Spring-inspired Quinoa Salad



Spring is here! the beautiful flowers and trees blooming, the smells and aromas, the birds singing in the morning….And what I love the most about spring is the abundance of new market produce, when I think of this part of the year my mind goes straight to fresh peas, asparagus, broadbeans, small potatoes, strawberries, herbs, […]

via Spring-inspired Quinoa Salad — Amber Bewick

Watering Your Bees



Bees need water! It’s not so much of an issue now in the spring, but in the heat of summer you don’t want them visiting your neighbors’ swimming pools and bird baths. Not everyone is fond of them!

It’s instinctual for us to want to provide clean, fresh water for our pets and livestock, but bees don’t like it that way. For whatever reason, they seem to prefer stagnant water full of debris that has been sitting around for as long as possible. Perhaps that makes it easier to smell?

We do know why they appreciate debris, it’s so they can get a drink without drowning. A perfect solution to your thirsty bee problem is a bowl full of pebbles, moss and leaves, woodchips, or a combination of the above. It’s a good idea to get it in place now so the bees can learn where it is by the time they really need it. If you leave it in a place where rainwater can replenish it, all the better.

Source: Watering Your Bees — Abernathy’s Rabbitry

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

Mite-Resistant Russian Honey Bees Might Not Prevent Varroa Infestations



By Meredith Swett Walker Imagine a parasite about the size of a grapefruit, and it’s latched onto your back where you just can’t reach it. Now imagine that parasite is sucking your blood and that its cronies are reproducing rapidly in your home and attacking your family. This horrifying scenario is essentially what the mite […]

via Mite-Resistant Russian Honey Bees Might Not Prevent Varroa Infestations — Entomology Today

Congestion in the Brood Nest



17972343_10210427138129607_4961063145897402465_oCongestion. A topic I repeatedly misunderstand. And, in all likelihood I remain confused. Congestion, which leads to swarm behavior.

I used to think congestion was not enough room within the hive to comfortably house all of the bees. Kinda like when your cousin comes to town with his 6 kids and stays for a week. Apparently this is in error. Adding an empty box with foundation may help a little because the wax producing aged bees may go up and draw some wax but that’s not it, really. I mean your cousin’s kids are still holed up in your bathroom even if you make them sleep on the back porch.

So, I’ve read about opening up the brood chamber with an empty frame. I tried this last year only I couldn’t bear to place an empty frame in there so I placed a frame with foundation. Mistake again. I guess I need a tutorial on how this idea works.

So this year I think maybe it’s time for me to switch to nine frames since I have drawn comb now. That has to be more “open” right? Turns out I got it wrong again. What this would do is reduce the number of frames for bees to hang out making them more likely to be crowded on each frame.

Okay, so what I understand now, I think. (How can I really know anything when it comes to bees?) Anyway, I think I know that it is nurse bee congestion not bee congestion. And it is not simply too many nurse bees. I mean it IS too many nurse bees, but moreover it is unemployed nurse bees. The nurse bees are getting in each other’s way. There is an overabundance of out of work nurse bees for the amount of work to be done. It’s like ladies night and there are only 4 guys in the bar.

So, what does a colony do when it has too many nurse bees, which also happen to be coming into wax creating age? Swarm, that’s what.

So how do we reduce their unemployment and keep them in the hive? Give them work. Add drawn comb for the queen to lay in. Produce more work space AND employment opportunities.

Happy Birthday Steve 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.[citation needed]

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.


  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: Via: 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 Bee-keeping 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 bee-keepers 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.”


The Status of the Honey Bee in the Law


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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