Using Pollen Traps, and Processing Pollen Samples

Installing pollen traps onto your honey bee colonies can provide many benefits.  First off, you can harvest the pollen granules from a hive for human consumption.  Bee pollen is marketed as a “Nutrient Rich Superfood,” and is sold at various health stores.  While there has not been much research into the potential benefits of taking bee pollen as a nutritional supplement, some people swear that it is a cure for many different ailments.  At the UMD lab, I seem to be the only person that has mildly enjoyed the taste.  If you do decide to harvest pollen from your bees, make sure that you leave enough for…

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Some Good Neighbor Policies for Urban Beekeepers

A few weeks ago, we had an incident at the University of Maryland involving the bees from our rooftop apiaries.  A group on campus was giving away free Rita’s Italian Ice, and our bees felt inclined to participate in the event.  I had a few friends send me pictures of what was going on.  We have also heard that the bees have been getting into the trashcans on campus in search of soda and other “forage.”  Currently, bee groups on campus are working towards having all of the campus trashcans fitted with lids that are animal-proof and insect-proof.  Hopefully this will decrease the unwanted attention some…

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An October Tour of the UMD Apiary

Last week, Jordan Arata and I had the pleasure of giving a tour of the UMD Apiary.  The apiary is located on the roof of a]one of the campus diners.  The tour was set up by Carin Cebuluski, from the UMD Arboretum; and only one person in the tour group had any beekeeping experience.  I really enjoy showing people a hive for the first time, as it is always a fun experience.  Jordan and I went over a few basic safety tips and equipment explanations.  Then we got started.   The weather was great that day and the bees were very active, buzzing around all over everyone. We went over…

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Looking for Tracheal Mites

Here at the UMD BIP lab, I have been looking for tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi) in honey bee samples.  Tracheal mites live in the trachea of honey bees, they enter the tracheal tubes through the bee’s spiracles.  Once inside the trachea, they puncture the wall of the trachea and feed on the bee’s haemolymph.  An obvious sign that bees have a heavy tracheal mite infestation is when the trachea have brown/ dark red scarring.  Cloudy trachea can also indicate the presence of mites.  Clear trachea are USUALLY a sign of bees without tracheal mites.  However, I have found mites in many bees that had clear…

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The Rooftop Apiaries at UMD, College Park

Over the past month, I have had the pleasure of installing eight hives on the roofs of two buildings at the University of Maryland, College Park.  It was a new experience for me because I have never transported honey bees in my car.  My first trip was a bit chaotic.  Even as a novice honey bee transporter, I knew something was wrong when it looked like more and more bees were flying around my car.  I realized that the entrance to one of the hive boxes was not completely sealed.  I could see the bees pouring out of a tiny little hole where the screen…

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