A roof over their heads

A colony of bees is fairly loose in their requirements of a cavity to live in. Basically they need a space of a suitable volume with a defensible entrance and enough protection from the elements so they can maintain an internal environment to survive in good health. A lid for the hive helps meet this last requirement by helping to retain heat and exclude precipitation. At its simplest, a lid can just be a piece of plywood or other material that provides coverage to the top of a hive. Beyond meeting the basic needs of the colony, beekeepers have added modifications to lid and cover…

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Look Down

Separating a hive from the bottom board and tilting it forward is a useful first step before proceeding further with a colony inspections for several reasons. A tilt allows you to assess the overall weight of a hive while letting the bottom board carry the weight. Tilting also facilitates looking at the bottom bars to assess the coverage and density of bees allowing for a population estimate to be made. These are both valuable pieces of information that allow broad inferences about colony health to be made, but tilting the hive forward before proceeding further also allows you to examine the state of the bottom…

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More Five Dollar Bee Words

I am fortunate to spend a lot of time reading and listening to a lot of beekeeping and bee science topics which inevitably leads to coming across terms I have to look up. A couple years back I compiled a list of these challenging words and turned it into a Five Dollar Bee Words blog. Since that post I've continued to encounter words that have sent me to the dictionary so I've put together another list. Chorion is the flexible membrane surrounding honey bee eggs that is absorbed as the egg grows into a larva. Dioecious plant species have a separation of male (pistil) and…

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Nitrile Gloves and You

When asked "Besides a hive tool, a smoker and a veil, what is your favorite tool in the beekeeper's toolbox?" fellow BIP field specialist Dan Aurell replied with NITRILE GLOVES! There are a lot of situations where a beekeeper (especially a BIP field specialist) might want to pull on some nitrile gloves. The most obvious benefit gained using nitrile gloves is that they can help prevent honey bee stings (or just make them less severe).  This fact assumes that you are already going gloveless and not using thick leather gloves.  They do not prevent stings outright but they can help prevent the stinger becoming embedded…

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BIP’s Venture into Encaustic Art

During the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Conference in Schaumburg, Illinois in early January 2020, several BIP staff members participated in BIP Board Member George Hansen’s Encaustic Painting Workshop.  A skill new to many of us in the workshop, this incredibly enchanting art form transforms melted beeswax and pigments into beautifully imaginative paintings.  Or at least for some of our creations, beautifully imaginative in the eye of the beholder. George has introduced the ABF community to encaustic painting before through presentations in previous years but this time around was the first offering of an interactive workshop where participants created their own works of art right there…

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What Robbing Looks Like

Most new beekeepers find out about robbing the hard way when they either spend a little too long poking around in colonies at the wrong time of year, arrive in a bee yard already to find a frenzy of activity around hive entrances, or encounter the aftermath in the form of dead colonies and empty hives. Robbing can be particularly bad in the late summer and fall when several conditions align, leading to high potential for robbing. These triggering conditions include nectar dearth after a main flow, large colony populations with a high proportion of foragers, temperatures suitable for intense flight activity, and potential for…

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Happy New Year from BIP’s New Executive Director

Happy New Year!  I’m jumping for joy that I will begin 2020 as Executive Director of the Bee Informed Partnership.  A couple of weeks in December alongside BIP’s former beloved ED, Karen Rennich, introduced me to the incredible behind-the-scenes work to which BIP’s staff members dedicate themselves to keep BIP’s services accessible and meaningful for beekeepers.  I look forward to working with our current collaborators and to bridging new partnerships as we explore more ways to use beekeeping data to improve honey bee health. I’m thrilled to be joining BIP in this role.  For many years I spent time working for non-profit organizations and the…

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Bee Informed is Wonderful, So Happy to Have Them

Holiday Greetings!, Beekeepers participating in Bee Informed programs have access to a broad network of apiculture specialists. From the Bee Health Field Specialists that provide hands-on assessments with commercial beekeepers to the lab and database techs, and subject matter experts that provide timely insights to current trends, diagnosis of observed problems, and current and best practices for fixing those problems. But this isn't just how I would describe BIP, let's hear it from Jason Hough, a nuc, package bee and honey producer in Maryland who has these words to say about the Bee Informed Partnership as he was interviewed by Eric Malcolm in the video…

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Until we meet again…

As 2019 rushes to a close and we usher in a new year, a big change is also happening at the Bee Informed Partnership. After 9 years leading the efforts at BIP, I am stepping down and am delighted to introduce Annette ("Net") Meredith as our new Executive Director. Net will follow with her own blog introducing herself, her background and experience, and some thoughts on joining the BIP team. She has many exciting ideas, is super organized and is looking forward to meeting all of you. We could not have found a better person to continue our efforts and grow all of our programs.…

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BIP Tech Team Field Agents as Early Alarm Systems

In Northern California this past spring, colony growth was slow due to the cooler weather. So slow in fact, that most Queen Producers started breeding up to a month late!  Additionally, the numerous fungicide applications in the orchards accumulating on forage, may have been another factor impacting colony health and growth. The conditions were so wet this year, growers had to apply more aerial sprays to control fungus. Most of these sprays were performed during the daytime and most likely increase bee exposure to fungicides, especially in standing watering holes for bees, where pesticides may be present at higher levels. A week or so into…

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