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The worst thing about the spring equinox

The very worst thing about the spring equinox is its proximity to the summer solstice. In just three short months we will begin the inexorable slide into winter. In just ninety days, the hours of daylight will begin to diminish and we beekeepers will begin thinking about overwintering our colonies. Again. It seems like that’s […] Read more

Overwintering honey bees in single deep hives

For the second year in a row, I’m overwintering my bees in single-deep hives. After years of running double deeps, and three years with triple deeps, I went to singles beginning about sixteen months ago. My decision was prompted by Thomas Seeley’s discussions of single deeps and the fact that very large colonies seem to […] Read more

winter aconite attracts pollinators

Winter aconite, a tuber-producing plant in the buttercup family, is cherished by pollinators because it is one of the first flowers of spring. It will often pop through the snow ahead of the crocus and the cheery yellow blooms are a welcome addition to the dormant landscape. Native to Europe and Asia, winter aconite (Eranthis […] Read more

Keep honey bees dry and draft free

After writing a post about upper entrances in winter, I received a lot of mail from beekeepers who insisted that an upper entrance in winter would place the colony at risk of freezing. My own experience with upper ventilation has been the exact opposite, and my colonies have thrived since I began using upper ventilation […] Read more

winter thoughts

Darkness continues to creep in as our daylight hours are shorter and shorter, but not for long; the winter solstice is just around the corner. At noon today the temperature was pushing 54 degrees; dark, heavy cumulus clouds hurried across the sky being carried along by cool winds from the northwest. At times the rays […] Read more

The mites are the same old mites

Each time I think I’ve written my very last post on varroa, something else comes up. This time, it was a question about how to treat for mites now that we know mites eat fat bodies instead of hemolymph. Based on what I’ve read, I would say that if you are following current best practices […] Read more

When to feed pollen substitute to honey bees

Right now, many northern beekeepers are asking when they should begin to feed pollen substitute, as if it’s a necessary step. But pollen substitute is an option you don’t always need. If you determine your bees need it, then “right now” is the best answer. If they don’t need it, don’t give it to them. […] Read more

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