Monthly Archives: August 2011

Grafting

http://beeinformed.org/2011/08/grafting/

Thousands of queens are raised and sold around the country. But how does one get their bees to raise all these extra queens? The secret lies within manipulating the bees own biology (as does most of beekeeping). There are two types of eggs in the colony: unfertilized and fertilized. The unfertilized eggs will become drones…

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Tarsal claws hard at work

http://beeinformed.org/2011/08/tarsal-claws-hard-at-work/

Ever wonder how bees can hold on so well? For starters, honey bees are insects that have 3 pairs of segmented legs. The legs can do more than just hold on, the tibia of the hind legs have adapted hair to hold pollen. When the hairs are filled with pollen,it is termed “pollen basket “or…

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Long, Hot Summer

http://beeinformed.org/2011/08/long-hot-summer/

The heat wave that has blanketed most of the country this summer has everyone talking or rather complaining. While we worried about the toll it would take on our gardens, elderly, animals and our poor air conditioners I wondered what it would do to our bees? I am pretty sure there are no air conditioned…

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Honey Extraction

Bees bring nectar from flowers back to their hive. The foraging bees give the nectar to other bees that put the nectar in the cells. The bees fan the nectar and pull droplets in and out on their tongues to dry the nectar. Once nectar is somewhere under 18.6% water (higher than that, the honey…

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Don’t Ever Be Lazy

http://beeinformed.org/2011/08/dont-ever-be-lazy/

My first interaction with bees came when I was around the age of five. It was winter and I was out with my father when he was surveying his hives. I remember seeing bees outside the hive and asked my dad why they were not inside ‘staying warm’ with the rest of the bees? My…

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Centaurea stoebe and Pollinators (Part 3)

http://beeinformed.org/2011/08/centaurea-stoebe-and-pollinators-part-3/

In the previous two blogs, I have talked about the invasive plant “Spotted Knapweed.” Centaurea stoebe is native to Europe and was introduced into the United States in the late 1800s through contaminated seed. Spotted knapweed is considered by some a nuisance because it displaces native plants and forage for livestock. The plant releases toxins…

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Winter Loss Survey 2008 – 2009

http://beeinformed.org/2011/08/winter-loss-survey-2008-2009/

A survey of honey bee colony losses in the United States, fall 2008 to spring 2009 Published in the Journal of Apicultural Research, this survey found that an estimated 29% of all US colonies died over the winter of 2008-2009. vanEngelsdorp, D., J. Hayes Jr, R. M. Underwood, and J. S. Pettis. 2010. A survey…

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Nectar Flow

http://beeinformed.org/2011/08/nectar-flow/

It’s August in Northern California and the nectar flow from the Yellow Starthistle is on… In fact, some beekeepers have already begun extracting honey. For those beekeepers trying to make pure Starthistle honey it’s important to have their bees in locations where there are few other nectar producing plants. Starthistle nectar and honey have a…

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Drone Fishing

http://beeinformed.org/2011/08/drone-fishing/

Last week, Jody Gerdts and Maggie Shanahan went fishing for drones. Drones and queens mate generally over 60 feet up in the air. Drones gather in specific spots, queens fly by, and the drones chase her. The ones that catch-up get to mate. These drone congregation areas are sometimes even in the same from year-to-year….

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Non-native bees and invasive plant species. (Part 2)

http://beeinformed.org/2011/08/non-native-bees-and-invasive-species/

In the last blog, I talked about the invasive plant “Spotted Knapweed.” This plant is unique because it supports several oligolectic bee species, which means that the bees visit (for pollen and nectar) very specific host plant species. Lithurgus chrysurus, or the Mediterranean wood boring bee, is one of them (see previous blog). Another bee…

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