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Revisiting the coolest Montana bee house

I love cool bee structures. This set-up was built by Michael Skeels of Frenchtown, Montana. I published photos of this bee house back in October of last year, just as construction was finishing. Now it’s up and running and full of bees. Michael sent this update in response to my post about protecting hives from […] Read more

An instant-read hive thermometer for winter colonies

Do you want to know if your colony is alive without using an infrared camera or a stethoscope? Try an instant-read hive thermometer. This neat idea was sent to me by Ken Armes, a beekeeper in Ontario, Canada. Ken wanted to know if his colony was surviving, but he didn’t think he could get an […] Read more

Are winter bee stings worse than others?

Tuesday afternoon was clear and bright, so I went outside to enjoy the balmy sixty-degree sunshine. Bees were flying every which way, so I walked past my garden hives just to see how many bees were outside doing stuff. Lots, it turns out, and they were hauling in a rainbow of pollen. Once back in […] Read more

It’s a self-preservation thing

In the 2003 romantic comedy, Love Actually, there’s a scene where Juliet (Keira Knightley) visits her husband’s best friend, Mark (Andrew Lincoln), to borrow a video tape of her wedding. Although everyone believes Mark doesn’t like Juliet, the video reveals otherwise. In the awkward scene that follows, Mark admits, “It’s a self-preservation thing.” He uses […] Read more

An especially early vernal equinox

As the vernal equinox approaches, I like to remind beekeepers that spring can be tricky. If you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to lose a colony to starvation. In spring, several different things happen all at once to overwintered colonies. Most experienced beekeepers know what to look for, but it can be a little overwhelming […] Read more

wintertime projects: skeps and honey pots

Over many years of blogging, certain beekeepers have kept me entertained by sending photos of their latest creative masterpieces. One of those is Michael Skeels of Frenchtown, Montana. Like others with a creative streak, Michael uses the long winters to prepare for bee season. This year he writes: You know how winter can be long […] Read more

Thermal images of winter bees

Not once this week but twice, beekeepers have sent me thermal images of their overwintering colonies. Of course both beekeepers were both men—not once has a woman ever sent me a thermal image. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because men have more cents than sense! These folks remind me of soon-to-be new […] Read more