- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
If you're planning to join the ranks of backyard beekeepers in 2012, you should keep a few things in mind, says Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Mussen, a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty since 1976, advises what to do and what not to do in his current edition of from the UC Apiaries.
One of the most important things, says Mussen, is not to become a laissez-faire beekeeper, that is, "place the bees in a hive and walk away, leaving the bees to fend for themselves." This can lead to serious problems for your colony and the health of your neighbors' colonies, he points out. Plus, it could lead to more stringent city and county ordinances.
You should always provide water for your bees on your property, Mussen says. Otherwise, they will visit the neighbor's "hanging laundry, bird bath, swamp cooler, dog dish, leaky hose connection, etc."
Mussen also advises:
--Use fencing or bushes to get the bees to fly up, then away from the apiary. "They will also attain that altitude on return flights.
--Use gentle stocks and "work" the bees during warm, nice middays. That "free" swarm you catch may not be of gentle stock (and it could be Africanized bee stock if it's collected in areas where Africanized bees are).
--Use smoke and slow, gentle movements.
--Inspect the brood periodically, twice a month, "to be certain that the queen is laying a good pattern, that the brood is healthy, and that there are adequate food stores for the time of year."
And, Mussen says, "if you need to feed the bees, start feeding after flight ends for the day, to help prevent robbing."
Mussen offers a wealth of information in his current newsletter, the other bimonthly editions (dating back to 1976), and Bee Briefs.
Bottom line: if you're going to keep bees, Mussen says, "be a beekeeper, not a bee-haver."
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Dianne DiBlasi is frustrated.
She’s the advisor of Team B.E.E.S. (Bergen Environmental Effort to Save Bees), a group of six high school students in Allendale, N.J. involved in a honey bee project.
Two years ago the students conducted research and interviewed locals to find a community-based environmental project. They decided on bees. They learned about bees and beekeeping, and purchased their supplies.
Today, they're heavily involved in educating the public about bees: how vital bees are and the issues they face. The youths gave a presentation at the Bronx Zoo's "Teens for Planet Earth" summit, where they won the gold award for service-based learning. Then last month, PBS traveled to Allendale to cover the team's activities. The TV show, "GreenQuest," will premiere in February.
Now for the frustration.
Bees are "prohibited animals" in the Borough of Allendale.
“We were fortunate (two years ago) to find a beekeeper in the next town over who graciously let us put our hive on his property,” DiBlasi said.
They petitioned the council to change the ordinance. The council declined.
Now they’ll be addressing council again on Feb. 2--this time with the support of Tim Schuler,
DiBlasi said some of the city council members think the bee project is a potential liability.
“It seems there is more concern over a neighbor getting stung than taking a huge green step forward,” she said.
"On Feb. 2 we will address the council at 7:30 p.m. asking them to 1) remove bees from the list of Prohibited Animals, and 2) approve guidelines for beekeeping that we have drawn up. I invite people to write letters to Mayor Vince Barra stating how important it is for Allendale to take this important step forward." DiBlasi is asking honey bee supporters to send letters to:
Allendale Borough Hall
500 West Crescent Ave
And guess what? Honey bees.
Honey bees? Right. In fact, honey bees are No. 4 on the list "to become extinct."
The author (unknown) of the piece had this to say:
Perhaps nothing on our list of disappearing