April 26, 2015

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...]

Plant Buyer, Be Wary

Plant Buyer, Be Wary

by Amy Campbell, Master Gardener There is nothing more fun for me as a gardener than to poke around nurseries in the spring looking for plants! It was gardening that got me into beekeeping because I thought bees would be perfect companion animals in the flowery landscape. Several years later, it is my interest in bees and my learning about some of the problems associated not only with honeybees … [Read more...]

Promoting Pollinators to Our Local Communities

National Pollinator Week 2011

by Sam(antha) Burns, UME Master Gardener, Somerset Beekeepers President With National Pollinator Week just around the corner, this is a good time to take a moment to think about all of the creatures who are so crucially important to the diversity of life we experience on this Earth. Plants and pollinators have evolved together over the last 130 million years; today 80% of the flowering … [Read more...]

Honey Bee Removal: A Step-by-Step Guide by Cindy Bee and Bill Owens

Honey Bee Removal: A Step-by-Step Guide by Cindy Bee and Bill Owens

Review by Geoff MacLean Last year, I safely removed honey bee colonies  from five homes around Greater Portland,  but sure wish I’d had the opportunity  to read a great book on the subject first! Let’s take a look at what I believe is  the first comprehensive guide to honey  bee colony removals, written by Cindy  Bee and Bill Owens, masters at the  craft of honey bee colony removal:  Honey … [Read more...]

A Swiss Bee House: Inside and Out

Swiss beekeepers' hives are kept inside a trailer or house -sometimes simple, sometimes rather elaborate

Photos by Jim Blanchard from his 2009 trip to Cornol, Switzerland, where he happened upon Aheniry Amseutz… … [Read more...]

Swarm Catching: A Fun [Club] Opportunity?

Carefully trimming the swarm-occupied branch into a box

We're now just a month away from the kickoff of our honey bee swarm season in Maine. With a little preparation, and the right attitude, we can have fun rescuing some of Mother Nature's most healthy, robust colonies. Without our help, they are probably in for a short lifespan as a feral colony in a small tree, your neighbor's attic, or even worse, stuck out in the open come late … [Read more...]

Catch Swarms Before They Find a Home in a Wall

A bee vacuum can be made or purchased; it is very effective, and surprisingly easy on the bees when used correctly

Photos from some of Geoff MacLean’s recent Honey Bee removal projects. A few examples of why it is good to catch swarms before they find a hole in the wall. … [Read more...]

The Snowbird Beekeeper: Reflections from Florida for 2011

Matt Scott, retired State of Maine Aquatic Biologist and re-founder of the Maine State Beekeepers Association

by Matt Scott Greetings from Florida! Following is what I have been observing or have seen the past few months: Spring has really sprung down here—the red maple bloom is all over and now the oaks are in full bloom, producing pollen like mad. By the time you read this it will be spring and I will be back in Maine by April 15th to check on my bees and all my winter losses, like others I have … [Read more...]