Eat, drink, and bee merry

In Virginia, we have six to eight weeks of summer dearth followed by an unreliable fall, so the best nectar the bees see is in spring and early summer. Last year, in my first year of beekeeping, another beekeeper told me to feed my hives in August and September. Otherwise they will eat much of their stores and not have enough for winter. Well, it turns out he was correct. Continue reading

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Varroa Mitey, the undefeated, inscrutable to the last

Our local bee club hosted Dr. Meghan Milbrath yesterday. It was free event open to the public and we had some 80 to 100 people show up. Dr. Milbrath spoke on the topic of “Towards Treatment Free” and I thought I would provide a brief summary.

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Dr. Milbrath at the start of her talk. © Erik Brown

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And so bee-come yourself

pwswcd-logoThis past Thursday found me at the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District (PWSWCD) (link) Farm Field Days 2016. The annual event at our county fairgrounds brings fourth graders from across Prince William County (where I live!) to learn about agriculture and conservation. It is mostly volunteer supported, and I was happy to participate. Continue reading

Bee right as rain

161001c-mars-feederI am in the sky at 34,002 feet as I write this, on my way to California and thinking about my rain-sodden bees in Virginia. Northern Virginia had five days of solid rain, well over 5 inches (12 cm) of water at our house. The bees (and the people) have been huddled away waiting for it to end. As I left the house the sun peered out to see what was left of the land.

With fall firmly in place, I naturally wonder whether the bees have enough food for the winter. Last year I was able to bring my three hives through to the spring. I hope my five hives will do the same for my second winter with bees. Yesterday I provided some additional food for some of the hives to help pull them through. Continue reading