Book Review: “The Buzz About Bees”

Jürgen Tautz’s The Buzz About Bees: Biology of a Superorganism is similar to The Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum in that it’s full of detailed photographs that will help new beekeepers identify virtually everything that happens inside a honey bee hive.

But it’s not about beekeeping. It’s about the evolution and behaviour of honey bees. I learned much about the behaviour of honey bees from Mark L. Winston’s The Biology of the Honey Bee. That book had me spellbound. The Buzz About Bees (the book deserves a less cutesy title, by the way) goes over some of the same ground, explains a few extra things and presents another means of apprehending the behaviour of honey bees, that is, thinking of the honey bee colony as a single organism: the “superorganism.”

I don’t have time to write a detailed review of the book, but I’ll tell you what I got from reading it.
Continue reading

Winter Preparations – Hive Wrap

I finally got around to wrapping my hives for the winter. Here’s another how-to video narrated by me with a sore throat.

November 2018 Comment: That’s not a wax moth in the video. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not a wax moth. We don’t have those in Newfoundland (yet). I use 6mm (quarter-inch) mesh on the bottom entrances now to keep shrews out, and I don’t fold the wrap underneath the top cover because it holds moisture inside the hive.

I thought about using corrugated plastic as a type of winter wrap, but I didn’t have time to mess with that, so I stuck with following the traditional roofing felt wrap method. I don’t plan to touch the hives again until late January or early February when I might have to feed them candy cakes and pollen patties. See Wrapping Hives for Winter and Winter Preparations – Part 1 for more info.
Continue reading

Winter Preparations – Insulation and Stuff

March 2019 Introduction: This is another post where I go into some fine details of my beekeeping procedures that probably won’t do much to grab the interest of general readers. I’ll chime in at the end to comment on procedures that I don’t follow anymore, but this is really not the most exciting post I’ve ever posted. How I Prepare My Beehives For Winter is a more up to date version of this post, though even that is subject to change at any time.

It went up to a stifling 11°C yesterday (52°F), so I took the opportunity to insulate my hives for winter and staple on some mouse-proofing mesh. This is as simple as it gets.

Hives #2 and #1 with a piece of R-7.5 hard insulation over the inner covers (Nov. 3, 2011.)


Continue reading