BOGO Queen Hack

OK, so for whatever reason….swarm management, making increase, or just generating a new queen for a friend…you have dequeened a colony, hoping they will raise up a nice new queen for you. But. You are going to have to wait an entire calendar month before you see that lovely new lady. And that wait is…

Shakin’ All Over: The how and why of shook swarming

Shook swarming, also known as “shaking down” a bee colony, is one valuable, versatile tool that you can tuck into your beekeeping toolkit. Shook swarming is turning out a colony of bees into a completely new or disinfected hive. Everything they touch has to be new or sterilized. The hive is stocked with bare foundation,…

Ladies in Waiting

It has been a miserable spring here in the Pacific Northwest. Miserable. It has been unusually cold, wet and gloomy. Remarkably, that cold and damp has not affected the spring bee colony timeline! We had a great overwintering locally, in spite of some unusual cold and snow. Hives were in good shape when spring arrived,…

The Sugar Shakes

It is that time of year again! Winter wrap up is about 6 weeks away, the weather is turning, the bees are suddenly turning their attention from brood rearing to hoarding every calorie they can glean from the fall landscape, wasps are starting to probe the hives and tempers are high. Welcome to the beeyard…

How to make your own queen bees.

Some years ago, during my salad days, when I was green (to quote HRH), I decided to do post honey splits on my monster hives and so I bought mated queens for each of the queenless halves. Wow that did not go well! All were successfully released and began laying but all but one were…

Some Like It Hot….NOT!!!

I may never have truly valued the question of temperament in bees until a local bee customer called me for advice on managing one of his hives. He had bought a few nucs from me the previous spring, and they were all doing fine. But he had also acquired a nuc from another seller, and…

The Notebook*

So tell me, right now without peeking….what did you see in each of your hives during your last round of inspections? And the time before that? From which queen was each queen in each of your hives descended? Which of your hives was strongest coming out of winter? Was it the same hive as the…

Dire Straits*: Laying Worker Hives

Inevitably, every beekeeper finds themselves in that pickle we refer to as a “laying worker hive”. This is a hive which has for some reason been queeenless so long, usually 6+weeks, they have in desperation raised eggs laid by worker bees. Alas, worker bees have never been on mating flights, so they can only lay…

As the World Turns…

The spring has been late, chilly and wet here on the Salish Sea, and alas the delayed Oregon Maple bloom will likely fall during an untimely bout of rains, so little hope here of a spring honey harvest. Maple honey is chancy at best… We had unprecedented and catastrophic winter losses all over the area…

Boom and Swarm

It has been quite a winter. I was surprised to find half my colonies dead very early in winter, by mid-November. These were good colonies. Populous, well provisioned, most with fiesty new 2020 queens. The first hint I had that something was terribly wrong came in October, when in the very first cold weather I…

Even Beegirls get the blues…

Well folks, 2020 is finally drawing to a close. What a year. We all deserve a big hug, a cuppa tea and a cookie for making it through. For those of you who have been impacted directly by COVID, my condolences. It is a truly awful virus, turning our whole world upside down and costing…