Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Study Links Neonicotinoids to CCD

It's getting harder and harder for Bayer to continue to deny the link between neonicotinoids and bee decline, especially with this new study from Harvard. Unlike the "facts" from Bayer -- which claims insecticides are perfectly harmless when it comes to bees -- Harvard has used actual field studies to come to their conclusions.  Mother Jones called the report a "smoking gun" that targets the neonics imidacloprid and clothianidin as causes of Colony Collapse Disorder.

The study tracked the progress of 18 hives beginning in July 2012. Twelve hives were fed sublethal amounts of pesticides via sugar syrup over 13 weeks, and the other six hives were kept as controls. According to the report, all 18 hives exhibited similar behavior throughout the summer months, but during the winter, bees from six of the 12 contaminated colonies failed to return to their hives, demonstrating classic behavior of CCD. On the other hand, none of the control hives displayed signs of CCD, but one showed symptoms of nosema. 
What's exciting about this study is scientists were able to replicate Colony Collapse Disorder through the experiment. Previous tests -- like the ones cited by Bayer -- have just occurred in laboratories and often only focused on bees in one stage of life. The Harvard study actually administered the insecticide to full colonies from July through September and monitored their response.

Monday, January 13, 2014

February Weekend Bee Class Scheduled

As the days are getting longer the thoughts are leading to new spring hives. Come join us at our home in Georgetown for beekeeping instruction, beekeeping fellowship, and some new techniques.  The class runs from 1:00 to 4:00 February first and second.  We provide instruction, food and adult beverages, as well as a basic hive, veil, and instructional manual.  If the weather cooperated we will also play with the bees on my roof. We've successfully introduced countless folks to the joy of beekeeping with this weekend.  The cost is $300 and includes the equipment described.

We only have room for six. Please email me at if you are interested.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Making Swarm Lure At Home, An Experiment - VIDEO

The Juice
Jerry and I are headed down to Florida tomorrow to check on, and potentially move our bees from Davie to Vero Beach into the citrus groves.

Our luck in Davie has been mixed.  The fire ants and wax moths have been a continued problem, and several of the hives have succumbed to these pests.  The build-up we had hoped to capture during the brazilian pepper flow in September/October failed to materialize in a meaningful way, meaning back-filling with corn syrup, an adventure on its own with Dadant in High Springs, Florida (a six hour drive each way for us) the only supplier.  Jerry has been down since (without his Tonto) and saw modest improvement after the syrup feeding and substantial pollen patty supplementation, but Tuesday will prove out where we are after these last four months.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

We Made the Cover Of the Washington City Paper

In this year's edition of the City Paper's "Encyclopedia of DC 2013", the NPR bees were profiled, the hives we introduced earlier this year (I hope they survive this winter!!).  Yours truly made the cover:

Here is a link to the accompanying article:

More shameless self-promotion.

Merry Christmas!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Junior Beekeepers

I like to think I helped create some future beekeepers today. After boiling another sugar-water mix and walking out of the house carrying our masks, gloves and syrup, the same secondary school boys from last week immediately perked up. They actually remembered, and were excited about helping me feed the bees!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Late Season Hive Check in NoMa - Video

We have a client with a unique culinary use in an industrial area of the neighborhood known as NoMa.  We had originally placed a couple of hives in an alley behind their use, an alley that was essentially only accessible to them although it is technically in public space.

Their first load of bees were literally sucked away by a giant fan that we did not know about that ventilated an adjacent garage.

So with a ladder, some rope, and some sweat we relocated the bees to the rooftop.  The nice thing about this location, in spite of the access, is the large area for the hives, putting them regulation distance from the property line for conformance with our new law.

Here is the video we took that day with more details.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tenemos Abejas!

They're finally here! All 20,000 are snuggly tucked into their new hives at Almeria, on a eucalyptus table right next to our newly-planted potatoes and largest lagunita. It was somewhat of a struggle to get to this point -- and it only happened today through sheer coersion -- but it happened! We have bees!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Making Simple Small Hive Beetle Traps

My friend Jerry showed me how to do this.  Cheap, easy, and effective.  We use two of these on the top of each brood chamber (on the frame top bars), set close to the edge of the box where the beetles like to congregate.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Harvesting a Ton of Rhode Island Honey

You may remember that we have a place in RI where we have two hives on the roof.  When we returned this spring I had expected both to be dead, based upon the national stats on dead-outs after this winter.  And these bees had to deal with both Sandy and a cold and long winter and high mite infestations.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Got Abejas?

*Through a partnership with Global Bees, DC Honeybees was able to help install two beehives at a primary school in Almeria near Cusco, Peru. Here are our updates and stay tuned for more!*

WE BOUGHT OUR BEES TODAY! Our director, Oscar, came back from his business trip, corraled me, Mads and Baltezar into his car, and drove us to his “bee guy” in Cusco. Well, this was a friend of his former bee guy who now is apparently a fugitive avoiding law enforcement somewhere in Argentina. Sounds a little crazy, but apparently todos los apicultors en Peru son un poco loco, and actually, that’s pretty much the same in DC too. Anywho, I digress. Once we got to the Mundo de las Abejas de Jossua (a self-proclaimed Gringo, according to his flyers) the Quebecoise owner, Jossua, immediately starting falling all over himself to help us out. We told him about Almeria and our current state of funding, or better yet, lack thereof, and immeiately he jumped on board, handing us some sort of cure-all diluted propolis spray por los ninos.

Over the course of what seemed like five hours, Jossua had — very thouroughly — gone over the beekeeping basics, rattled off the same bee statistics that Jeff Miller and I quote for DC Honeybees engagements, scooped out taste-testers from each of his honey/pollen products, and last but not least, showed us his nucleus colonies on the rooftop behind his shop (sound familiar Jeff?)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Australian Broadcasting Corp Piece on Bee Losses in America

Some of our friends and fellow beekeepers were interviewed about their rooftop hive for this very nice piece.  Check it out HERE.

Monday, July 1, 2013

My new $688 Acquisition

This is me getting ready to expand the apiary to do some pollination.  We have lots of Don's bees, and lots of equipment.  We are building pallets.  We are making splits.  We are considering purchasing a trailer to drag these things.

But we need to identify our hives by markers other than our colors (white, and Ballerina Pink, per my kids....those things will stand out!!).  We need to properly mark our hives for identification so that they are easily recognized and loaded in the almonds.  Ahhhh....the almonds.