About the Author

Rusty Burlew

Rusty is a master beekeeper in Washington State. She has been fascinated by honey bees since childhood and, in recent years, has become enthralled with the native bees that share pollination duty with honey bees. She has an undergraduate degree in agronomic crops and a master’s degree in environmental studies with an emphasis on pollination ecology. Rusty owns a website, HoneyBeeSuite.com, and is the director of a small non-profit, the Native Bee Conservancy of Washington State. Through the non-profit, she helps organizations with conservation projects by taking species inventories and planning pollinator habitat. Besides writing for the website, Rusty has published in Bee Culture and Bee World magazines, and has regular columns in Bee Craft (UK) and the American Bee Journal. She frequently speaks to groups about bee conservation, and has worked as an expert witness in bee sting litigation. In her spare time, Rusty enjoys macro photography, gardening, canning, baking, and quilting.
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Articles by Rusty Burlew

Raising Mason Bees: Do’s and Don’ts
September 26, 2020 · · Plants & Pollination

Raising mason bees is as simple as buying or making suitable housing and placing it where it will be discovered by the bees that already live in your area. If you don’t buy mason bees, starting is a bit slower, but the results are worth the wait.

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Should My Supers Be Below the Inner Cover for Winter?

Having the inner cover in the way can block the bees’ pathway and funnel the heat to a small area instead of generally throughout the super. In addition, the retriever bees may have to travel further—first to the opening, then away from it to the food, and then back to the hole, and then back to the cluster.

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Can I Use Honey in a Pail Feeder?

You can try putting honey directly in a pail feeder, but I find it tends to crystallize in the holes after a few days.

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What’s Wrong with my Homemade Fondant?
September 15, 2020 · · Ask The Expert

Beekeepers add vinegar to fondant recipes under the mistaken idea that you need to invert the sucrose for the bees. This is not true. Most nectar is mainly sucrose, but the instant the bees ingest it, their saliva breaks it down into glucose and fructose.

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How Do I Save a Late-Season Swarm?
September 10, 2020 · · Ask The Expert, Health & Pests

Deciding how to handle a late swarm can be difficult, even for an experienced beekeeper. Although late swarms have a very low survival rate, they can be helped along with additional resources.

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How Do I Combine Two Double-Deep Hives?
September 7, 2020 · · Ask The Expert, Beekeeping 101

Before you begin to combine the two double-deep hives, try to consolidate the brood nests in each hive. For example, If one hive has five frames of brood in one box, and two in the other box, try to put all seven of them in one box. Repeat this process in the other hive.

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Can I Eliminate Hive Beetles by Moving to a Sunnier Location?
September 4, 2020 · · Ask The Expert, Health & Pests

How well hive beetles do once they move in has a lot to do with the soil type. At a certain point, the larvae leave the hive and drop to the soil beneath the hive. Here, they burrow into the soil and pupate before becoming adults.

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Sun and Shade for Bees: What is the Right Mix?
September 2, 2020 · · Hives & Equipment

Add to Favorites Many factors are important in determining a beehive location, including the relative amounts of sun and shade for bees. Many beekeepers insist that honey bee hives should …

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Why Are There Flower Particles on my Bottom Board?

When we see flower parts stuck to bees, it’s usually the pollenia of either milkweeds or orchids. The pollenia are pollen-filled sacks that stick to the pollinator like glue and eventually fall off on another flower. Honey bees are most apt to engage with milkweed pollenia, and sometimes they have so many long and stringy orange sacks hanging from their legs they can barely fly.

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Why Do Bees Washboard?

When bees washboard, they space themselves on the surface of their hive then they plant their four rear legs in place and use their two front legs to step forward and back in a rocking motion while they lick the surface. Sometimes a colony will washboard for a day or two, but at other times it may continue for weeks.

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