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 Poisoning of Bees on Sunflower Crops
May 29, 2022 · · Ask the Expert

Do you have any info regarding the poisoning of bees on sunflower crops?

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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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Can I Feed Bees Honey From Another Hive?

The real problem with feeding honey from another hive is whether the honey is contaminated with spores of American foulbrood (AFB). If any of the colonies that produced it had AFB, the honey can easily become contaminated. And when you have a large bucket, the honey is likely from multiple colonies, which increases the chances of contamination.

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Can I Raise Bees on Forest Land?
February 19, 2022 · · Ask the Expert

Honey bees are adept at finding seepages from hillsides, moist layers of moss, morning dew, and even traces of water in soil where another animal has been digging. Most of their water will come from nectar, and even in the driest areas, something is usually in bloom.

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Sun and Shade for Bees: What is the Right Mix?
February 15, 2022 · · 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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