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Do your bees have this strange condition?

Beekeepers sometimes report unusual behaviors in their bees, everything from fore-and-aft convulsions to unmitigated quaking anger. I’ve collected three of these observations below, each from a new beekeeper: “Today a bee on the landing board was trying to vomit. Her whole body was wracked with convulsions that moved in waves. When I opened the hive, […] Read more

Molly’s bees: shot brood and laying workers

Thanks to everyone who participated in the diagnosis of Molly’s honey bee colony. Overall, I thought the answers were impressive—both thoughtful and nuanced. Many of you agreed with my own assessment of shot brood, but others mentioned issues I hadn’t even considered. It was a great learning experience for many, including myself. I emailed my […] Read more

Why is it so hard to breed better bees?

Those new to beekeeping fre­quently ask why we don’t just breed better bees. This is a logical question because breeding has long been the answer to many agricultural problems. When I say “breeding,” I don’t mean modern gene-insertion techniques that allow us to raise glow-in-the-dark cats, but the old-fashioned kind of breeding where you cross […] Read more