A good beginning is Halictidae the battle

This Halictidae bee on a mountain mint flower is a Augochlorella aurata. Taken on July 21, 2019. ©Erik Brown

One of my bee goals for the year was to understand native bee species a bit better. I’m not sure how well I’ve done overall, though I have taken a bunch of pictures. In a small attempt to rectify this, allow me to discuss one scientific family of bees, the family Halictidae. Continue reading

A bee is a dandelion in her own cause

Dandelions in our yard on March 31, 2018. ©Erik Brown

March was colder than February here in Virginia. Our favorite weatherman said tonight that this is only the second year this has happened. The first time was last year, when we had a very warm February and a cold March. This year we had a cool February and a cooler March.

Needless to say, the flowers are off to a slow start this year, with the bees alternating between huddling for warmth and flying for joy. It seems a short post to welcome some spring and flowers into our world is in order. Continue reading

The more mites change, the more bees stay the same

In 1519, Spanish forces arrived in Mexico with weapons both seen and unseen. Between 1545 and 1550, up to 80 percent of the native Aztec population is believed to have been wiped out by disease, possibly a deadly form of salmonella.

In 1987, the varroa mite arrived in the United States with weapons both seen and unseen. In the most recent beekeeping season from 2015 to 2016, beekeepers lost an estimated 44 percent of their bees.

Coincidence? Maybe not. Some thoughts on the evolution of honey bees and varroa mites. Continue reading

Busy beeks are always metaling

A quick post about a small project this past weekend. If you are following along, you know I am interested in making some nucleus colonies this spring, or nucs for short. Our local beekeeping club (PWRBA) coordinates sales for new beekeepers and this should be a good way to help prevent swarming in my existing hives.

One problem for me is that the standard wax cardboard nuc box is only available for deep frames, while I am trying to move to medium frames. So I kind of want to fit medium frames into a deep nuc box. I found a solution this weekend. Continue reading