The Russians are here! 

We visited the bustling metropolis of Moose Creek, ON, this morning to pick up 6 nucs of Russian bees this morning. We’ve heard good things about them and Jurg Zurcher was able to confirm most of them and discounted and important one: yes, they build up quickly; they can be swarmy, but make sure they have space to build and …

“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 …

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

Hive inspection quick reference cards

I got the idea for these from someone on a beekeeping forum a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep track of whom, so I can’t credit him. Printed off, 5 to a letter-sized page, they’re meant to be tacked to the rear of a hive so you can tell with a quick glance what was going on in …