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Colony Confinement (161)

Honey Bee Obscura Podcast

Release Date: 01/11/2024

Plain Talk: A Small June Swarm show art Plain Talk: A Small June Swarm

Honey Bee Obscura Podcast

In this episode, Jim Tew delves into the fascinating world of swarming behavior. Jim shares his experiences with swarms moving into winter-killed colonies, highlighting how these free bees can effectively clean up and rejuvenate old equipment. He discusses his observations on swarm preferences, the unpredictability of swarm arrivals, and the intriguing patterns he has noticed over the years. Jim also touches on the challenges of distinguishing between scout bees and robbers and reflects on the ever-evolving nature of beekeeping. This episode is packed with insights and practical tips for...

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Plain Talk: The Survivor Hive show art Plain Talk: The Survivor Hive

Honey Bee Obscura Podcast

Join Jim Tew as he recounts the captivating story of the “Survivor Hive” — an incredible beehive that endured decades without human intervention. In this episode, Jim shares a remarkable story from his early beekeeping days, illustrating the resilient and adaptive nature of honeybees. Learn how this hive, abandoned in a remote location, used propolis to thrive through years of neglect and natural challenges. Jim reflects on the hive's unique history, the lessons it teaches about beekeeping, and the extraordinary power of propolis. Whether you're a seasoned beekeeper or just curious about...

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Plain Talk: Not My Bees (182) show art Plain Talk: Not My Bees (182)

Honey Bee Obscura Podcast

In this episode, Jim Tew dives into the humorous and often frustrating situations beekeepers face when neighbors expect them to handle all sorts of "bee" problems. Jim shares personal stories of dealing with carpenter bees, yellowjackets, and hornets—none of which are honey bees. He explains the misconceptions non-beekeepers have and the unexpected responsibilities that come with being the local "bee expert." Jim's anecdotes highlight the challenges and surprising adventures beekeepers encounter while trying to help their communities. Jim also addresses recent listener emails, offering...

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Plain Talk: Smoke and Smokers (181) show art Plain Talk: Smoke and Smokers (181)

Honey Bee Obscura Podcast

In this episode, Jim Tew shares his tried-and-true methods for lighting and using a smoker, essential tools for any beekeeper. He delves into the evolution of his technique; from the fuel he prefers to the simple but effective system he's developed over the years. Jim discusses the convenience and potential drawbacks of using cedar shavings, the importance of preparing the smoker properly, and his tips for keeping it burning efficiently. Along the way, he provides practical advice on avoiding over-smoking and maintaining safety in the bee yard. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned beekeeper,...

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Plain Talk: Irate Bees! (180) show art Plain Talk: Irate Bees! (180)

Honey Bee Obscura Podcast

In this stinging episode, Jim recounts an unexpected encounter with unusually aggressive bees in his apiary. While mowing near his hives, Jim experienced an unprovoked attack from bees that had previously shown no signs of hostility. He delves into potential reasons for this sudden change, exploring factors such as the absence of a nectar flow, vibrations from machinery, and inter-colony dynamics. Jim's firsthand narrative, combined with his decades of beekeeping experience, offers listeners valuable insights into managing and understanding bee behavior during unpredictable episodes. This...

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Plain Talk: It's Not Just Keeping Bees (179) show art Plain Talk: It's Not Just Keeping Bees (179)

Honey Bee Obscura Podcast

In this thoughtful episode, Jim dives into the often-overlooked aspects of beekeeping that extend beyond the bees themselves. He reflects on the countless hours spent on tasks that, while essential, don't directly involve handling bees—like managing equipment, mowing grass, and maintaining bee yard cleanliness. This episode offers a holistic view of the beekeeper's world, emphasizing that the work of beekeeping involves much more than just keeping bees. Listeners will find value in Jim's introspective discussion on the balance between beekeeping duties and the environmental management of the...

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Starting Nucs with Will (178) show art Starting Nucs with Will (178)

Honey Bee Obscura Podcast

In this episode, Jim introduces listeners to the world of beekeeping through the experiences of a new beekeeper, his grandson Will. As a high school junior with a budding interest in bees, Will's initial steps into beekeeping offer a fresh perspective and relatable insights for anyone curious about starting this fulfilling hobby. Throughout the episode, Jim and Will discuss the thrills and challenges of the early days of beekeeping, from handling the first hive and managing initial fears to dealing with unexpected issues like ant invasions. Jim's mentorship provides Will—and the...

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Plain Talk: A Spring Walk in the Bee Yard (177) show art Plain Talk: A Spring Walk in the Bee Yard (177)

Honey Bee Obscura Podcast

In this episode, Jim takes listeners on an auditory stroll through his bee yard during a recent vibrant spring day. As the bees buzz energetically around him, Jim shares his personal reflections and insights on the bustling life of the hive. With the backdrop of blooming fruit trees and a flurry of bee activity, he paints a vivid picture of a beekeeper's spring routine—from managing swarming colonies to the simple joy of observing bees at work. Jim discusses the challenges and surprises of early spring beekeeping, such as dealing with unexpected swarms and the importance of maintaining the...

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Plain Talk: Box Hives (176) show art Plain Talk: Box Hives (176)

Honey Bee Obscura Podcast

In this enlightening episode, Jim takes listeners on a historical journey through the evolution of beekeeping hives. Delving into the storied past of traditional box hives, Jim reflects on a unique box hive he acquired, which was originally built in 1853—the same year L.L. Langstroth revolutionized beekeeping with his patented removable frame hive. This episode not only explores the construction and historical significance of traditional box hives but also juxtaposes them with the transformative hanging frame designs that followed. Jim discusses how these simple, yet effective hives played a...

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Plain Talk: Leftover Honey (175) show art Plain Talk: Leftover Honey (175)

Honey Bee Obscura Podcast

In this episode, Jim explores the practical aspects of dealing with "less-than-pristine" honey, an inevitable challenge for many beekeepers. Throughout the discussion, Jim shares personal anecdotes and insights from his extensive experience, providing a nuanced look at what beekeepers can do with honey that doesn't meet the highest quality standards. Whether it's honey from wax melters, overwintered hives, or colonies affected by varroa, Jim explores the various destinies of these batches. He discusses innovative yet practical solutions like using secondary equipment for processing or...

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More Episodes

Packaged Bees are ConfinedBeekeepers must often confine their bees to the hives for long or short periods of time, whether it be to move them from one yard to another, or if pesticides are to be used in neighboring fields and even transporting home package bees or nucs in the spring. Have you ever considered the effects this confinement may have on the colony? On today episode, Jim and Becky Masterman, PhD, discuss the ramifications of confining bees to their hives on bee health and even queen viability.

In the wild, honey bees are never confined to the hollow of the tree. They come and go as they please. Whether that is to go in search of nectar and pollen, bring in water, take out hive debris or dead sisters. Being locked up is not in their ‘wiring’, so what impact does this have on them? Does it cause stress? Does it impact the laying ability of the queen?

Jim and Becky explore the consequences of confining bees and how it diverges from their natural behaviors. They explore the potential stress factors that confinement induces in a bee colony. Is it just about limited foraging, or does it go deeper, affecting the social structure and health of the hive?

The discussion then shifts to the queen bee, the heart of the hive. How does confinement impact her laying patterns and overall health?

Furthermore, they talk about practical strategies beekeepers can adopt to minimize the negative effects of confinement. From optimal confinement durations to pre-and post-confinement hive management, these tips are crucial for maintaining a healthy, thriving colony.

This episode is not just about the challenges but also about solutions and proactive steps beekeepers can take to ensure their bees are as stress-free as possible during these unavoidable confinements. Whether you're relocating your bees, protecting them from pesticides, or introducing new bees to your apiary, this episode is a treasure trove of knowledge.

Join us in uncovering the delicate balance of beekeeping and the art of ensuring the well-being of our bees, even when they're confined.

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Thanks to Betterbee for sponsoring today's episode. Betterbee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customer service, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, Betterbee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at www.betterbee.com

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Honey Bee Obscura is brought to you by Growing Planet Media, LLC, the home of Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Music: Heart & Soul by Gyom, All We Know by Midway Music; Christmas Avenue by Immersive Music; original guitar music by Jeffrey Ott

Cartoons by: John Martin (Beezwax Comics)

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