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Spending More Time Indoors Is What’s In Store For U.S. Honey Bee Colonies

In the dim, red glow of the immense warehouse’s lights, tall stacks of wooden boxes are lined up in seemingly endless rows, where they will stand for the next couple of months until spring returns to California. But this is not just a warehouse full of surplus beekeeping equipment, it is an indoor storage facility – and the boxes aren’t empty, but filled with live, honey bee colonies, waiting out the winter weather in this chilly, climate-controlled facility. Storing bees indoors over the winter months is not new in North America; for many years, some beekeepers in Canada and the northern US have kept colonies…

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Highlights From The 2021 California State Beekeepers Association Annual Convention

This November, several BIP team members headed to beautiful Santa Barbara, California, to attend the California State Beekeepers Association Annual Convention. The convention site was right next to the beach, the weather was perfect, and beekeepers were primed for an amazing in-person meeting, after having to go a year without due to 2020 COVID-19 restrictions.  For Anne Marie, Matt and Rob it was really good to visit with so many California BIP member beekeepers, and to meet a few new beekeepers too.  We especially enjoyed talking shop – in the hallways at the convention by day, and in the evenings over a drink, under a…

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BIP’s 2nd Annual Virtual Auction Happening Now!

Here at Bee Informed Partnership, we are often asked what people can do to help us make a positive impact on honey bees. Well, here is the perfect way for you to support our efforts to improve honey bee health and take home some great gifts to boot at BIP’s 2nd Annual Virtual Auction happening now! Until November 8th, 2021, you can bid on one or more of over 80 auction items and services that have been generously donated by the beekeeping industry and other friends of BIP. This includes a variety of beautiful, handcrafted items, such as encaustic paintings, bags, jewelry and gift boxes.…

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Small Mammal Big Nuisance

One of the queen producers I work with, Joy Pendall, recently told me of some pest and flea problems she'd been having in a few of her yards. When she first told me about the damage these critters were causing I couldn't believe it - these mammals are not usually much of a pest for beekeepers to contend with, aside from occasionally chewing on the edges of bee boxes to wear down their constantly growing teeth. But Joy and her crew's stories and photos showed what an impressive amount of destruction that these little varmints managed to accomplish. The pictures (shared in this blog) show…

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Feeding Bees – Top Feeders

Feeding colonies sugar syrup is something most beekeepers do, generally in the spring and/or fall.  The purpose of feeding syrup can be to stimulate colony growth, sustain them through a dearth period, or build and maintain adequate stores for wintering. There are multiple methods for feeding syrup, each utilizing different pieces of equipment and having their own pros and cons. Previous blog posts discuss the use of gravity feeders and frame feeders, which are the two most commonly used feeders. A top feeder is a third method for feeding that is also a good choice under certain circumstances. As the name suggests, a top feeder…

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Scooping Bees

To keep healthy bees, beekeepers must monitor their colonies for harmful pests and diseases. This commonly includes testing for the presence and abundance of Varroa, Nosema, and (less frequently) a number viruses and pesticides. To perform these tests beekeepers need to sample their bees.  It is not that hard to sample bees, but doing it quickly and accurately is an acquired skill.  Of course, there are many good methods for sampling honey bees, but most involve some form of scooping. Choosing a Frame Since all of these tests are performed using a small number of bees relative to the total number found in the colony,…

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“Bamboo” honey

A colony of bees is capable of producing honey from a stunning variety of floral sources, but a few years back, when a beekeeper in New York told me his bees were in the midst of making a good fall crop on the bamboo, I was a bit puzzled. Knowing that bamboos belong to the grass family (Poaceae), I questioned a little further about how it was possible for bees to make honey from a grass, and the beekeeper pointed to a patch of dense, shrubby plants covered in white flowers and bees. Continued questioning eventually got to the answer that the “bamboo honey” was…

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Dolly project

Anyone who has been involved in beekeeping quickly comes to realize that there is a lot of ‘stuff’ involved, particularly things that are only used for a portion of the year and must be stored for the rest. While brood chambers, bases, and lids are used year-round, things like supers, escape boards, top feeders and queen excluders need to be stored for a good portion of the year. Beekeeping often becomes an exercise in storing and moving bulky equipment, and finding easier ways to accomplish this exercise can make things more efficient and enjoyable. A couple of hives worth of equipment can be pretty manageable…

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Browsing for Breeder Queens-Part 1

What is a Breeder Queen? A breeder queen is selected to be the mother of multiple queens that will then head nucleus colonies "nucs" or other colonies made by splitting existing ones. Mated queens may also be sold to other beekeepers. A breeder queen’s genetics will be passed onto these new queens and, hopefully, her desirable characteristics will be as well. Every breeder queen should possess several general characteristics: solid brood pattern; gentleness; high brood viability; and Varroa/disease resistance. Obtaining a Breeder Queen Breeder queens can be obtained in a couple of different ways. The first is to choose a queen from your own operation.…

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A Bee on the Wall: Transporting Honey Bee Colonies to California for Almond Pollination

Written by Grace Kunkel and Sharah Yaddaw, Project Apis m. team members Taking honey bees out of indoor storage (or an over-wintering apiary) and transporting them to California in time for almond pollination is a massive, coordinated effort that commercial beekeepers undertake every year. It isn’t just the beekeepers that make it happen; experienced truck drivers, state inspectors staffing points of entry into California, and almond growers all coordinate for this event. Most importantly, mother nature determines the exact timing of the almond bloom and the driving conditions the truck drivers must navigate to get there. Project Apis m.’s Director of Communications, Sharah Yaddaw, along…

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