I recently finished the book Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive, by Mark Winston, and thought a short summary might be appropriate. We’ve been riding a roller coaster of temperatures lately, with 60 F one day and a chance of snow the next. The weather is trying to settle into a normal spring pattern this week, so hopefully the snow and freezing temperatures have come to an end. Continue reading
Continuing with the winter theme, another recent read was Ron Miksha’s book Bad Beekeeping. Miksha maintains a blog of a similar name for sharing his thoughts on the world of bees and beekeeping. He mentioned the book in a post so I thought I would pick up a copy in support of his ongoing efforts. Here is a short review.
Winter is a time for reading in beekeeping. I recently finish Simple, Smart Beekeeping by husband and wife team Kirsten Shoshanna Traynor (Author) and Michael Joseph Traynor (Contributor). I purchased the book at the VSBA Fall meeting, where Dr. Traynor and Michael spoke twice: once on the topic of pesticides, and again on beekeeping in Germany. Both were quite interesting so I supported their efforts by buying their book. The cost is a bit steep: $34.95 right now on Amazon; the meeting price was $25. Continue reading
We had a warm day yesterday, partly sunny and 64 F. The bees went crazy, flying circles around the yard and coming to and fro in the entrances. Hauling out corpses, relieving waste, and generally getting their bee houses in order. I looked in the observation window of the top bar hive, which has shown only comb for a good month or so, and bees were everywhere. There were definitely clustering away from the window, as I mentioned in a prior post.
In the meantime, I finished up my winter reading, and thought I would share a summary of this rather interesting book. Continue reading
The weather swings to and fro. Spring is not quite in the air, though the birds are singing about it. I’ve been meaning to share some of the books I’ve read lately, at least the ones related to beekeeping. In the past few months I’ve read The Quest for the Perfect Hive, The Beekeeper’s Problem Solver, and The Thinking Beekeeper.
I recently finished Fedor Lazutin’s book Keeping Bees With A Smile. It is a rather fascinating read about keeping bees naturally in the depths of Russia, where the winters really are six months long. I have to thank the Happy Hour at the Top Bar blog for recommending the book. I really enjoyed the different perspective on beekeeping and discussion of a hive style I was not at all familiar with. Continue reading
I finished reading Jürgen Tautz’s book The Buzz about Bees, Biology of a Superorganism. A number of sources touted this as an excellent book, and I was not disappointed. The book presents the case for treating the entire colony as an organism. Center to Tautz’s argument is that a bee on its own cannot reproduce; the unit of reproduction is the colony itself via swarming and requires the workers, the drones, as well as the queen. Continue reading
Bee school is finished and the bees are coming. I’ve been trying to read yet another bee book, but my mind wanders to thoughts of actually having bees. My apiary is not quite ready, but with some upcoming days to work on it all should be well.
Well, the good news is that I have managed to purchase the hives, equipment, and clothing I believe is needed to have bees in the spring. The bad news is that it is February in Virginia, with snow on the ground and cold in the air. So the best I can do is take some pictures and keep reading and learning. Here is a picture of me dressed for the bees in my new bee jacket. I was planning to purchase a full-body suit, but am told I would roast in the full heat of summer around here. So a jacket it is.
This past week in bee school we learned about bee diseases and pests, from the tiny viruses to the dreaded mites and the much larger skunks and bears. Continue reading
I finished reading Thomas D. Seeley’s excellent book Honeybee Democracy this past week, and it has me thinking about bee colonies as superorganisms. The idea is that a specialized colony of animals such as termites, coral, or bees behaves as a single organism, and can be treated as such. This had me wondering how a bee colony compares to our own special type of organism, the human body, which in turn led to this post.
Honey bee swarm image from the site honeybeeswarmremoval.com