The mites before Christmas

151222 Mars Jupiter Before

Mars and Jupiter before treatment on Dec 22, 2015. (c) Erik Brown

There were mites before Christmas
when all through the hives,
The honey bees struggled
in a fight for their lives. Continue reading

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Happy is the bee that the sun shines on

151124a Hat Bee

This bee landed on my hat (while I was wearing it) and hung out long enough for a picture. © Erik Brown

The cold is slowly coming to Virginia. Most of our days have been warm enough for the bees to fly, with only a handful of fall days colder than 50 degrees (10 Celcius). A couple frosty nights here and there but again most nights well above freezing. Tuesday I finished some winter preparations on the hives, and it was in the mid-50’s. The top bar hive was especially buzzing for a good 15 or 20 minutes, with dozens of bees checking out the bee yard.

According to Jürgen Tautz in his book The Buzz about Bees, so-called orientation flights generally occur only when a queen is present. So I’ll take this activity as a good sign. Continue reading

CCBA Honeycomb: The Appetite of Laborers Works for Them

The post continues my summary of the presentations at the CCBA Conference this past weekend. The prior post discussed the presentations from Tom Seeley, this post shares the two presentations from Vermont beekeeper Michael Palmer. I should state up front that Palmer gives these presentations around the world, and both are available on YouTube.  While I knew of him as a beekeeper, I was not familiar with his theories and found the sessions quite enjoyable. Continue reading