Never Say Swarm!

Click on the link above to open up my wee PowerPoint presentation on swarms and swarming. Spring is just around the corner here on the Pacific Northwest coast, and after what has been an unusually warm and rainy winter, the bees should wake up early and be primed to throw early swarms. Start checking them…

Package Bees 101

Maybe you are a beginning beekeeper, maybe you are expanding your existing apiary. Maybe you are making up for winter losses. Any which way you got here, you are going to buy a package of bees this spring. Definition: A package of bees is generally understood to be a few pounds of bees (three pounds…

Bees = Blackberries = Batter Cake

Here on the Pacific Northwest coast, the major nectar flow for our honey bees is the juicy and sweet blackberry, which blooms sometime in June. Blackberry yields a lovely amber honey with wild and musky berry notes: it has become my very favourite honey. Lucky thing, because that is what my bees make. In 2018,…

Easy-Peasy Queens

It may happen after spending a bundle of your honey money on queens that turned out to be mediocre. Or who go AWOL for no reason. It may happen when you look at a hive full of swarm cells and wonder just how many colonies you want to wedge into your back yard. It may…

A House Divided

In winter, and on quiet evenings all throughout the year, I enjoy the fellowship and teachings in bee blogs, written from all across the beekeeping world. Today, a new entry on one of my faves, Linda’s Bees, prompted this posting. Have a read, and don’t skip the comments. I don’t think I am alone in…

Paints 2018

I have made my all-important paint decision. Ok, not that important, but choosing my paint colours is one of my favourite spring beekeeping chores. I do love a fetching suite of colours! And my apiary is in a very public site, where it is important to look tidy and neat at all times. Not only…

Living in Colour

  It is that time again! Time to paint (or sand and repaint) bee boxes. I use a method similar to the one above, but I use one Workmate/sawhorse, and clamp the 2 x 4 in the middle, leaving the ends free to slide boxes on and off. I have witnessed to you in other…

Wait For It…

  Neither rain, nor sleet, nor hail (all of which we had in Vancouver last weekend) will stop the advent of Spring. Slow, yes. Stop, non! In two weeks…two looooong weeks…our much-desired sunny and warm spring weather starts to arrive. So today I did a round of checks on all the sugar stores in all…

Part II: Treatment Free for Newbees…the finer points

You are, in your exploration of what it means to be treatment free, going to run into a lot of difficulty with definitions. What any particular practitioner means when s/he says “I run my bees treatment free” varies widely. It can be very difficult to follow a TF mentor’s recipe when identical terms signify different…

Brrrr!

Photo below from David Evans, and his blog the Apiarist. Spring cannot come too soon!

Home Grown

You have spent the winter planning your next beekeeping season, and it looks like you are ready to take on a few more colonies. How are you going to source those new bees? You can buy some: buying bees is easy, but expensive…packages are going for well over CAN$200 this season, and US$180. Nuc colonies,…

Hobby People

I have often been frustrated, and affronted, by certain beekeeper-to-beekeeper attitudes. Do other fraternities so casually give one another grief? I suppose they must, and showing up last for a class at a new-to-me quilting guild, where there were no more tables and no one offered to share theirs comes to mind… But I was…