Bee Lawns – Conserve Pollinators And Natural Resources In Your Own Home Lawn

Guest Blog Written By James Wolfin The turfgrass lawn has become a staple of American culture.  To many, the desired lawn is a lush, green carpet that is cut low and weed free; maintained to draw the admiration of neighbors.  We often go to great lengths to curate this aesthetic. Weekly mowing. Weekly watering. Herbicide applications to keep out undesirable weeds.  Spreading fertilizer a few times per year to ensure the pristine green color that has become an expectation in some communities.  But have we stopped to consider the ecological and environmental consequences of how we manage our lawns, and what alternatives there may be?…

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Moving Bees Into Almonds

Every year, beekeepers from across the continental United States move millions of honey bee colonies to California’s Central Valley, arriving just in time to tend the billions of bursting almond blossoms that require their pollination services. But have you ever really thought about what it takes to accomplish this massive migration? Colonies from every corner of the country - many hunkered down in the dead of winter, or stacked in indoor, cold storage sheds - are prepped and loaded onto semis, hauled hundreds of miles, inspected at border stations, unloaded into temporary holding yards, and then relocated once more - strategically placed amongst the almonds…

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Sentinel Apiary Program 2021 Wrap-Up and 2022 Sign-Up

Authors: Rachel Kuipers, Jeri Parrent & Nathalie Steinhauer Here at Bee Informed Partnership, we are excited to announce that registration for the 2022 Sentinel Program is open now through the end of April! Don't delay - register today by completing the quick and easy online registration form here. This past season, there were 92 Sentinel participants who sampled over 500 colonies across 129 unique locations. The University of Maryland Honey Bee Lab processed 2,312 samples from Sentinel colonies throughout the season. That’s a lot of samples—a record for the program! We also reached eight of the nine NOAA climatic regions, as well as the non-continental…

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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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