July 23, 2014

Advanced Intermediate Bee School

Advanced Intermediate Bee School Instructor, Cindy Bee

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

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

Charlie Merrill mans the informative MSBA display at Ag Day at the Legislature on March 27, 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

Apiguard

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?

Hive Bodies - Courtesy of The Honey Exchange in Portland

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...]

A Comparison of Strength and Survivability of Honey Bee Colonies with Conventional Versus Northern-Requeened Packages: Our New SARE-Funded Project

Erin MacGregor Forbes "Shaking" Package Bees

Those of you who have been members of the Maine State Beekeepers Association for a few years probably remember the grant project I conducted with Larry Peiffer comparing Northern-raised nucs, commercially raised packages, and commercially raised packages that we re-queened with northern queens. For those of you who haven’t heard of the project, we compared 54 colonies over the 2009 & 2010 … [Read more...]

Inspector’s Comments: Back to the Future

Good News: HopGuard Approval in Maine

By now, a number of Maine’s beekeepers have had the opportunity to meet and inspect their hives with David Smith. Dave’s service is available due to a coordinated effort by Walt Whitcomb, Commissioner, Maine Department of Agriculture; Caudwell Jackson, Deputy Commissioner; David Lavway, Director, Division of Animal & Plant Health and Senator Russell Black, Wilton. Dave started on June 11th and … [Read more...]

From a Book to Honey Bees: A Teenager’s Journey into Beekeeping

Sarah Gould installs a freshly caught swarm of bees.

by Sarah A. Gould My journey with bees is one that is different from many of the stories of my fellow beekeepers. For one thing, I began beekeeping at 15 years old. This fact alone differentiates me from many other beekeepers who perhaps have turned this hobby into a side career or retirement hobby. This is not say that there isn’t a strong population of younger beekeepers, but compared to the … [Read more...]

Beginner Teacher Teaching Beginning Beekeepers

Peter Richardson, Phil Gaven, and Ian Munger representing Maine at EAS

Last fall, Megan Gaven casually mentioned that she would like to see Phil and I teach beekeeping. Why? Who knows, but I agreed. It has been said by wiser people than I that to teach a subject, you must truly master it. If that is the criteria, I have no business teaching. But Phil assured me that I didn’t need to know everything about beekeeping to teach beginners, just more than they know. He … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Practical Beekeeper: Beekeeping Naturally [Volumes I, II & III] by Michael Bush

The Practical Beekeeper by Michael Bush

Review by Andrew Dewey  Michael Bush is a queen bee producer living in Nebraska who has for many years answered countless postings on internet forums BeeSource and BeeMaster, as well as the Organic Beekeepers mailing list. His web site (bushfarms.com) contains a cornucopia of information about bees and how to work them. And as Bush makes very clear, most of the book’s content can actually be … [Read more...]