September 29, 2016

Queen Rearing with Marla Spivak

“It’s time to be gentle guys,” intoned Marla Spivak as the 7 members of my group from the class of 30 filed into the darkened lab room. We were about to learn how to graft one-day old larvae under the watchful eyes of Marla and Judy Wu, a PhD candidate studying the effects of neonicotinoids. This was July 7, 2012 the morning of day two of the two-and-a-half day Queen Rearing Short Course … [Read more...]

Is Your Honey Bucket Food-safe?

by Randal Carr, Greenville It is a common practice to obtain a honey gate and install it in a 5-gallon plastic bucket for honey storage and bottling. The money savings alone can make the extra effort worth your time. However, not all buckets you find in hardware stores are food-safe. Two of the most important considerations that affect safety are whether the bucket contains recycled … [Read more...]

Myths of Beekeeping

As you learn more each year about the bees, you may come across some strange ideas. Most of these weird concepts come from a friend, who heard it from a friend. Usually they make complete sense when you hear them, but later, you may wonder (about the weird idea, not the friend). Here are a few myths of beekeeping which have been perpetuated over the years, and are hard to kill. Myth #1: You need … [Read more...]

Inspector’s Comments, Fall 2012

Over the years, my sons, assistant inspectors and commercial beekeepers alike have commented that I only get enthusiastic working bees when we encounter “bad stuff.” I immediately refute such comments, but must confess that they are true to an extent. Bad stuff like American foulbrood, pesticide kills and bears irritate rather than excite me, while the sight of bees hauling in nectar is exciting … [Read more...]

Preparing for Swarm Season

Making Your Own Bait Hives Now that you’re finished with your winter of building and repairing supers, brood boxes and frames, think about the possibility of building bait hives in preparation for the May/ June swarm season. A bait hive is a swarm-catching box. I have captured some nice swarms in boxes set in trees, and it seems easier than answering a swarm call, which may come at an … [Read more...]

Advanced Intermediate Bee School

by Peggy McLaughlin New this winter to the growing list of Bee School offerings in Maine was the Advanced Intermediate Bee School taught by Master Beekeepers Erin MacGregor-Forbes and Cindy Bee. The course, which ran on Tuesday nights, met at the University of Southern Maine campus in Portland. It is one of many Bee Schools taught around the state this year, but the first of its kind at the … [Read more...]

What to Do with Crystallized Honey in Combs

If you’re like most of us, some of your hives died this winter or spring. Assuming you know what American Foul Brood evidence looks like, and know there is none, you may use the hive’s combs for future bees. Some combs, especially higher in the hive, may still have honey in them. It will be crystallized, which looks like wet white granules in the cells instead of thick clear liquid honey. The … [Read more...]

Ag Day at the Legislature 2013

Board members Charlie Merrill and Roy Cronkhite attended Ag Day at the Legislature on March 27th. The display emphasized the value of honey bees to Maine Agriculture. The legislators were able to take letter openers branded with the MSBA logo, honey candy and honey straws. … [Read more...]

Varroa Treatment Comparison

Maine beekeepers are thinking about their bees and parasitic mite controls, spurred by the arrival of this year's beekeeping supply catalogs, coupled with the recent snow melt after January's rain and wind event. Already, there are reports of hive mortality and requests for information and post mortem inspections. So far, most of the inspections reveal mortality due to Varroa and several cases … [Read more...]

Why Is It Called a Super?

With all the terms and jargon that go with beekeeping, knowing the underlying meaning of words may help you remember their uses. Beware of the lazy verbal trap of calling every box a super. According to the dictionary, a definition of “super” is: A prefix from Latin, with the basic meaning “above, beyond.” Words formed with super- have the following general senses: “to place or be placed above … [Read more...]