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

What are Ankle-Biter Bees?
January 17, 2021 · · Ask The Expert

Purdue ankle-biters are a type of honey bee developed at Purdue University after beekeepers noticed that some honey bees bit the legs off dislodged varroa mites. Individual bees with this hygienic trait were inbred in order to increase the incidence of the genetic alleles that produced the behavior. The result of this breeding program yielded the so-called ankle-biters.

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What Bugs Your Bees in Winter? Know the Lineup of Beekeeping Pests.
January 12, 2021 · · Health & Pests

Even before we open our first beehive, we are warned about pests that may live within. Small hive beetles, wax moths, and varroa mites are things we dread, so early in our training we learn how to deal with them.

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What is Honey Bee Dysentery?
December 22, 2020 · · Health & Pests

Beekeeping is rife with confusing terminology that can baffle even experienced beekeepers. Honey bee dysentery is a perfect example.

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Can I Feed Bees Honey From Another Hive?
December 16, 2020 · · Ask The Expert, Health & Pests

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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Is Fondant Actually Detrimental to Bees?

When you cook sugar or add an acid such as vinegar or cream of tartar, you break the molecular bonds that hold sucrose together and end up with the two simple sugars. It’s the fructose portion that causes the problem. When fructose is heated it produces hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), which is toxic to bees.

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I Found a Dead Queen on My Landing Board. Now What?

I live just outside of Seattle. Yesterday I found a queen dead on the landing board of my top bar hive. She was with two worker bees that were alive. I am not sure what they were doing. Pushing her off of the ledge?

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Can I Save My Plastic Frames with Wax Moth Damage?

Freezing is the very best way to kill wax moths on frames, whether it’s made of wood or plastic. Freezing is effective because it kills all life stages of the moth: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults.

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Keeping Both Mason Bees and Honey Bees
November 15, 2020 · · Plants & Pollination

Many people, especially those with fruit trees to pollinate, want to keep both mason bees and honey bees in the same yard. But is that good for the bees? Will they harm each other or compete for resources? How close is too close?

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Why Did My Bees Die?

Dead bees head-down in cells is a common occurrence, but beekeepers seldom agree about the cause. The most commonly heard theory is that the bees could not find food and died licking the remaining molecules off the bottom of the comb.

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How Do I Keep the Hive Ventilated in Winter?

In the past few years, the number of electronic devices for beekeepers has mushroomed. I’ve frequently been asked to test these new devices, so I have quite a bit of experience with them.

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