher of modern beekeeping by Ron Miksha



World Bee Day was initiated in Slovenia, Europe, and has been quickly catching around the world. For example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel concluded a major speech Wednesday with a rousing endorsement of World Bee Day, telling members of the Bundestag to do something good for the bees:

“I want to finish with something that some may consider insignificant but is actually very important: on May 20 is the first World Bee Day. On this day we should really think about biodiversity and do something good for the bees.”

World Bee Day became World Bee Day after a successful campaign by the country of Slovenia (Anton Janša’s birthplace) to promulgate the message. Their petition to the United Nations was accepted in December 2017, so this year marks the first official World Bee Day.  I’ve been following (and promoting World Bee Day) ever since I heard the effort was underway a couple of years ago, so below you’ll see some of my earlier posts.

Read more here: May 20: World Bee Day — Bad Beekeeping Blog

The Father of European Beekeeping – The Apiculture of Anton Janša — An Illustrated History of Slavic Misery


In this modern world of everyone being expected to have hyper-exaggerated opinions on anything and everything, not a day goes by without the fate of the bee (and with it the fate of ALL LIFE ON EARTH AS WE KNOW IT) being dramatically lamented. I’m certainly not going to argue the importance of the bee […]

via The Father of European Beekeeping – The Apiculture of Anton Janša — An Illustrated History of Slavic Misery

HONEY, HONEY, HONEY — Discordia Meadery


, ,

Perhaps one of oldest, natural food substance known to mankind. Produced by bees, collected and utilized for lot of different purposes, whether to drink with warm water to soothe a sore throat, or to create delicious desserts and souses, or to ferment into mead. We can say that honey is quite the protagonist…

Throughout history, honey always played a significant role in society. In the old Pagan world, it was believed that honey was a direct link to the Gods themselves. In ancient Rome, it was a status symbol and those who produced the finest, sweetest honey were considered to be esteemed, prestigious citizens. Later in the middle ages, thanks to the ancient Greek medicine men, honey was associated with medicine and was viewed as a form of remedy for several alignments and thus, it was used by pharmacists (back then, known as Apothecary) and even Alchemists for medicinal purposes to heal the sick.

Read the full article here: HONEY, HONEY, HONEY — Discordia Meadery

April Showers Bring May Flowers by settling for bees


, , , ,

Treat yourself today to a visit to this interesting article filled with beautiful pictures of the current nectar flow sources in Maryland. ~SassafrasBeeFarm

And the nectar flow!  The Maryland nectar flow relies upon tulip poplar, black locust and blackberry, all beginning to bloom as my scaled hive proves with steady increases of five to seven pounds each day last week.  As we revel in warm weather, watching our busy girls returning to the hives with full bellies of nectar and fat pollen pants, it’s time to think about…the fall.  While there’s an abundance of blooms outside this month, have you considered what your bees will eat after you harvest honey and the supplemental plants are spent?  We can take a lesson from the bees and plan now for what’s to come.

Read full article and see the beautiful pictures here: April Showers Bring May Flowers — settling for bees

Finding the Queen by East Riding Honey


, ,

Though I say it myself I am usually pretty good at finding queens. Obviously this is in a beekeeping context,  I don’t roam the streets looking out for flamboyant blokes with a touch of the Quentin Crisp! In my beekeeping career I must have found thousands of queens during hive inspections, searching nucs and mini nucs and also in swarms. Sometimes it can be like looking for a moving needle in a moving haystack but there are things you can do to help yourself.

Read full article here: Finding the Queen — East Riding Honey’s Blog

Ross Rounds – Comb Honey


, ,

Looks like I get to cross another one off my beekeeping bucket list. Comb honey! When I started beekeeping I read Richard Taylor’s book, The Joys of Beekeeping and have had the idea of making comb honey ever since. I crowded this hive after the first month of the flow by removing a super when they actually needed one, and replaced it with a super of Ross Rounds. Now, about three weeks later, all 32 rounds are beautifully capped. I realized after pulling it today that I had no space in the freezer so I put it back on top after inserting a medium. They deserve the space for all their hard work! Currently when foragers return at the end of the day it looks like a package of bees hanging from each entrance.

Wild Honey Bees in Congaree National Park May, 2018 by David MacFawn


, , , ,



Figure 1: Congaree National Park Entrance (Image Credit David MacFawn )

In March, 2018 David MacFawn, Fleming Mattox and Dave Schuetrum began an effort to explore wild bees in Congaree National Park (CONG,, which is just southeast of Columbia, South Carolina (Figure 1). We are interested determining the size and health of the feral honey bee population there. Various staff and visitors have reported a few others over the years, and we recently found one wild “bee tree” in the park, which was located quite far from any trail. Much of the park is a vast wilderness area, however, and researchers have not systematically searched for bees before. The first phase of our project, (hopefully with follow-on studies), to determine if honey bees are surviving in the forest. The second phase is to study how they are dealing pests and diseases (e.g., Seeley, T.D., 2015; Seely, T. August, 2017; Tarpy, D.R., Delaney, D.A., Seeley, T.D. 2015).


Figure 2: Number Hives in The United States Image Credit: Fleming Mattox)

The bee population in the United States has been declining over the past few decades (Figure 2, vanEngelsdorp and Meixner, 2010). Scientists are studying several possible factors that impact the bee population including habitat, genetics, disease, and pesticides. Bee keepers are actively managing their apiaries to treat for diseases in order to improve survivability. Beekeepers also provide hives for the bees to live in, selectively breed the bees, treat for diseases, and work to keep the bees away from chemicals and pesticides (Graham, J. M., editor. 2015).

Above left: old-growth cypress tree at Congaree National Park (Credit: D. Schuetrum)

Above right: Cypress Swamp in CONG (Credit: D. Schuetrum)


South Carolina River Basins (NPS/D. Shelley)

According to the park’s Foundation Document (NPS, 2014), which summarizes the park’s key legislation and priorities, the mission of Congaree National Park is to protect, study, and interpret “the resources, history, stories, and wilderness character of the nation’s largest remaining tract of southern old-growth bottomland forest.” The park was preserved as Congaree Swamp National Monument in 1976 after grassroots campaign, and re-designated in 2003 as a national park. The park’s 26,000+ acres include 11,000 acres of old-growth, which bear no ecological or historical evidence of being clearcut (and certainly not in the last several hundred years) as well as >15,000 acres of wilderness area protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964. The wilderness designation is relatively rare in the eastern United States and sets a high priority for keeping the area “untrammeled;” more information on the Wilderness Act and land management is available on the web at Furthermore, the park does not apply insecticides in the forest. CONG is also home to the NPS Old-Growth Bottomland Forest Research and Education Center, which works to connect scientists to parks and people with park science.


Congaree National Park trail map from the park website

Because of its protected status, CONG offers a unique opportunity to study wild bees in a floodplain forest where nature is generally left alone to develop naturally. Studies in other natural areas have documented wild colonies with an average density of 2.5 colonies per square mile (Seeley, T.D., 2015; Seely, T. August, 2017; Tarpy, D.R., Delaney, D.A., Seeley, T.D. 2015).

CONG has no beekeeper and the bees within the park are left to their own survival. This presents an opportunity to address a number of questions related to human impacts on hives:

1) What is the bee density within the park?

2) What is the bee distribution within the park?

3) Are the bees within the park genetically different from bees outside the park?

4) How are the bees surviving without active management?

5) Are pesticides a problem within the comb of the hive?

6) What is the bee pollen source and is this different from bees outside the park?

The purpose of our study is to begin to answer these questions in a logical and organized manner. The first part is to attempt to determine bee density within the park and to see if there is genetic uniqueness to this species.

Study Design

The first part of the study in 2018 is to capture bees both within the park and in adjacent areas. Bees will be lured using sugar syrup laced with a natural pheromone, anise oil. Approximately 12 captured bees per lure will be sent to the University of Delaware for genetic analysis. Since hives normally have 15,000-60,000 bees, the removal of several dozen bees will have no impact on hive survival.

If phase 1 documents abundant, genetically distinct wild bees in the park, then a second phase of the project will seek to locate the colonies and possibly sample comb for chemical analysis to determine pesticide loads. Colonies will also be monitored to determine health and survivorship.


Figure 3: Proposed collection sites. In-park sites are in blue, with one known bee tree (as of April, 2018) in red. Sites north of the park are in green, while sites south of the park are in pink. The exact locations will be finalized through on-the ground work and (for non-park sites) landowner contacts through the Mid-State Bee Keepers Association. (NPS/D.Shelley)

Volunteer Opportunities:


Congaree River along the southern border of the park (NPS Photo/S.McNamara)

The South Carolina Mid-State Bee Keepers Association is looking for folks that may be interested in volunteering to assist with this project. Sampling (Figure 3) will take place over 1-2 weeks in June. The sampling will involve three day trips to the sites, including one day to deploy the lures, one day to check (and hopefully refill) them, and one day to sample. Volunteers do not have to commit to all three sampling days. Some sites are more remote than others, and volunteers should have a range of options in terms of physical challenge and difficulty.

Trail Descriptions (link):


Cedar Creek at Congaree National Park (NPS/T.Thom)

Boardwalk (2.4 Miles) – The boardwalk begins on a bluff at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center with an elevated section that leads down into the old-growth bottomland hardwood forest. A variety of different tree species can be observed including bald cypress and tupelo trees in the lowest elevations. Loblolly pines, oaks, holly trees and maples can also be observed. The boardwalk has benches along the way and is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Bluff Trail #1 (1.7 Miles) – This upland trail loops north of the visitor center and connects to the elevated boardwalk for a short distance. The Bluff Trail passes through a young forest of loblolly and longleaf pines. Evidence of prescribed fires can be found along the Bluff Trail.


Take a boardwalk stroll through a cypress tupelo forest at Congaree National Park (NPS/

Sims Trail #2 (3 Miles) – The Sims trail, an old gravel road, runs from the Bluff Trail on its northern end to Cedar Creek on its southern end, crossing the boardwalk twice. The clearing at the intersection with the Weston Lake Loop Trail was once the site of a hunt club where Harry Hampton was a member.

Weston Lake Loop Trail #3 (4.4 Miles) – This loop provides great views of Cedar Creek where otters and wading birds may be observed. The eastern portion of the trail follows a cypress-tupelo slough (dried-up river bed) where many cypress knees can be seen sticking out of water.

Oakridge Trail #4 (6.6 Miles) – Passing through a rich stretch of old-growth forest, the Oakridge Trail traverses a subtle ridge where a variety of large oaks grow. The number of low-lying sloughs (dried-up river beds) makes this trail great for viewing wildlife.


Trail marker at Congaree National Park (NPS/

River Trail #5 (10.0 Miles) – This trail leads to the Congaree River, the lifeblood of the park’s great natural diversity. Approximately ten times a year, the river overflows its banks and pulses water throughout the bottomland forest. When the river is low, a large sandbar may be visible. Much of the forest along the river was logged prior to the park’s establishment and vegetation here is notably denser than that of other trails.

Kingsnake Trail #6 (11.7 Miles) – The Kingsnake trail, which is not a loop, is a favorite trail for birders because of the diverse vegetation and proximity to Cedar Creek. When the sloughs (dried-up river beds) are full of water, beautiful views are around every bend.


Springtime at Congaree National Park finds butterweed blooming under cypress trees (Credit: D. Schuetrum)

Bates Ferry Trail #7 (2 miles) – Starting from Route 601, this trail follows a 1920’s ferry road south to the Congaree. It is a remnant of the area’s rich history, which includes colonial-era ferries that once crossed near here. While at the river, please be aware that the bank is steep and could potentially be slippery. It is best to stay on the marked path, as old side trails are unmarked and not maintained.


Volunteers measure an old-growth sweetgum at Congaree National Park (Credit: D. Schuetrum)

Longleaf Trail #8 (.6 miles) – This trail branches off the Bluff trail, providing access to the Longleaf Campground.


• David E. MacFawn, Master Craftsman Beekeeper and lead:, 803-629-8076(c)

• Bill Couch,,

• Marc Johnson,,

• Dr. Fleming Mattox,,

• Dave Schuetrum,,

• Dr. David C. Shelley, Congaree National Park,,

• Dr. Deborah Delaney, University of Delaware,,


Graham, J. M., editor. 2015. The Hive and the Honey Bee: A New Book on Beekeeping which Continues the Tradition of Langstroth on the Hive and the Honeybee. Dadant & Sons, Hamilton, IL. 1057 pages ISBN 978-0-915698-16-5.

NPS, 2014. Foundation Document: Congaree National Park, South Carolina. U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C., 76 pp. Accessed May 7, 2018, from

Seeley, T.D., Tarpy, D.R., Griffin, S.R., Carcione, A., Delaney, D.A. 2015. A survivor population of wild colonies of European honeybees in the northeastern United States: investigating its genetic structure. Apidologie (Springer Verlag) v. 46, no. 5, p. 654-666.

Seely, T. August, 2017. Honey Bee Environment of Evolutionary Adaptness (EEA). Presentation To Eastern Apiculture Society, July/August, 2017 conference, Newark, Delaware.

Tarpy, D.R., Delaney, D.A., Seeley, T.D. 2015. Mating Frequencies of Honey Bee Queens (Apis mellifera L.) in a Population of Feral Colonies in the Northeastern United States. PLoS ONE, v. 10, no. 3, 12 pp. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118734, accessed May 7, 2018 from

vanEngelsdorp, D., Meixner, M.D. 2010. A historical review of managed honey bee populations in Europe and the United States and the factors that may affect them. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, v. 103, p. S80-S85, doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2009.06.011, accessed May 15, 2018 from


What Exactly is The PER? by The Bee’s Knees.Org


, , ,

In Apis Mellifera or honeybees, the Proboscis Extension Reflex, PER, is part of the honeybee’s feeding behavior.   The PER is a natural behavioral reflex in which the honey bee extends its proboscis in response to antennal stimulation with a sugar solution, during normal foraging behavior, PER occurs when the honey bee finds nectar in a flower. For example, If a honeybee went out of the hive to find nectar in flowers, and then found nectar, it would stick its Proboscis out to sense and smell it. After the Proboscis senses it, the bee will collect the nectar and then bring it back to the hive. If this bee was impaired form the toxic Neonicotinoid, Imidacloprid, it wouldn’t be able to sense the nectar, collect it, nor bring it back to the hive. That is how Imidacloprid can affect a whole hive, just by infecting one honeybee and impairing its Proboscis Extension. The PER can be seen as one of the honeybees most vital tools. This is because, without it, the bee wouldn’t able to test if the substance it is retrieving is nectar, or another, poisonous, substance. Therefore the PER is vital to the honeybees survival and could mean life or death if it becomes impaired under the influence of the toxic neonicotinoid Imidacloprid. The PER happens as one swift motion in a honey bee, it is absolutely amazing to watch!

Read the full article here: What Exactly is The PER? — The Bee’s Knees.Org

Famously Hot South Carolina Midlands


, , ,

It’s 97 degrees in South Carolina and today’s date is May 13th. I’ll bet that most of you reading this have already flipped that switch on your central air unit from Heat to AC. Well, the bees do the same thing – almost. They switch from keeping the brood warm to keeping it cool. And the way they do it is fascinating! And you can participate too!

Summer Bee Hive Temperature Regulation and Hive Ventilation

Honey bees have a knack for maintaining the internal temperature of the hive at around 93 to 95 degrees Farenheit. They do this primarily because this is the ideal temperature for their brood. How they do it is remarkable. Watch them on the landing board fanning. Some hang upside down on the lip of the brood box, others stand on the landing board. Sometimes you may even notice that bees on one side of the landing board are facing towards the box and on the other side of the landing board they are facing away – just to create a flow of air through the hive. Inside they are also busy fanning creating currents of air to keep the temperature correct and also to evaporate the nectar into honey. Standing outside your hive you can hear them inside buzzing like a motor or fan running.

In the heat of the summer it gets to be a big job for them to maintain the correct temperature inside. The lack of watery nectar further reduces the effects of evaporative cooling so the bees gather water and return to the hive placing droplets of water inside thus reducing the temperatures via its evaporation. This also helps maintain the correct humidity for the brood.

Yet another method they employ is to gather outside to reduce the internal heat. We call this bearding. While cold blooded, the heat generated by the muscle activity of tens of thousands of bees heats up the interior of the hive. It makes good sense to reduce the number of bees inside.

When the temperatures in the Midlands get into the nineties outside you will see the bees doing all of the above in an effort to keep the internal temperature 93-95F

What can you do to help them maintain the correct temperature of the hive? Depending on the configuration of your equipment you may be able to help. One of the simpliest methods is to simply place a popsicle stick under the corners of the outer cover allowing the heat to escape. I have a few migratory covers this year and will be slipping popsicle sticks between them and the upper most box. The thin popsicle stick, or two, is not large enough to allow robbers to invade but will allow the rising hot air to exit the hive.

Screened bottom boards should be open during the hot summer. The bees inside will circulate the air inside the hive such that cooler air is pulled in and around the interior and exhausted to the outside.

If your inner cover has an upper entrance keep it open to allow heat to escape. If the colony is weak a little screening across the upper entrance may be needed.

With dearth many beekeepers will reinsert their entrance reducers to prevent robbing. If you have a screened bottom board this reducing of the entrance will probably be fine. If you are using a solid bottom board I recommend you leave the entrance reducer out, replacing it with #8 hardware cloth bent into a U shape and pushed into the opening (remember to leave them an entrance to come and go). The screen will allow airflow which would have otherwise been blocked.

Other ideas:

Go traditional and paint your outer cover reflective white. Why not, it’s after Easter.

Place a slightly longer piece of cardboard over the hive making an awning over the front porch (assuming it’s facing south).

Clean up any debris under the hive to allow air to circulate.

Make a 1 1/2″ shim to go between the inner cover and outer cover and drill 1 inch ventilation holes on the sides (cover holes with hardware cloth to keep out robbers).

Got more ideas? Add them below.

The End of the Nectar Flow Approaches


, , ,

Nectar flow is slowing. The dry spell we have had is not helping. In the Midlands, with some exceptions, sometime around the first part of June the bees will have a hard time finding enough nectar to meet day to day expenditures. New beekeepers will probably have to feed syrup. Established hives may have enough honey. Regardless, their behavior will change, robbing can become an issue, and your management will change as well.

The purist in me wants to feed the bees nothing but their own honey if it is available. And I do leave them a good bit at all times. However, if you are just starting you very well may not have any options other than to feed sugar syrup to newly established hives during the dearth. Comb building will become increasingly difficult to stimulate, sometimes the bees will chew up your wax foundation rather than build, and you’ll wonder why. I’m just not sure what it is in nectar that makes the bees so happy and eager to build. But once the nectar lessens you may find yourself mixing sugar syrup. A 1:1 (by weight) solution is the preferred mix during the summer dearth. The bees won’t complain if you make it a little thinner (sugar content of nectar varies quite a bit in nature) but I keep it around 1:1.

Be prepared to keep a close eye on your hives, especially if you have more than one hive, for the possibility of robbing. Entrance reducers may be needed on weaker hives to reduce the area the guard bees patrol so as to allow a defense against would be invaders. If you go into hives for inspections be mindful to not leave a honey super uncovered or unattended which could trigger a robbing frenzy. Continue to make hive inspections taking note of the hive’s development as well as pests and honey/nectar stores.

Also during this time become accustomed to lifting your hive slightly from the rear to get a feel for its weight. Do this often and start comparing what you see inside to how heavy the hive feels. Eventually you will be able to feel a light hive and know when to feed. This skill will pay dividends during the winter when you won’t be opening the hives to determine adequate stores.

During dearth, forager bees have less work to do. Some of the older beekeeping books speak to the bees gathering all the local nectar early in the day and then, with nothing to do, staying in, or on, the hive. The combination of older, forager bees in the hive and scarcity of available food makes for a combination that displays itself as increased defensiveness around your beehives. You will definitely start to notice that the bees seem more edgy and quicker to protect their hive. I wear my veil even when just feeding during dearth.

You’ll also start to see more and more bees hanging out on the front of the hive. They display a curious dance-like behavior called washboarding. Sometimes so many bees will be on the front of your hive and landing board it may cause concern. Most of the time these behaviors are associated with increased heat in the hive or not enough space. You should know if they have enough space by your inspections. As for the heat, the bees create quite a bit of heat in the process of fanning within the hive to dry out the nectar and create honey. All that muscle activity coupled with increased outside temperatures causes the inside temperature to increase. The bees know what to do though. They gather at the entrance, line up, and start a circulatory air current to remove the heat and humidity. Clever bees! And as for those bees hanging out on the front, they are outside because it’s too hot inside and more bees inside would just make matters worse. If they look like they are hot you can help them with ventilation by placing a Popsicle stick or two between the outer cover and the inner cover. The crack will not be large enough for robbers to get in but will allow some heat to escape.

Another issue, not strictly related to the dearth, will be an increase in pests. Other insects want to eat too and times are hard all over! Be on the lookout for an increase in hive beetles and later, yellow jackets. There are various means of dealing with hive beetles (SHB Handbook Here) so I won’t go into those. As for the yellow jackets that will arrive later in the summer, a strong colony will eject the occasional robber. Hive watching entertainment gets slow as the summer progresses but you’ll get some entertainment watching three or four bees drag a “wanna-be robber” yellow jacket out of the hive and toss him over the edge of the landing board! If you’d just like to trap them there are many DYI yellow jacket traps on the Internet. Make sure you use the vinegar in the recipe – I believe this may deter interest by honey bees.

Approaching the end of the nectar flow



Indications are, we are approaching the end of the nectar flow. First it’s not really the end of the nectar flow. Rather it is a sharp decrease in nectar availability IN EXCESS of colony day to day needs.

Our local monitored hive shows recent changes in the weights during the daytime nectar gathering hours. What appears now is 1) sharp decrease when foragers leave the hive 2) sharp increase in weight as they return with nectar during the first half of the day 3) followed by afternoon decrease when nectar becomes scarce yet evaporation of in hive nectar continues, followed by 4) sharp increase in weight at end of the day when foragers return. Finally, 5) decrease in hive weight over night as nectar is steadily evaporated into honey.

Other indicators: Increase in bee irritability especially in the hot afternoon hours. Some foragers are staying inside without the strong scout signals of nectar sources. Foragers are older bees with and a bit more defensiveness as a rule. Expect a steady increase in more defensiveness as nectar flow continues to slow, especially in the afternoons. Depending on the size of your colony you may have 30,000 foragers willing to bounce you out of their hive. Besides you look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man anyway.

Bees leave the hive each morning looking for the biggest nectar bang for their buck as indicated by the findings of the scouts. After they clean that up they will scout and find lesser sources. I have noticed honey bees in late afternoon on sparkleberry and magnolia which typically are not attractive to them in the morning hours when something better is available. The fact that they are foraging 2nd class venues is indicative of preferred nectar plants drying up early in the day. A nice evening or nigh time rain may help this.

That’s my report on the Midlands as we approach the end of the flow. We really need to start prepping first year beekeepers with regard to changes in their beekeeping post nectar flow. i.e. feeding, water sources, protective equipment, mite treatment. There’s always something to do!

Flexibility in Beekeeping


flex·i·bil·i·ty  fleksəˈbilədē/ noun: flexibility

– the quality of bending easily without breaking.

synonyms: pliability, suppleness, pliancy, plasticity;More: elasticity, stretchiness, springiness, spring, resilience, bounce; adaptability, adjustability, variability, versatility, open-endedness, freedom, latitude,  cooperation, amenability, accommodations, tolerance, willingness to compromise, willingness to change

Danny Cannon, our current local club President, delivered one of the best lectures I’ve ever sat through at a meeting about two years ago. It was titled “Flexibility in Beekeeping,” “Being Flexible in Beekeeping,” or some such similar title.

That lecture keeps ringing through my brain lately and for good reason. While the lecture had many layers of information, one of the threads in the lecture was the idea of moving backwards, sideways, (and other dance moves) as easily as we move forwards in our management. For instance, recently I’ve been playing musical chairs with supers, frames, and bees. Let me explain.

In the Spring it’s all about adding, expanding, and growth around here. Things seem to get bigger. A lot of addition taking place – boxes, hive stands, and new hives. The thinking is, If I can stay ahead of them with “more” they won’t swarm. Add, add, add. Grow, grow, grow. Feed, feed, feed. Gotta add more boxes and frames! Look and act – usually with more, more, more. Find a swarm and be flexible enough to have an extra stand, bottom board, and box available – capture, and add to the apiary. And that’s how most of the management goes in the Spring.

And then comes the post nectar flow Summer, Fall, and Winter management. But can I break my addiction to adding? Can I be flexible enough to read the bees and the situation? The queen will slow her production down as nectar wanes and more so when the days start getting shorter. Can I tap the brakes, slow down, make changes? Or will I be too reluctant to pull off that super that I worked so hard to build them up to needing. Or maybe they’ve swarmed and the hive is half empty now, yet I want to leave those boxes on in hopes they will build back up – and they very well might if I’m flexible in my management!

Maybe a queen fails and it becomes noticeable at the hive entrance that activity has slowed. But it’s hot and I’d rather not look inside; say it isn’t so because I’d really rather not track down a new queen. Or I have two hives that are in steep decline, should I combine them with stronger hives? I’m torn. After all, I have a plan as to how many hives I need to complete the mental picture I have of my hives sitting on their designated hive stands in my well designed apiary. I want “x” number of hives not “x-1” hives.

And so, I return to the topic of flexibility. Can I be flexible enough to respond appropriately during these post nectar flow months? Oh, it’s difficult. But if I don’t employ the same discipline of flexibility in removing unpopulated boxes, combining weak hives, or replacing a failing queen what penalty is paid? Unlike the threat of swarms in the spring, the lack of flexibility now is paid for with increased pests, hive failures, and loss of valued comb. Hives no longer able to cover comb with bees allow Small Hive Beetles to go unchecked and run amuck in nectar. Worse still is the bane of Wax Moths that move in on weakened hives and steal your most precious resource – your hard earned comb. Weak and declining hives need to be combined with strong hives. But can I be mentally flexible enough to do what needs to be done and then look at that empty spot on the hive stand? Flexibility is responding appropriately now and telling myself that a split may be possible later in the year or at least next Spring.

It’s all flexibility. I’ll read the bees as best I can, make adjustments, and go with the flow each and every time I visit the apiary or open a hive. Some days it’s like a gentle dance, other days it’s a roller coaster with ups and downs, round and rounds, bright lights and dark tunnels. When I pause afterwards I don’t say I enjoyed the ups but not the downs or the round and rounds.  No, I say, “I enjoyed the ride.” Be flexible and enjoy the ride.

My Favorite Smoker Fuel by Local Honey from Happy Bees



Mine too! ~ SassafrasBeeFarm

As a beekeeper you have many choices when it comes to smoker fuel. Some of it is free and widely available and some of it can be ordered with several bee supply houses. During my first two years of beekeeping I was testing several fuel sources. The free fuel I found around the house ranged from dry grass to pine needles. I also purchased some smoker fuel from Brushy Mountain and picked up some small burlap bags at the local farmer store. Good news is – everything works! However, my favorite by far is burlap.

Read full article here: My Favorite Smoker Fuel — Local Honey from Happy Bees

Some Surprising Bee Pollen Benefits by Types Of Bees



What’s the buzz on bee pollen benefits? Studies have shown bee pollen can help ease inflammation or discomfort, particularly related to the prostate gland, it can alleviate symptoms of allergies or hay fever, it can improve fertility, and it has even been shown to protect against some of the harmful effects of x-ray radiation. The most commonly held belief is that consuming bee pollen by eating locally produced honey, which includes traces of pollen, will help with allergies. Although there is little scientific evidence to support this claim, there is some anecdotal research that suggests a beneficial connection. Plus, honey is delicious on everything and it’s always good to support local farms! So no matter what, it’s a good idea!

Read full article here: Some Surprising Bee Pollen Benefits — Types Of Bees

Deformed Wing Virus by Prime Bees – College Station Bee & Honey Farm


, , , ,

All too often when people hear that I am a beekeeper they ask me, “What’s killing the bees?” Of course there is no one reason but viri spread by Varroa mites is one reason I bring up along with a couple other reasons. Here is a good summary by Prime Bees of what’s happening with the mites and the viri they spread. – Sassafras Bee Farm

Deformed wing virus (DWV) is a highly viral disease transmitted by Varroa destructor. The disease is commonly found in colonies infested with mites. Deformed Wing Virus is regarded as deadly due to its ability to spread fast in any colony. It causes massive wing deformation in bees making it difficult for them to live normally. DWV which is regarded as a low-grade infectious disease is commonly triggered by mite infestations. It has a reputation for being massively destructive leading to the decimation of well-established colonies globally. The deformed wing virus is common in late summer and early fall. A high concentration of mites can be overwhelming for any bee colony.

DWV occurs when varroa mites which are external parasites feed on the hemolymph of both developing and mature bees after attacking them. Consequently; it reduces their lifespan drastically while spreading the deadly disease to the rest of the colony members. The Varroa mite can trigger the virus transmission from one infected bee to the entire colony within a very short span of time. Their vectored viruses are notorious at affecting honeybees immune systems hence leaving them exposed to risks of DWV. This wing deformity is a sign of a high viral load on the bees, and ultimately, bees need their wings to survive. Those with deformed wings cannot forage. 

Read full article here: Deformed Wing Virus — Prime Bees – College Station Bee & Honey Farm

Wintering (Bees) : Sylvia Plath


, ,

Bees in Literature. SassafrasBeeFarm

Little Green Bees


To be honest, Sylvia Plath’s poetry has always made me slightly uncomfortable.  I find it hard to think of her without a creepy feeling.  I know, she was a tormented young woman but I feel the way I feel.  Imagine, then, my cringe when I opened an email from James in which he excitedly shared with me a poem by a beekeeper named Sylvia Plath.  I had no idea she ever kept bees.  Here is a link to her beekeeping poetry and a well-written article about this time in her life: Sylvia Plath and the Bees


This is the easy time,  there is nothing doing.
I have whirled the midwife’s extractor,
I have my honey,
Six jars of it,
Six cat’s eyes in the wine cellar,

Wintering in a dark without window
At the heart of the house
Next to the last tenant’s rancid jam
And the bottles of…

View original post 246 more words

Diagnosis of Honey Bee Diseases – Free E-Book


, , ,


Diagnosis of Honey Bee Diseases

by Hachiro Shimanuki and David A. Knox

Apiary inspectors and beekeepers must be able to recognize bee diseases and parasites and to differentiate the serious diseases from the less important ones. This handbook describes laboratory techniques (particularly those of the USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory) used to diagnose diseases and other abnormalities of the honey bee and to identify parasites and pests. Includes directions for sending diseased brood and adult honey bees for diagnosis of bee disease. (The directions on p. 50 for submitting Africanized honey bees for identification are no longer correct; for current information on Africanized submissions click here.)

Click here for free Ebook: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Agriculture Handbook 690. B&W, 61 pp. April 1991; revised July 2000

Honey Pork Salad by The Honey Cottage


, , ,

Do you ever look at your salad and wish it was more?

I have always been a fan of making fancy salads! This is one of my favorite recipes because you can use a different fruit or meat and change it up! This is a salad that is perfect for lunch or dinner and is easy enough to make in advance. The best part of this salad; is the sweet and savory satisfaction you get from eating it. I truly believe a salad should not just be a salad; it should be fun and leave you feeling great. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! Remember the eyes it first; making the salad look good will mean that you will feel more satisfied.


Get ingredients list and full recipe at:  Honey Pork Salad — The Honey Cottage

What to Look For In a Beehive Inspection by Wildflower Meadows


, ,


A good article on being thoughtful on making inspections. -Sassafrassbeefarm

A successful beehive inspection begins even before a beekeeper opens the colony.  Sometimes, if the weather is too cold or otherwise unpleasant, an outside inspection may be all that a conscientious beekeeper will want to do for the day.  Not every day is ideal for opening a beehive.

No matter what the conditions, however, an astute beekeeper can learn much about a colony’s health simply by carefully observing the bees outside of the colony and considering . . .

  • Given the conditions of weather and bloom, is the level of activity taking place on the entrance greater or lower than what would be expected?
  • Are the bees bringing in pollen?
  • Are there signs of robbing or defensive behavior?
  • Are the bees fighting off invading insects such as wasps or ants?
  • Are there dead bees lying in front of the entrance?

Read the full article here: What to Look For In a Beehive Inspection — Wildflower Meadows

You Really Can Take It All with You


16426156_10209815928569750_3969163547358109587_nThe (BEE) Bucket Tool Jockey – about $5 at most home hardware stores.
Everyone has a different preferred methods and tools to get ‘er done. That’s fine. What are some items you would recommend every new beekeeper place in their tool buckets, boxes, bags, etc.?
I’d say, besides the obvious such as your hive tool, a sugar water sprayer, and a bottle of water here are a few more things to add to your bucket:
large rubber bands
shims and level to level hives
extra matches
queen catcher
queen marking pen
queen cage
bread knife
honey bee gone
bee brush
lots more!


Crop pollination depends on wild AND managed pollinators


, , ,

Common sense approach to pollinator ecosystems.

Ecology is not a dirty word

I just published this letter with Toby Smith and Romina Rader, in response to an opinion piece in Science back in January. The original paper argues that high densities of honey bees can harm wild pollinators (this can happen in some contexts).

It also suggests that a first step toward a conservation strategy for wild pollinators is that crop pollination by managed honey bees “should not be considered an ecosystem service” because those services “are delivered by an agricultural animal and not the local ecosystems”.

This highlights a common misinterpretation of what ecosystem services is all about. Services are delivered by interactions between species (including Homo sapiens) and their environments at multiple scales, not individual organisms or natural ecosystems.

View original post 319 more words

An open invitation to my visitors


A sweet treat!

A sweet treat!

With this blog post I’d like to invite all of the followers and visitors of Beekeeping365 to post a response below announcing their blog and inviting others to come visit. I think most of my followers are beekeepers but beekeeper or not don’t let that stand in your way. It’s time to Bee Proud and tell others a little about your self and invite others to subscribe to your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account. Don’t bee shy! Tell us what you’re doing, what you hope to accomplish, and invite us all to become regular visitors at your place!

Sassafras Bee Farm

Beekeeping Calendar for May


, , ,


All beekeeping is local. These chores are for the Midlands of South Carolina. During May the nectar flow settles in providing a steady influx of nectar keeping the bees busy. Robbing is minimal as food is plentiful. The bees are typically gentle and easy to work. Populations continue to grow and the beekeeper needs to be mindful of space management or else swarming may occur. Weather in the Midlands has stabilized with few surprises and the bees continue to fly longer and longer hours each day.

New beekeepers may find that during a strong nectar flow their bees will no longer take sugar syrup. By now they have developed a foraging force of their own and nature’s food is preferred over sugar syrup. Continue to encourage them to build comb at least until they complete the brood chamber hive body and food chamber hive body. After they have completed those boxes then it is your decision whether to continue to feed or hope to capture some real honey in the first honey super.


1) Add space as needed during first part of month. There is still a month of nectar flow left to be gathered and your bees should be at maximum foraging force.

2) Manage space within the hive in both expanding situations as well as restrictive situations. If a hive appears weak, then investigate. Do not allow too much room inside the hive if the colony weakens.

3) Plan on checks every two weeks.

4) Swarm season continues but is lessened. Continue to watch for swarms.

5) Continue to check for queen cells – make splits if swarm cells observed.

6) Monitor for disease. Assess mites levels. Temperatures will allow wax moths to set up shop in weak hives – kept your hive volume and colony population appropriate.

7) Remove any honey supers that are filled. Provide super space with drawn comb for bees to deposit nectar to ripen.

8) Notice Blackberries in bloom. Tulip poplar in bloom. Then Honeysuckle, Dandelion, Privet Hedge, Confederate Jasmine, Persimmon.

9) Add additional space conservatively toward end of month as nectar flow lessens to make sure honey gets capped properly.

10) Begin IPM program. Place beetle traps or other hive beetle management items. Your management method for wax moths is a strong hive with sufficient bees for the hive volume.

11) Email your local club Secretary asking what you can do to help, or volunteer to lend a hand in your organization. Many hands make light work. If you’d like to see your organization grow as well as offer and maintain your current level of member services your help is needed.

The above are general guidelines for the average bee colony in the Midlands of South Carolina. We all have hives that may be outperforming the average. We also have colonies that underperform the average. Use your judgement in making changes suggested here. Beekeeping is an art as well as a science. Only you know the many, many particulars associated with your physical hives as well as the general health and population of your colonies.

Remembering Amos Root




In Remembrance of Amos Root –

  • Birth: 9 DEC 1839 in Medina Township (Medina) State of Ohio
  • Death: 30 APR 1923 in Medina (Medina) State of Ohio
  • Burial: UNKNOWN Spring Grove Cemetery in Medina, Ohio

One Beekeeper, Two Wright Brothers

Source: One Beekeeper, Two Wright Brothers

One Beekeeper, Two Wright Brothers
Posted on September 14, 2016

Leave it to a beekeeper to make aviation history. An Ohio entrepreneur/beekeeper named Amos Root was, according to reports, the only person to actually witness the Wright brothers’ airplane flights in 1904 and 1905. And not just witness them, but write about them in a publication he founded called “Gleanings in Bee Culture.”

Root makes an appearance in David McCullough’s “The Wright Brothers” and also in an article on PBS’s Nova site. As the Nova site says, “almost as astonishing as the fact that a pair of bicycle shop owners invented the airplane” is that the first “accurate reporting on their earliest flights appeared” not in The New York Times or Scientific American, but in “an obscure journal for beekeepers.”

Root, a beekeeping hobbyist from his early twenties on, started a company in Medina, Ohio, that made beehives and beekeeping equipment. One of his best inventions was (improving ed.) removable frames so that a beekeeper could harvest honey without destroying the hive.

Root also started a candle-making company called Root Candles that is still in existence today. According to an article in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the company, which sits next to Amos Root’s old homestead in Medina, makes 20 million home décor candles every year. The company’s president is a great-great grandson of Amos.

Read full article here: Source: One Beekeeper, Two Wright Brothers

Errant Swarm Calls




You may be called to come out and get the bees from someone’s water source. I get a few calls now and then. In the Spring they want beekeepers to come get them off the bushes. In the Summer it’s bird baths and swimming pools. Here’s a typical response I offered a gentleman who reported 20 or so bees coming to his garden pond. He was able to track them towards a wooded area close by:

“Yes sir, we have a member over that way. I doubt they are his bees as usually the bees will find the closest water source and use it exclusively. I see between the two of you there are lots of water ponds the bees would have to fly over to get the mile or so to you.

There really is no way to round up bees coming to a floral source or water. A colony of bees this time of year might have about 30,000 or more bees so 20 is just a few. Also, the queen has to be captured in order for a colony to survive. Otherwise it’s certain death for the workers captured. They have no way to reproduce without the queen and the lifespan of a worker is about 6 weeks.

Take comfort in the fact that only 1 in 6 colonies in the wild survive the winter. That means they will most likely be gone next Spring. In the meantime, also know that honey bees only sting in defense of their hive unless harassed. My mother in law lives with me and sits on our front porch where we too have a garden pond. She has come to enjoy the hum of the bees coming and going to the water source. By Fall they will stop coming and start settling down for the winter. In the Spring they have all the fluids they want in the way of nectar. So this is the only time of year they come to water sources.”

Strawberry Honey and Ricotta Toast by Danilicious


, , , , ,

It’s still berry season here in South Carolina. Time to enjoy lots of sweet delicious strawberries!

It’s finally berry season again and I couldn’t be more excited. I LOVE berries. I eat a yogurt parfait almost every day and I need fresh berries in it to make it feel complete.

I buy berries all year long, even when they are out of season and way too expensive.  I know I shouldn’t or at least buy the frozen berries. But there is something about a juicy, ripe fresh berry I cannot resist. The frozen just aren’t the same.

Now that berries are back in season AND on sale. Well, naturally, I did a little happy dance at the store.

….and I created this delicious new breakfast treat.

Read full article and recipe here:  Strawberry Honey and Ricotta Toast — Danilicious

Propolis (bee glue) by Lytchett Bay Apiaries

Propolis or bee glue is a resinous mixture that honey bees produce by mixing saliva and beeswax with exudate gathered from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps, while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax. Its color varies depending on its botanical source, the most common being dark brown. Propolis is sticky at, and above, room temperature. At lower temperatures, it becomes hard and very brittle.


The composition of propolis varies from hive to hive, from district to district, and from season to season. Normally, it is dark brown in color, but it can be found in green, red, black, and white hues, depending on the sources of resin found in the particular hive area. Honey bees are opportunists, gathering what they need from available sources, and detailed analyses show that the chemical composition of propolis varies considerably from region to region, along with the vegetation. In northern temperate climates, for example, bees collect resins from trees, such as poplars and conifers (the biological role of resin in trees is to seal wounds and defend against bacteria, fungi and insects). “Typical” northern temperate propolis has approximately 50 constituents, primarily resins and vegetable balsams (50%), waxes (30%), essential oils (10%), and pollen (5%). Propolis also contains persistent lipophilic acaricides, a natural pesticide that deters mite infestations

Read for article here: Propolis (bee glue) — Lytchett Bay Apiaries

Beekeeping Calendar and Seasons – Springtime



What to do through the spring season in beekeeping – check out our list of simple, spring beekeeper activities.

via Beekeeping Calendar and Seasons – Springtime — Prime Bees – College Station Bee & Honey Farm

Honeybee Nutrition and Behavior



Source: Honeybee Nutrition and Behavior

A) Pollen quantity and quality: plant responses to stress  

Recent honeybee declines may be influenced by pollen/nectar quality that compromise a bees’ ability to cope with environmental challenges, including disease and stress. Plants facing drought compromise floral trait expression which in turn can affect bee health. We are studying how drought stress in canola (Brassica napus) affects the floral reward quantity and quality. We are also monitoring the quality of bee hive pollen when foraging on crops under abiotic stress.

B) Floral chemicals

Plant-pollinator mutualism go beyond floral traits and pollinator behavior. Pollinators have evolved to take advantage of diverse floral chemicals. Increasing our knowledge of the chemical relationships between bees and plants is an important step towards understanding the intricacies of hive function and honeybee colony management. Ongoing studies aim to understand the role of key phytochemicals in promoting honeybee health.

Click here for more.

Source: Honeybee Nutrition and Behavior

The Status of the Honey Bee in the Law


, ,


Photo: The ABC of Bee Culture: a cyclopaedia of every thing pertaining to the care of the honey-bee; bees, honey, hives, implements, honey-plants, etc., facts gleaned from the experience of thousands of bee keepers all over our land, and afterward verified by practical work in our own apiary.


The Status of the Honey Bee in the Law:

The law divides the entire animal kingdom into two classes: (Blackstone Commentaries, Book II, p. 390)

First, those which are domesticated (ferae domitia) and, second, those which are wild (ferae naturae). The rights and liabilities of persons with reference to the animal kingdom then are likewise divisible. Bees belong with the latter class and, in considering the law with reference to these cases, rules pertaining or applicable to the former class would not have any significance. Wild animals are also divisible into two classes:

Those which are free to roam at will, and those which have been subjected to man’s dominion. Rights and liabilities depend upon the class into which the animal falls at the particular time. If it be in a State of Nature, free to roam at will, it is the property of no one, not even of the one on whose land it may be at the particular time, and may become the property of the first taker, even though he be a trespasser and liable for the trespass.

One who enters another’s premises without the invitation or permission of the owner is a trespasser, but this gives the owner of the premises no title to the wild things thereon, it merely gives him the right to protect others from coming thereon and taking them. If, however, some person against his will enters the premises and takes a wild animal or a swarm of wild bees, such a person becomes the owner of what he takes, but he has to answer to the owner of the premises for the trespass. If, however, the animals have been brought within the dominion of the owner of the premises as deer in a park, rabbits in a warren, or bees in a hive, such an entry and taking would be a crime as the law recognizes the property of him who has dominion over them and the taker would gain no title by the taking, for the owner might regain them by legal proceedings. (Blackstone Commentaries, Book II, p. 392)

So we may understand that the animal kingdom to which the bees belong is subject to a certain qualified proprietary interest. That is, they belong to no one, not even the owner of the soil on which their nest may be unless they have been subjected to his dominion, and when so reduced to possession, they are his property. This principle, however, is subject to an important modification: they remain the property of the possessor only so long as his dominion continues, and if such animals regain their freedom, as bees by swarming out and occupying some natural hive, as a hollow in a tree, the property right is lost and they again revert to their natural state and become the property of the first taker.

These same notions also control the matter of liability for injuries done by the bees, and such liability depends on proprietorship. So it would seem that if the bees have escaped from their owner, or have swarmed out of his hive, unless he can be shown negligent in having permitted this, there can be no liability for injuries done by them.

— excerpt from ‘Bees and the Law’, pages 11-12, written by Murray Loring, published by Dadant, 1981

BEES IN TREES — Bee Culture

By: Dewey Caron

Beekeeping is one of the oldest forms of food production dating as far back as 13,000 BC.

Human cultures were initially hunters/gathers, which included hunting of wild nests for honey and beeswax. Some human cultures continue such traditions today, such as the harvesting of Apis dorsata nests in the mountains of  Nepal and the native honey hunters of the Sundarban mangroves of India/Bangeldesh (both highly dangerous – sheer cliffs of Nepal and man-eating Tigers that rule the Sundarbans). Mike Burgett, in an interview by M.E.A. McNeil, Dec. 2014 Bee Culture describes the dangers to the Sundarban honey hunters.

Two interesting YouTube videos show

The history of humans bringing bees closer to their residences is not well documented. Most farmers kept other livestock and grew crops and keeping bees was only part of their husbandry/agriculture. Generally the beginning of “domestication” of honey bees by middle eastern cultures is cited as around from 10,000 to 4400 years ago.

With Reverend Langstroth’s development of the movable comb hive (1851), German Johannes Mehring’s refinement of comb foundation (1857), plus the honey extractor (von Hruschka 1864/1865 – see article by Wyatt Mangum in Sept 2016 ABJ), it became easier to keep honey bees at the convenience of the beekeeper. Prior to this, bees were often “kept” where they were found, in their selected cavities and individuals obtained their honey and beeswax via destruct harvest.

Read full article here: BEES IN TREES — Bee Culture


Tending bees is a lesson in looking forward



Bee stuff

Let’s say you were going to open a new business and wanted to hit the market with a bang on day one of shopping season – say black Friday or whatever. You’d have to start preparing for that day ahead of time. How far ahead of time? You really don’t want to hire employees too soon and not have anything for them to do for months. Instead you want to hire them just enough ahead of time to get them oriented to their new jobs, well trained, and ready to service mobs of customers exactly on your Grand Opening date.

The same applies to your honey bees. Grand Opening date is the day the nectar flow begins in earnest. We can never know exactly when that date is as nature deals us a slightly different set of circumstances each year. But seasoned beekeepers in your area can give you a good estimate of the date nectar flow begins and ends in your area. Your job, as the beekeeper, is to have a full staff of employees ready and trained to gather that nectar starting on day one of the season. You’ll also have to worry about employee retention and expansion over the course of the nectar season. Finally, you’ll have to curb hiring as the season diminishes so that you’re not squandering resources on employees that will never gather nectar.

Here in the Midlands of South Carolina most seasoned beekeepers recognize the beginning of the spring nectar flow as April 1st. This year it appears to be running behind schedule. For the purpose of this article we’ll say April 1st and you can adjust for your location and observations. A 3 week old foraging bee available to work on April 1st has already graduated through the various stages of nurse bee, house bee, wax producer, etc. Prior to that she spent 21 days as an egg, larva, and pupae. So exactly when did you need your queen to lay that egg to produce that foraging bee available for work on April 1st? Bee math tells us she needed to lay that egg on approximately February 14. This is easy to remember as it is Nicolai Nasonov’s birthday. But wait, if the queen lays 1,200 eggs per day and does so on February 14 that results in 1,200 foraging bees on April 1st – but we want more than 1,200 bees don’t we? No worries, she didn’t go from 0 to 1,200 in one day. Instead, she’s been increasing her output since the winter solstice. But my point is February is critical for the beekeeper to stimulate production if he or she wants to have a full staff of foraging bees to get the job done in a manner that produces excess honey.

The same math can be used to determine when to start curtailing hiring new employees (bees) during the nectar flow. Our Midlands nectar flow ends approximately June 1st – a brief 2 months from its start date. An egg laid on April 19th will become a foraging bee on June 1st. That’s simply too late to contribute to nectar gathering. But that same bee will eat as much as any other bee in the hive and required the same amount of nutrition and work to create. Now here’s the dilemma, that colony is going to be in full tilt workaholic mode during the course of the nectar flow. It’s all hands on deck and as long as nectar is coming through the front door the queen will continue to lay eggs. The colony will continue to build and build bees because they have all the resources to do so. And the summer solstice isn’t until June 21st so that’s of no help. If you’re still hiring bees after April 19th you’re setting yourself up for having to feed those non-productive bees during the remainder of the nectar flow as well as the coming summer dearth. That means less excess honey for you.

What’s a beekeeper to do? A couple ideas might be to use that nectar flow time after April 19th to create a brood break by caging the queen. This would benefit the colony by reducing mite count via a brood break. A second option might be re-queening your hive allowing for a brood break. Moving your queen across the yard and allowing them to requeen would provide an almost perfect 25 or so days with out new brood. (Your queen across the yard is your failsafe.) Another option might be to “steal” frames of brood and get an early start on summer splits. The number of cells in a deep frame is around 7,000 although there is honey and pollen taking up some of the cells. Nevertheless, taking a frame of open brood, a frame of closed brood, and a frame of honey will hardly set an expanding colony back much and should result in an increase in your honey yield due to fewer mouths to feed. Plus you’ll get another colony, a new queen, a break in mite production, and a backup colony should anything go wrong in the fall. And with the nectar flow still in progress everything goes easier – wait until dearth comes and the same tasks will be much more difficult.

I’ll end here. Tending bees is a lesson in looking forward.

Plant Profile: White Clover {Trifolium repens} by Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs


, , , ,

Here’s some good information regarding white clover – a honey bee favorite! – sassafrasbeefarm

Article by: Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

White clover (botanical name Trifolium repens) is a clover species that is indigenous to Europe, West Asia and Northern regions of Africa. Extensively introduced across the globe, this species is cultivated in the form of a pasture crop and is currently even common in the grassland regions of North America as well as New Zealand. White clover is also known as Dutch clover, as this species was cultivated in Holland for the first time.

White clover is a herbaceous (herb-like) perennially growing small plant. It grows close to the ground and produces small whitish flower heads, which usually have a pink or creamy tinge, which may occur as the plant matures. Usually, the flower heads measure anything between 1.5 cm and 2.0 cm (0.6 inches and 0.8 inches) wide and appear at the end of the flower stalks or peduncles measuring about 7 cm or 2.8 inches.

Read the excellent and lengthy full blog post here:  Plant Profile: White Clover {Trifolium repens} by Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Cinnamon Honey Butter by In Dianes Kitchen


, , ,

My husband and I went out to eat at Texas Roadhouse and thoroughly enjoyed their warm rolls with the Cinnamon Honey Butter so I thought I would make my own. I love cinnamon and this butter is excellent on things like French toast, pancakes, toast, sweet rolls, dinner rolls…. well you get the idea. This can be made up in a matter of minutes and then placed in the refrigerator for a few hours and it’s ready to go!

Read full yummy recipe here: Cinnamon Honey Butter — In Dianes Kitchen

12 Must See Ted Talks for Beekeepers by kiwimana


, , ,


Ted is an organization that posts talks online, their YouTube channel is full of great short talks about many unique topics.

TED is a media organization which posts talks online for free distribution, under the slogan “ideas worth spreading”. TED was founded in February 1984 as a conference, which has been held annually since 1990.

We sat down on rainy afternoon in the Waitakere ranges, and watched loads of Ted Talks about bees here are our top twelve.

Do you love learning about Bees? Here is our top twelve favorite Ted Talks about bees. Grab a coffee, Sit down and watch these quick talks. The post 12 Must See Ted Talks for Beekeepers appeared first on kiwimana.

Read full blog post with introductions to these videos here:  12 Must See Ted Talks for Beekeepers — kiwimana

Robo bees are back, but will they last? by Ecology is not a dirty word


, , ,

No doubt I am getting older. But regardless of my being stuck in the past and the way things are/were, I can fathom this concept. Like the author it seems to be too many hurdles are in the way to accomplish. Heck, I can’t even fathom why. – sassafrasbeefarm

The robot bee story is back in the news. I covered some of the new research and associated media hype last year. The latest: a patent has been filed for building ‘pollinator drones’ and the media (both newsy and social) are in despair, as the end is clearly nigh.

But don’t worry. Here are a few challenges the pollinator drones will need to overcome before they can take over agriculture:

Read the full blog post here: Robo bees are back, but will they last? by Ecology is not a dirty word

Easy Queen Rearing by Sustainable Bees


, ,

Queen rearing doesn’t have to be difficult. Here is an excellent article by Sustainable Bees on raising “easy” queens. – sassafrasbeefarm

Article by: Sustainable Bees

Many beekeepers believe queen rearing is a very technical and difficult process. Actually it is easier than you think.  There are a lot of good ways to do it.  Harvesting swarm cells in the springtime is one way, but to be in control of the process and get queens when you want them, the beek has to intervene & get the bees to do it on command. Moving the queen out of a strong colony by forming a nuc and keeping her in it is one way to get the bees to go into emergency queen rearing mode. (cont.)

Read full blog article here: Easy Queen Rearing by Sustainable Bees

Happy Birthday Stephen Taber III


, , , ,

steven taber III

Source:  Wikipedia

Stephen Taber III. (17 April 1924 – 22 May 2008) was an American apiologist, noted authority and author in the field of artificial insemination of queen bees for the purpose of developing disease resistant and gentle bee colonies.

Mr. Stephen Taber III, was a world-recognized honey bee researcher. He was born on April 17, 1924, to Dr. Stephen Taber II and Bessie Ray Taber of Columbia, S.C. His father was the South Carolina State Geologist from 1912 to 1947 and the head of the Department of Geology at the University of South Carolina, where he was involved in the engineering of the Santee Cooper Dam among many other projects.

Steve became interested in bees at an early age, using the banks of the Broad River in Columbia as his research yard. Steve’s first commercial beekeeping experience was in 1941 in upstate New York where he worked one summer making $30 a month. He continued working in NY and later Wisconsin where he claimed to have learned much of the basics of beekeeping.

He graduated from University High School in Columbia, SC in 1942 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Cadet in October that same year. While serving in the Navy, he taught beekeeping as a sideline job at several local universities. Steve was later honorably discharged from the Navy in September 1945 after the end of World War II. After the Navy, Steve attended the University of Wisconsin. In 1950, he graduated from the University of WI in Madison, with a Bachelor of Science, specializing in Bee Research under the tutelage of Professor C.L. Farrar.

His first position was with the Entomology Research Division of USDA as an assistant to Dr. O. Mackenson in Baton Rouge, La. This is where he met his longtime friend Murray S. Blum. It was during this time that Steve pioneered the use of instrumental (artificial) insemination, undertaking some of the first seminal and biochemical investigations carried out with invertebrate spermatozoa.

After 15 years in Baton Rouge, he was transferred to the USDA Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona, where, in his words, “I was my own instructor.” Steve traveled extensively teaching, lecturing, and researching.[1][2]

Some of his students are leaders in the world of beekeeping research today. His book, Breeding Super Bees,[3] will attest to some of his research and his studies around the world. His articles and research publications are still being referenced by honey bee researchers worldwide. Articles written by Steve, and his collaborative efforts with others, appeared in numerous publications for more than 50 years. They include American Bee Journal, Gleanings in Bee Culture, Journal of Economic Entomology, Journal of Apicultural Research and Beekeepers Quarterly.

From his obituary:

“The life and legacy of Steve Taber is one that will remain in the hearts of those who knew him. His knowledge and mannerisms have molded the lives of all those he touched. He will never be forgotten.

One of his students writes: “Taber was the most brilliant and wonderfully eccentric bee researcher, ever. He also was the best teacher; he made us question everything we knew or took for granted, and then transformed those questions into creative and constructive research problems – all while teasing and yelling and laughing wildly and free.”


  1. Taber, Steve; Howard G. Spangler (1970). “Defensive Behavior of Honey Bees Towards Ants”. Psyche. 77 (2): 184–189. doi:10.1155/1970/49131. 
  2. Taber III, Stephen (1980). “Bee Behavior“. Beekeeping in the United States Agriculture Handbook. 335. 
  3. Taber, Steve (1987). Breeding Super Bees. Ohio: A.I.Root Co.

Happy Birthday Moses Quinby


, , , , , ,

Source: Historical Honeybee Articles – Beekeeping History


Happy Birthday ~ Moses Quinby, April 16, 1810

Moses Quinby is known as the “Father of Commercial Beekeeping in the United States,” Among his innovations in beekeeping, he is credited with the invention of the modern bee smoker with bellows. He is also the author of the book Mysteries of Bee-Keeping Explained (1853). At his peak, he kept over 1200 hives of bees.

Moses Quinby was born April 16, 1810, in Westchester Co.,N. Y. While a boy he went to Greene Co., and in 1853 from thence to St. Johnsville, Montgomery Co., N. Y., where he remained till the time of his death, May 27, 1875.

Mr. Quinby was reared among Quakers, and from his earliest years was ever the same cordial, straightforward, and earnest person. He had no special advantages in the way of obtaining an education, but he was an original thinker, and of that investigating turn of mind which is always sure to educate itself, even without books or schools. When about twenty years old he secured for the first time, as his own individual possession, sufficient capital to invest In a stock of bees, and no doubt felt enthusiastic in looking forward hopefully to a good run of “luck” in the way of swarms, so that he could soon “take up” some by the aid of the brimstone-pit. But “killing the goose that laid the golden egg” did not commend itself to his better judgment, and he was not slow to adopt the better way of placing boxes on the top of the hive, with holes for the ascent of the bees, and these boxes be improved by substituting glass for wood in the sides, thus making a long stride in the matter of the appearance of the marketable product. With little outside help, but with plenty of unexplored territory, his investigating mind had plenty of scope for operation, and he made a diligent study of bees and their habits. All the books he could obtain were earnestly studied, and everything taught therein carefully tested. The many crudities and inaccuracies contained in them were sifted out as chaff, and after 17 years’ practical experience in handling and studying the bees themselves as well as the books, he was not merely a bee-keeper but a bee-master; and with that philanthropic character which made him always willing to impart to others, he decided to give them, at the expense of a few hours’ reading, what had cost him years to obtain, and in 1853 the first edition of Mysteries of Beekeeping Explained made its appearance. Thoroughly practical in character and vigorous in style, it at once won its way to popularity. From the year 1853, excepting the interest he took in his fruits and his trout-pond, his attention was wholly given to bees, and he was owner or half-owner of from 600 to 1200 colonies, raising large crops of honey. On the advent of the movable frame and Italian bees, they were at once adopted by him, and in 1862 he reduced the number of his colonies, and turned his attention more particularly to rearing and selling his Italian bees and queens. In 1865 he published a revised edition of his book, giving therein the added experience of 12 years. He wrote much for agricultural and other papers, his writings being always of the same sensible and practical character. The Northeastern Bee-keepers’ Association, a body whose deliberations have always been of importance, owed its origin to Mr. Quinby, who was for years its honored president—perhaps it is better to say its honoring president, for it was no little honor, even to so important a society, to have such a man as president. In 1871 Mr. Quinby was president of the N. A. B. K. A.

It Is not at all impossible that the fact that so many intelligent beekeepers are found in New York is largely due to there being such a man as Mr.Quinby in their midst. The high reverence in which he was always held by the bee-keepers, particularly those who knew him best, says much, not only for the bee-master, but for the man.

On the occasion of the first meeting of the Northeastern Society, after the death of Mr. Quinby, Capt. J. E. Hetherington said in his address, in a well-merited eulogium on Mr. Quinby: “Of the great amount of gratuitous labor performed by him, to advance the science of bee culture, the fraternity as a whole will never know, nor can they realize the information imparted to the numbers who flocked to see him personally, especially in the busy season…

“His life has been in every sense a life of usefulness and not wholly devoted to the interests of bee culture, for he took it living interest in any movement he thought would benefit society : and as an advocate and helper in the temperance work he did no mean service. He possessed true kindness of heart, and regarded it as a religious duty to make all better and happier with whom he came in contact, and regarded that life a failure that did not leave the world the better for having lived.


Pollen: Tales Beyond the Sneeze by thebeeswaggle


, ,

Many of us can relate to that moment when you accept spring’s invitation to step out and saunter in the warm sun to hear all the vibrant sounds as nature awakes from the slumber of winter, to smell all the fragrances floating on the breeze, and then it hits you, a series of powerful, uncontrollable sneezing fits! Upon recovery, your eyes are filled with tears, and your nose is running in an effort to clear that tiny nuisance, pollen.  Profits are made in efforts to assist our terrible reactions to pollen, and many of us would rather it not exist, so what is it; why does it exist; and who really needs it?

Read fully blog article here: Pollen: Tales Beyond the Sneeze by thebeeswaggle

Happy Birthday Gilbert M. Doolittle (free e-books)


, , , ,


Birth: April 14th, 1846

Death: June 3rd, 1918

Gilbert M. Doolittle (1846-1918) was a 19th-century apiarist and author considered to be the father of commercial queen rearing. His book Scientific Queen-Rearing: As Practically Applied (Thomas G. Newman: Chicago, 1888) was reissued over several editions.

Doolittle also wrote ​​several brochures on beekeeping, and submitted regular articles to Gleanings in Bee Culture over many years. His involvement coincided with a great expansion of beekeeping knowledge in the United States.



From the Online Books Page: Online books by Gilbert M. Doolittle:

Brazil’s Beekeeping Donkey – Great Big Story by msamba


, ,


Manuel Juraci Vieira needed a way to transport the honey he would collect from his beehives on his farm back to his home. His solution? His donkey, Boneco. Outfitted in his very own homemade beekeeping suit, Boneco tags alongside Vieira, helping him carry the honey they gather during their hauls. Working together, the unlikely colleagues and friends are able to harvest more of the sweet stuff than possible with Vieira working alone.

via Brazil’s Beekeeping Donkey – Great Big Story — msamba

Happy Birthday Harry H. Laidlaw, Jr.


, , , ,


Harry Hyde Laidlaw Jr. (April 12, 1907-2003)
Father of Honey Bee Genetics

Bee biologist Harry Hyde Laidlaw Jr. (1907-2003), known as “the father of honey bee genetics,” served on the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty from 1947 until his retirement in 1974. Long after his retirement, however, the professor continued his research and outreach programs, publishing his last scientific paper at age 87 and his last book at 90. He died at age 96 at his home in Davis.

Childhood and Career Development
Born April 12, 1907 in Houston, Harry spent his boyhood and teen years in the Southeast: Virginia, Florida and Louisiana. In his childhood, he developed a keen interest in bee breeding and worked with his grandfather, Charles Quinn. They experimented with mating queen bees and control breeding and developed what became known as the Quinn-Laidlaw hand-mating method.

Harry H. Laidlaw Jr.In 1929, while working in Baton Rouge, Laidlaw was encouraged by his boss to attend Louisiana State University. He completed his master’s degree in entomology in 1934 from Louisiana State University and received his doctorate in genetics and entomology form the University of Wisconsin in 1939. Two years later he was inducted into the U.S. Army, commissioned. and served as the Army entomologist for the First Service Command in Boston. There he met Ruth Collins, whom he married in 1946. They lived in New York City where he worked as a civilian entomologist for the Army. His career with the UC Davis Department of Entomology began in 1947.

Harry H. Laidlaw Jr.Laidlaw is best known for developing artificial insemination technology for honey bees. His contributions enabled selective breeding of honey bees and pioneered the fundamental study of insect genetics. He authored numerous scientific publications and four books on honey bee genetics and breeding.

Laidlaw studied pests and diseases and conducted research on the breeding of queen bees and on re-queening bee colonies. His research on artificial insemination of bees inspired poet E.B. White to write a poem, “Song of the Queen Bee,” published in the New Yorker magazine in 1945. It included the lines “What boots it to improve a bee, if it means an end to ecstasy.”

International Awards
Laidlaw received national and international awards for his research and service to the university, agriculture and the beekeeping industry. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1955, and the Entomological Society of America (ESA) in 1991. At UC Davis, he was the first associate dean for research (1969) in the College of Agricultural and Environmental  Sciences. The College of Ag selected him for its Award of Distinction in 1997.

Laidlaw was awarded the Western Apiculture Society’s “Outstanding Service to Beekeeping” award in 1980, being cited as “one of the great scientists in American agriculture.” In 1981 he won the C.W. Woodworth Award of the Pacific Branch of the ESA.

Laidlaw published his classic text Queen Rearing in 1950, in collaboration with J. E. Eckert. He published his last book, Queen Rearing and Bee Breeding, written in collaboration with Robert Page, former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, in 1997

Although retired, in 1980-85, he established a honey bee breeding program for the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture as part of a joint UC-Egypt agricultural development program.

Naming of Laidlaw Facility
In 2001, the Bee Biology Laboratory at UC Davis was renamed the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. Local artist and sculptor Donna Billick and entomologist-artist Diane Ullman designed the sign at the facility.

Source: Harry H. Laidlaw Papers from the UC Davis Special Collections
Biographical materials, correspondence, writings, research materials, course materials, printed materials, memorabilia, photographs.

Source: Robert E. Page Jr.; Harry Laidlaw’s daughter Barbara Murphy; and the UC Davis Special Collections

Bee Stings May Be Miracle Cure


, ,


Last year I received a telephone call from a man wanting bees. I assumed he meant a package or nucleus hive. His broken English made communication a challenge but eventually I understood he wanted the bees for apitherapy use.

I told him I had never provided bees for apitherapy. I had read about it and understood the reasons why people utilize stinging but had no personal experience. We decided to meet and discuss the matter as he wanted some honey as well. Seeing this man and talking to him convinced me to help him. He appeared to have a rheumatoid arthritis such that even walking was difficult. In conversation he told me he was currently unable to work. He also related that he had used the bees in his home country successfully and that the improvement was very real.

I decided to give him the bees needed. There was some prep time in constructing an appropriate bee box for his use. After a single “round” of treatments he was driving to meet me, instead of his wife, and soon had his work equipment loaded in his small truck.

I haven’t heard from him yet this year, but am eagerly looking forward to setting him up with a small hive of his own this year as we planned.

Update: I have heard from my apitherapy friend via phone call. He tells me he is in some sort of remission and doing well. He thanked me for helping him during his hour of need and promises to stay in touch.

Sassafras Bee Farm

For more information on Apitherapy:

By Ibrahim Alkhayal Alternative medicine often comes up with new and creative healing processes. A method being tried in Palestine uses the bee sting, called apitherapy. Rateb Samour, known as Abo Ibrahim, is a Palestinian beekeeper and agriculture engineer in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah. For about 13 years, he has devoted all his […]

via Bee Stings May Be Miracle Cure — Sutradhar’s Market