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Honey Bees activity

The  bees are starting to slow a bit in activity right now as the weather cools a bit.
 I went out and checked the hives this week.  I am now up to six working hives.
Italian and Russian.
Always wear a bonnet when you work with  bees.
It just makes for a more relaxed experience. 

 I always wear my suit and bonnet and still have received less than ten stings in my four years for working with bees, but then I try to respect them and approach them with care.  Below are both my honeybees and native pollinators at work in my garden and yard right now.


Thirsty Bees

One of our honeybees takes a sip from the bee waterer
The honeybee's mirror, and
a place to sip water on a hot day


18th Annual Field Day at the USDA Honey Bee Lab in Baton Rouge

Contact: Margaret Prell
Phone: 985.863.3641
18th Annual Field Day at the USDA Honey Bee Lab in Baton Rouge
The USDA Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory and the Louisiana State
Beekeepers Association will hold the 18th Annual Field Day on Saturday, October 11, 2014. The
event will be held at the laboratory, located at 1157 Ben Hur Rd. This is near the intersection of
Nicholson Drive (Hwy 30) and Brightside Dr., which is about two miles south of the LSU
football stadium.
Gates will open at 9:30 a.m.; activities are scheduled from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A
nonrefundable pre-registration fee of $30.00 is required for attendees 12 years of age and above.
Children eleven and under, must stay with their parents at all times. 

You must pre-register by October 1, 2014. 
You may register on-line at and pay through PayPal or credit
card or you may mail your registration form that is located on the web site and
your check payable to the Louisiana Beekeepers Association to: David Ferguson, P.O. Box 716,
Brusly, LA 70719. If you do not pre-register by October 1, 2014, the cost will be $35.00 per

The registration fee covers expenses including coffee, pastries and a great-catered lunch that
includes Bar B Q Chicken Leg Quarters, Smoked Sausage, Dirty Rice, Bar B Q Beans, and
Garden Salad with choice of 4 Dressings, Fresh Baked Honey Wheat Rolls, Honey Bee Cake and
Coke Products.
The Field Day will include courses for beginners and more experienced beekeepers as well as
workshops for those interested in a variety of topics. The beginning beekeeper course will begin
with how to get started for those who do not yet own bees, then will progress to how to manage a
few colonies. Topics will include equipment needs for the beginner, nectar producing plants,
maintenance of colonies, pests, safety and etiquette in beekeeping, and hands on training in an
active colony. The intermediate beekeeping course was a hit last year and it will be offered
again with a variety of topics focused on the beekeeper with a moderate amount of experience
that is now ready to take it to the next level. Topics will include anticipating equipment needs
throughout a season, pest management, honey processing, and swarm catching. There will be a
variety of focused workshops for those not attending the courses (typically the more advanced
beekeepers), i.e., queen rearing, instrumental insemination, small hive beetle control, good honey
plants and artificial nutrition sources. These workshops will represent both the USDA-ARS Bee
Lab’s research and beekeeper experiences. At the end of the day, the intermediate and advanced
groups will come together over active colonies. Here they will have the opportunity to discuss a
variety of topics and ask laboratory personnel and experienced beekeepers questions while
gaining some hands-on experience in an open hive.
For additional information please contact Dr. Lanie Bourgeois (225-767-9299), Sandra Hineman
(225-767-9280) or Joe Sanroma (318-346-2805).


A Little Bee Humor

Why do bees have sticky hair?
Because they use "honey combs"


So very excited to be moderating a panel on Pollinators tommorrow at the International Farm to Table Symposium!

Yahoo! Good Yahoo News for bees and other pollinators!

" The move follows a regional wildlife chief’s decision on July 9 to ban neonics  in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands by 2016. The nationwide ban, however, goes further as it also prohibits the use of genetically modified seeds to grow crops to feed wildlife. A FWS spokesperson declined to comment on why the agency was banning genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in wildlife refuges. But in his memo, Kurth cited existing agency policy. “We do not use genetically modified organisms in refuge management unless we determine their use is essential to accomplishing refuge purpose(s),” he wrote. “We have demonstrated our ability to successfully accomplish refuge purposes over the past two years without using genetically modified crops, therefore it is no longer to say their use is essential to meet wildlife management objectives.” GMOs have not been linked directly to the bee die-off. But the dominance of GMO crops has led to the widespread use of pesticides like neonicotinoids and industrial farming practices that biologists believe are harming other pollinators, such as the monarch butterfly . Neonicotinoids account for 40 percent of the global pesticide market and are used to treat most corn and soybean crops in the U.S. “We are gratified that the Fish and Wildlife Service has finally concluded that industrial agriculture, with GE crops and powerful pesticides, is both bad for wildlife and inappropriate on refuge lands,” Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said in a statement. "

Buckwheat + Beehives = delicious honey in the making

Side view of the hives - now at six, in our apiary;
Hope, Faith, Love, Grace, Charity & Patience
Buckwheat sprouts in my garden

Why Buckwheat? the nectar produces a darker and more complex honey than citrus.
 and evidently, it is good for you; 
The study found that a small dose of buckwheat honey given before bedtime provided better relief of nighttime cough and sleep difficulty in children than no treatment or dextromethorphan (DM), a cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cold medications."

Fellow Beekeeper Kevin Mixon Installing a hive at SOFAB!


More on NEONICS from USGS
 and links there to more articles on pesticide runoff


Neonicotinoid insecticides dissolve easily in water, but do not break down quickly in the environment."

This is the first broad-scale investigation of neonicotinoid insecticides in the Midwestern United States and one of the first conducted within the United States."

“We noticed higher levels of these insecticides after rain storms during crop planting, which is similar to the spring flushing of herbicides that has been documented in Midwestern U.S. rivers and streams,” said USGS scientist Michelle Hladik, the report’s lead author. “In fact, the insecticides also were detected prior to their first use during the growing season, which indicates that they can persist from applications in prior years.”

"One of the chemicals, imidacloprid, is known to be toxic to aquatic organisms at 10-100 nanograms per liter if the aquatic organisms are exposed to it for an extended period of time. Clothianidin and thiamethoxam behave similarly to imidacloprid, and are therefore anticipated to have similar effect levels. Maximum concentrations of clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid measured in this study were 257, 185, and 42.7 nanograms per liter, respectively."

 Read the full article here - plus images and contact information


The Louisiana Beekeepers Association (LBA) will hold the 18th annual field day on Saturday , October 11, at the Honey Bee Lab in Baton Rouge. 


The Xerxes Society

"Of the more than one million species of animals in the world, 94 percent are invertebrates. The services they perform, Pollination, seed dispersal, food for wildlife, nutrient recycling, are critical to life on our planet. Indeed, without them whole ecosystems would collapse. But when decisions are made about environmental policy and land management, these vital and diverse creatures are often overlooked. 
The Xerces Society works to address this situation through advocacypolicyeducation and outreachapplied research, and publications."
Learn more about this amazing advocacy group at their website


My Beekeeping Library

People ask me what I did to prepare to keep bees. Well I  have over one hundred really great mentors at our bee club. More specifically what books did I read? I  have several that I have collected over the years, some well before beekeeping and some recently given as gifts. Here is my list of books that I use as a reference and guide. Not much has changed over the thousands of years that people have been interacting with bees (except, pests and pesticides).

and of course I had to read the Secret Life of Bees  by Sue Monk Kidd. but  it was not really about beekeeping... 

New Bee Bonnet

My new bee bonnet is easier to wear and see out of
 I am no macho beekeeper. 
I wear a suit, gloves, boots and a bonnet. 
Oh, and yes, occasionally pearls ; D
 I  have only been stung  about 4or 5 times so far while working my hives, 
and each time, it was because I was not following proper procedure;
 not enough protection, working the hives before a thunderstorm, 
or wearing shorts.( what was I thinking?)... 
So when my friend asked if I had another bonnet that she could use,
since her husband does not wear any bee suits 
 and is into the Tao or Zen of beekeeping...
 I gave her one of my extra bonnets. 
She asked if it was  really okay that she wanted to wear one??
Heck yea!. 
Bees are not trained pets. They can act however they wish.  
It is up to you the beekeeper to be prepared. 
Bees seem to be able to smell fear and anxiety. 
Wearing proper attire makes for a calmer experience 
in the event of a misstep, or mishap. 
 Feel comfortable and confident. 
You will be happier. 
The bees will be too.

Honey in the Making

Patience, Charity, Grace and Love's Hives

Honey in the making - a frame from Patience's Hive

Honey for a Wedding Day

Honey from Love and Patience's Hives
Recently a dear friend got married. 

 I went out early in the morning on the day of their wedding and gathered some honey as a gift for her Wedding and "Honeymoon". I took a frame from both "Love"s hive and from "Patience"'s hive.
 I know that some people think I am daft for naming my hives instead of numbering them, but I think its important to give the queens a name.  I enjoy the poetry of it.  "Faith"'s hive always takes more work than the others. "Love" is always a very active hive. When my Veterinarian came over to open my hives with me, I cautioned her that "Love"'s hive was not as gentle as "Grace"'s hive, which we had just opened.  She quickly replied- "Love needs to be fierce"..  and so a bit of honey from "Love", and from "Patience, I thought, was a nice way to start a marriage. 
waiting for the bride


The latest from our Hives

Thirsty  Italian Bee on the Waterer

Our new Nucs Patience and Charity, getting a new home

A taste of honey from Grace's hive

Hope and Faith buzzing along

Johnny helped this time!

Patience, Charity, Grace and Love

Patience, Charity, Grace and Love

Hope and Faith get smoked!


Grace's Field Bees

 My Father was an Air Traffic Controller  with the FAA.
 He read me books about meteorology and stars and the planets when I was a kid and gave me a love of the heavens and clouds, lightning and the vast unknowns of space.
I grew up visiting him at the radar room and the control tower from a very early age.
At the urging of my Dad, I even took the ATC test in my early twenties and passed.
But I am not someone who could do that for a living as my Father did.
 I wanted to be a fighter pilot, but my myopic vision and difficulty with math steered me otherwise
Watching  the comings and goings of my bees in and out of the 1/ inch opening on the hives,
 I can't help but think of my Father trying to  help navigate heavy air traffic.
I have always marvelled at the flight paths of my bees to and from the hives as they stay out of each other's way and  quarrel only with intruders that the guard bees keep out of the hives..
To take this video of Grace's Field bees  coming and going like Jets at Moisant Air Field,
I  placed myself under the hive with my android phone and trying to steady my hand as much as possible as the clouds rolled by.
Bees, much like pilots who fly planes, do not like inclement weather and prefer to fly on a sunny day.
I will try to take another video when the weather permits once Winter's grey skies have left us.


American Bee Federation Baton Rouge

I attended the Expo and met some wonderful people from all over the world.  Here are a few photos  of my experience.  Nicest was the free shipping offers from various suppliers for ordering  at the event. Greatest joy was seeing old friends and mentors  such as Dave Ferguson and Robert Taylor from the Louisiana Beekeepers Club  and also meeting some of my beekeeping heros  like Marla Spivak and Tammy Horn.   Suppliers to the industry had some styling new Bee Suit wear and lovely hives.. and lots of beetle traps and mite killers.  Of course there Beekeeping Queens  and a Bee Quilt Raffle, as well as Honey and a honey auction. The most interesting new thing there for me? Hive tracks check 'em out!
The "Bee-stie!"  Harley- Sweet Ride!
Bee Suit Styling

"Glory Bee"

"Glory Bee"

Honey Spinners

Our Bees in Winter

One of our Italian Honeybees
on the thawing bee waterer
One of our Italian Honeybees
drinking from the thawed bee waterer
Two of our Russian Honeybees gathering pollen
on our Toki-No-Hagasane Camellia
Forgive me for not posting for awhile. We've been extremely busy. The Bees of course have been also. People often ask me how my bees are. Aren't they cold now?  Well, as the above photos show, they are  out and about on the Sunny cool days and even after 13'F nights.. they find the bee waterer that we set up and wait in the Sun for the ice to thaw and drink it in. Tough little ladies aren't they? 
I attended the ABF  and the LBC conventions and events and will post photos  shortly.  Bee ordered for this year from the club will arrive in April. Check back soon!