Tag Archives: sustainable beekeeping

Putting the buzz in Johnny’s catalog

2017-johnny's-selected-seeds-catalog

It’s at this time of year─when the growing season for most farmers and gardeners is behind us and the world has become brown and drab, the days are short and the dark of night stretches long as winter descends upon us in full force─that we look forward to receiving all of the vibrant seed catalogs in our mailboxes. Those catalogs generate… 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Open-Hive for Summer Solstice

Samantha Burns   June 24, 2014   Comments Off on Open-Hive for Summer Solstice
beekeepers' open hive

It wasn’t the way I had intended to celebrate the summer solstice, but because last Saturday was raining and wet, the Open-Hive Event (OHE) that Runamuk was hosting for the Somerset Beekeepers was postponed til the 21st–which just happened to be the longest day of the year–the Summer Solstice. Most farmers, I think–are particularly attuned to nature–seeing as we are… 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 »

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 »

Winter beekeeping: Checking your hives

Checking hives in winter_FI

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 »

Somerset’s 2014 Bee-School

beekeeping clipart

It’s that time of year again–no, I’m not talking about the holidays–it’s time to start thinking about Bee-School!  This year is the 3rd annual Bee-School offered by the Somerset Beekeepers, hosted by the University of Maine’s Somerset County Cooperative Extension. I’m excited to be able to teach this course yet again.  Last year we had over 30 people sign up… Read more »

Kirk Webster at MSBA

kirk webster at msba

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 »

Splits & nuc-making workshop postponed

After much deliberation and a trip to the Medicine Hill apiary, I’ve decided to push the date of our Splits & Nuc-Making Workshop off until the 26th of May–next Sunday.  The time will remain the same. The weather forecast is calling for cooler temperatures tomorrow, not ideal for extensively pulling apart hives to make the nucleus colonies.  Also, a quick… Read more »

Feeding bees pollen-patties in early spring

feeding bees in early spring

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 »