Happy Holidays Everybody! Come on along and listen in to Jeff and Kim and Kirsten and Jim when they get together around the virtual Christmas Tree and talk about the Holidays, the good and bad for last year and what they hope will be going on next...
Happy Holidays Everybody! Come on along and listen in to Jeff and Kim and Kirsten and Jim when they get together around the virtual Christmas Tree and talk about the Holidays, the good and bad for last year and what they hope will be going on next year.
Kirsten Traynor, and her 2MillionBlossoms podcast moved to Germany this year when she took a new job at one of the best beekeeping institutes in Europe, LAVES Institute of Bee Science Celle. Moving in the middle of a pandemic was a challenge, but her new job was worth it. Her new institute is involved basically in 3 areas of bees and beekeeping. They produce honey, and this year had a bumper heather crop. They also are involved in honey analysis, and in teaching the next generation of commercial beekeepers. Spring this year was cold and wet and Kirsten is hoping for better weather this coming spring.
Kim (Beekeeping Today Podcast & Honey Bee Obscura) had a fairly good year with the bees, and so far, winter has been mild and easy. He did miss a lot of meetings this past year and hopes that changes this coming year. His connections in the beekeeping world are troubled with the current price of honey, and producing more bees and less honey seems like a better way to go.
Jim Tew (Honey Bee Obscura) spent quite a bit of time wrestling with mite issues and queen issues this year, and hopes to be better prepared next season. He also is coming to grips with the fact that lifting 70-pound boxes of honey over the top of his head might not be the best thing any more, so downsizing his bee box size may be in his future.
Jeff (Beekeeping Today Podcast) is still learning about the weather in the Pacific Northwest, which is cooler and wetter than his previous beeyards in Ohio and Colorado. He’s looking to get better at figuring out how to keep his bees warmer and drier next year. Not to mention, keeping all three of podcasts up and running and getting better.
The group is working on getting a regular newsletter out starting soon. They hoped it would be early December, but that obviously didn’t work, but it’s getting closer. Stay tuned, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ALL OF US AT GROWING PLANET MEDIA!!
Links and websites mentioned in this podcast:
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Podcast music: Young Presidents, "Be Strong"; Musicalman, "Epilogue". Original guitar background instrumental by Jeff Ott. Ed Colby's short, "Possums in the Outhouse", Brightside Studio
Beekeeping Today Podcast is an audio production of Growing Planet Media, LLC
Jeff Ott: Welcome to Beekeeping Today podcast presented by Bee Culture Magazine beekeeping. Beekeeping Today podcast is your source for beekeeping news, information, and entertainment. I'm Jeff Ott.
Kim Flottum: I'm Kim Flottum.
Kirsten Traynor: I'm Kirsten Traynor.
Jim Tew: I'm Jim Tew.
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Jeff: Well, this is a surprise, this must be a holiday gathering.
Happy holidays everybody.
Jim: Thank you for doing that. I'm certainly in a good mood.
Jeff: Well, I see you in your Santa suit.
Jim: Yes, I did that just for the group.
You can envision that all of you listening, even down to the white beard. "Oh wait, wait, that's Kim. I confused myself."
Jeff: Quit looking at the zoom monitor.
Kim: This is my season. I work all year to make this happen for this holiday season, so enjoy it.
Jim: Well, you're a grumpy guy though, so the Santa motif never worked, Santa's never grumpy, Kim.
Kim: I know well, there you are. What can I do? I can look the part.
Kirsten: We have to combine Jim's looks with Jim's attitude.
Jim: That'll work out.
Jeff: We could probably do that in something like Snapchat or something like that. Just morph the two images together.
Jim: I think we're a lot better just letting the listeners draw in their mind. I think they pretty much have a mental image of what's happening here.
Jeff: Well, let's tell our listeners what is happening today, so we represent three different podcasts here, and we have Beekeeping Today. We have Honeybee Obscura and 2 Million Blossoms. We're all basically a podcasting family presenting our listeners, additional information about beekeeping and pollinators and the whole world of bees really. it was a great opportunity to bring everybody together for the holidays, like a wonderful family that we are, and talk about the year past in bees. As they say in business, the headwinds and the tailwinds, what was good, what was bad.
Then looking ahead and what 2022 might bring, so this is really going to come together as our end of 2021 episode and looking forward to 2022. Thanks, everybody for joining us, and thank you, the Beekeeping Todayfamily to be here this morning as well.
Kirsten: Oh, it's a pleasure being on the show. I'm super excited because right after this meeting, I'm heading out to one of the last Christmas markets still in effect. It's a Swedish one in the heart of Berlin should be a lot of fun. They do Christmas normally really, really well within Germany. They celebrate with advents, reeds where you light a candle every Sunday. Four candles going into the Christmas season and they really do it beautifully, often beeswax candles. You always find a lot of beekeepers at the Christmas markets, a lot of them do most of their sales of honey and candles this time of year.
Jim: What was the big market years ago that I've had the chance to go to? Was it Kris Kringle or what was something, a huge Christmas market?
Kirsten: It was probably the big one in Nuremberg.
Jim: Nuremberg with all the light and the booths and the music. It was like a real Christmas.
Kirsten: I hope you had a chance to enjoy the mold wine because that is the secret to surviving the cold.
Jim: Oh, I don't remember. I was a young man, it was 50 years ago. That's why I thought maybe it wasn't even being done ago, everything changed. It was a pleasant, pleasant memory from all those years ago. We still have Christmas ornaments that we hang from our experience there.
Jeff: If you don't remember, you might have enjoyed it a little bit too much. I'm just posing that.
Jim: Oh, I don't want to offend people, but the German beer, the strong ale , it was all pretty common knowledge there. It made the coldness okay.
Kirsten: That Christmas market is still going. The German markets really, if you ever really want to get into the Christmas spirits, I highly recommend a tour of Germany in the month leading up to up Christmas. It's well worth it.
Jeff: Very cool. Let's look at the year just past and bees and let's just look at it from each of our standpoint of what was really good about last year. I'll start with you, Kim what comes to your mind when you think about bees and beekeeping in this past 12 months?
Kim: Well the good part of last year was that my bees did pretty well, and the weather cooperated for the most part and that everything seemed to work on the beekeeping front. Once you got out of the hive though, things started to go downhill last year. I think the thing that I don't say the biggest problem, the biggest issue that I had for this last year is that I didn't get to go to a lot of meetings. My whole life in this industry has been attending meetings, either speaking or listening or displaying product and there wasn't hardly any of that this year and I missed that a lot.
Kirsten: Kim, what you really are missing is the schmoozing come on.
Kim: Well, there's that too, but there's the federation, and the honey producers and the Ohio state beekeepers and I'm not the spring chicken I used to be. I've been careful and so I've missed some things that I could have gone to maybe, but the schmoozing was part of it too. It's always nice to be able to see people you haven't seen for a long time and get to chat, catch up on what they're are doing. Meeting the new people and being able to, "Have you looked at this book yet. It's a pretty good book, maybe you want to buy it," or something like that. [laughs].
Jeff: Kirsten, what about you? You've had a challenging year, but I know you've had a great year too, what stands out in your mind for the last 12 months?
Kirsten: What really stands out is this year I'm in the Northern part of Germany, and it's extremely well known for its heather and this year, because we had a very cool and wet spring, and then it warmed up in late August. We had an excellent, excellent heather honey harvest. It's not everybody's favorite honey. It has a very earthy, almost medicinal flavor to it, but if you like those deeper, richer honeys that really pack a bit of flavor punch, it's quite the honey for that. We harvested quite a lot of heather honey at my institute.
One of the things they still do is the traditional comb honey. They call it scheibenhonig, and because the heather honey is thixotropic like Manuka honey, they will cut it into chunks and sell it as chunk honey.
Jeff: What size chunks are those? Is it like our regular?
Kirsten: We sell it by the 100 grams, and so.
Jeff: That's not big.
Kirsten: No, it's a pricey honey and it's about €5 per 100 grams when it's sold in that form. It's a great way for beekeepers to really get a premium price for their product.
Kim: Kirsten, I got to ask, do your beekeepers when they harvest heather honey, you've mentioned that it's thixotropic, it crystallizes almost before you get at home when you harvest the boxes. Do they use those machines that stir the honey in the comb to get it liquid?
Kirsten: It's not actually crystallizing it's gelatinous, and so what we do is we actually do a pre-extraction on those combs to push out anything that's not heather honey. Then we stipple it with a stippling machine and then we extract the combs again to get that really pure, pure heather honey product, with the richest fullest taste in it. Then all of our honey is also analyzed, so we always send it up to our lab, where we look at the pollen spectrum within the honey to make sure that it is a true varietal and more than 50% of it is coming from the crop that we're saying it's harvested from.
Jeff: Well, that sounds pretty intensive now, is that just your Institute?
Kirsten: We do a lot of honey and the Institute for Bee Research in Celle does a lot of honey analysis for our beekeepers. You can send in samples for a botanical pollen analysis. A lot of beekeepers do, because if you put a variety on your label, you may be checked in the market. Your sample may end up being sent as a market control to our lab or other labs for checking to make sure that it truly is what the label says it is. If you're having a large amount of honey you're bringing up to market, you will usually do a honey pollen analysis on it.
Jeff: Very cool. So, heather, honey that's great. Jim, what stands out to you in the last 12 months?
Jim: Well, I've actually have begun to dread my own report after hearing-
-Kim and Kirsten, because the main thing I've done is manage my mites. Then between managing mites, I tried to work my bees swarm. I'm in a rut. I'm just in the same rut. I can grow a lot of bees and I have a hard time keeping them alive because this is hard to separate the mite from the bees in those big nice colonies. It's just more of the same for me. Good season, good build-up, and then you struggle to keep the mites under control and get them through the winter. Then start the whole cycle again in Sisyphean fashion next year.
Jeff: [laughs] You make it sound so fun.
Jim: I did. It was great. I had a good time. Actually, I have spent a lot of time with my bees. I don't know that they've enjoyed it nearly as much as I have but Kim's right. I'm not a young man anymore, so you have to be somewhat careful. At any age but particularly when you have a hard time recovering from various illnesses. I've tinkered more with the bees. I've read more about bees and it's just been me and my bees more than it would have been because I would have been gone a lot of weekends, hanging out at meetings just schmoozing with Kim.
Kirsten: Schmoozing. You've got to get that "sh" in there. It's a schmooze.
Jim: I thought I did a good job with that. I had a thick tongue on it but I thought it worked.
Jeff: Well, I just wanted to make sure I had that last syllable, that schmoozing.
Jim: Thank you for gutting out my report. I ended on a strong note and you choke me on it then.
Everything I said was true. I have nice colonies, good build-up, packages really came in nicely, most of my queens went very well, get these big colonies and then the mite population comes along behind it. Then you got to do whatever it is you're going to do and separate honey before you treat. I don't have a good plan worked out and next year is going to be let's just keep tweaking until I can control mites and separate them from my bees better.
Jeff: Well, Kim, you talked a little bit about some of the challenges you face but is there anything else that stands out regarding your challenges?
Kim: The bigger picture. Because of what we do here, we tend to look at the bigger picture, bees, and beekeeping. I've got to admit it's got to be a struggle to be a commercial beekeeper right now. As Jim was saying, you're always slighting mites and the price of honey. A lot of commercial beekeepers I know are shifting gears a little bit. They're going to producing more bees and less honey because you can't make money on honey. The commercial guys will tell you that the price of honey should be just about the price of diesel fuel if you're going to break even or even make a little bit of profit.
It isn't even close now on the imported honey that they're having to compete with. The hard thing right now for a commercial beekeeper is that balance between making money on pollination and that balance of making money on honey. I watched guys struggle a lot with this because you got barrels and barrels of honey and I can't sell it for 97 cents a pound.
Jeff: Kirsten, you've had a challenging year. Let's start with the move. Your move to Germany was disruptive.
Kirsten: Yes, I moved in the middle of the pandemic when all the stores were closed and had to furnish an apartment. The only thing really open was private sales. I snapped up a bunch of very nice used furniture at bargain prices but I had to collect it from multiple apartments to try and have something to live on since I moved with two suitcases. I've also gotten dropped into an institute where I'm learning how it runs and how it works and have established some really good relationships with my co-workers.
The institute is divided into three different departments. One is the lab as I mentioned, where we do a lot of analysis of honey and bee diseases. The other part is our advisory service, where I've had the chance of working with a very smart, very kind woman who is going to be rolling out a YouTube channel for the institute on good beekeeping practices. Then the third department is our commercial beekeeping sector, which actually rears about 1500 queens a year and produces quite a lot of honey and at the same time trains the next generation of beekeepers.
Working with the next generation of beekeepers has been a big highlight of the new job. They bring a lot of enthusiasm. They're eager to learn and I had a chance to go out into the heather fields with them and bring the colonies back to the institute. That was a great day that we all spent together. It's been fun.
Jeff: I can only imagine because moving is always very disruptive in one's life but to move across the ocean to another country. I know you're very fluent in German and you're very comfortable there, but still going to a different country, kudos to you for doing that, and making a success of it. That's fantastic. It's really cool.
Kirsten: You've got to shake up your life every once in a while. My office is still unfortunately in Arizona. I didn't get a chance to pack it up. When I am back in the United States over the Christmas holidays, I will make a trip to Arizona to finally be reconnected with all my bee books and I'm very excited about that.
Jeff: Will you be shipping those back?
Kirsten: Correct. They're going to be shipped or lagged in suitcases. I have to figure out what's the most cost-effective way of getting them over.
Jeff: Well, you know, containers are very expensive right now. It's taken a long time to get across the ocean on those container ships, so you might have to leave some of those books back.
Kirsten: I probably will. My guess is that I will recruit family members and other beekeepers interested in checking out Germany to always stop by, pick up some books, and I will host them, and play tour guides for them on the other side. That's the deal.
Jeff: There you go. Good idea. Well, Jim, what about you? You mentioned mites and fighting the mites, the good fight. Anything else? Any other challenges from the bee front?
Jim: Well, there's two things. Number one, our queens. The queen thing is about as challenging as the Varroa thing.
Kim: Explain that. What's the queen thing?
Jim: I have had the good fortune of doing this for a long time and it used to be that queens were readily available and surprisingly cheap. In my earliest years, $1.50, $2.25. I thought they were being ripped off at $2.25 when they went up from $1.50. The cost of packages, the cost to queens is sobering. The reality of it is that it's that difficult to produce those packages and raise those queens. A lot of what I go through with and others has been how do you introduce these queens, are expecting to get the package queens that last.
I tried to replace them, is the package too old? All these questions are systematic and I sense that the queen issue still lingers as to some mystery. Is it drones? Is it the queens? Why do our Queens not seem to be as hearty as they were when I used to boldly say in the '80s that you need to expect your queen to live about five years? That's laughable now for a queen to last that long. Those days are gone. It's really been a major change and only the old people like Kim and me are really aware of how much this queen thing has changed.
Secondly, I want to hear from you because you're the one who spent the last year keeping a podcast together and dealing with broken sentences and poor subject matter making it work. What have you been doing?
Jeff: Well, that's a really good question, Jim. I appreciate it. First, you know what, I think it's a great opportunity to hear from our great friends at Strong Microbials.
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Jim: You're dodging the question.
Jeff: Yes, I am.
Kirsten: He needs a moment to think.
Jeff: Yes, I do. I've been sitting here thinking I've got to get these spots in. What was the question?
Kirsten: What have you been up to?
Jim: What have you been doing?
Jeff: What have I been doing?
Jim: I know a lot of what you've been doing because I see the results of it with transcripts being added and all the additional things you've come up with that have glorified our lives.
Jeff: Well, Jim, back to your question. What have I been doing? My challenge and I talk about this often on the podcast is I have found that beekeeping in the Pacific Northwest and my spot in Olympia, Washington, the weather's the greatest challenge. It's raining all the time. I shouldn't say that, I get in trouble when I say that all the time, but it seems to rain a lot more than anyplace else I've ever lived. I'll put it that way. The winter temperatures never get to the point where the bees get into a hard cluster. Getting the bees through the winter with a high moisture content, but they can't really fly but they're active enough that they go through the stores, it seems.
That managing that inner hive moisture is a greater challenge from what I remember facing in Ohio or Colorado. From a beekeeping standpoint, that's what I've been working on is trying to find what works, and talking with other beekeepers, which is part of the fun, but part of the frustration too in the springtime when you open the colony and it didn't survive and you think, doggone it, I've done something wrong again. From a beekeeping standpoint, that's really been it and the podcasts, the podcasts are fun. Working with y'all was fun.
Kim: But Jeff, you got the murder hornet on your doorstep. How's that looking?
Jeff: Hey, we're not talking about 2022 yet, Kim. I'm really not worried about the Asian giant hornet. Kim, we have, coming up after the first year, we'll be talking to Eric Spichiger if I got his name right. Sorry, Eric, if I got it wrong, about the 2021 season for the Asian giant hornet in Washington State. He's one of the lead entomologists studying that. I don't know, I'm of two minds. Number one, it's so far north of me. It's about 120 miles north of me, if not farther, 180, that I don't think I'm going to have any impact from Asian giant hornets here.
Secondly, I'm starting to think because they didn't find that many colonies and they weren't dispersed far, that it's probably my guess. I'd put my buck and a half on this number that it was just one group of queens that got away a couple years ago and they've been effective in capturing any of the Asian giant hornets. They're not really going to spread unless there's a market for bringing in the larva and they get away again. The long answer to your question, I'm personally not worried about them at all.
Kim: Are you writing this down, Jim?
Jim: Yes, I was thinking that is the right answer because if I had to add four queens, constant Varroa control, and now Asian giant hornets, at some point, this is going to turn into work. That's a good report, Jeff. Thank you.
Jeff: Well, I do have friends trying to figure out how they can monetize this threat by making some sort of manure sprayer for the front of the hives because the reports that came out about the Apis cerana spread the cow dung on the front of the hives to keep the Asian giant hornets away. They're coming up with ways to spray cow dung on the front of a hive on a large-scale process to keep the Asian giant hornets away.
Kim: How would your institute handle honey with cow dung in it, Kirsten?
Jeff: No, this is in the front of the hive.
Kirsten: I wish viewers could see how big my eyes were getting. I would not recommend that as a method for honey.
Jeff: All sincerity, probably I should have saved that for the April Fool's episode. No one's really considering that. I have to confess. Let's look at 2022 and what we hope for, for 2022 in whatever aspect about beekeeping. Kim, what are you looking at?
Kim: Well, I've got two colonies alive out of three today and it's going to be 65 degrees in Northeast Ohio today. I'm not looking at a lot of pressure on them. They were flying yesterday they're going to be flying today. One of the things I'm looking at is being able to get enough bees through the winter so that I can expand a little bit, not a lot. I'm not working too hard here, but I'm very pleased with the colonies that I've got because of the queens that came with them. I give the queens and the people who raise them all the credit for making this happen.
Knocking on wood, it's going to be a good bee year next year.
Jeff: Good. Kirsten, 2022.
Kirsten: I am hoping for a much warmer, drier spring. It was cool and damp last year, delayed everything. Spring, nectar flow was completely washed out. Only things like the cherry blossoms were blooming where some poor little bumblebees that could work up enough warmth to get out there against the rain. I would like a real spring instead of-- Well, maybe that was a real spring. That's the types of springs we used to know. I wouldn't mind a little bit of warmth and dryness in April and May so that the bees can get out there and fly.
Jeff: There you go. That would be good. Jim?
Jim: Well, as usual, I'm the guy who had to wait until last, and now I'm all gloomy and depressed, but my initiative for this upcoming season is to act more my age. I was out there just a few months ago with five deeps and a super and as I was trying to get my shoulder with six titanium screws in it and my teeth that had been root canaled and all this work I've had done to stay alive and I'm thinking, "I don't need to be out here trying to get this in the 60, 70-pound box of honey off over my head. My time has come and gone." For the next--
Kirsten: Just switch to all mediums and your load will be lightened.
Jim: That's one of the things that I'm pursuing, instead of all mediums though, I was just going to go to single deeps-
Kirsten: No, you don't want single deeps, you want to be able to harvest honey.
Jim: When I start single deeps though, then I want to have swarming. I'm in a residential neighborhood, that'll really get me to know my neighbors better.
Kirsten: If you want to get to know your neighbors better, this is an option, but if you like your privacy and you want your neighbors to stay friendly, then I would highly recommend running three mediums as your main honey box.
Jim: I like that and you would not believe this, but when I actually started beekeeping at Auburn University, and I went into the class the first day, the professor who was already an older man was having students cut down deeps to six and fives. He converted all of Auburn University's bees to six and fives and running three deeps, but deep for traditional, deep for common, deeps for everything, so I've spent my whole life with 10 deeps. I think Kim runs them at eight. I've got to do something to lighten my load.
I've got to do something to downsize these things. I don't want these mega colonies anymore with huge on the crops. I want good happy balanced beehives that I can photograph, get some honey from and not have to be worried about getting a swarm to the neighbor's property again. That's my agenda for the year, is to be a beekeeper more in tune with someone with my age and my capabilities now. I'm not quitting. I'm adapting. I think that's important to say that.
I won't give up on the three medium thing though because I know how to cut those things down. You got to have a carbide blade because nails go flying everywhere.
Jeff: I was going to suggest that if you decide you do need to buy some medium boxes, you contact our good friends at Better Bee, who we have a word from right now.
Sponsor: Better Bee is pleased to sponsor today's episode of Beekeeping Today Podcast. For over 40 years, Better Bee has supplied beekeepers across the country with the tools, equipment and knowledge needed to succeed. Because many Better Bee employees are beekeepers themselves, they understand your needs and challenges and are better prepared to answer your beekeeping questions. From their colorful catalog to their supportive beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast, Better Bee truly lives up to their tagline of beekeepers serving beekeepers. See for yourself at betterbee.com.
Kim: Let me say this. I'm the rookie here and I've been spending this entire year learning how to interact with people on Zoom not just on this, but in general. On how to talk to the wall energetically for 50 minutes during the presentation, but I don't know if the viewer or the listener cares about that. One of the biggest things that I've been doing is learning this new format for talking to beekeepers and getting a thought across and it's been very thrilling. It's been very stimulating and challenging. I've enjoyed it a lot.
Ironically, doing a podcast, running a YouTube channel, those kinds of things have been most intriguing, not so much so getting right down and into the bee colony against. Doing that, but I've been distracted for a while with new technology stuff that's beyond my years. Thanks to all the group for being tolerant while the rookie on the block tried to do something that contributed.
Jeff: No problem at all. Hey everybody, we're coming up to the end of this holiday special. Kim, Kirsten, Jim, any of you have anything final to say?
Jim: Yes, Jeff, I got one thing to say here. The three of us are sitting here and we're all looking at each other, but all of this happened, all last year is because of your organization and your persistence in making us do what we're supposed to do when we're supposed to do it. For me, and I think the other two, thank you for making all of this happen.
Jeff: You're welcome. My pleasure.
Kim: Nicely said. That's exactly true.
Kirsten: I think Jeff is the magic man in the background who makes everything happen seamlessly.
Jeff: Don't look at the man behind the curtain.
Jim: The mystery man, the sparkplug
Jeff: Stop it, you're making me blush. All right, that about wraps it up for this holiday special. Before we go, I want to encourage our listeners to rate us five stars on Apple Podcasts, wherever you download and stream the show. Your vote helps other beekeepers find us quicker. Even better, write a review and let other beekeepers, looking for a new podcast, know what you like. You can get there directly from our website by clicking on reviews along the top of any web page. As always, we thank Bee Culture, the magazine for American beekeeping, for the continued support of the Beekeeping Today Podcast.
We want to thank our regular episode sponsor, Global Patties. Check them out at www.globalpatties.com. We also want to thank Strong Microbials for their support of the podcast. Check out their probiotic line at www.strongmicrobials.com. We thank Betterbee for joining us as a supporter. Check out all their great beekeeping supplies at www.betterbee.com. Finally, and most importantly, we want to thank you, the Beekeeping Today Podcast listener, for joining us on this show. Feel free to send us questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you. Anything else we want to mention, folks?
Kim: I just want to wish everybody that's listening in or going to listen to this, a good holiday season. It looks like there's light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of things that are going on, and I'm looking forward to next year.
Jim: Merry Christmas to everyone, and there's always next season, that'll be good next year.
Kirsten: As in German, they always say, einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr, which means have a great slide into the new year.
Jeff: Oh, I love that. Think of the slide.
Jim: Great slide, great collapse.
Jeff: Thanks a lot, everybody. Happy holidays and happy New Year.
[00:32:27] [END OF AUDIO]
Dr. Kirsten S. Traynor is a honey bee biologist, who investigates how pesticides and varroa impact social behavior in honey bees. In January 2020 she launched a new quarterly magazine 2 Million Blossoms: protect our pollinators. The 100+ page print magazine is designed to inspire, inform and entertain. How did she end up so wild about pollinators? In 2006-2007, Kirsten received a German Chancellor Fellowship. During that time she drove over 50,000 miles throughout Western Europe to study the differences between European & American beekeeping. Fascinated with the social complexity of a honey bee hive, she returned to school and earned her PhD in biology with Dr. Robert Page. While a grad student, she spent almost a year in Avignon, France in the lab of Dr. Yves Le Conte as a Fulbright Fellow.
She’s the former editor of Bee World and American Bee Journal, the author of Two Million Blossoms: Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey and Simple, Smart Beekeeping. She previously managed a small apiary producing top quality nucs and Maryland reared queens, but has taken a break from running her own bees to focus on her new magazine.
Cohost, Author, PhD
Dr. James E. Tew is an Emeritus Faculty member at The Ohio State University. Jim is also retired from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. During his forty-eight years of bee work, Jim has taught classes, provided extension services, and conducted research on honey bees and honey bee behavior.
He contributes monthly articles to national beekeeping publications and has written: Beekeeping Principles, Wisdom for Beekeepers, The Beekeeper’s Problem Solver, and Backyard Beekeeping. He has a chapter in The Hive and the Honey Bee and was a co-author of ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture. He is a frequent speaker at state and national meetings and has traveled internationally to observe beekeeping techniques.
Jim produces a YouTube beekeeping channel, is a cohost with Kim Flottum on the Honey Bee Obscura podcast, and has always kept bee colonies of his own.
Here are three of our favorite episodes! If you've not heard our podcast, start with these. Which is your favorite? Let us know!