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Comb honey and smokers

Many comb honey producers use smoke sparingly and some forgo it altogether. In Honey in the Comb, Killion notes that “Heavy smoking may cause soot particles to adhere to the surface of freshly capped comb.” Heavily smoked bees may also rip open capped cells in order to scarf down honey reserves quickly. I’ve seen smoked […] Read more

How to make bees go through a queen excluder

Beekeepers often call them “honey excluders” for a good reason: worker bees hate to go through them. The theory I hear most frequently is that the bees don’t want to build comb in places where the queen can’t go. But there are ways to entice your bees through the queen excluder. One way is to […] Read more

Will cream of tartar harm my honey bees?

Okay, this is one of those ongoing arguments: some say “yes” and some say “no.” But first, why is cream of tartar even an issue? Cream of tartar, also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate or potassium bitartrate (KC4H5O6), is a white, powdery, acidic substance that is a byproduct of the wine-making industry. It is found […] Read more

“Stocking stuffers” for your favorite beekeeper

With the holiday season upon us, I came up with a few inexpensive items for your favorite beekeeper. Each one of these items will get plenty of use, I promise. Flower and herb seeds. Most beekeepers like to attract bees to their gardens and patios, so seeds for bee-attracting plants are always a good choice. […] Read more

Anise oil for bees: they will follow it anywhere

Yesterday a reader, Harold Owen, commented on my post “Five Favorite Plants for the Bee Garden” by saying that anise is an excellent bee attractant. He is absolutely right. I want to thank him for mentioning it because anise is a great bee plant. I have never grown anise in the garden. But of all […] Read more