It’s not always the obvious answer…

Beekeeping is a fascinating hobby that challenges us to understand and learn from our bees on an ongoing bases. While the true authority are the bees themselves, there’s no shortage of opinion from beekeepers. Whether in the form of books, online content, beekeeping classes or any other means, it is simple to find a strong opinion! And yet there are few absolutes in beekeeping. The underlying “truths” of beekeeping are not as simple as we would like and there are a complex set of reasons why bees act the way they do.

The Dangers of Group Speak

Like any hobby, beekeeping experiences trends! For various reasons, not least of which is the power of social media, ordinary, unproven ideas and philosophies can quickly become the “done thing”. This then becomes so-called “group speak”, which builds momentum and interest among a very large audience. All the while for a topic that is potentially based on a shaky premise.

Outside The Swarm

This column asks questions! Yes, it’s opinionated – but the common theme is to not just accept “truisms” because everyone else shouts the same tune. Rather, Outside The Swarm is about seeking actual evidence and, in it’s absence, asking questions. The intent is to help you – the sincere and interested beekeeper – ask your own, tough questions. And next time someone tells you “I do this because everyone else does” you have a different philosophy to offer! Ron Lane has years of experience as a beekeeper in beautiful Oregon and regularly teaches beekeeping classes. He contributes to our “Newbee Questions, Expert Answers” column. We do hope you enjoy this series.
Bee on comb

A closer look at how bees make honey

“How about some bee spit…” …my friend offered. My imagination quickly conjured up and placed directly in front of my mind’s eye, an image of something that made the thought of eating honey a little less palatable. “Bees regurgitate the nectar and then pass it to another bee.”  he continued. You may have heard honey

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Surprise - A Queen Cup

A Bee Yard Mystery

Those early spring days in the bee yard often bring surprises, turning the apiary into a top-notch outdoor classroom. If the beekeeper is observant and willing to follow clues left by the bees, it would be a rare season indeed that leaves the beekeeper without a new lesson. The following is a review of what

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Wasp attack

Identifying Poisoned Bees

Be ready…. If you keep bees, it’s likely that sooner or later something like this is going to happen to you. Upon visiting your bee yard you find a pile of dead bees on the ground in front of the hive. Your first thought might be colony collapse disorder (CCD) but this is not likely

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Bees in the Late Summer

Are your bees cranky? Are they on edge and don’t appreciate you being around? You used to be friends right? Spending an afternoon with the girls was something to which you used to look forward, but suddenly things have changed. In this first article (of two) we are going to take a look at what’s

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Varroa mites

The Controversial Topic of Treatment-Free Beekeeping

Have You Actually Got a Mite Problem? The season has changed. We’ve moved out of the spring swarm season and are well into summer. The queen is beginning to reduce her egg laying and, as the colonies population declines as we get into fall, the ratio of mites to bees can skyrocket! When it does,

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What is the “right” type of beehive?

An Informed Approach To Choosing the Right Beehive In this article we are going to discuss the various types of bee hives, a little of their history and how to select the one that’s right for you. Flying “Outside the Swarm” is not about following trendy philosophies. We are not old school, nor are we following

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