Mating biology of honey bees – Book Review

Mating biology of honey bees (Apis mellifera), by Gudrun Koeniger and Nikolaus Koeniger with Jamie Ellis and Lawrence Connor  

Wicwas Press

1 edition (December 22, 2014) Hardcover: 155 pages.

51fvsy1vcdl-_sx312_bo1204203200_Review by Robert Burns

I just finished reading the book on honey bee mating biology. Wow! Although sex is usually a ‘hot’ topic, I can really appreciate the research and science that has gone into this work. The book has some excellent photographs and charts and diagrams. There’s lots of great science here that explains the bee mating biology in simple terms.

I don’t believe I have read any other book that is a better culmination of the works on the mating happenstances of our wonderfully under-appreciated honey bees. I have my other queen books Bee Sex and Queen Rearing and other guides. However, there hasn’t been quite any other that is more descriptive, especially of the 3rd caste –Drones. The male bees seem to never get enough attention and respect.

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Oxalic Acid Vaporization


I recall being approached last July by another beekeeper about using another treatment in my hives for Varroa Mite control. I recall that when I heard the word ‘acid’, I had immediately responded, “ The last thing I want to do is to put another something with ‘acid’ in my hive as a treatment.”

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Honey Bee Swarm Season 2016 April/May

Swarms are exciting! It is the birth of a new honey bee colony.

Before leaving the original colony, honey bees gorge on honey for the journey to move to a new home. They are generally not very defensive but can be enticed to sting. Do NOT spray with poisons or try to kill. Swarms are only in a temporary resting place until they rest enough to move on to their final destination. This activity is a very common occurrence in April and May. Many people find them in their yards or around their homes. Swarms can be harmed by high winds, hail, and heavy rains as well as cold, freezing weather.
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Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers Association – 2016 Beekeeping Class

Eager Attendees to the January 2015 Beeswax Soap-making Class

Attendees to the January 2015 Beeswax Soap-making Class held in Lawrence, Kansas

Looking for a Beekeeping Class for 2016? 
This is for beginning & 2nd year beekeepers or those looking for a re-fresher. We like to say that you’ll learn more the 2nd time around. The class is held on 2 weekends as there is much to offer and learn. Trying to hit on all topics in 1 day is a lot to try to absorb. We want beekeepers to get the most and learn the best way possible.

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Kansas Honey Producers Assn (KHPA)

Good Beekeeping – Good Fellowship   SINCE 1903

Exploring the wonderful world of beekeeping together.


The Kansas Honey Producers Association (KHPA) is a not-for-profit IRC 501(c)5 agricultural-educational organization; run by dedicated volunteers; supported primarily by membership dues (subscriptions). The IRC status means that the association is a tax-exempt organization. While donations are always welcome, they are not tax deductible as a charitable contribution but membership dues and subscriptions may be deductible as ordinary and necessary business expenses.

Kansas Honey Producers 2016 Spring Meeting Information


Spring 2016 Kansas Honey Producers MeetingFriday and Saturday March 4th & 5th, 2016  Lamplighter Inn, Pittsburg Kansas  4020 Parkview Dr.  Phone 620-231-8700

The spring meeting of the Kansas Honey Producers will be held in Pittsburg KS at the Lamplighter Hotel. Call to reserve your room at 620-231-8700. Our room rates are $75 plus tax. Reservations should be made by February 2nd.  We have some great guest speakers lined up—Dr. Diana Sammataro, who is currently retired from USDA Honey Bee Lab. Diana is co-author of the Beekeeper’s Handbook (4th ed. 2011) and is now giving talks and lectures on beekeeping. She also does independent bee research under her new business name, DianaBrand Honey Bee Research LLC. Dr. Chip Taylor from KU has tentatively agreed to be a speaker—hopefully this isn’t wishful thinking on my part! Several of our own association members will fill in as some of the speakers-we are so thankful to have such knowledgeable members who are willing to share their knowledge! The costs of this meeting are being kept to a bare minimum so that as many as possible can attend. To keep costs down members are asked to bring desserts to accompany the Friday night dinner. If you have questions please call me, Joli Winer, at 913-856-8356.

FYI: At this meeting we will have representatives from Dadant and Sons as well as Jordy’s Honey & Beekeeping Supply.

If you have questions you can email Joli at or call 913-856-8356. Watch the website for program updates.

Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers Assn. 2016 Bee Funday, Saturday June 4th 2016. Douglas County Fairgrounds, Lawrence KS ( Guest speaker Dr. Jamie Ellis.

KHPA Meeting Information (link)


Kansas City’s Urban Grown Farm Tours

Cultivate Kansas City’s biennial Urban Grown Tour is slated for June 27-28, 2015 to showcase the good food that is growing our city’s neighborhoods and will celebrate 10 years of growth sinDSC00808ce the first tour in 2005!

In the excitement leading up to our own Cultivate Kansas City’s Urban Grown Farms & Gardens Tour this June 27-28, 2015, I’d like to post this information on:

Urban Garden Beekeeping

         Urban gardens are great locations for keeping honeybees as they increase the opportunity for the number of beneficial garden pollinators. They also provide and additional source of local whole food.

Small-scale urban beekeeping contributes to the protection of our vital ecosystem. Keeping bees in an urban garden setting is a small but hugely significant way for a community garden to contribute to the diversity, health, and sustainability of our food growing system. It’s a huge way for a small group of people to make a difference on a big environmental issue. If your community garden wants to host honeybees, you can either (1) Arrange with a local beekeeper to place and maintain a hive or two in the garden, or (2) Start a hive to be maintained by the gardeners themselves.

If you are considering beekeeping for your community garden, may I suggest the following guidelines for starting a honeybee hive:

  • Maintain good relations within the garden and with the surrounding neighborhood.
  • Research any beekeeping ordinance that might apply to your garden.
  • Meet the owner of the property where your garden is located in order to get approval to place a hive there.
  • Determine if your garden is a good place for a beehive
  • Decide the best place to put the hive in the community garden.

One or more gardeners should be selected to manage the beehives in the community garden. They are responsible for making sure the hive is maintained properly and for removing the hive, if necessary.  When in doubt, review other Municipalities as a guideline. Some are actually pretty good.

Below is a link to the City of Overland Park, Kansas, which is where I am from. It’s not the best but it is pretty good. There is a requirement for water for bees, which should stipulate that water should be supplied from March thru October.

 TITLE 06 – Animals

6.14 Beekeeping



NEKBA Annual Bee Fun Day

Upcoming Activities

 June 2015 Fun day Meeting

Saturday, June 7th  2015, 8:45 am until 5:00 pm

Douglas County Fairgrounds – just north on Harper Street and K-10 Hwy

Northeastern Kansas Beekeeper’s Funday

Saturday, June 7st, 2015 Registration: 7:45-8:45, Program 8:45-5:00

Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper, Lawrence KS

Fee includes lunch, beverages, snacks, homemade honey ice cream, and a full day of fun!

Bring your hat & veil—we’ll be working through some hives

Cost: $35.00 per person for those pre-registered, $40.00 at the door.                           Walk-ins are welcome! We do appreciate pre-registrations as this helps with our planning for lunch and seating availability. For those pre-registered, by May 25th, there will be a drawing at the end of the event to reimburse 1 (one) pre-registered person for their registration!    Children ages 6-18, $20.00 for those pre-registered, $25.00 at the door.

For those pre-registered (post marked), by May 25th, there will be a drawing at the end of the event to reimburse 1 (one) pre-registered person for their registration!

Click the following links (below) for information and registration. You can mail, if there is time. If not, print, complete, and bring it with you. See you in Lawrence, KS!


NEKBA Fun Day Flyer 2013     NEKBA Fun Day Registration 2013  

NEKBA Fun Day 2013 Schedule * Subject to change

Visit our website at for other club information

Beekeeping with Slatted Racks in the Midwest.


FALL 2014

Looking at the extended 3-4 month weather forecasts, and I’m wondering what I can be doing to be prepared for an anticipated cooler than average fall.

I’ve decided to give slatted racks a try. They have been around since the 1970’s. I’ve been doing some research. I have a pretty good base in the screened bottom boards that I use. Rather than going back to solid bottom boards and making that investment for the winter weather, I decided to use a sampling for the racks on a few hives.

Here is some of the research that I’ve come across so far re slatted racks:

“The original idea for a slatted resting place below the brood chamber was developed by Dr. C. C. Miller in 1900 and refined by Carl Killion in 1950.  The wide board in the front of the hive directs any incoming air to go up through the cluster so reducing cold air going up past the cluster. Bees cluster in the 3/8″ spaces thus controlling air movement up through the cluster resulting in a larger cluster going into winter and a warmer colony in the spring – if the bee colony is large enough. The extra space produced by the slatted rack is said to keep a beehive warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer by creating dead air space. The rack allows the bees to control air movement, and swarm queen cells can be found on the bottom bars of the bottom brood nest because it is warmer above the rack. This results in larger colonies and faster buildup in the spring provided the queens and colony size is optimal for other reasons.”

I will let you know how they work out. For now, it’s getting them primed, painted, and on a the hives.

Altadena, Calif.

“To the late Dr. C. C. Miller belongs the credit of realizing that bees need more room under the bottom bars. Sound as it was, the idea was never accepted by the beekeeping industry. He made two-inch-deep bottom boards and used them as long as he kept bees. Soon he discovered that bees build comb underneath the bottom bars, so the idea of a slatted rack under the frames was conceived. This served the purpose very well.

Carl E. Killion, one of his successors in comb honey production, discovered the principle of the four-inch-wide solid board instead of slats near the entrance. This was a most important improvement and it did away with bees chewing the combs along the bottom bars.

Still the deep bottom board and rack did not become the accepted standard of the industry. The reasons are easy to see. It takes two special pieces of equipment. The rack is fragile and is time-consuming to make. Furthermore, spacers have to be attached to prevent the bees from propolizing it to the bottom board.

In a moment of ingenious thinking, Richard F. Bovard of Honolulu, Hawaii, has eliminated all these objections and has created the ideal entrance to the hive without changing in any way the equipment now in use. He has come up with the idea of a two-inch-deep frame of the same dimensions as the hive body, 16-1/4 x 20 inches. In this are fitted the four-inch-wide board and a number of 3/4-inch-wide slats. Proper space of 5/16th inch is maintained between bottom bars and slats and between the slats themselves. That’s all there is to it. It is simplicity itself. It fits under the brood chamber on top of the bottom board. It is strong and asks no favors. It can be easily attached to the brood chamber and bottom board for migratory purposes. The Western beekeeper with his standard 3/8th inch entrance can use it and so can the Eastern beekeeper with his choice of a 3/8th or 7/8th inch entrance. This rack provides a single wide entrance clear across the front of the hive instead of three separate entrances as with the Miller rack. It protects the combs four inches back from the front entrance against robbers, wax moths and winds. There is nothing to be propolized onto the bottom board. And it is free from any objections, even the most critical beekeeper might raise. It adds but little weight to the hive, three pounds to be exact.

Here is a piece of equipment that should be universally accepted, just as the inner cover and telescope cover are part of a hive. It is easy to manufacture and simple in its assembly. It can be sold in the flat unassembled or factory assembled. It is hoped that hive manufacturers will add it to their line of bee supplies.

Beekeepers are notoriously slow in accepting new ideas, they still live in the horse and buggy days as far as their bee equipment goes, yet for their personal comfort they expect the latest gimmicks in their automobiles and trucks.

This-easy-to-use slatted rack ends once and for all poor ventilation and excess moisture. It is up to the beekeepers now to discover for themselves a whole new phase in beekeeping.”