The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor September 2017

- September 1, 2017 - (excerpt)

honey cell

Pollen Layers

I’m a sideliner beekeeper from Chile (South America) and a devoted ABJ follower.

Last summer, inspecting my bees I accidentally broke part of a comb and saw a cell with packed pollen with different colored layers (showing different floral origins). This picture shows that bees store different pollen between different cells, but also within single cells in different layers!

I think it is a really beautiful photo.

Felipe Gómez F

On Being a New Beekeeper

For years I had avoided bees, as my few encounters with them were hurtful whenever I got stung. However, a yournger brother of mine, Rino, used to have bee hives in Westmunt, a suburb of Montreal, Quebec and had success years ago. He described it in such a way as “it would be a piece of cake.” So, in February and March I attended a two-hour class for six weeks that taught me the basics of beekeeping.

I bought the equipment necessary and on April 28th, with a friend, we picked up the bees in Wayne, Illinois. We were totally unprepared for the pick up. A large garage full of small boxes bustling with bees, nobody wearing any protective clothing, bees flying all around…

In any case, we put in the van a container that had 10,000 bees plus a queen. My friend Vic started to drive, and we noticed that about 15 bees were flying around us. I told Vic to be careful, not to hit any potholes. I was breathing slowly and deeply. For one hour there was no real conversation except for my utterances of “watch for the bumps, please, Vic.” Once home, I donned my suit and dropped the bees in the hive, and dropped the queen at the top of a middle frame using an elastic band. A jar of sugar water was placed, and all was well.

Four days later the queen was still in her little cage, and I discovered that the candy was too hard, so I removed the cork and let her get out on her own. This is when I noticed that I had not put my suit on, that I didn’t even have gloves. I almost had a panic attack, but managed to close the hive without any problems.

Two days later at about nine o’clock at night, after a good meal and a glass of wine, I decided to visit my new found friends, the bees…They didn’t like my visit as I got stung by three of them – on both hands and one close the the left eye.

Since then I have carefully worn my suit and gloves and haven’t experienced any problems. I am on my way to becoming an amatueur beekeeper!

Gilbert R. Parent
Willow Springs, IL

A Brief History of Pesticides

I just want to thank you for the well done and refreshing article in the July 2017 ABJ – A Brief History of Pesticides (by Alison McAfee).

These are the types of articles that should be promoted more. They offer context, facts and promote helpful and creative dialogue. As we face the issues of sustainable agricultural practices in the context of human society, a need to care for each other and ecosystems, your work is appreciated.

Rick Samyn
Sideline Beekeeper –
The L’Honey Project
Pierce, County, WA

An Artistic Side to Honey Bee Awareness!

One of the goals of a beekeeping club should be to bring awareness about honey bees to the general public. The Wood County Beekeepers’ Association did that with an artistic flair this past June. It teamed with the Winnsboro Farmers’ Market and the Winnsboro Center for the Arts to host a “Save the Bees” hive painting contest.

Ten area artists volunteered to paint hives for the contest with amazing results. Their creative hives were on display at the Winnsboro Farmers’ Market for three weekends in June. Patrons of the Market were encouraged to vote for their favorite hive each time they visited. During the week the hives were on display at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts. On the third weekend the winners were announced and cash prizes given to the top three winning artists. Of course, every participating artist went home with a jar of local honey.

Each weekend during the event club members were on hand to explain the voting and talk about bees, but on the final weekend the club went all out. An observation hive brought a lot of questions about bees from both children and adults and club members were happy to answer them all. Children made antennae out of pipe cleaners and everyone went home with a packet of wildflower seeds. Two club members built and donated a top bar hive that was given away as a raffle item. The club also sold the painted hives on a silent auction and raised funds to do another project in the future.

Immediately following the close of the Market, everyone went indoors and enjoyed a ….