What’s a beekeeper to do during the winter? Those–like me–who hold such passion and adoration for their honeybees–for whom there is no better feeling in all the world than watching these busy girls coming and going, carrying pollen and nectar to the hive; for whom opening the hive, viewing the larvae-grubs in their cells, or finding the Queen amidst her… Read more »
I’d never heard of Kirk Webster until earlier this summer when I was talking shop with a friend, who is also a beekeeper. He happened to bring up the notion of ordering some of Kirk’s Queens for the purpose of installing hygienic genes into his colonies to help in the fight against varroa–which made perfect sense to me. Of course… Read more »
At the Maine State Beekeepers’ annual convention, Deborah Delaney took the floor for a second time that day to present a talk that was entitled: “Honey Pricing & Marketing Risk Management Education for Honey Producers”. Deborah told the crowd about yet another aspect of her research which involves scientifically identifying how to improve marketing of locally produced honey, which would… Read more »
I love the assortment of people who are drawn to beekeeping. Young and old, eccentric and conservative, financially solvent–and bootstrappers like me–those who make do with less. People from all over the state come together for the annual Maine State Beekeepers’ conference to join together in the spirit of learning; to bask in the feeling of community generated by a… Read more »
For many beekeepers–in this part of Maine at least–this year’s season was a bit of a struggle. A spell of hot sweltering days meant that flowers were not producing adequate nectar supplies, which was then followed by a period of rainy days that kept bees cooped up inside their hives, eating honey stores. I know several of our local beekeepers… Read more »
Recently I went around to the various Runamuk apiaries to perform my annual mite-tests, and while the 12 colonies under my care have struggled to produce surplus honey, I am happy to say that compared to last year when mite problems ran rampant throughout the state–and even my own hives–this year mites have posed less of a problem. While I… Read more »
When I first began keeping bees, I managed my hives in the mainstream fashion. I fed them sugar-syrup, I painted my boxes, and I used foundation in my frames. As I’ve learned more about bees and how to take care of them, some of my methods have changed. I’m much more reluctant to feed my bees sugar, I stopped painting… Read more »
Swarming is a natural tendency for bees in the spring and early summer, and making splits and nucs is just another part of good management of your hives. Whether you want to grow your apiary, or just insure against winter hive losses, making your own splits and nucs is an ideal way to grow or maintain your apiary. It’s easy… Read more »
This past Tuesday at the monthly meeting of the Somerset Beekeepers, we hosted Gary Fish from the Maine Board of Pesticide Control to talk with us about “Pesticides and Pollinators”. We are a small group, so I’m always grateful that any knowledgeable speaker should come to Skowhegan to share their knowledge with us, and I know that our beekeepers are… Read more »
I am excited to announce that Runamuk will be hosting it’s first-ever workshop! Sunday, May 19th 11am – 3pm Splits & Nuc-Making Workshop This Sunday I will be leading local beekeepers to the Runamuk apiary at Medicine Hill for a workshop on how to make splits and nucleus colonies (otherwise known as “Nucs”). My only regret is that the workshop… Read more »
The early spring season is a very difficult time for bees and beekeepers. When the temperatures start warming the bees begin increasing activity, rearing brood, and flying on warm sunny days. This is a tricky time for bees because there is not much available to feed the growing population. Many beekeepers feed sugar-syrup or candy, to supplement the bees’ food… Read more »
The sky is clear, and brilliantly blue the day after a big Nor’easter. Here in central Maine, where the Runamuk Acres Farm and Apiary is located, the roads are still covered with packed snow, and road crews work to clean them up after the snowstorm. But I make my rounds to our 2 out-lying apiaries, to check on the hives,… Read more »
Bee-school is new to this region of Maine. Before the Somerset Beekeepers were established 2 years ago folks had to travel to Rumford or Albion for any sort of beekeeper education. But now we have our annual bee-school, offered by the Somerset Beekeepers and hosted by the Somerset Cooperative Extension in Skowhegan.
Since man first began robbing bee-trees for honey, beeswax has been a highly prized commodity treasured for it’s many uses and healthful benefits. Beeswax is utilitarian, medicinal, and beautifying. Beeswax through the ages Both ancient Egyptians and Persians used beeswax when embalming the dead. When they conquered Corsica in 181 BC, the Romans demanded beeswax as tribute. And in… Read more »
There are a good number of beekeepers who object to feeding bees sugar. And I completely understand their objections. Sugar is essentially the equivalent of feeding your bees a steady diet of twinkies. It causes a number of health issues. Add to that the fact that mainstream sugar is produced from genetically modified sugar beets, which have been proven through… Read more »
I miss my bees during the winter. The long cold and snowy months when a beekeeper can’t go out to play with her bees are hard for me. But yesterday was a gorgeous January day–sunny and relatively warm (for January), and I was feeling energized after helping a local prune her beautiful apple tree. So I trudged through the snow… Read more »
It’s getting to be that time of year again–the Somerset Beekeepers are planning their annual bee-school for the communities of Somerset County, here in Maine. And I’m thrilled to be teaching the course again. As president of the Somerset Beekeepers it is my duty and privilege to teach new beekeepers the basics. To be able to connect with people, to… Read more »
This has been an exciting year for the Runamuk apiary, we were able to expand from two to six hives throughout the summer. My new-found partnership with Medicine Hill in Starks gave me the chance to increase the number of colonies, and I seized the opportunity with both hands. And I am pleased to announce that next year we will… Read more »
Keeping bees is a fascinating and rewarding hobby. For many people, once they get started they are quickly infected with what is known as “Bee-fever” and there is no turning back. Some beekeepers are content with a single or a pair of hives in the backyard, others can’t help but grow their little apiary year after year. If you’re think… Read more »
The last speaker of the day at MSBA’s annual conference was Jerry Hayes–the beekeeper who is now working for Monsanto. I couldn’t help but notice that a number of people left before Hayes got up to speak, and I happened to overhear one pair of gentlemen heatedly discussing Monsanto as they walked past me, so I am sure their departure… Read more »
Check out Michael’s website The Practical Beekeeper–he offers lots of information there, and everything that you would find in his book is available right there.
I was downright giddy as I left the house just as the sun was coming up Saturday morning. The only vehicles on the road seemed to belong to men dressed in hunter orange, and I imagine that my excitement at going to my first-ever beekeeper’s conference surpassed their’s at a prospective day of hunting. It took me two hours to… Read more »
Today I’m off to Reddington Memorial Home in Skowhegan to talk to the elderly folks there about bees and beekeeping. It’s safe to say that this is one of my favorite aspects of being president of the Somerset Beekeepers. People are naturally curious about beekeeping, it seems to hold some mystique and allure. Perhaps it’s the idea of thousands of… Read more »
Tuesday night’s meeting of the Somerset Beekeepers was a good one. We probably have somewhere around 35 or so members now, and a core group of about 12-15 who typically show up for meetings, which our speakers tend to appreciate since a small group is easier to manage than a group of say–100.