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The Suburban Beekeeper Podcast
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Video: Burt Talks to the Bees

I know many of you may have seen this already, but if you haven’t please watch – In this fantastical and wildly educational short film created by Isabella Rossellini, Burt (or someone impersonating him) of Burt’s Bees talks to the Bees for an extraordinary look inside the hive.

Direct link

Decent mini-briefing on CCD and neonicotinoids / pesticides

This is done in a bit of tongue in cheek ‘conspiracy theroy’ style, but it has good information on CCD and the role that neonicotinoids  probably play in affecting the bees.

This is a good post for you to share with others that may be interested in learning about the causes of CCD and what may have been done in the past to contribute to it.

As always, you can use the links below to share the post.



Homeowner pesticides worse for bees than commercial ones

From Wired magazine, this article describes how homeowner class of products are worse than those commercially available.  The levels of neonicotinoids are much higher. There is good guidance on how to identify the ingredients to avoid.



New Evidence – Links neonicotinoids and bee death.

Big microsope.There is strong evidence that neonicotinoids – a class of pesticide first used in agriculture in the mid 1990s at exactly the time when mass bee disappearances started occurring – are involved in the deaths. The evidence against these chemicals is strong enough that they have been banned or suspended in France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia

Please read and decide for yourself. Full story is right here.


Quick hive supers update – a quick peek.

PeekHey all- a quick ‘peek’ over the weekend.

I checked on the super over the weekend- not much build-out going on up there yet. I have the queen excluder on there and we’ll see how that goes over the next few weeks.  I had about a dozen or so bees in the super when I opened it up, so at least some are investigating.

I suppose this means they don’t feel the need to go up there yet. 🙂

I’m glad I have it on there though – alleviates the possibility of the bees feeling cramped down below.  Population is definitely up into the summer sizes – the queen has done her job well.

Full hive breakdown inspection on the schedule for this weekend – so we’ll see how they are doing in the hive bodies.



Honey used as a… preservative.

Aside from its deliciousness, honey has been long used for its antiseptic properties as well as a preservative.  It was also used by the Egyptians as part of their funerary rites. In the following passage, Abd-Allatif-al-Baghdadi – a medieval explorer of the tombs of Egypt- relates a discovery:

Once when he [Abd- Allatif-al-Baghdadi] and several others were occupied in exploring the graves and seeking for treasures near the pyramids, they came across a sealed jar, and having opened it and found that it contained honey, they began to eat it.

Someone in the party remarked that a hair in the honey turned round one of the fingers of the man who was dipping his bread in it, and as they drew it out the body of a small child appeared with all its limbs complete and in a good state of preservation; it was well dressed and had upon it numerous ornaments.

Source – The Mummy: A Handbook of Egyptian Funerary Archaeology, By Budge E a Wallis, E. A. Wallis Budge

Idaho truck spill – 14 million bees loose

The semi-truck was hauling the bees from California to North Dakota when the driver veered off the shoulder, tipping more than 400 hive boxes and honey.

Full Story


First inspection 2011 – Added new hive body

Hey all!  FOTB Greg and I did a quick inspection of the hive and add the second hive body.  Things are looking pretty good!   The movie is a bit shorter than usual as our storage space was a bit tight. 🙂


Things are looking pretty good in there – they have build out on the frames ‘downstairs’ and I’ll be checking the top box in a few weeks to see how things are going.

How are your hives doing? Drop me a line and share the news.




Renewed commitment and a hive update

Hi all!

I have to thank all of you that wrote in, posted or left feedback. You all were great- with insights and solidarity.

I’ve recommitted myself to getting ‘back on the saddle’ and am back to stay. 🙂

Since I’ve written last, I installed a new package of bees after doing a full clean out of the hive. It was a very rainy week when the package arrived, so (much to Mrs. Beekeeper’s skeptical eyes) I kept the package in the basement for three days. I mixed up a 50/50 mix of sugar water and sprayed them down morning and evening to keep them fed until the weather broke long enough to install. Unfortunately FOTB Greg was unavailable to film the install but we did take a good bit of pics- those will follow soon.

(I promised documentation of the post mortem on the hive and Mrs Beekeeper and I did document frame by frame the breakdown of the hive.. I will post them at some later date. )

For now, the excitement is the new hive! I went back out two days later to ensure the queen was released from her lil cage and she was- even spotted her walking around on the frame.

I put the top feeder on and all is going well so far. Will post pics soon!

Back for good,


A sad discovery and a question.

Hello folks.

I’m sorry that this post, and any activity really, has been a long time coming.

Out here in the Philly suburbs, we had a long and late winter. As I posted before, I saw activity after the next to the last storm of the winter.

I am very sorry to inform everyone.. However, the hive did not survive the last storm of the winter.

I can tell you, I was unprepared for how this would affect me.. It’s difficult to state how emotionally attached one gets to the family of bees you are raising. Once I discovered that the hive had collapsed, it was like I was kicked in the stomach.

Since I discovered this, I have been going through a bit of a ‘dark night of the beekeeper’s soul’. Should I continue? Can I add value to people by offering advice while I lost my own hive? I believe I can add value by sharing my mistakes but will people still listen?

On the positive side, I am committed to installing a new package in May.

I think I have come to the conclusion to ask all of you. Should I
continue to produce the podcast and update here? Please drop me a line either in the comments or via the feedback form and let me know your candid opinion – I would greatly appreciate it.

In any case, I will photo document the State of the hive as I go through the boxes and inspect the frames.

Please drop me a line.