Welcome To BeeHacker.Com

This site explores the confluence of beekeeping and technology. It is targeted at the amateur and professional:

  • beekeeper or bee lover
  • scientist, engineer, inventor, DIYer

The primary goal is to develop new, Open Source technologies that can benefit the honey bee and everyone else that benefits from the honey bee. Continue reading Welcome To BeeHacker.Com

Honey Bees Have Arrived

Harrods is a retailer in London that caters to international royalty and is owned by the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar. You can buy a 12.5 Kg gold bar ‘off the shelf’.  They are so exclusive that their new owner burned his royal warrants and banned the Duke of Edinburgh from the store. So . . . → Read More: Honey Bees Have Arrived

Beekeeping in Ukraine

A conversation between beekeepers

One of the benefits of writing the BeeHacker blog is that I also get to meet interesting people from around the world. I recently started a dialog with Oleg Sadovskij, a Ukrainian beekeeper, a honey exporter, and manager of TORENT-TRADE Ltd. In Ukraine. I was curious about Ukraine because it is in the top five list of page visits by country to my blog (after US, Great Britain, France, & China). oleg

Americans have heard a lot about Ukraine in the news this year yet few realize the long history and loyal compassion Ukrainians have for honey and the honey bee. There are about 400 thousand beekeepers in Ukraine or 1 beekeeper for every 107 Ukrainians. In the US, that ratio is 1 in 1500! Ukraine is the largest producer of honey among European countries and Russia. On average, a Ukrainian consumes 2.6 lbs of honey annually – double what is consumed in the United States. In 1815 the Ukrainian Peter Prokopovich invented the movable-frame beehive though the American Langstroth discovered bee space which made his 1852 patent for movable frames much more practical. If you are a beekeeper or if you just like honey, then you will find Ukraine a very bee friendly place. Continue reading Beekeeping in Ukraine

$22 Bee Vacuum

We were recently gifted a hive from a family whose beekeeper son left for college. Having moved hives before, I figured it would be easy.  This time I was wrong:

Bees bearded up the front and back of the hive – all day long and at 5:30AM in the morning – because the bottom . . . → Read More: $22 Bee Vacuum

Best Methods for Re-liquification of Crystalized Honey

We are still months away from the 2014 honey harvest and there are a few bottles of honey left from 2013…but they have all started to crystallize. Most people know that you can re-liquify crystallized honey with warm water. I figured if warm water works, hot water will work better.  I boiled a kettle . . . → Read More: Best Methods for Re-liquification of Crystalized Honey

Improved Hive Scale

I was pleased to hear recently from Jamie Bucklin of Humboldt, California. Instead of the $16 luggage scale that I used in my hive scale, he built his scale with a $70-100 digital industrial hanging scale from American Weigh Scales.  The TL-330 is accurate to .2 lbs and weighs up to 330 lbs – . . . → Read More: Improved Hive Scale

Negative Synergy

“Scientists continue to hunt for the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD”. That statement presumes that there is a single cause and not a cascade of causes.  It reflects the way we humans think – we naturally want to find the one answer, the simplest answer . If you were to mashup quotations from William of Occam (see Occams Razor) and Voltaire, you might get something like this: “If the simplest answer did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it”. Continue reading Negative Synergy

Barbarians at the Gate

robbing

Click for a full size view

It is that time of year when most of the blooms are gone. And with those blooms goes the abundance of food for bees. Being ever ambitious, honey bees are going to find dinner even if it means robbing it from a weak hive. Continue reading Barbarians at the Gate

Dr. Shroomlove: How I stopped worrying and learned to love the rain

Atlanta is hot but, at around 1000 feet above sea level, it is not usually as humid as Houston or Seattle. This year, however, it has been wet and humid. In the first half of 2013, Georgia has received the same rainfall as all of 2012!  I was becoming depressed by all the rain . . . → Read More: Dr. Shroomlove: How I stopped worrying and learned to love the rain

Monitoring Honey Bee Colonies Electronically

I recently got an email from Frank Linton. Frank works at Mitre Corp and has been interested in hive monitoring for a long time. Last year, he organized the first workshop on hive monitoring at Eastern Apicultural Society’s annual conference in Vermont.  I’ll let Frank speak for himself – the following is an excerpt . . . → Read More: Monitoring Honey Bee Colonies Electronically

Zombies, Citizen Science, & Motivation

Zombie bee with phorid fly larvae

A really dead zombie honey bee after phorid fly larvae emerge

As if there were not enough pests that kills bees already,  we can now add parasitic phorid fly to our list of worries.  This fly, recently reported in PLoS, lays its eggs in the honey bee and this turns the honey bee into a zombie.  Rather, the infected honey bee exhibits zombie-like behavior. According to a fascinating, new website, ZombeeWatch.org, “Honey bees infected by the Zombie Fly leave their hives at night and are attracted to nearby lights where they become stranded and eventually die.” Kinda like zombies. Continue reading Zombies, Citizen Science, & Motivation