My 5 Worst Beekeeping Mistakes, and How To Avoid Them

Your first year of beekeeping is a special time. There’s so much to learn, so many awesome things to see, and a hell of a lot to do. My first year was a lot of trial and error. A lot of things went well, and some things went terribly, terribly wrong. (Like that time I dropped a queen cage into a package, and had to put my hand into a little box filled with thousands of bees). It’s time to come clean about some of the moronic things I’ve done,  and hopefully you can avoid these pitfalls! Continue reading

Honey Bee Q and A, Part 3 – Stinging, Sleeping, and Escaping Birds

This is the third and final installment of my Q and A with a preschool class. In case you missed it, check out “Honey Bee Q and A, Part 1 –  Nectar, Pollen, and Honey”  and “Honey Bee Q and A, Part 2 –  Queens, Bee Bread and Royal Jelly” to get caught up.

Without further ado, here are more questions from preschoolers!

Where do honey bees go to bed?

Bees don’t sleep! How crazy is that? Instead, they go inside the hive and walk around. Sometimes they will pitch in and repair some comb or feed some brood, but bees actually spend about 1/3 of their time just meandering around the hive not really doing anything. That really turns the “busy as a bee” cliché on its ear. Continue reading

Honey Bee Q and A, Part 2 – Queens, Bee Bread and Royal Jelly

Earlier this week, I received a list of questions about bees from a preschool class. Since some of their questions were so good, I decided to post the answers here as well. If you want to read them all, check out my last post “Honey Bee Q and A – Honey, Nectar, and Pollen”. This time, we’ll focus on all the things bees feed their young, and answer a few questions about royal jelly and queen cells. Here we go!

How do bees make bee bread?

I am so impressed that this preschool class  even knew what bee bread was! What a smart group of kids! For those of you who haven’t heard of it, bee bread  is the main food that adult bees eat. To make bee bread, the bees mix honey and pollen together and let them ferment for a little while. Continue reading

Honey Bee Q and A, Part 1 – Honey, Nectar, and Pollen

One of my favorite beekeeping-related activities is visiting schools and events to tell people about bees! Later this week, I will be visiting a preschool to do just that. They sent me a great list of questions from the kids. Since there were so many awesome questions, I thought I would post them here. Keep your eye out for the second installment later in the week.
How do bees make honey?
bee-sipping-flower
This is a fairly complex question, worthy of its own post, but the simple answer is that bees gather nectar, which is a sugary liquid that flowers produce.  They drink the nectar, and store it in a special organ called a crop, or “honey stomach”.
Inside the honey stomach, the nectar gets inoculated with special microbes which will ferment it a little, and help give it that unique honey flavor.

Continue reading

Instagram: Representing Flowerdelphia at the OLIN temporary pollinator garden for PARK(ing) day. We’re between 7th and 8th streets on Chestnut. Come learn about bees and flowers!!! #Flowerdelphia @theolinstudio @phillyparkingday #bees

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Representing Flowerdelphia at the OLIN temporary pollinator garden for PARK(ing) day. We’re between 7th and 8th streets on Chestnut. Come learn about bees and flowers!!! #Flowerdelphia @theolinstudio @phillyparkingday #bees

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Instagram: Found a honey bee at Kaaterskill Falls! What a scenic spot to munch on some pollen! #bees

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Found a honey bee at Kaaterskill Falls! What a scenic spot to munch on some pollen! #bees

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Instagram: Not sure what this little guy is, but he sure does love that meadow sage! #bees

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Not sure what this little guy is, but he sure does love that meadow sage! #bees

View in Instagram ⇒