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

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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What’s Bothering My Mason Bees?

The parasitic wasp genus Monodontomerus shows up just as the mason bee season is coming to a close. The wasps are very tiny, perhaps fruit fly size, and fly with a nervous, side-to-side pattern that makes them look guilty.

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Will a Newly Installed Nuc Swarm?

The appearance of a single swarm cell doesn’t mean much. Some colonies repeatedly build queen cups and swarm cells only to tear them down later. We don’t know why they do it, but it may just be a case of being prepared.

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Reversing Brood Boxes in the Spring — Is it Necessary?

Many beekeepers begin spring by “reversing brood boxes,” which just means switching the two so that the cluster is on the bottom. Some beekeepers do this routinely, while some never do it. It’s not necessary because, as the brood nest expands, the queen will eventually begin laying in the bottom box, especially if you use a queen excluder to keep the queen out of the honey supers. Whether you reverse the boxes is just a matter of beekeeper preference.

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What are the Pros and Cons of Using Nine Frames vs 10 Frames?

What are the pros and cons of using nine frames in the brood boxes? If one wished go from nine frames to 10 frames, how should it be done?

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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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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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