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For healthy bees: Sow seeds, not war

The room was fluttering with bee conservationists. The seats were occupied by men and women from all over the Pacific Northwest who had agreed to donate considerable sums of personal time and money to tramp across the tristate area and survey bumble bees. Butterfly nets, catch jars, and t-shirts were stacked next to doughnuts, coffee, […] Read more

Propolis and the resin connection

When the weather turns warm, propolis can string into fragrant tendrils like fresh-from-the-oven mozzarella cheese. When cold, it can shatter like bone china, yielding knife-sharp shards. In especially hot seasons, it can run like water down the inside of hive walls before hardening into translucent droplets that glisten like gemstones. As fascinating as propolis is, […] Read more

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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

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