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

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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Can I Raise Bees on Forest Land?
December 30, 2019 · · 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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Which Bees Make Honey?
December 28, 2019 · · Beekeeping 101

While not all bees make honey, there are many species that do—perhaps hundreds.

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Can I Feed Frames of Honey Back to My Colony?
December 5, 2019 · · Ask The Expert

I live in the NC Piedmont. I prepared my hives for winter last Sunday by removing the top supers and adding a quilt frame and a candy board. These are two first-year hives. The honey was not capped last month. This month it’s all capped including eight full frames in the supers and four that are about half full.

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How do I Keep Bears Away from My Beehives?
September 20, 2019 · · Ask The Expert, Health & Pests

Once a bear learns the location of a beehive, it will keep coming back for more. So the best defense against bear predation is avoiding them in the first place.

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Why Are There Bald-Faced Hornets in my Top Feeder?
September 17, 2019 · · Ask The Expert, Health & Pests

I found a ton of dead, large black and white, what I think might be bald-faced hornets dead inside of a feeder. I killed a bunch outside my hives too. Entrance reducer was on also. Should I worry? I’m thrilled The Hive was strong enough to kill all the intruders at least.

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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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Exploring the Mason Bee Life Cycle

Often mistaken for flies, mason bees are some of the earliest spring fliers. But the timing of the mason bee life cycle varies with each individual species — and we in North America have an enormous variety.

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