Your Source For Beekeeping News, Information and Entertainment
May 1, 2023

Beekeeper Confidential with Mandy Shaw (S5, E46)

On today’s episode, Jeff and Kim talk with Mandy Shaw of the Beekeeper Confidential podcast. Mandy is a Portland, OR, beekeeper, active with the Portland Urban Beekeepers Association as President and other roles. We talk with her today about her...

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On today’s episode, Jeff and Kim talk with Mandy Shaw of the Beekeeper Confidential podcast. Mandy is a Portland, OR, beekeeper, active with the Portland Urban Beekeepers Association as President and other roles. We talk with her today about her background and love for honey bees, her podcast Beekeeper Confidential, why she started it, and what she has learned.

Finally, we talk with Mandy about her beekeeper clothing line and what exactly sets it apart from other clothing available to beekeepers.

Also in this episode, Ed Colby returns with another story from his book, “A Beekeeper’s Life: Tales from the Bottom Board”. The book is a collection of 60 of his best columns from Bee Culture. In this episode, Ed decides to take public transit to and from his home in Glennwood Springs, Colorado, to Boulder. It's an adventure you will want to hear him tell.

You can order signed copies of Ed’s book for $25.00. Contact him directly at for your copy!

We hope you enjoy the episode. Leave comments and questions in the Comments Section of the episode's website.

Links and websites mentioned in this podcast: 

Honey Bee Obscura


This episode is brought to you by Global PattiesGlobal PattiesGlobal offers a variety of standard and custom patties. Visit them today at and let them know you appreciate them sponsoring this episode! 

We welcome Betterbee as sponsor of today's episode. Betterbee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customerBetterBeeservice, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, Betterbee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at

Thanks to Strong Microbials for their support of Beekeeping TodayStrong MicrobialsPodcast. Find out more about heir line of probiotics in our Season 3, Episode 12 episode and from their website:

We welcome Blue Sky Bee Supply as a sponsor of the podcast! Check out for the best selection of honey containers, caps, lids, and customized honey labels. Enter coupon code PODCAST and receive 10% off an order of honey containers, caps, lids, or customized honey labels. Offer ends December 31, 2023. Some exclusions apply.

Thanks for Northern Bee Books for their support. Northern Bee Books is the publisher of bee books available worldwide from their website or from Amazon and bookstores everywhere. They are also the publishers of The Beekeepers Quarterly and Natural Bee Husbandry.

We welcome Fischer's Bee-Quick as a sponsor of today's show! If you use fume boards during your honey harvest and are tired of the absolutely horrid smell of typical fume board repellent products, you should try Bee-Quick. If you are are using bee escapes because you can't stand the smell of a fume board, but are dealing with clogged escapes, full of dead bees and honey supers still full of bees... you should try Bee-Quick this season. Listen to today's episode for a special 15% discount code for your next purchase on Amazon.


We hope you enjoy this podcast and welcome your questions and comments in the show notes of this episode or:

Thank you for listening! 

Podcast music: Be Strong by Young Presidents; Epilogue by Musicalman; Walking in Paris by Studio Le Bus; A Fresh New Start by Pete Morse; Wedding Day by Boomer; Original guitar background instrumental by Jeff Ott

Beekeeping Today Podcast is an audio production of Growing Planet Media, LLC

Copyright © 2023 by Growing Planet Media, LLC

Growing Planet Media, LLC


S5, E46 – Beekeeper Confidential with Mandy Shaw

Riley:Hi. My name is Riley. I'm nine years old, and I'm a beekeeper.

Ruby:Hi. My name is Ruby and I'm five years old and I'm a beekeeper.

Rosie:Hi, My name's Rosie. I am seven years old and I'm a beekeeper. We're from Ballston Spa, New York, and you're listening to Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Jeff:Welcome to Beekeeping Today Podcast, your source for beekeeping news, information, and entertainment. I'm Jeff Ott.

Kim:And I'm Kim Flottum.

Global Patties:Hey, Jeff and Kim. Today's sponsor is Global Patties. They're a family-operated business that manufactures protein supplement patties for honeybees. It's a good time to think about honeybee nutrition. Feeding your hives protein supplement patties will ensure that they produce strong and healthy colonies by increasing brood production and overall honey flow. Now is a great time to consider what type of patty is right for your area and your honeybees.

Global offers a variety of standard patties as well as custom patties to meet your needs. No matter where you are, Global is ready to serve you out of their manufacturing plants in Airdrie, Alberta, and in Butte, Montana, or from distribution depots across the continent. Visit them today at

Jeff:Thank you, Sherry. A quick shout out to all of our sponsors whose support allows us to bring you this podcast each week without resorting to a fee-based subscription. We don't want that and we know you don't either. Be sure to check out all of our content on our website. There, you can read up on all our guests, read our blog on the various aspects and observations about beekeeping, search for, download, and listen to over 200 past episodes, read episode transcripts, leave comments and feedback on each show, and check on podcast specials from our sponsors. You can find it all at

Hey, thanks a lot, Riley, Ruby, and Rosie for such a wonderful and charming opening to today's episode. With young beekeepers like you, I have full confidence in the future of our honeybees. Thanks, girls, and Grandma Cindy for helping us out. Folks, you too can help us open the podcast by recording yourself, your friends, your club, and even your family just like the girls did. Make a recording using your phone or tablet voice memo app and send it to Make sure to include your name, your town, and how many bees you keep. Be creative and have some fun with it.

Hey, one last item while Kim sets up his microphone. Do you use or are you considering using a fume board for the removal of bees from your honey supers this summer? Use Fischer's Bee-Quick without the foul odors or toxic chemicals usually associated with fume boards. Buy yours today on Amazon and receive a 15% discount when you use the promo code, [deleted from transcript], entered as one word, when you check out. Kim, Spring is underway right now. I can't believe yesterday there was nothing going. It was dull, end of winter, and now, it's just full-blast fire hose springtime. It's exciting.

Kim:Well, it may be where you are.

Jeff:[laughs] Bee beekeeping is all local. I know.

Kim:Yes, it is. It's a little less exciting than that here, although you're right. The trees beginning to flower, some beginning to bud, spring flowers are coming up. It's definitely on the way. It's just in third, not even in third gear. It's in first gear up here in Ohio.

Jeff:Well, I tell you we started last week. It was cold in the 50s, and the weekend, it was in the 70s and nearly 80 here in the Puget Sound area. People are getting packages, nucs. New beekeepers are just getting started. Good luck to y'all. We have swarms already reported in this part of the country. I know other folks have been dealing with swarms for a couple of weeks.

Kim:Well, kind of the same here. It's going in the right direction, just not the way I would like it.

Jeff:Well, springtime in Ohio.

Kim:There you go. [laughs]

Jeff:Springtime anywhere. [laughs]

Kim:Not quite 35 years ago, I met John Root. I was on the board of the Eastern Apiculture Society and he was the site chairman on the board of the Eastern Apiculture Society. Up until that time, I really didn't have much experience with the A.I. Root Company in the history of bees and beekeeping in this country. I got to know it pretty fast and I got to know John pretty well.

It turns out that about the time that he and I got together, he began to be looking for an editor for his magazine then called Gleanings in Bee Culture. I was farming in Connecticut. Although I enjoyed farming a lot, it's getting up early and staying up late and working a lot of hard in between, so something a little different was appealing. He asked me if maybe I'd be interested in--

I was doing some newsletters in Connecticut. He asked me if I'd be interested in talking to him about working on Gleanings in Bee Culture and I said yes. I went to Ohio, talked to the people there, they debated for a bit, came back and made me an offer that I couldn't refuse, and pretty soon, I was living in Ohio as the editor of Gleanings in Bee Culture. Well, that's a long story, but this week John passed. He's been retired for now about 15 years and had some health issues and he was just 90 years old.

I caught up with him. Right now, the family's in the middle of making some decisions on what's going to be done with the final ceremony with John and then the ongoing with the Candle Company. I'll keep you informed, but I lost a good friend today, Jeff, he shaped my life, helped me shape my life, and helped me shape my career and the people that I know. We're going to be a little worse off because he's gone now, I think.

Jeff:I'm sorry to hear of his passing. Met him only once. It's a loss to the bee industry, so our condolences to the Root family and thanks to John for all the work that he did for beekeepers worldwide.

Kim:We'll keep you informed on what's going on and what the family is going to be doing and the future of the A.I. Root Candle Company.

Jeff:All right. Well, coming up we have Ed Colby with another story from Tales From the Bottom Board, A Beekeeper's Life, and then we'll talk with Mandy Shaw of Beekeeper Confidential.

Kim:All Right. I look forward to both.


Ed Colby:My girl, Marilyn, thinks we should all do our part to reduce global warming by using public transportation. When I announced that I'm driving over the Continental Divide to Boulder for a Colorado State beekeeper's board meeting, she says, "Why not take the bus? You could come back on the Amtrak." Now Boulder is a mere three-hour drive from Colby Farm, but Marilyn's idea intrigues me, especially since our five vehicles are all beaters. I catch the 7:25 AM Bustang out of Glenwood Springs, get off in Golden to visit Marilyn's niece, then hop the new light rail to downtown Denver. From Union Station, the Flatiron Flyer bus takes me to Boulder where Neil and Tina pick me up.

We arrive 10 minutes early for the 5:00 PM board meeting at Christina's house. I confess, our board meetings are not exactly models of efficiency. We sometimes wander from the agenda. I tell jokes that make Tina wince. We've been known to whip a dead horse. Three hours and 15 minutes into the meeting I say, "Guys, we got to wrap this up. We've covered our agenda. I'm pleased with the evening's accomplishments. I think we all are."

I crash on the rollaway in Christina's basement. When I awaken at 4:00 AM, I'm pretty sure I'm not going back to sleep so just as quiet as a little mouse, I slip out the front door, walk down Table Mesa Drive, and catch an early bus back to Denver. As I stepped into Cavernous Union Station, I stopped in front of the flower shop to admire the image of a pink two-foot wide spread wing honeybee.

The Amtrak is running late, my bright-eyed breakfast server buoys my spirits. When I emerge into the metropolitan bustle, the world looks fresh and new, a better place. What's all this about Partisan politics in a nation divided? As I watch an older gentleman hold the door for four strangers, the pettiness and meanness of humanity melts away. Every woman appears to be angelic. Every man, a noble-hearted brother. Am I in heaven?

Outside on the street, a crane lifts a beam onto a building under construction. Above me, I can see the operator's hands on the controls as he eases his burden into place. He has an American flag in the side window. I stop in front of the 25-foot wide four-story hitchings building on Market Street. It's dizzying courses of half-high bricks, stone lentils, ornately carved woodwork, arched windows, and concrete gingerbread parked into the grandeur of the late Victorian era.

Today it's a pot shop. A young woman in a tan suit and Bogart slouch hat strides jauntily down the sidewalk and disappears into a law office. I stopped to talk to an old woman about her dog. Back at Union Station, everyone is staring at their mobile devices. In line to board the train, I stand behind a woman of a certain age. Her son asks if she can get on the train by herself. She nods in silence. He kisses her cheek, tells her that he loves her, and walks away.

She turns sidelong to watch him go. I feel an ineffable sadness. We strike up a conversation. She lived in Montana once on Finley Point on Flathead Lake South Shore. She worked a summer job in a sweet cherry orchard. She misses the place. "Only five people lived on the Point when I was there," she said. "Why did you ever leave?" I ask.

"I had a husband," She mutters. "He wanted the bright lights. I never did." She smiles when I say we don't necessarily marry the right person. In the observation car, a man asks me why the bees are dying. I do my best to explain. I want to read my bee culture but how can you ride over the Rocky Mountains on a train and not look out the window? You might miss something.

In Gore Canyon, I watch a bald eagle enjoy a gory lunch on the ice. Downstairs in the observation car, young people drink beer and talk about sports and music. A woman sings the peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat song and dances around the car as the others cheer her on. I ask her if Marilyn and I could hire her to go on trips with us, to entertain us and make us feel young again. I ask if they're friends traveling together. No, they say, they never met until this trip. They want to know why the bees are dying.

When I get off in Glenwood, Marilyn picks me up in her school bus that she's shuttling across town. I tell her not to get fired on my account, but she's a rebel. She never listens. I'm almost home. It's 3:00 PM just 30 hours since I left town. I could have made this trip the easy way alone in my car. I'd have been home hours ago, but for a hundred reasons, I'm glad I didn't.

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Jeff:While you're at the Strong Microbials site, make sure you click on and subscribe to The Hive, the regular newsletter full of interesting beekeeping facts and product updates. Hey everybody, welcome back to the show. Sitting across the virtual Zoom table right now, we have a fantastic guest, Mandy Shaw. You may know Mandy from Beekeeper Confidential, another podcast that you can hear on Apple Podcast or Podbean, or wherever you listen to your podcast. Mandy, welcome to the show.

Mandy Shaw:Thanks for having me. It's great to be here.

Kim:Nice to meet you, Mandy.

Mandy:Nice to meet you as well. I have to say, when I got the invitation, I had to read it a couple of times just to be sure I was reading it correctly to be invited on to your show.

Jeff:They almost went to the junk bin. Oh, that has to be spam. Glad you didn't toss our email away. You have a great podcast. I've listened to it. I know Kim listened to it. Tell us a little bit about your background, how'd you get started in bees, and then we'll start asking you questions about the podcast and everything else.

Mandy:Okay. I was in a transitional point in my life. I got laid off from a really high-pressure corporate job and I was suddenly a stay-at-home mom with two toddlers and I needed something to help occupy my time when I wasn't in full-on mom mode. I started reading about pollinator gardening and pollinator habitats and I learned about mason bees and then I got interested in honey beekeeping and I knew this was something I really needed to learn about before I actually started doing it.

In my year before I actually started working with bees, a swarm landed in my front yard and I wasn't ready to collect them and I didn't have a hive or anything. We called our local beekeeping association to have someone come out and collect them. That experience for me was like the sign that I needed, it was like the green light. Here are some bees, you're interested in bees, let's do this thing.

The following year, I got my first hives and I started catching swarms. I ended up setting up another apiary and it has just grown from there. I was really fortunate in joining up the board of directors at Portland Urban Beekeepers. They needed a treasurer and I have a background in finance and so I was able to provide them with some of my skills while also building on this new skill that I was learning with beekeeping and such.

Jeff:You're in Portland?


Jeff:Oh geez, I thought you were down in California. My god. I could hit on the train rail outside and you could probably hear it down in Portland.

Mandy:I think so. I'm sure you're having the same dreary spring experience that I'm having here.

Jeff:Both of us start commiserating. Kim will just shut down because that's all I do is complain about the weather.

Mandy:I just bought some waterproof bib overalls. I give up, I got to be outside doing stuff but I got to try and stay dry at least.

Jeff:That's right. Portland has a great beekeeping community. Who is it? The Portland Urban Beekeepers? Are you part of that group?

Mandy:Yes, I'm part of Portland Urban Beekeepers and I actually served on their board of directors for six years both as treasurer and president. The time that I spent volunteering there absolutely accelerated my learning because I was always out at the club apiary doing inspections with other beekeepers and running the programs and being at all the meetings. I really owe a lot of where I am today because of that work and that experience with lots of hands-on learning with the locals.

Jeff:A friend of mine is very involved in urban beekeepers and he was talking about a session he's attending this year with Dewey Caron doing the bee inspection, the hive inspection, post winter inspection.

Mandy:Oh yes, Dewey is one of the major staples of the Portland area Bee Clubs, not just for Portland Urban Beekeepers but he's really active with Portland Metro and Tualatin Valley. He's everywhere. He and I have gotten to work together a lot on things. One of the things that we did when I was still on the board, we developed AFB EFB Task Force because there were some reports of AFB in the area and that particular year there were a lot of nucleus colonies that were coming in with pretty bad EFB.

When you're a new beekeeper, you might not understand those symptoms or even recognize that there's a problem. You just know your bees aren't quite right. We developed this task force where anybody from the club could reach out to us and we would go out and test the colonies for free and give a demonstration. I have to say, on one of the occasions that I went out with Dewey, these bees were mad and he kept his cool. It did not phase him at all. I was just standing back because I'm not that cool.

Jeff:I think he's used to those Bolivian bees, isn't he?

Mandy:Oh, yes. You could tell.

Jeff:He probably is saying this is nothing.

Mandy:Yes, exactly. Yes, when I was running with all these beekeepers and really getting to know community members, there was just this recurring theme of when somebody starts working with bees, these significant things in their life start changing for the better, better mental health, more friends like you have this new community and it's this exciting hobby and you're just engaging with nature in a very different way. I decided I want to do a podcast about this. I want to do a podcast about how working with bees changes our lives and throw in some cool bee stuff along in there. It's really about what is the life of a beekeeper?

Jeff:How long ago did you start that?

Mandy:I started it in 2018. It was either going to be Perspectives in Beekeeping [laughs] or Beekeeper Confidential which sounds cooler.

Jeff:Perspectives in Beekeeping sounds more like an academic review.

Mandy:Exactly. I was lucky to have some really heavy-hitting guests early on in the show. Tom Seeley was one of the first interviews that I did here in my backyard. He was in Portland doing a conference for Portland Urban Beekeepers and I had access to him. He came over and we hung out for a little bit.

Jeff:Did you go through a hive with Tom then?

Mandy:We didn't. He had been traveling all day and he was a little bit tired but we looked at some bottom boards and talked about mites and ate some cantaloupe.

Jeff:We don't need to look at my hives. No, no, no.

Kim:I'm interested, Mandy since you were working with Dewey on AFP and EFP, have you gotten involved with the people who have developed that vaccine for AFP at all?

Mandy:I have not. I only just learned about that when it hit the news. It blows my mind that there can be vaccines for insects.

Kim:It's pretty amazing. You take two steps back and it makes perfect sense. You're vaccinating the queen, she's passing that protection on to her worker bees through eggs. It lasts as long as she lasts. When she goes away, the protection goes away and then you have to redo it again. I was just wondering if you were involved, Dewey's usually got his fingers in just about everything, I was curious.

Mandy:He does. I can't take any credit for any of that.

Kim:I want to look at your webpage. Jeff, you'll have this webpage on our webpage Beekeeper, confidential and looking at your guests over some amount of time. West Coast, there's a lot of names here I don't recognize and I'm guessing that you wouldn't have had them on if they weren't interesting to at least your part of the world. Out of all these people here, who's a couple three maybe that really, really lit up the stage.

Mandy:Oh my gosh, it's hard to choose because I actually consider all of my guest friends even if we didn't meet before the show. I like to stay connected. I had a really good time with Thor Hanson, the author of Buzz. We played a game show that I made up called the Celebrity Bee Mashup Challenge. I would just name a celebrity and then he would say which bee they were. He was very quick on his feet. He's very articulate and funny. That was fun.

Dr. Samuel Ramsey was a guest that, to this day, can't believe he came on my show, but we sang together because he has an amazing voice and I love karaoke. Before he came on the show, I was like, "I got to come up with a way to see if he'll sing with me." I started belting out a song about varroa mites and he joined in and then we had a good laugh about it.

Jeff:Is the song in your episode with Sam?

Mandy:It is. I could give you a sampling now, but I do want people to finish the episode so they--


Jeff:Thank you.

Mandy:I've also interviewed people like me who are entrepreneurs and trying to grow their business and trying to find that niche where you can generate a livable wage and still work with bees. I've just had a really broad range of guests.

Jeff:That's what I found in doing the podcast is the exposure to so many different peoples and so many different points of views that even though everyone thinks that beekeeping's the same, you really do realize that it's very localized and very individual and there's many common themes, but it's the amount of similarities and differences that makes a difference.

Mandy:That's right. If you're in the Facebook groups about beekeeping, there's a lot of arguing a lot of debates and--

Jeff:Wait, there's arguments and debates on Facebook?

Mandy:Have you ever seen that? It's really weird, but I don't know. I want people to be able to hear different perspectives without getting up in arms about it. Even if I don't personally subscribe to something that my guest is doing with their bees or their management practices, I'm not going to put them down for that. I'm going to listen to them and if there is a takeaway for me, then great.

Kim:Jim too and I do another podcast together. The theme of the one that we just finished a week or so ago was the answer to almost every beekeeping question you can get asked. That answer is, "It depends."


Mandy:It's so true.

Kim:Somebody asked me this question, I'll have an answer. They'll ask you that question and you come up with a completely different answer. If you go in expecting to be right, you're probably going to be surprised. It's a good attitude to develop, to take a half a step back. Listen, let me repeat that. Listen to what they're saying. Take it for what it's worth and adapt.

Mandy:I've also learned over the years with just working with bees, sometimes I will go in thinking I know what they need. I guess what I've learned is you have to be flexible and adaptable in beekeeping.

Kim:Capital letter. Bold underline. I've been at this a whole bunch of years. Every time I take a cover off, something surprises me. You don't quit learning either.

Jeff:You hope you don't, [laughs] you shouldn't. I think there are some who have.

Mandy:I think I was an expert at year three and then I haven't been an expert since.

Kim:Not uncommon.

Jeff:That's saying "I was an expert at 16, but now I don't feel let I know anything."


Kim:About how many colonies are you running right now?

Mandy:Oh, I have seven right now. I actually run different types of hives. I learned on Langstroth because that's what a lot of people learn on and the equipment is easy to come by. I ran Langstroth for a long time and then I started getting into alternative hives. The reason for that, there's several, I'm curious about it, number one, but also here in Portland, there are a lot of beekeepers that use alternative hives like Warre and top bars.

When I first started my beekeeping business, mentoring and hive management was one facet of services that I provided. For myself, I needed to know how to manage these colonies so that I could better help my mentees.

Right now, I have top bars, Warres, I have a cathedral hive and then I also have a log hive. I'm setting up an apiary with a friend of mine. We're working on it now, if the weather ever improves to start working with Langstroths again because I actually miss that because they're so flexible, you can do a lot with them. Whereas top bars and Warres and cathedrals, you can still do management practices with them, but it's not the same.

Kim:They're not, that's for sure. The other thing about Langstroth Hive is that there's so much information available, when you see something you don't understand it, the answer is probably somewhere out there already.

Jeff:Regarding log hive, when I started beekeeping in Ohio, everything had to be on a movable frame. I'm confounded, I still have that old tape in my head. When I think of log hive I think, that's not movable frame. How can you inspect it? How can you as a beekeeper really inspect it well? Is there a solution for that?

Mandy:Well, I rely on my senses to really see how they're doing, but even then, you can't open it up. I came by this log hive because there's a beekeeper here who works with arborists. If the arborists locate a tree that you know has to come down for one reason or another, if it has a colony of bees in it, they'll work with him to cut the appropriate amount of tree and then lower it down, and then he will find homes for them. This was my first alternative hive. I got this with my second year with bees.

I got this log hive and the colony that's in it right now, it's been occupied for three consecutive winters now. There was a point about a month ago where I thought they probably weren't going to make it because their cluster had-- from what I could see from the entrance, had gotten quite small. On nice days, all of my other colonies would be out flying whereas the log hive bees, there was nothing happening. Their cluster is growing and they are out and about now. I think they're going to be okay.

Again, you can't get in there and offer them any assistance if something is going wrong, but when they do survive and thrive, it's awesome.

Kim:The nicest thing that I think about log high is that layer of propolis that completely surrounds the nest. I know you can't go in and inspect them, but that offers, I'm not going to say so much protection, but a lot of protection from a lot of things that your bees in your langstroth hive probably aren't going to see next year.

Mandy:That's true. Also, they don't just coat the inside of the hive. Mine will spend a great amount of time towards the end of summer when they're out there wash boarding on the front of the log, they're also propolising it. From my theory about wash boarding is they're actually polishing the propolis on the log high but they just don't propolis the outside of a box but they still have that instinct.

Kim:Well, the outside of the box is like the inside of the box, langstroth box. It's shiny, silver, smooth. There's nothing for the propolis to cling to when you have that on the outside of a tree, you got that rough bark or whatever and you can fill that up, smooth it out, shine it, and it makes perfect sense.

Jeff:I know where all the propolis is in the inside of the langstroth hive. It's on the end of my hive tool. It's on my pants, it's on my shirt.


Jeff:Well that's interesting. That would be really fun from a natural standpoint to watch and observe. I know of course you've seen some pictures where people have cut out wedges in the back of a log so that they can inspect the hive. The one beekeeper I was talking to put in a plexiglass viewing port on the log so it could pull out the chunk of log and look at the colony inside. That would be fun too, but it kind of defeats the purpose of a, you have just the one log hive?

Mandy:I have just the one and then I have windows on my top bars and my Warre colonies, which is a wonderful thing to have. It's a treat. I feel really lucky for that. You can learn a lot about your colonies growth in the early spring just by watching the volume of bees steadily increase. Also by touching the windows, you can feel the warmth of the brood nest. You know when the queen is starting to lay and they're starting to rear brood because you will feel that heat just by touching the plexiglass.

Kim:I've seen them, but I've never worked one. The one that I saw was four supers tall, and to work it, you had to take the top off and then you lifted a column that was four supers long. Do I have that right?

Mandy:They're so difficult to work with. The bars that the bees build on are less than two fingers wide across. They're really, really thin. Getting them spaced perfectly is a challenge, but the bees will always attach their comb to the sides of the box. Anytime you go in there, you have to cut it and it just ends up becoming such a mess that it's not even worth it to go in there and break everything and then have to put it back together.

Kim:You just talked me out of a Warre hive this summer.

Mandy:Yes. I would say Warres are pretty, the bees seem to really enjoy them and for me the weight of the box is something that I can manage without hurting myself but from a management standpoint, it's tough, it's really hard.

Jeff:This is a great opportunity since we're talking about equipment to take a quick break and we'll be right back.

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Jeff:You've made a great observation. It reinforces my decision never to explore Warre hives.


Jeff:During the break, I gave it a lot of thought, a lot of consideration. I'll read about them, but no.

Mandy:If you like playing with your bees, Warre hives are not the hive for you.

Jeff:Well, if you like managing your bees, Warre hive is not what you wanted.

Mandy:Yes. That too.


Jeff:Well, what else are you doing with your bees? You have the podcast and you're exploring different beehives and equipment. What else interests you in the bee realm?

Mandy:When I first got into bees, I was not very impressed with the beekeeping clothing that was available for purchase.

Jeff:The fashion line of beekeeping clothes?

Mandy:There was just nothing that represented this special journey I was about to embark upon.

Jeff:[chuckles] Come on, it's everything you want in Baggy White.

Mandy:I decided I'm going to just make my own suit. I made my own veil. I had to figure out the geometry of making a beekeeping bonnet for myself. I started wearing it and then a couple of folks locally asked if I could make one for them and then someone contacted me on Facebook and asked if I could make them one. Then when I officially started my business, I decided to make my beekeeping veils a part of it because there was some demand.

Over the years, the demand has grown and now I have beekeepers all over the globe that are wearing my veils, which is just mind-blowing. It's just amazing to me. I always like to dabble in new projects and innovations and so my latest project is a full-beekeeping jacket and pants.

They're different than what's available out there because these offer really serious sun protection from UV rays, UVAs, UVB rays that can cause skin cancer. We spend so much time out in the sun with our bees and it's hot and there are also no suits that offer moisture-wicking fabrics. I searched for such a long time and I found the perfect fabric for it. These are going into production this summer and will be available later this year. I can show you, I made my very own veil shape. I went for sort of a cosmonaut-

Jeff:Oh, yes. Very cool.

Mandy:- style veil but I'm pretty excited about the design and the fabric and I think it'll offer beekeepers a whole new level of protection, not just from stings.

Jeff:Oh, that's really cool. You'll be able to provide us a link or the listeners a link to where they can find out more information about your veil and any of the other products you make?

Mandy:My business is called Bella Beek, B-E-L-L-A B-E-E-K, Bella Beek.

Jeff:Very good. That's cool. We'll have that link in the show notes. Folks, you can't see what Mandy was showing the veil and the jacket, but it looked really cool. I'll have to check one out. Although up here in Olympia, three days of sun a year, the UV protection is not the big thing, but if I ever get down where they're sunned, I can wear it.

Mandy:Well, skin cancer runs in my family and my mom has skin cancers that she's having to have removed regularly. Seeing that, and I've been advised myself to always wear long sleeves and sunhats. It's something to be thinking about.

Jeff:I was making light of the UV protection for Olympia, not on the skin cancer areas, that it's so important. That's really cool. What's next for Mandy Shaw?

Mandy:Oh, my goodness. Well, this beekeeping apparel has been pretty much my main focus for quite a while, but this year, as soon as this product launch is in place, I'm just looking forward to getting back to my roots and spending more time with other beekeepers and just having fun with my bees.

Jeff:Things will settle down for you enough to be able to do that, honestly.

Mandy:I hope so. Not to mention the pandemic, but with the pandemic, with the school closures, my kids were home from school for almost two full years and that really threw a wrench in my beekeeping game. Now they are fully back in school on a regular schedule and I'm feeling like, "Yes, I have the capacity and the time to really dive back into beekeeping at a level that I was at before."

Jeff:Oh, really good. The clothing, are you sewing that? Do you have people helping you sew that?

Mandy:I have been sewing everything myself and sometimes, it's really intensive, but I knew that with the jackets and the pants, I wanted to work with somebody else to do that. It's a scary thing when you're looking at having clothing made overseas because you don't necessarily know the conditions of the factory that the sowers are working in. I found an organization called The Freedom Business Alliance and they work and promote specifically fair trade and ethical manufacturing companies.

I found a great garment manufacturer through them and they've been wonderful to work with and you know that the people making the clothes are earning a livable wage in safe working conditions. A lot of these people are either at risk for human rights violations or have been victims of human rights violations, and so I think as a business, it's important to take that step and say, "I'm going to spend my business dollars in a place that uplifts its employees and not--" Do you know what I mean? Oh, it's hard to put into words.

Jeff:Well it is, and it's important, especially in today's world, to have that consideration and foresight as you're developing and building a product, to make sure that it is fair to the people who labor to make it.

Kim:From one individual here, "She's saving bees, beekeepers, and the people who make their gear."

Jeff:There you go.

Mandy:Thank you, Kim. That's so kind.

Jeff:Beekeepers are good people. Well, for the most part.


Jeff:I know all of our listeners are great people. Mandy, is there anything we haven't asked you that you would like to talk about?

Mandy:I'm just so excited to be here, and thanks again for the invitation. It's been such a pleasure to meet both of you. You're both legends and, well, this has just been a treat.

Jeff:Kim is the legend. I just do the podcast.


Well, Mandy, it's been truly our pleasure to have you as a guest on our podcast, and wish you the best this season and with your product launch. That'll be exciting.

Mandy:Thanks so much.

Kim:I look forward to that. For the people listening, we were on video and I'm looking over Mandy's shoulder, and I'm looking at the bee jacket being modeled back there. Just earlier today, Jim too and I were talking about stings. The name of the show was Memorable Stings, and everybody's had at least one of those, maybe several. The memorable sting that I had was, I'm looking at the veil that you have on that suit. I was catching a swarm, I reached up, lifted my head up, and the veil that I had opened up at my throat. The swarm fell on my throat, I picked up a bunch of stings there, and I almost died, so I like your new suit.

Mandy:Wow. I'm glad you are okay.

Kim:I like what I see on your suit for that


Jeff:That says, "No entrance here," is what that says there in the throat area. No entrance. Well, Mandy, best of luck this season, and look forward to having you back.

Mandy:Thanks so much.

Kim:Thanks, Mandy. This was fun.

Jeff:Well, that was really enjoyable. Mandy sure has a lot on her plate. It's fun to hear about.

Kim:She does, and fun to talk to. Got a lot of good ideas. Sounds like she's got a lot more good ideas coming down the pipe, and that bee suit interests me a lot.

Jeff:She's involved in that Portland Urban Beekeepers. The more I hear about what they're doing, they really are doing a lot also, so it's a very active community there in Portland. I encourage our listeners to, if you are looking for another podcast to add to Beekeeping Today, and Honey Bee Obscura, and 2 Million Blossoms,and you want to listen to another beekeeping podcast from a different perspective, go out and check Beekeeper Confidential, and listen to Mandy and her guests. It's a great opportunity to learn a little bit more.

Kim:I think you'll be glad you did.

Jeff:Absolutely. Well, that about wraps it up for this episode. Before we go, I want to encourage our listeners to rate us five stars on Apple Podcast wherever you download and stream the show. 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 the reviews along the top of any webpage.

We want to thank our regular episode sponsors, Global Patties, Strong Microbials, and Betterbee for their longtime support of this podcast. Thanks to Blue Sky Bee Supply, Fischer's Bee-Quick, and Northern Bee Books for their generous support. Finally, and most importantly, we want to thank you, the Beekeeping Today Podcast listener, for joining us on this show.

Feel free to leave us questions and comments at leave a comment section under each episode on the website. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks a lot, everybody.

[00:44:33] [END OF AUDIO]


Mandy ShawProfile Photo

Mandy Shaw

Podcast host

Mandy has been enjoying beekeeping and community outreach since 2016. For her, the two go hand in hand. Her service as president of Portland Urban Beekeepers put her in a unique position to hear from and learn with beekeepers in her area. These interactions sparked a curiosity to delve deeper into how working with bees can inform and change lives.

In 2018 her self-produced podcast, Beekeeper Confidential hit the airwaves. In addition to her podcast, Mandy also creates a line of beekeeping apparel, and keeps a variety of hive styles in her backyard apiary.

Ed ColbyProfile Photo

Ed Colby

Beekeeper, Author

Sideline beekeeper. Columnist, Bee Culture magazine "Bottom Board" column since 2002. Author, A Beekeeper's Life, Tales from the Bottom Board. (

Actuarial tables indicate I should be retired, but I continue to be obsessed with Apis Mellifera. I live in western Colorado with the gal Marilyn, the blue heeler Pepper, 15 chickens, three geese, four lambs and way too many bees.