I’m heading for the Seattle Fremont Market this Sunday. “We” are there every Sunday, which means my hard-working husband, the furniture craftsman, brings my honeys, infusions, vinegars, salves, and soap with him to the Fremont Market every Sunday – I join him there once a month. (FremontMarket.com/fremont Sundays 10-5pm on North 34th street between Evanston & Phinney, just west of the Fremont Bridge.).
I like going to the market. I spend the day talking about honey and beekeeping, and seeing all the wonderful creations at the other booths. In the course of my conversations about bees, I often find myself suggesting that folks visit a few on-line sites, so I thought it would be good to put them here as well. There are a lot out there, but these are the ones I look at, plus one. I’ll start with the “Plus One”:
For Seattle folks interested in being beekeepers, I heartily suggest joining the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association (no, I’m not a member, I live 2 ½ hours north of Seattle). But if you’re considering keeping bees, the best thing that you can do before you make the commitment of time and money is to find out if beekeeping is truly is right for you. At the meetings you’ll meet other beekeepers who will share their experiences; have the opportunity to take classes and hear speakers, and most important you might be able to help with someone’s hives. That will tell you if you really want to keep honeybees.
There’s more to bees (and pollinators) than honeybees:
I’m taking a detour here, because Xerces.org is not about honeybees, but about the conservation of local pollinators. They are “a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife though the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat”. A mouthful, isn’t it? But how else could they say it all in one sentence. At Xerces.org you can find wonderful fact sheets on how to create habitat for native pollinators from mason bees and bumblebees (which can use our help big time), to butterflies.
Orchard Mason bees, and equipment brought to you by a family run business. The first time I heard about mason bees was though these folks.
Back to honeybees on the web:
The next three are forums where you can ask questions and, equally important, read through Q & A’s on a range of subjects. I often find answers to my questions simply by looking at the older posts.
BeeSource.com – Forums for everyone from those who use chemicals, to those who don’t, topics range from beginning keeping to raising queens and biological beekeeping to diseases & pests.
BeeWorks.com – Again wonderful forums.
BioBees.com –. A range of information, including fascinating top bar information here. I don’t keep top bar hives, but they’re one of those “when I get some spare time” projects for me. The key words at this site are “natural and sustainable”, bear that in mind when posting
There are no “wrong” questions, just the “wrong” place to ask them. One wouldn’t ask the clerk at Victoria Secrets for advice of the best mud boots (although it could start a whole new line for them).
Pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/Organicbeekeepers – a yahoo group that is focused on small cell beekeeping and no treatments. No powdered sugar, no pollen substitutes, nothing, so don’t ask, Dee Lusby, an incredibly successful treatment-free commercial beekeeper, means it. Treatment free: a wonderful goal for many of us, and a fabulous success for many of these folks. But if you’re considering feeding anything other than honey and pollen head over to BeeSource or one of the others for advice and information.
Feralbeeproject.group.com/home – The focus here, as you can guess, is on feral bees. If you’re thinking of hiving swarms,this is a great forum to get some information.
BushFarms.com – Michael Bush’s site is filled with good information running from foundationless beekeeping to swarm control. If you read or participate in bee forums, you’ll soon “meet” this knowledgeable beekeeper.
When something goes way wrong:
Just lilts off the tongue, doesn’t it? That’s our government for you. This is the US Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland. They can test bees for diseases. If your hive has crashed and you can’t figure out why, they can help you. The site has information on diseases, as well as how to send samples to the lab.
This organization is focused on coexistence between humans and predators in North America, primarily the “big” four: wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, and bears. Yes, we can all get along, it takes some work on our part, but it can be done. They’re based out in the Rockies, where they have bear aware programs and educational programs, but they reach out to farmers and ranchers nationwide. Indeed, Brookfield Farm’s Honey is “Certified Predator Friendly” through this organization (all due to Primo, the livestock guard dog, who has made an appearance on this blog).
The name says it all. This group raises money with the goal of alleviating poverty worldwide through beekeeping. It works with beekeepers to improve their beekeeping skills so they can create a sustainable life for themselves and their families.
There are innumerable links for bee information on the web, but these are the ones I use. Enjoy, explore, but most importantly, turn off the computer, go outside and look at the bees.
To sum it up: