April 18, 2014

Open-Feeding “Pollen Substitute”

Open-Feeding "Pollen Substitute"

Many years, we have a warm spell after the first frost and the bees can fly, but find nothing in the “field.” In the absence of nectar and pollen, our bees start foraging for alternative sources of carbs and protein. Bees pick up sand, sawdust, birdseed, or maybe even soda in some cans in a recycling bin on a neighbor’s back porch, etc., to bring home to the hive. Pretty soon the neighbor’s back … [Read more...]

Hosting the 2011 American Honey Princess

2011 American Honey Princess Allison Adams helps the WMBA ambassador beekeeping at the Fryeburg Fair.

  We had a lot of interest in Bee Schools at the Fryeburg Fair this year. (Perhaps an opportunity for bee school in the Naples-Bridgeton- Fryeburg area!) Allison Adams is the American Honey Princess this year. She did a terrific job speaking with people at the fair and was a great ambassador for beekeeping — very knowledgeable and well spoken. She is from Plano, Texas, and this was … [Read more...]

Fall Finale

Now is the time to gather and properly store any remaining beekeeping equipment, dead outs and sort through honeycomb.

Maine beekeepers are on the “home stretch” for the 2011 season. By mid-October, colonies with queen issues should have been united or culled, had Varroa treatment, and fed sugar syrup when needed. Fortunately, most hives have heavy brood nests and large populations of young, fat, fuzzy bees this fall. Varroa populations are low and symptoms of viral infections are minimal in contrast to this time … [Read more...]

Beekeeping Then and Now – My Experience

Lawrence Furbish enjoying his new apiary, back in Maine.

by Lawrence Furbish, York County Beekeeper My first exposure to beekeeping came in the early 1950s when my dad kept bees on land we owned down behind the Country Club in Sanford. I was too young to help him, but I remember several things: his bee veil, long canvas gloves that came up to his elbows, and the smoker. I also remember him getting called when a package of bees he had ordered … [Read more...]

Déjà vu?

R. S. Torrey Maine State Beehive, Bangor, 1859. Torrey’s hive was even referenced on the reverse side of a Civil War Toke

Periodically, I have the opportunity to rediscover my beekeeping library. Usually these encounters happen during winter, but this July, opportunity knocked when Matt Scott stopped by. Matt was preparing a lecture on the history of Maine beekeeping for the Bridgeton Historical Society and was in need of references and hive patents for his talk. Maine has several noteworthy beekeeping authors and … [Read more...]

My First EAS

About 20 Mainers attended the annual Eastern Apiculture Society meeting in Warwick Rhode Island - July 25-29.

by Ian Munger Have you ever read a bee article and wished you could ask follow-up questions? Just how much brood do you need to make that nuc? What is the best way to package and sell your honey? Can you write-off that lost colony on your taxes? Have you ever wished your local monthly meeting was a little bit longer? Do you love to talk about bees with anyone who will listen? EAS provides … [Read more...]

My Ticket to EAS and the Master Beekeeper’s Certification Test

Support up until the end from my mentor, Erin. Thank you! [Erin, left; Jackie, right]

by Jacky Hildreth, President Cumberland County Beekeepers Association, (and 3/4 Jedi Master!) WOWZA!!! Is my head spinning! I am so jazzed up from the whole event. I can’t believe what a powerful week this was for me. From all the great people I met, the excellent talks, demonstrations and social gatherings all wrapped into five quick days. It was like a full year of information in an apiary, … [Read more...]

University of Maine Scientist Visits Somerset Beekeepers

Frank Drummond Professor of Insect Ecology and Insect Pest Management at the University of Maine at Orono

by Sam(antha) Burns, UME Master Gardener, Somerset Beekeepers President Francis Drummond has been keeping bees since he was twelve years old. Now he is a Professor of Insect Ecology and Insect Pest Management at the University of Maine at Orono. As an entomologist, Frank has been uniquely poised to help bees and beekeepers, researching how honeybees, along with native bee species, are being … [Read more...]

Remember That Swarm Trap?

The remnants of a undetected colony who had moved into a swarm trap last season

Remember that great contraption you built in the hopes of catching and hiving a swarm? Well, make sure you check it carefully from time to time for inhabitants! Jacky discovered unexpected contents in his mentoree’s swarm trap which had been left out over the winter. Apparently, the beekeeper’s swarm had indeed moved in sometime last season, but its activity was never noticed. Not … [Read more...]

Varroa Destructor, the Pest

Varroa Destructor - Adapted from illustration by B. Alexander

The Varroa Destructor seems to have come to Maine in 1987, the year after the Tracheal Mite. Both created devastation in the beekeeping world and caught beekeepers off-guard. At that time it was referred to as the Fall Dwindle. It took a closer look to see that the die-outs were coming from a pesky little parasitic mite. The Varroa is now known to suck the blood-like body fluids, hymolymph, from … [Read more...]