“It is said that smoke calms honeybees”

We don’t use smoke when we tend our hives. We never have and I don’t see any reason to start now. It disrupts the hive and can mask all kinds of odours that a beekeeper can use to figure out what’s happening in a hive. It appears that part of our justification for being smoke-free is also inacurrate: “The perception …

Don’t Plant Those “Bee-Friendly” Wildflowers Cheerios Is Giving Away

I can hear you right now: “What? Why not? Cheerios is doing a good thing! What’s wrong with their wildflower seeds?” Well, mostly nothing, but it’s the invasive ones that would be better off staying inside the packet: Forget-me-not is banned as a noxious weed in Massachusetts and Connecticut, for example. The California poppy is nice in California, but listed as …

Honeybees thieves hit Eastern Ontario

Humans have a tendency to presume that everyone like yourself, who likes the same sports team or has the same interests, is good or should be trusted. Beekeepers, doubly so. Unfortunately, some beekeepers proved just how unworthy they are of that trust this week when they cleaned out an apiary of a dear friend of ours: It was a professional heist. The culprits …

How honeybees do without males

Speaking as a male, I’m not sure I approve of this, but nobody asked. 😉 An isolated population of honeybees, the Cape bees, living in South Africa has evolved a strategy to reproduce without males. A research team has sequenced the entire genomes of a sample of Cape bees and compared them with other populations of honeybees to find out …

Sticky fingers: The rise of the bee thieves

  A fascinating piece from The Guardian this morning. Thankfully, while they do happen, hive thefts aren’t exactly common here. Not yet anyway.   The Long Read: Bees have become a billion-dollar business. But who would try to steal them? Source: Sticky fingers: The rise of the bee thieves | Brett Murphy | Environment | The Guardian

Beekeepers try to keep bees — and livelihoods — from going extinct

    An interesting piece from the Washington Post about the lengths that some beeks are having to go to help their colonies. Obsessing over bee health was unheard of 50 years ago, said Marla Spivak, a University of Minnesota professor of entomology. “In the past, it was very easy to keep bees. Throw them in a box, and they …

FUD from the Grain Farmers of Ontario

FUD /fəd/, noun fear, uncertainty and doubt, usually evoked intentionally in order to put a competitor at a disadvantage. The Grain Farmers of Ontario have been very vocal opponents of Ontario’s recently approved and soon to be implemented restrictions on the neonicotinoid pesticide seed treatments. If you listen to their argument, it’s going to mean the end of grain farming …

Report: Bees may get hooked on neonicotinoid pesticides

File this under “I don’t even …” Bees may be getting hooked on nectar laced with widely used nicotine-related chemicals in pesticides they cannot even taste, in the same way humans are addicted to cigarettes, new research has found. Adding to evidence of potential harm from the chemicals, another field-scale study published on Wednesday also found that exposure to so-called …