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Why is it so hard to breed better bees?

Those new to beekeeping fre­quently ask why we don’t just breed better bees. This is a logical question because breeding has long been the answer to many agricultural problems. When I say “breeding,” I don’t mean modern gene-insertion techniques that allow us to raise glow-in-the-dark cats, but the old-fashioned kind of breeding where you cross […] Read more

How to identify a honey bee using wing veins

Because I don’t want to embarrass anyone, I am obscuring the details in this case of mistaken identity. Still, it’s worth sharing because I don’t want this to happen to you. Last week someone forwarded an email to me that was being distributed by a person who holds a position of authority in the beekeeping […] Read more

The Detritus of Brood Rearing: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Raising a batch of brood requires a treasure trove of resources and generates a heap of waste. Some folks have estimated that a honey bee larva increases in weight up to 1,500 times during the five-and-a-half-day period from hatching to spinning a cocoon.1 If you had an eight-pound newborn growing at the same rate, it […] Read more

What is a honey bee drone congregation area?

A drone congregation area (DCA) is a specific place where male honey bees gather and wait for young queens to visit. They are different from most mating areas because they are high above ground, suspended in air. All honey bee mating takes place in these areas—never on the ground or in the hive. Drone congregation […] Read more