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

The Invasive Spotted Lanternfly: A New Honey Bee Pest
June 17, 2022 · · Health & Pests

Global trade has landed a wide selection of goods on our doorsteps, and people throughout the world have benefitted in ways unimaginable in decades past. But one detriment of increased trade is the movement of organisms into new environments.

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How Many Days After Requeening Should I See Eggs?
June 14, 2022 · · Ask the Expert

After eight days, you should see eggs by now, even if it took the workers two or three days to release her. A queenless colony can go about 21 days before the workers’ ovaries begin to develop.

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Creating the Best Water Sources for Bees
June 8, 2022 · · Health & Pests

Like all animals, honey bees need a dependable source of water year round. The best water sources for bees are ones that won’t go dry in the summer, won’t drown the bees, and won’t be shared with livestock or pets. Although honey bees adore a nice salt water pool, it’s a good idea to establish your water source before your bees begin chasing away the sunbathers.

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What Does a Caught Swarm Need to Thrive?

I just caught my first swarm by placing a deep hive body on top of a very active swarm on a low brush pile. When I got the deep back to the yard, I installed a frame feeder and a top feeder as well as a pollen patty. I inspected the hive yesterday afternoon, and it is packed out with bees (maybe 5-6 lbs ).

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What do Mason Bees Pollinate?

Most Osmia mason bees are generalist pollinators, foraging on a wide variety of plants. As a rule of thumb, Osmia prefer tube-shaped blossoms or flowers with irregular shapes. Some of their favorites are various mints, penstemon, scorpionweed, and willows. They also like legume family plants such as indigo bush, clover, and vetch along with composites such as thistles.

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How Often Should I Test for Varroa Mites?

I would like to know when I should start testing for varroa mites. And then what schedule should I follow for the following months?

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Why Do My Colonies Keep Swarming?

I have three hives started last year and all three swarmed in the last week. Now, they are swarming again — the same colonies. Why do the same colonies keep swarming every few days?

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Will a Swarm Survive Cool, Rainy Weather?
April 5, 2022 · · Ask the Expert

Bees swarmed yesterday from our hive. They are in one of our fruit trees. Today it has been raining all afternoon with temps in the high 40s to 50. Is the swarm able to survive in this weather?

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Can a Drone be Effective in Locating Swarms?

Could a drone be effective in locating swarms? I assume you are asking about a man-made drone, not a male honey bee. A male honey bee would be useless in that line of work!

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Chalkbrood Disease in Honey Bees
March 10, 2022 · · Health & Pests

Of all the disease names, chalkbrood paints the most vivid picture. Even if you’ve never seen chalkbrood symptoms, white chunks of mummified brood are hard to mistake for anything else.

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