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

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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Creating the Best Water Sources for Bees
August 17, 2020 · · 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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Can I Put Out Extracted Supers Without Encouraging Robbing?

Finding a source of ready-made honey excites the bees, almost to the point of frenzy. So providing wet supers gets the bees agitated and more willing, it seems, to attempt robbing.

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Can I Check Honey Supers While Treating with Formic Pro Mite Treatment?

I’m treating my hives with Formic Pro at this time. I know you shouldn’t manipulate the hive during treatment, but what about checking honey supers and adding or taking them away?

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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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