Log Hives with Matt Somerville

I’ve always loved log hives, loved the notion of them, the look of them, the creation of them. But it was into the second day of our log hive workshop with Matt Somerville that I really “got it.”

Class participant Jenne Johnson said to Matt, “So, if I have, say, ten acres of land, how many of these hives would I need to properly pollinate it?”

Matt replied, “Put up as many as you like and let the bees decide.”

“Let the bees decide…”

Once upon a time, in the pastures of Battle Ground, Washington, there gathered a group of bee friends to make a wondrous palace for bees…

I smacked both hands to my head to keep my brains from flying out all over the place. Had those four words ever before been uttered on the North American continent? Not often, I thought… (more…)

The Light of Hum

Susan here: It is with great delight that I am sharing with you something of beauty, depth, and wonder from our good friend, Bee Guardian Corwin Bell. Corwin has taught many programs for us over the years. He is the prime innovator behind all the advances to top bar hives, and runs a bee education program at Backyardhive.com. His work is respectful, balancing science, intuition, and mystery. If you live near Colorado, take his classes. He is a master.

Corwin has a mystic’s eye, a mystic’s ear, and a mystic’s heart. Artist and visionary, Corwin put his talents to a remarkable recording of  chants, music, and bee sounds to create a deep immersion into bee time. His DVD is called “The Light of Hum” and I encourage you to add it to your music library… (more…)

SunHive Habitat, by Andrew Frederick

Susan here! I'm so pleased to be offering this post for our readers. I love to share what other bee-tenders are doing, and welcome articles about your hives and bees. Andrew has humg his own SunHive, and will be coming out to the Northwest (from Kansas) to take my skep hive weaving class in February. I hope this post encourages you to think out of the box with your own colonies!   The SunHive This spring, Matthew Burke, a sculpture professor at the University of Kansas, generously gifted me a completed Sun Hive. He and his students, over 20 of…

Bees and ‘Shrooms: A Project and An Update!

By Jahn Rise and Susan Knilans (Note from Susan: Bee Friends, Jahn Rise will be coming to Bee Club in February to talk about a project we may consider involving bees, mushrooms, and bee health. We hope that a group of club members will want to become part of this local experiment. The potential for bees is promising, and PBC certainly encourages innovation. Hopefully, this post will get you excited about the possibilities!) A few years ago, Paul Stamets (the mushroom guru) discovered bees harvesting dew drops off of mushrooms in his yard. Fast forward: He is now in the…

Choose Your Words Wisely–and Kindly

Susan here: It is during winter preparation in the bee garden that I realize just how far off the conventional center my beeing has wandered. Winter prep in my bee garden is a slow, sweet time. By late autumn, I’ve tilted all my skeps up just a bit and found them heavy with bees and honey. Soon, I’ll be plugging upper entrances on the hives and leaving their lower openings clear. And that—blessedly—is the whole of my winter prep. Meanwhile, in the many forums I visit, beekeepers are having discussions about which chemicals to put in the hives, what ventilation…

Emergency Food

When our bees need food, we provide it for them, in the form of honey: honey in combs, in bowls with sticks and straw to prevent the bees from drowning, or in a small chick-waterer with stones in the mote. We avoid feeding sugar because it is not a good, nourishing food for bees. It can cause gut problems, moisture problems in the hive, and is simply not bee food. But there are times when an emergency strikes and there is no honey to be found. So, in cases of extreme need, we are sharing this sugar food recipe from…

Rescue of a Small, Open-Air Colony

“Can anything be done to help these bees?” The query came across my Face Book page, along with a photo of white honeycombs hanging from an exposed tree limb. Sometimes, bees do not manage to find a safe nest, and they begin making a home wherever they have landed. Now, if the bees are in warm country, and have built out beneath a rock ledge, this works pretty well, but bees here in the Northwest will not survive the winter exposed to our long, cold rainy seasons. I could see live bees between one of the combs, and something just…

Ventilation…Insulation? We’ve Found an Intriguing Solution!

Susan here. If you are a bee club member, you already know that PBC has been talking about hive insulation all this past year. How do we, with wooden hives, get these flimsy-walled things to be good for bees? Some of us can’t afford new hives whenever we learn of new innovations that are healthy for bees, so is there a way for us to “modify?” We’ve been looking at this issue from the outside of the hive, mostly. There are foam and also bubble insulation wraps available, and all require basically encasing your hive box top to bottom with…

Bee Tree Beekeepers

I've had a few bee trees on our farm for the past eight years and I adore watching the colonies live such natural lives. During the Europe trip, I was absolutely tickled to see so many log hive projects going on in different countries. The tree beekeepers (called "Zeidlers") have set up hollow log tree hives all around Europe. CLICK HERE to see some of their tree bee hive projects. CLICK HERE to meet the zeidlers.  

Wall Beekeeping: An Ancient Craft (who knew??)–Susan’s Bees

Once again, I find myself gloriously behind the times. In this particular case a few thousand years behind the times: I built and maintain a wall beehive—a colony housed in the wall of my bedroom. I have been calling it my Observation Hive because it has a plexiglas cover on the inside wall, but my ancient ancestors have been keeping such hives—called walled hives—for millennia. I know this now because of a fascinating Bee World article from 1998 by Eva Crane that details wall hives and wall hive beekeeping in some twenty warm-temperate Old World countries, a practice that dates…