The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – January 2021

- January 1, 2021 - (excerpt)

beekeeping painting
Encaustic Painting Makes Exhibit

I’m pleased to announce that my encaustic painting that I did in March at the beginning of the pandemic was juried into the Knoxville Airport show. Out of 440 entries, only 43 were selected so it’s an honor. The piece is all encaustic which is beeswax and damar. The image below is of my husband smoking one of our hives. The cloud encroaching on the right represents the virus forcing everyone to quarantine. However, life goes on in the apiary.

The exhibit is in the secure area of McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee and will be on display through April 2021 (end date TBA). Here is the link to the Arts and Culture Alliance of Knoxville where photos of the entire exhibit can be seen along with details:

Thanks for producing such a great magazine! I learn something with every issue.

Neranza Noel Blount
Knoxville, Tennessee

December Issue

Just started reading the December issue … The Grinchy Beekeeper is great!

Joe Conti
Colbert, Georgia

Letter from Lisa Laskow

Dear Eugene,

I was not going to read the “Running Interference” article in the December 2020 ABJ because it looked too technical, but upon reflection I decided to give it a try.  Bill Hesbach is an excellent writer.  It is a gift to be able to explain such a technical subject to a lay person and he did it.  I understood his description of how RNAi worked and was fascinated.  I learned something new.  I wonder if he is a teacher by profession?  If so, his students are lucky to have him.

I am on to the “Summer Swarms” article.

Lisa Laskow
Stahlstown, Pennsylvania

P.S. I laughed at your “From the Editor” piece (“The Grinchy Beekeeper”). Honestly, I tell the new beekeepers that I occasionally mentor that less is more. Monitor and treat for varroa.  Feed if necessary. Check them in the spring to get set up for honey flow. Check in on them a couple times a month and then leave the bees alone. We may interfere more than we help, but oh we want those bee hive products. (I only take honey and get wax as a byproduct).


Editor’s Response:

Thanks, Lisa. I asked Bill about his background, and he said, “I’m an engineer and taught computer science to industry folks which set me on a path of having to explain difficult subjects.”


Letter from Robert Couchman

I just received the latest issue of ABJ, love, love, love the cover photo!

Robert Couchman
Hartland, Wisconsin

Letter from Frank Linton

Wonderful cover! Can we have more like that? Makes an old guy’s day.

Frank Linton
Chevy Chase, Maryland


Editor’s Response:

Thank you, it’s one of my favorites too! So wonderful to see teenage girls involved in the family business — especially beekeeping. And from the look of their suits, it’s not their first time out!



“Windshield Effect” has been Tested

Dear Eugene,

I wonder whether your correspondent, Mike Atnip (November Letters), would be interested to learn that studies have been carried out in Denmark and the U.K. about the decline in insect populations, using the splatter test. It was reported in The Guardian newspaper in February that:

“The survey of insects hitting car windscreens in rural Denmark used data collected every summer from 1997 to 2017 and found an 80% decline in abundance. It also found a parallel decline in the number of swallows and martins, birds that live on insects. The second survey, in the UK county of Kent in 2019, examined splats in a grid placed over car registration plates, known as a ‘splatometer.’ This revealed 50% fewer impacts than in 2004. The research included vintage cars up to …