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Monoculture diets and honey bee health

As I mentioned in an earlier post, pollen is virtually the only source a colony has for protein, lipids, vitamins, and minerals. Colonies that pollinate large monocultures—such as almonds—have a severe lack of variability in their diets. Just as one fruit or vegetable doesn’t satisfy all your nutritional needs, one type of pollen is not […] Read more

Pollen collection by honey bees

While we normally think of honey bees collecting nectar, an average-size colony may bring in 100 pounds of pollen in a season. Pollen is an essential part of the honey bee diet, providing a wide range of nutrients including protein, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, and minerals. Although a tough outer coating protects the pollen from environmental […] Read more

Water collection by honey bees

Water has several uses in a honey bee hive. During certain times of the year foragers find a source of water, fill their crops, and ferry it home. The number of bees foraging for water depends on the needs of the colony. If the in-hive workers accept the water quickly from the foragers, the foraging […] Read more

Nectar collection by honey bees

While folks envision industrious honey bees bringing home loads of silken nectar, they often don’t account for the other payloads that arrive on the landing board. Honey bees actually collect three other substances: pollen, water, and propolis. Today’s post is a brief overview of nectar collection. Later I’ll write about the other three. Nectar is […] Read more

Make room for mason bees

My first shipment of orchard mason bees arrived in shiny little tubes that look like drinking straws, packed in a box that weighs next to nothing. So why am I messing with mason bees in the midst of a million honey bees? The answer is partly because they’re native—I encourage native species whenever I can—and […] Read more

Urban beekeeping webinar

Yesterday I tuned into a fascinating webinar called “Urban Beekeeping: Ins and Outs; Dos and Don’ts.” The webinar was moderated by Shane Gebauer (http://BrushyMountainBeeFarm.com) and featured Toni Burnham (http://citybees.blogspot.com), Cameo Wood, Cindy Bee, and Kim Flottum (http://BeeCulture.com). Although the material was designed for new urban beekeepers, the issues raised were compelling and on point. I […] Read more