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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

A Montana bee house from a Dutch design

Earlier this year, on March 24, I posted a story about 74-year-old Dutch beekeeper Evert Jan van Tongeren. In that story, Evert Jan shared the history of the Lorsch Bee Blessing, invoked to make swarms return home. He also included some photos of his bee house and the ban mask that wards off evil spirits. […] Read more

Wasps aplenty follow a mild winter

A long stretch of freezing weather is the best wasp control. Many of the overwintering queens succumb to the cold, which limits the nest density the following spring. But after a mild winter such as we had on the Pacific Northwest coast, the queens thrive in vast numbers. This is the worst year I have […] 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

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

Your beekeeping year is about to change

The beekeeping year can be divided into two halves. One half is characterized by expansion, and the other by contraction. Tomorrow we begin the next phase. Whether you live in the northern hemisphere or the southern, the solstices mark the boundaries, the points at which things begin to change. The most important concept in beekeeping […] Read more

The ultimate guide to overwintering success

Honey bees are masters at overwintering. But for the most part, our modern-day honey bees find themselves living in man-made structures that are not like the homes they would have built for themselves. To compensate for the difference, a beekeeper often has to tweak the hives to prepare the bees for long periods of confinement. […] Read more