Posts from Susan, Jacqueline and other bee preservationists

Beeing Anointed

I won’t lie: It’s been really hard starting this spring with no bees. This is only the second time in the past eight years that my yard has been without the wonder of honeybees. And I have not felt the sorrow of the loss of all five of my hives in a really obvious way. I tell myself that I understand: bees come, bees go. More will come. And more will go.

Empty and waiting!

I go about my business and tell myself, “it is okay, this is just how it is…” But there is a heaviness in my heart. On a few clear days about a week ago, many scout bees came to explore my hives, so many swirling about the entrances I could almost convince myself that a colony had moved in.

Until nightfall, I could court this hope, and then with the dark, they would all melt away into the evening. Then the clouds and rain returned and the hives have not had a single visitor… (more…)

Time to Get Busy on Our Pollinator Hotels!

When I brought bees home seven years ago, I had not yet begun to fully notice all the insect life in my yard. But with the coming of the bees, my vision expanded. I would search the flowers for my bees, and see all sorts of other pollinating insects I did not know: Hover flies, certain wasps, many native bees and bumble bees, even pollinating beetles!

My pollinator hotel, awaiting new “rooms” for bees and bugs.

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What Are Beekeepers For?

Our friends at the Natural Beekeeping Trust are spot-on with their good suggestions here about what truly helps bees, and if being a beekeeper is of any value in caring for bees. This is from their Newsletter, and as soon as I read it, I thought “I need to share this!” And the Trust agreed:

“In this post we would like to address a very frequently asked question: How can I help the bees? And if you are known as a beekeeper, you may often be confronted with this question yourself. As more and more people open their hearts to the honeybee, and indeed other pollinators facing great challenges today, we set out briefly how our thinking about ‘helping the bees’ has evolved in recent times.

The Natural Beekeeping Trust was established to provide education on methods of bee husbandry more gentle, more “bee-centered” than those advocated in conventional beekeeping. This was the focus of our work for many years… (more…)

Do Not Disturb

An Excerpt from Susan Knilans & Jacqueline Freeman's new book "What Bees Want"  “Alas, many hives are forced to operate according to a beekeeper’s agenda. Sadly that agenda often prioritizes more honey production and pollination services instead of putting the evolutionary needs of the bees first.”—Song of Increase A primary tenet in our style of keeping bees is what we call “very low intervention.” That is, we keep out of our hives. This is not lazy beekeeping. Bees are extraordinarily complex beings in their hive culture, and our understanding of them is at a very basic, simple level. Our inspections…

DOWNTOWN BEES!

“There is a bee swarm in downtown Camas, right by the antique store. Do you have time to go gather it? It is up high…” Debby’s voice was hopeful. She is our bee swarm coordinator, and spends her whole summer on the phone talking to people about bees.

“Hmmmm, up really high, huh?” I don’t mind heights. I simply don’t have a ladder that will reach up 20 feet.

 

Where are the bees? Trust me. They are up there. Waaaay up there…

 

“The fire department’s only a few blocks away. Just stop by, batt your eyes and swivel your hips and maybe they will bring their ladder,” she suggested…

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OF BEES, TREES, AND LOGS–MEET JAMES

Hello bee friends: Susan here, introducing our good bee friend James. James attended our recent log hive workshop and went crazy–in a good way! James has a vision of a highway of bee trees, and log hives. Is this a match made in Bee Heaven, or what?! Please feel free to join James in his mission, or contact him with questions and ideas: jmslandreth@gmail.com.

“Hi everyone! My name is James. I’m a former intern of Jacqueline’s who will soon by moving back to the area. I have a few years of experience doing agroforestry under my belt now and am hoping to make a return into natural beekeeping. Over the last couple of years I’ve learned a lot about drought tolerant, Pacific Northwest based agroforestry. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’ve seen a lot of evidence that trees and shrubs are a really great way to grow bee forage efficiently in terms of water and labor… (more…)

Log Hives with Matt Somerville

Hi Friends, Susan here: 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…)