The Promised Land 2: the airing

This week on National Public Radio, the Public Media program The Promised Land broadcasted the story on Marla I wrote about previously. It is a pretty good listen. Marla talks about how she got into bees, propolis, the Bee Squad for small time beekeepers, about the Bee Tech-Team we do, among other things. One of the beekeepers we work with, Bob Koehnen was interviewed and you can hear him talk about his operation. You can also hear me maniacally laugh in the background. Give it a listen!

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Beekeeping Video Game to Identify Brood Stages

OK, so maybe its not technically a video game, but Reed Johnson at Ohio State has developed an online program called  to inspect brood frames. Citizen science is a term used describe similar projects, where the general public participates in the collection and analysis of data. Often the tasks include an educational component. In, you can learn or hone your skills in identifying eggs, brood age, diseased larvae, and other states you are likely to need to know when inspecting honey bee colonies. Once you complete a tutorial that shows you how to do these things, you can then apply your skills to…

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How to Pin Bees

In prior blogs, I talked about methods of collecting bees from nets to bowl traps. I am now going to talk about the process of pinning the insects that have been collected. If the collected bees are frozen, put them on a paper towel or tissue to dry for 10 minutes or so. I will usually gently role them in a tissue to remove any excess condensation from thawing. A picture below shows some bees on a paper towel thawing out. If the bees are from a bowl trap or collected and stored in alcohol, follow steps from my bowl collecting blog to dry the…

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Certified Production in Honey Bees

  Product certification is a process designed to give some level of assurance to consumers that a product is produced under certain guidelines. In honey bees, we tend to most often think about USDA Organic certification of honey. However, there are other certification programs in honey bees including Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) and queens produced by the Russian Honeybee Breeders Association. I was recently asked to inspect a new Certified Naturally Grown apiary to provide confirmation that the beekeeper was following their definition of a "natural" product, defined mostly by the absence of "any synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones, or genetically modified organisms". The…

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Honey without Pollen

There has been an article circulating the bee world that I find really interesting and a bit disturbing. It is about how much of the honey purchased in stores lacks pollen. What happens is during the filtration stage of honey extraction, the company uses a really fine filter to remove anything that isn’t honey, so pollen, wax, propolis, bee parts, etc. To get it through the fine filter, it needs to be heated pretty high, which changes the taste of the honey. I am a big fan of straining out the random bee bits in the honey, but, to me, removing the pollen from honey…

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Collecting with Bowl Traps

In my previous blog I talked about collecting bees. I am now going to talk about using another tool for collecting insects. This collection method uses bowl traps. The bowl traps are painted various colors to attract different bee species. For the past 3 years I have been using Silica flat yellow fluorescent and silica flat blue fluorescent paint for bowl colors. I also have used plain white bowls. There is an image above showing one of the bowls used for bowl trap collecting. When using the bowl traps, you will need several items. You will need the bowls which you can make yourself. For…

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The six most important words: I admit I made a mistake. The five most important words: You did a good job. The four most important words: What is YOUR opinion? The three most important words: If you please. The two most important words: Thank You. The one most important word: We. The least important word: I. –Unknown   Our team works in a previously unoccupied basement room. In a previous life, it used to be filled with boxes holding old alcohol sample bottles. Various insects had taken up residence with the absence of people, the flooring tiles were coming up and the sink drain had…

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Hive tool to the rescue

Cooking is a hobby I really enjoy. I am not terribly good at it, but I like to practice. Farmer’s Markets are my favorite place to shop since you can get fresh produce and chat with some of the people who put it on your table. I purchased some kale the other weekend and decided to sauté it in a bit of olive oil and salt – properly done it tastes like popcorn. However, the oil got too hot and melted my spatula into my cast iron skillet. It took me a while to figure out how to save my beloved pan, but it came…

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