Honey Bees Got 99 Problems, Don’t Be Another One

They can actually make problems worse.  I know they mean well, those folks who begin conversations about honey bees requiring proper management care and attention by describing bees as woeful, abused victims of beekeepers.

Everyone has heard the stories about if honey bees, being left alone, would live in cozy trees, mind thrown beeswax and live in perfect harmony with the world.  Then the beekeepers showed up…

Honey bee colonies, entirely of their own volition, will move into just about any place that meets their minimum requirements for environmental and defensive purposes.  Dry, high, and warm.

Honey bee colonies will choose to build their nests in trees, caves, roofs, barns, grain bins, under decks and grills, in the eaves of a house, under the limb of a tree.  I have relocated honey bee nests from all of those places and more.  No beekeeper put them in those places.

Honey bees are incredible, terrifically wondrous creatures.  They can also be incredibly dumb.  Suicidally dumb in fact.

They will build nests in places that are almost certainly unsustainable for them.  It happens more than you’d think.  In fact, beekeepers hives are often a far greater nest site than most of the places we take them out of.

Beekeepers can often be the biggest problem honey bees have to contend with.  We have a tendency to not leave them alone.  We want to “help” them by applying treatments but fail to first understand not only proper application of said treatments but the circumstances, conditions and assessment procedures that should always precede any such treat to ensure they are necessary, required, or appropriate.

Beekeepers frequently fall into one of two common honey harvest problem groups for honey bees.  The first is harvesting too much.  The other being not harvesting enough.  Put bluntly, honey bees are one of handful of creatures that will produce more than they need.  Honey bees will make honey as long as there are nectar sources and space available.  By “space available”  I mean even to the point that they use all the space otherwise needed for the queen to lay eggs.

Honey bees will create a situation called being “honey bound” meaning they cannot grow the colony in space due to lack of hive boxes and lack of drawn comb that hasn’t already been filled with honey.  Colonies have killed themselves off or created an “abandon ship” situation by over producing honey.

Beekeepers that don’t harvest honey accordingly put bee colonies at risk as much as those who harvest too much.

Honey bees create enough actual problems for themselves as well as dealing with slew of environmental, predator and pathogenic problems they have already.  The last thing honey bees need is misinformed, overdramatic, hyperbole to distract beekeepers from becoming best informed, experienced and prepared to properly manage hives.


Making a difference for bees in Omaha

The Bee Joyful Teaching Apiary has made its home at the best place it could be at Scatter Joy Acres, a haven of animal rescue.  Joy Bartlett and her volunteers have built a great reputation for helping rescue and relocate farm animals and all kinds of other animals and bring them to a better place.  Now they can add bees to that list.

Bumblebees in the nest

Tony Sandoval of the Bee Smart beekeeping project is set to perform live rescues of bees from homes, buildings, trees and other locations and relocate them to this new home instead of them being exterminated.    The new place is called “Bee Joyful Teaching Apiary” located on-site at Scatter Joy Acres.  It’s threefold mission is to be a refuge for wayward honey bee and bumblebees colonies, to provide informative experiences for the public about bees, and to be a place for beekeepers to learn the craft and get professionally guided hands-on experience in apiculture.

The Beehooligans is a group of people who by joining, become member to a special team of people who learn and practice beekeeping skills while maintaining and supporting the teaching apiary and helping the public better understand and appreciate bees and beekeeping by participating in special activities and events for them and the visitors to Scatter Joy Acres.

You can help by :

  • Coming out to Scatter Joy Acres and visiting the animals and bees.  Your small admission fee helps take care of animals and provide valuable therapeutic services to people.
  • You can make a donation to Scatter Joy Acres to help cover the costs of rescuing and maintaining bees.  The special costs of scaffolding and other means to access bee nests in high and odd places can be substantial.
  • You can spread the word to people not to exterminate bees, but to call to have the bees rescued by our Beehooligans instead and relocated to the teaching apiary.
  • You can support Tony and the Bee Smart beekeeping project by becoming a supporter at the Bee Smart Patreon page.


Hive Working Happening At Scatter Joy Acres Teaching Apiary Tomorrow

I’ll bee ready to work on rehabbing hive boxes and putting together new boxes tomorrow at 1 pm.

We have donated hive boxes that need to be cleaned up and made usable for the new bee colonies we will go out and rescue this year.

Interns, here’s a great opportunity to come down, ask questions, find out the answers to What, How, Why, When, and even When.  Learn to identify pieces of hive equipment and much more.  $7.50 for the day.

Apprentices, take in a session of getting hands-on experience while you have someone there who won’t let you break anything (or can fix it if you do).  No stress, all fun and improving your skills.  $15.00  for the day.

After we’re done, you can get a special deal on going through the rest of the farm to see what Joy and the gang’s and visit the special critters living there.

Learn about bee hives, beekeeping equipment and support Bee rescue all at the same time.