Notes From Swarm Season in NorCal

Spring has always been my favorite time of year - it seems that all living things are bursting forth with enthusiasm, and bees are no exception! Despite the huge variation in local climates and weather patterns, beekeepers in every region experience a swarm season, when the bees receive cues from nature that it is time to reproduce. Increased day length, warmer temperatures, increased food sources and lack of space are all responsible for encouraging bees to swarm.  Other causes of swarming include poor ventilation, mite infestation or disease, and old/failing queens. Here in Northern California it feels like spring begins in January (sorry midwesterners don't mean to…

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Oxalic Acid Fogger Demostration

When it comes to Varroa control, beekeepers have always been concerned about mites' resistance to commercial treatments available on the market. It seems the arms race never ends, but changing up treatments throughout the year can help ensure that resistant mites don't get a foothold. There is a lot of interest in alternative mite control methods, and one that may be a useful addition to the beekeeper's toolbox is oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is an organic, naturally occurring compound which can be found in high concentrations in certain plants, notably spinach, rhubarb, and and the aptly named Oxalis. These plants use it as a deterrent…

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The Basics of Moving Hives

At some point every beekeeper will need to move hives, whether it’s a beginning hobbyist bringing home their first colony or a seasoned professional moving an entire operation across the country. Here at the NorCal Bee Informed Partnership “headquarters” in Oroville, we recently relocated 4 rooftop colonies about a half mile away because some of the maintenance staff felt did not feel comfortable working on the AC units near the bees, and we wanted to avoid any issues before they happened! In this blog I would like to go through the basics of moving colonies and some lessons learned from our recent experience. Step 1:…

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Greetings from NorCal!

Hi everyone! I am the newest member of the Northern California Tech Transfer Team, and I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and say I'm very excited to be part of the Bee Informed Partnership! I've only been here in the Chico/Oroville area for a couple weeks but have already learned a lot from being out in the field with some of the local beekeepers and fellow Bee Team member Rob Snyder. Being a native Midwesterner, it is fascinating to be in a completely different region of the country and seeing the bees (and beekeepers!) adapt to the environment here. Even though the grassy hillsides look somewhat dried out and barren…

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