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

Why Are There So Many Bee Droppings on the Outside of my Hives?

I am an urban beekeeper in Cleveland. We over-wintered our bees in two deeps. The bees largely remained in the top box all winter. We have had a cold wet, snowy spring. I have been noticing bee poop pretty much all over the outside of the hive.

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Do My Honey Bees Have Nosema?
April 14, 2020 · · Health & Pests

I was inspecting my hive today for the first time this season and noticed the bees were not very interested in sugar syrup. It made me wonder if they had Nosema. A friend who knows more bee science than I do mentioned it, but I’ve never had it before and don’t really know what to look for.

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Dead Bees in a Package — How Many is Too Many?
April 14, 2020 · · Beekeeping 101

I received my package, and 80 to 90% of the bees were dead. I could not tell if the queen bee was there. We tried to remove most of the dead bees. We just put the queen part at the bottom of the brood box.

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15 Easy Beekeeping Projects for Quiet Days
April 11, 2020 · · Hives & Equipment

Just when you think winter will never end, you suddenly awaken to an azure sky. You hear sounds you haven’t heard in months: frogs, birds, kids. Without warning, honey bees you haven’t seen since fall are circling overhead, stretching their wings and looking for nectar.

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Can Different Species of Bees Mate?
March 9, 2020 · · Ask The Expert

Different species of honey bees cannot successfully mate with each other. Instead, you are asking about sub-species, sometimes referred to as races. An Italian queen and a New World Carniolan are merely different races of one species, Apis mellifera, and they are completely capable of interbreeding.

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Can Beehives Open Toward a Fence?
March 7, 2020 · · Ask The Expert

I am in Zone 8, I have three Langstroth hives next to a solid board fence. Can I turn the opening toward fence and how far away should the opening be from the fence?

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Nosema Disease in Honey Bees
February 23, 2020 · · Health & Pests

Nosema is a serious disease of honey bees caused by a microsporidian. A microsporidian is a type of single-celled fungus that reproduces by spores. The nosema organisms live and reproduce in the honey bee midgut where they steal nutrients and prevent digestion.

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Chalkbrood Disease in Honey Bees
February 22, 2020 · · 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 Use a Reflector to Increase the Amount of Sunlight in a Shady Location?

Honey bees are extremely adaptable, so there is no need for a hive to be placed in direct sunlight. In fact, left on their own, honey bees often select homes in very shady areas, including forests, behind barns, under bridges, and in homes that get no direct sunlight whatsoever.

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Do My Honey Bees Have Nosema?

Honey bee dysentery is often confused with Nosema disease, so when beekeepers see feces on or near a hive, they automatically think the worst. But several recent papers have reiterated that dysentery is caused by an excess of moisture in honey bee feces. It may occur simultaneously with Nosema or not, but the two conditions are not related.

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