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Molly’s bees: shot brood and laying workers

Thanks to everyone who participated in the diagnosis of Molly’s honey bee colony. Overall, I thought the answers were impressive—both thoughtful and nuanced. Many of you agreed with my own assessment of shot brood, but others mentioned issues I hadn’t even considered. It was a great learning experience for many, including myself. I emailed my […] Read more

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

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