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 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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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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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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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 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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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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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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How Long After a Swarm Should I See Signs of a Queen?
June 26, 2020 · · Ask The Expert

On average, a newly emerged queen takes about two weeks, give or take, before she begins to lay eggs.

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Why Do I Have Dead Drones in My Beehive Entrance?
June 12, 2020 · · Ask The Expert

Every now and then someone reports massive numbers of dead drones in spring and early summer. It doesn’t seem right but it happens. One common thread that runs through these reports is several days of rainy or cold weather just prior to finding the dead drones.

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