Bumblebees at Play
Countryside » Backyard Beekeeping
by Patrice Lewis
9M ago
Add to Favorites Reading Time: 4 minutes Play is one of the most enchanting and mysterious behaviors animals exhibit. Play is crucial to proper development in many species. Through play, animals develop their cognitive and motor abilities. They figure out their environment and social standing. They figure out weaknesses in prey and locations of edible vegetation. In short, play provides endless learning opportunities for youngsters. Or so we always thought. Play does all these things, but ethologists are discovering play is more complex and obvious than once thought. Play is energetically cos ..read more
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The Lost Honeybees of Blenheim
Countryside » Backyard Beekeeping
by Patrice Lewis
11M ago
Add to Favorites Reading Time: 4 minutes Britain’s Blenheim Palace is a massive country house located in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, and one of Britain’s largest homes. Built between 1705 and 1722, it achieved the coveted designation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It is the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough and is most famously associated with Sir Winston Churchill, for whom it was both birthplace and ancestral home.  Blenheim holds another distinction. Its estate of 6,000 acres contains Europe’s largest ancient oak forest, and in 2021 a marvelous thing was discovered: wild honeybee ..read more
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Weird Honey
Countryside » Backyard Beekeeping
by Backyard Beekeeping Contributor
11M ago
Add to Favorites Reading Time: 4 minutes By Sherri Talbot Honey, to most people, is a golden, amber colored syrup that comes wrapped in tiny, hexagonal segments wrapped in wax and contained in everything from artificially constructed boxes to barn walls to tree trunks. Fans of buckwheat honey know that color can vary a lot from the normal color people tend to think of. Readers of the article, “When Honey-Colored Means Blue” (Backyard Beekeeping April/May of 2022) know that bees can produce some really strange honeys! Some of these tiny pollinators live just to mess with your expectations thou ..read more
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DIY Screened Inner Covers
Countryside » Backyard Beekeeping
by Kristi Cook
11M ago
Add to Favorites Reading Time: 6 minutes If you use telescoping outer covers in your beekeeping operation, chances are good you also use some form of inner cover. Many utilize these handy contraptions as additional insulation while others use them as upper entrances. Still others use inner covers to keep bees from propolizing the more expensive outer covers to hive bodies. One of the primary purposes of inner covers, however, is to increase ventilation throughout the hive during varying types of weather. To optimize this air flow, many beekeepers forego the more traditional inner covers in fa ..read more
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American Foulbrood Versus European Foulbrood
Countryside » Backyard Beekeeping
by Kristi Cook
11M ago
Add to Favorites Reading Time: 6 minutes American foulbrood and European foulbrood are perhaps two of the most commonly misunderstood diseases among beekeepers. And understandably so. After all, both diseases share many of the same characteristics even down to their names. However, there are just as many differences between the two that make identification much simpler than we often think it is. Here’s a breakdown of those similarities and differences and how to obtain an accurate diagnosis when either foulbrood is suspected.  What is Foulbrood?  Both American foulbrood (AFB) and E ..read more
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The Thrill of Beelining
Countryside » Backyard Beekeeping
by Patrice Lewis
11M ago
Add to Favorites Reading Time: 4 minutes If you are looking for a hobby that gets you out in nature, requires patience and determination, and has all the thrills of a treasure hunt, then beelining is for you.  Beelining is the art of finding wild honeybee colonies. It has been practiced since prehistoric times. In the days before apiaries were common, beelining wild colonies might be the only way to secure a source of sweetener for enterprising woodsmen. Bee trees were either marked for ownership and then raided sustainably year after year, or simply chopped down and cleaned out.  ..read more
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Single Deep Splits with Mated Queens
Countryside » Backyard Beekeeping
by Kristi Cook
11M ago
Add to Favorites Reading Time: 6 minutes One aspect of beekeeping that never ceases to amaze me is how quickly one tiny nucleus colony goes from five frames of honey bees to three and more boxes. This rapid growth allows colonies to not only prepare for winter but gives them the numbers they need for reproduction as well. Beekeepers wishing to expand their operation can take advantage of these strong colonies by making splits throughout the season. Some choose to split into five-frame nucs, some do walk away splits, while others conduct a combination of splits. Another split to add to the rep ..read more
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Guidance on Buying Hygienic Bees 
Countryside » Backyard Beekeeping
by Rusty Burlew
11M ago
Add to Favorites Reading Time: 2 minutes Honeybees bred for various characteristics have fascinated beekeepers for decades. Bees can be bred for overwintering, honey production, gentleness, and even hygienic behavior.   The problem is that insects such as bees and wasps have an unusual type of genetic inheritance known as haplodiploidy. In short, it means fertilized eggs become female and unfertilized eggs become male. As a result, the normal model of Mendelian genetics that we use for breeding dogs, cats, goats, and cattle doesn’t work for haplodiploid creatures.   Honeybees in pa ..read more
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The Unsolved Mystery: Washboarding Behavior in Bees
Countryside » Backyard Beekeeping
by Patrice Lewis
11M ago
Add to Favorites Reading Time: 4 minutes When Karl von Frisch decoded the mystery of bee dances in the 1920s (and won the Nobel Prize much later, in 1973), some might erroneously conclude there’s nothing more to learn about these fascinating communal insects.  Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. As proof, consider the unsolved mystery of washboarding.  Often observed at the entrance to hives, washboarding is a purposeful group behavior involving anywhere from a few to several hundred bees engaging in a swaying to-and-fro movement reminiscent of scrubbing clothes on a ..read more
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Eusocial Insects Meet Social Media
Countryside » Backyard Beekeeping
by Backyard Beekeeping Contributor
11M ago
Add to Favorites Reading Time: 5 minutes By Britney Bowman It’s the age of social media, and while TikTok dances and Snapchat filters are still taking the internet by storm, there’s something new causing a buzz — bees!  With over one million hashtags and counting, #honeybees are quickly gaining the attention of Instagram users, and beekeepers are taking advantage of the hype. Not only are they jumping on the opportunity to spread education and awareness, they’re also finding genuine community.   I recently had the opportunity to chat with a few of the platform’s most successful ..read more
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