Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Mystery of the Red Honey

Bloody Bees....
Image Copyright 2010, BoroughBees.com

I've gotten a few e-mails from friends and readers forwarding the recent article in the New York Times covering the outbreak of red “honey” in Red Hook, so firstly, THANK YOU to everyone who sent it to me. It's a very well-written article and it delves into the pressing issues of gentrification and the social friction it creates.

Cerise Mayo expected better of her bees. She had raised them right, given them all the best opportunities—acres of urban farmland strewn with fruits and vegetables, a bounty of natural nectar and pollen . . .

And then this. Her bees, the ones she had been raising in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and on Governors Island since May, started coming home to their hives looking suspicious. . . . Where there should have been a touch of gentle amber showing through the membrane of their honey stomachs was instead a garish bright red. The honeycombs, too, were an alarming shade of Robitussin.
Follow the link to the full NYT Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/nyregion/30bigcity.htm

While gentrification and the clashes between local businesses, old residents, and newcomers to neighborhoods are fascinating, as a beekeeper, I've been much more curious about the beekeeping aspects of this story since it first came to my attention several months ago.

A lot of people have a very pastoral view of bees: flying from flower to flower slowly, sedately, looking for food, dancing their way toward a hive full of honey happily donated to our kitchens and tables. The reality is frantic, a constant struggle for survival against a legion of enemies. Honeybees are desperately productive, and the old saying “busy as a bee” takes on new meaning when you consider that most bees die in the field, full of food and nectar, expending the last of their energy on One. Last. Load.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks for Bees

It's amazing how central bees are to our lifestyles and how few of us realize it.

It's always nice to hear from people who do.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thanksgiving = Prezzies?

Thank you for placing an order with Walter T. Kelley Bee Co..

Order Details

Code Product Description Quantity
18RA Deep Hive Body 10 Frame 1-4 Cypress 10 Frame 4
38RA Medium Depth (Illinois) Cypress 10 Frame Medium Supers 4
57-RA Cypress Screen Bottom Board 2
49-RA Cypress Wood and Metal Cover 2
12-MCA Mountain Camp rim for 10 frame hive. 2
113 Frame Holder 1
55-N Entrance Reducer 2

Any guesses as to what I'm doing next year?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wintering 101 Part One: It’s a-Comin’.

There is probably no subject in beekeeping that sparks so many debates (and arguments) as preparing hives for winter. There are an infinite number of methods, practices, tricks and superstitions, and every beekeeper has his or her own beekeepers brew for overwintering. Regardless of what anyone will tell you, there is no RIGHT way to overwinter your bees. There is no universal method that works the best for everybody everywhere and leaves everyone happy because all of their bees survived the winter and everyone is happy, hooray.

Beehive in Winter

There is, however, a right way for you.

You'll have to find it out for yourself, building it up from the dizzying array of methods and strategies. You'll make mistakes along the way (I did) but eventually you will arrive at a method that is right for you. I'll try to help by explaining some of your options and the rationales behind them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


If you're signed up for the New York City Beekeeping Meetup Group (NYCBMG) free beekeeping class, it's TONIGHT!

Come say hi to me if you'll be there. I'll have a rust and grey colored scarf on and will likely tower over the crowd. Should be easy to spot me!

As always, remember to check the Calendar for upcoming NYC Beekeeping events! I do my best to keep it updated, even when I'm otherwise swarmed!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


My student Lana won this hook-end hive tool (authentic Maxant!) at JEOPARBEE last night.  She then proceeded to give it to me.  She is now my favourite.