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Wednesday wordphile: floral fidelity

Although honey bees are polylectic, which means they visit many different species of flowering plants, they also exhibit floral fidelity, which means that a bee visits only one kind of flower on any given foraging trip. If there are enough flowers of one type available, a honey bee will continue to visit that same kind […] Read more

How to make a moisture quilt for a Langstroth hive

For years I tried to reduce moisture accumulation in my wintering hives. Then, after much reading about Warré hives, I decided to modify a Warré-style moisture quilt box into something that might work on my Langstroths here in the Pacific Northwest. I spent quite a while thinking about this and a long time building the […] Read more

Honey bee myth: Africanized honey bees are Apis mellifera scutellata

Well, not exactly. Apis mellifera scutellata is one of several subspecies of honey bee native to Africa and it is generally referred to as the African honey bee. It was brought into Brazil for genetic experiments where it was accidentally released into the wild. It was able to mate with local honey bees of European […] Read more

Will cream of tartar harm my honey bees?

Okay, this is one of those ongoing arguments: some say “yes” and some say “no.” But first, why is cream of tartar even an issue? Cream of tartar, also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate or potassium bitartrate (KC4H5O6), is a white, powdery, acidic substance that is a byproduct of the wine-making industry. It is found […] Read more

How to get started in beekeeping

A reader from Orlando wrote to ask if he really needs ninety-some lessons before he can keep bees. My answer: absolutely not! Don’t even think about it! Very little about beekeeping has to be pre-learned. For one thing, the word “lesson” has negative connotations—at least for me. Expressions like, “I hope you learned your lesson!” […] Read more