Beekeepers & Arthritis

If you ever do any research into apitherapy, you’ll eventually run across the claim that beekeepers don’t get arthritis and that it’s due to being stung all the time. First, let me disabuse you of this myth: it just ain’t so! I’ve been keeping bees since 2008 and have been stung more times than I care to count, including my …

“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 …

What a fun day

I spent this morning talking bees with three Kindergarten classes at St Joseph Catholic School in Belleville. Both of my kids are teenagers and I had completely forgotten how much energy these tiny people have! 😉

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 …

Inside a swarm

What comes to mind when someone says the word “swarm”? Instant death, right? Bees attack and don’t stop stinging, right? What if I told you that a swarm is generally the least aggressive that you’ll ever seen honeybees? No, seriously. A swarm is the colony’s way of creating a new hive: about half of the workers and the queen leave the …

Another day, another hive setup

Way back in March, when I suggested the hive rental idea to Greg, he was skeptical. But, I’d spoken with Marianne Gee with Gees Bees Honey Company and they were quite happy and I figured it was worth a shot. I was flabbergasted by the interest. We actually have a waiting list of folks wanting to place a hive. It’s …

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 …

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 …