Two weeks prior to making this video, I installed a box on my hive where every second frame was completely empty. (See post) Other than a small wax starter strip, the frames had absolutely no foundation. In two weeks, my busy ladies have created some beautiful, pristine, white comb. I started this as an experiment, and I believe this experiment was quite successful. Here’s my update video:

 

Zombie Bee or Zombee

Photo by John Hafernik/SF State University

No, it’s not the title of a new B-Horror movie (Bee Movie?). Zombie bees are a real thing. A recent article from Scientific American explains how parasitizing flies — Apocephalus borealis — have been laying eggs in honeybees and turning them into zombies. The “zombified” bees then fly out of the hive at night with seemingly no destination. They end up dying and their bodies then release pupae that grow into adult flies.

The problem which was first noticed in honeybees earlier this year had only been known to infect bumble bees and paper wasps previously. The appearance of these parasitizing flies in honeybees came as quite a surprise and is thought to be a very new thing. Scientists are not sure how widespread the problem is so they have even set up a new web site to track zom-bees: zombeewatch.org.

For more information or to read the full article, please visit Are Zombie Bees Infiltrating Your Neighborhood?

The Barefoot Beekeeper by Phil ChandlerI’m barely half way through this season of beekeeping and I’m already anxious to start a new season next spring. The reason for my overzealous anticipation is because I just finished reading The Barefoot Beekeeper by Philip Chandler and now I want to spend my winter building top bar hives and preparing to catch spring swarms.

Phil Chandler is one of the topmost authorities on top bar hives and intervention-free, natural beekeeping in the world today. His book, The Barefoot Beekeeper, is one of the best resources available for anyone interested in this type of beekeeping and it contains oodles of information to help you start a top bar colony of your very own.

The book begins with a brief history of the honeybee and then The Barefoot Beekeeper highlights several different problems affecting bees today and clearly links these problems to human practices of the last 150 years. Many of these problems started occurring with the invention of removable frames and the Langstroth beehive. Since then, commercial beekeeping has exploded and it has severely impacted honeybee health and overall population.

Chandler becomes more positive in the next few chapters by explaining ways to help the bees using a more natural approach to beekeeping and keeping bees for the sake of keeping bees rather than purely for profit. He focuses mainly on the top bar hive — a style of beehive which more closely mimics the honeybee’s natural habitat.

While the book does not give complete instructions for building a top bar hive, Chandler does urge reader’s to visit his web site, www.biobees.com, for detailed top bar hive plans, completely for free.

If you are like me, and either keep bees as a hobby, or would like to keep bees for the sake of keeping bees, then The Barefoot Beekeeper is definitely a book that you should pick up today. Stayed tuned for my own adventures this winter as I build my own top bar hive and then next spring when I capture a swarm of bees to live in it. Thanks Mr. Chandler.

Purchase this book at Amazon:
The Barefoot Beekeeper
By: Phil Chandler
3rd Edition
May 2009

These types of stories sicken me. A bee yard theft in Abbotsford, B.C. has left a beekeeper without a substantial portion of their beekeeping business.

Usually when you hear of bee yard vandalism, it’s caused by teenagers or random people (often under the influence of something) who get a kick out of damaging other people’s property. However,  when a theft occurs, it’s usually someone who knows bees and has a bee yard of their own. I really can’t believe that anyone in the beekeeping community would steal another beekeeper’s bees and equipment. I hope that this person is caught and is punished appropriately.

Full story found here.

UPDATE April 25, 2013: This link was changed, so I have updated to link to CBC.ca instead.

Here’s an amazing BBC documentary for your weekend viewing pleasure. Jimmy Doherty is a pig farmer from Suffolk, UK. While he keeps his own bees at home, nothing quite prepares him for hunting honey from the world’s largest honeybees on the steep cliffs of Nepal.

I previously posted some images from the Honey Hunters of Nepal and it’s incredible to see the actual honey harvesting in video form. Enjoy.