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

Should I Perform Beehive Inspections with Supers On?

As a general rule, I try not to go into the brood boxes when the honey supers are on. There are a few reasons for this. Here are three reasons.

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Were My Bees Poisoned?

I believe one of my hives was poisoned. There is a pile in front of the hive. This colony was a combination of two weak splits waiting for a queen. (I used the newspaper method to combine them. ) My first impression was that my combination of the two hives had caused the dissonance and the death of the bees in front of the hive. After further investigation, I found that most of the dead bees had tongues hanging out. I realized it might be a pesticide. Now my question is how can I protect the other five hives? None of them had the pile of bees in front.

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How Do I Encourage My Bees to Cap the Frames in the Super?

The bees simply bite off a chunk of wax, mix it with their own saliva, chew it into the right consistency, and then build new comb with it somewhere else in the hive. If later in the season they want to use the frames they borrowed from, they will repair the entire thing such that you can barely see what they did.

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How Do I Get Bees to Move out of a Birdhouse?

I have honey bees that moved into a birdhouse. They are very active and seem like they will grow out of the little cottage. I bought a nice hive box for them, but they are not showing any interest in moving over. Is there any way to attract them to the new, big comfortable hive body?

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Why Did My Bees Remove the Frame Foundation?

The bees simply bite off a chunk of wax, mix it with their own saliva, chew it into the right consistency, and then build new comb with it somewhere else in the hive. If later in the season they want to use the frames they borrowed from, they will repair the entire thing such that you can barely see what they did.

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What Are Those White Worms in My Honey?

The little white “worms” we sometimes see in honey are not actually worms at all. Instead, they are the larval stage of the wax moth. Just like honey bees, wax moths go through four stages of metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

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A Slatted Rack and Robbing Screen Can Improve Your Hive Entrance
July 19, 2020 · · Hives & Equipment

One of the best things about a Langstroth beehive is its adaptability. By using optional pieces of beehive equipment like a slatted rack and robbing screen, you can adapt your beehive to suit local conditions.

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Brood in Honey; No Queen Excluder — What Now?

Many people don’t like the idea of queen excluders until they get to this point. Brood in the honey supers is a difficult problem to solve, and the solutions are not ideal.

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When Can I Safely Clean Out my Mason Bee Tubes?
July 6, 2020 · · Ask The Expert

In order to care for your mason bees, you need to have some idea when the tubes were filled and capped. If it was in a prior year, the bees inside are most likely dead, so you can discard the tubes and start with a fresh set next year.

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My Bees Built Comb in the Swarm Trap, Now What?
June 30, 2020 · · Ask The Expert

By the time I got to the swarm trap, the bees had built comb from the bottom of the frames almost to the floor of the trap — about 5 inches of comb coming off each of the frames. How do I handle this extra comb when placing the swarm in the new brood boxes? Thanks.

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