Category Archives: Beekeeping

2016 Year-End Review

runamuk-apiary-bees-on-a-hive

A full rotation of the Earth around the sun has brought us once again to the end of the calendar year. It’s been a busy year for Runamuk, with some ups and some downs too, and some life altering moments. Before we shift our focus to 2017 and all that the new year may bring our way I’d like to take… Read more »

DIY mouse-guards: how and when to install them on your beehive

mouse-invasion_fi

Harvest is now past, the leaves are falling from the trees to blanket the Earth as we move deeper into the darker half of the year, and things are cooling down here in Maine. Now that I have 7 seasons of beekeeping behind me I know that I prefer to have all of my winter hive preparations finalized by no later than… Read more »

Feeding Bees in the Fall

feeding beehives syrup in the fall

It’s that time of year when beekeepers are ramping up winter preparations for their beehives. We’re inspecting hives for colony strength, putting entrance reducers and mouse-guards on hives, applying mite treatments and feeding to ensure colonies have adequate stores to overwinter on. I have 15 hives going into winter and some of them are incredibly heavy with bees and honey stores,… Read more »

No honey to sell….again

honeybee on royal hybrid

It’s difficult to be at market and have to tell customers that I’m not going to have any honey this year, but that’s the state of things at the Runamuk Apiary. Two years in a row and no honey to sell. The reason for this honey-shortage is largely related to the fact that we’re still building up the Runamuk Apiary… Read more »

DIY screened bottom board “sticky-stuff”

diy screened bottom board sticky-stuff

The beginning of August signifies the end of the spring nectar flow here in Maine. At this point in the season there is a nectar dearth, meaning we experience a period of time when there is a scarcity of available nectar. In my neck of the woods the dearth usually lasts 2-3 weeks on average. Beekeepers in Maine take advantage… Read more »

Moving beehives

Hives on the truck

The sky was just beginning to lighten Saturday morning as I went out to the apiary with scissors and a wet sponge. The bees were not yet active so it was an ideal time to close up hives in preparation for moving. I manage a few hives for Ernie and Gwen Hilton of Hyl-Tun Farm in Starks; just as mine… Read more »

Swarm!

Samantha Burns   June 17, 2016   1 Comment on Swarm!
honeybee swarm

A swarm of bees is a beautiful thing. A veritable cloud of bees all flying in every direction as they search for a pace to land their Queen. They choose a spot and form a protective ball around Her; a mass of bees with only one goal in mind: finding a new home. I didn’t even see the swarm until… Read more »

The sustainable apiary─brood factories & bee bombs

For years now Mike Palmer of French Hill Apiaries in St. Albans, Vermont, has been working to convince beekeepers that they can raise their own bees. He proposes beekeepers use the brood and bee-resources in non-productive hives to make mid-summer nuclei, to overwinter for replacement bees. According to the statistics beekeepers are losing 42% over the course of the winter…. Read more »

Bee-school crash course

basic beekeeping crash course

I’ll be at the Somerset County Cooperative Extension in Skowhegan this Saturday giving my annual bee-school. This will be my 5th year teaching the course as president of the Somerset Beekeepers and I’m looking forward to spending a day talking with folks about bees. It’s lots of fun helping prospective new beekeepers to learn how to get started with their… Read more »

Working with beeswax

working with beeswax

Carol Cottrill is a former president of the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association and has held a number of other positions within Maine’s beekeeping community, including president of the Western Maine Beekeepers’ Association. She’s been beekeeping for years and has dedicated a fair amount of time over the years to sharing her knowledge with other beekeepers. I’ve invited Carol over to the… Read more »

Maine beekeepers State of the State Address

maine apiaries

Every year at the annual meeting of the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association our state apiarist, Anthony (Tony) Jadczak talks about the condition of our bees throughout the course of the year. We all laughingly refer to it as Tony’s “State of the State Address”, but it really is important information to relay to the body of Maine beekeepers. Staying aware… Read more »

Honeybees and the landscape

runamuk honeybee forage map

Studying under Professor Frank Drummond at the University of Maine, Brianne Du Clos is a PhD candidate studying how bees use the landscape and what types of land offer good forage resources. She also happens to be a beekeeper and a member of the Knox-Lincoln County Beekeepers group, and she presented her research to the beekeepers at the November 2015… Read more »

Honeybee nutrition in pollens & nectar

Megan Leech is a masters’ student studying native bees under Frank Drummond at the University of Maine. She’s looking to see if bees are foraging for flowers that offer good nutrition and pointed out that different flower species provide varying levels of nutrients. The Honeybee Food Pyramid With a graphic that resembles a food pyramid, Megan explained that the image… Read more »

Keeping honeybees in frozen North America

mike palmer

According to Mike Palmer of French Hill Apiaries in St. Albans Vermont, success in the apiary is dependent upon two things: colonies that can grow large populations, and then─intelligent management of those populations. Mike took the stage at the 2015 annual meeting of the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association and proceeded to tell the audience about his colony management plan. Regional… Read more »

Keys to successful bee stewardship

keys to succesful bee stewardship

This is the third segment of my coverage of the 2014 Maine State Beekeepers’ Association’s annual conference, and the second post regarding Dewey Caron’s lectures about good bee stewardship . This year Dr. Dewey Caron gave two presentations–you can read about the first entitled “Looking in the Beehive” by clicking here, and be sure to read about Matt Scott’s delivery… Read more »

Climate change & Maine bees at MSBA

unloading the tractor at runamuk

Former president of the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association and retired state of Maine acquatic biologist, Matt Scott gave a presentation at this year’s annual conference entitled: “Climate Change and Habitat Fragmentation to Honey Bees in Maine”. Scott acknowledged that climate change is something of a controversial topic, but admits that at his age he is less constrained by society’s rules…. Read more »

Winterizing the farm — with free printable checklist

winterizing the farm

Cold weather is once again on our doorstep. Farmers and homesteaders alike are racing to finish their winter preparations before the first snowflakes fly. We have gardens to put to bed, livestock to prepare and equipment to get ready for the long season ahead of us. If you’re new to farming or homesteading, the list of chores for winterization can… Read more »

Looking in the beehive with Dr. Dewey Caron

dr. dewey caron at msba

Well it’s been 2 weeks today since I went to the annual meeting of the Maine State Beekeepers’. It’s taken me that long to get all of the different bits and pieces, lectures and presentations written about in full detail. For the last 3 years I’ve provided the written coverage of the day for the MSBA’s bi-monthly publication “The Bee-Line”,… Read more »

Beekeepers swarm to the annual meeting

maine state beekeepers annual meeting

    I’m still coming down from the high that the annual meeting gives me.  I love the atmosphere, I love learning new things and meeting new people.  And when all of that involves talking about bees I am on cloud-9. To show my support for the Pensobscot County Beekeepers and their northerly venue at the Hampden Academy, I volunteered… Read more »

Getting ready for the state beekeepers’ conference

msba annual convention

You’d think I’d be over it by now–all the excitement I feel over the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association’s annual conference.  Like a kid at Christmas I wait all year for the day to arrive when I can make the pilgrimage to the meeting location. And in the vast state of Maine where cities and towns are spread far apart, separated… Read more »

Preparing your beehives for winter

Samantha Burns   August 29, 2014   Comments Off on Preparing your beehives for winter
Runamuk Winter Apiary_2014_FI

As the rush of spring and early summer wanes, the beekeepers’ attention turns toward the up-coming cold months.  Getting your honeybee colonies through the winter–especially one such as those we experience here in Maine–is perhaps the second most challenging thing a beekeeper will face (the first being coping with varroa mites).  Wintering beehives is very largely dependent on your location,… Read more »

Bee days

Samantha Burns   August 26, 2014   Comments Off on Bee days
swan's apiary & beekeeping supply

The last few days have been bee-days for me here at Runamuk. I’ve been more hands-off with the bees this year, which is odd for me, but good for the bees I think. However when I began to see bees crawling down the driveway with shriveled and deformed wings, I knew something was wrong in my hives.  Saturday I needed… Read more »

Spring hive management

Spring Beekeeping

Hooray for spring!  Let beekeepers everywhere rejoice!  The sun is shining, and the trees are beginning to bud, it’s warming up and the bees are flying again! How did your bees fare during the long cold winter?  With diligence, and perhaps a little bit of luck–your hives came through the winter, and if you’re anything like me–the long winter months… Read more »

6 tips for handling bees

how to handle your beehive

When I got started with beekeeping, I had spent a year prior to bringing my bees home, just researching and doing my homework.  My dear sister-in-law, who had watched over a hive in her youth, was by my side, and we were so brave and confident in our abilities to tame the stinging bees with our sweet song and beauty,… Read more »

How To Set Up Your First Beehive

how to set up your 1st beehive

Imagine you’re sitting at a four-way intersection, a red stop light hanging above you, while the hum of buzzing comes from a pair of rectangular wooden boxes strapped into the passenger’s seat next to you. The Nuc boxes–or nucleus colonies–contain more than 10,000 bees each.  Bees cling to, and crawl across the wire mesh stapled over the openings that prevents… Read more »