Your Source For Beekeeping News, Information and Entertainment
Jan. 31, 2022

Beekeepers Lab with Bee Culture's Kim Lehman (S4, E33)

We have a special treat this week because Kim Lehman has come for a visit. Kim is an educator at heart and works with children of all ages. She started her regular column, All The Buzz In Bee Kids Corner, for Bee Culture over 20 years ago, and every...

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We have a special treat this week because Kim Lehman has come for a visit. Kim is an educator at heart and works with children of all ages. She started her regular column, All The Buzz In Bee Kids Corner, for Bee Culture over 20 years ago, and every other month offers puzzles, quizzes, drawings, educational bits and pieces, submitted photos and more aimed at grade school kids. She has a huge following of kids in her Bee Buddy Club, with members in every single state. Check out Kim Lehman this time, you might even get a sing along song.

Also in this episode, we start a new segment called, “Bee Books: Old & New” sponsored by Northern Bee Books. In this new segment Kim (Flottum) who’s not only an author, editor and book reviewer, is an avid antiquarian bee book collector for decades. He puts all this together, working with our newest sponsor Northern Bee Books, a new, used and antiquarian book seller in the UK, and every other week will offer his reviews of beekeeping books from authors who wrote 150 years ago, to those just released. Find out what you’ve missed, and what’s new, right here every other week on Bee Books: Old & New.

If you liked today's episode, subscribe/follow to keep up to date with the latest releases!

Links and websites mentioned in this podcast:

Honey Bee Obscura


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:

This episode is brought to you by Global Patties! Global Patties is a family business that manufactures protein supplement patties for honey bees. Feeding your hives protein supplement patties will helpGlobal Pattiesensure that they produce strong and health colonies by increasing brood production and overall honey flow. Global offers a variety of standard patties, as well as custom patties to meet your specific needs. Visit them today at and let them know you appreciate them sponsoring this episode! 

Thanks for Northern Bee Books for their sponsorship of Bee Books: Old & New with Kim Flottum. 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. Check them out today!

We want to also thank 2 Million Blossoms as a sponsor of the podcast. 2 Million Blossoms is a regular podcast featuring interviews with leading bee and insect researchers in the world of pollination, hosted by Dr. Kirsten Traynor.


We hope you enjoy this podcast and welcome your questions and comments:

Thanks to Bee Culture, the Magazine of American Beekeeping, for their support of The Beekeeping Today Podcast. Available in print and digital at

Bee Culture Magazine

Thank you for listening! 

Podcast music: Be Strong by Young Presidents; Epilogue by Musicalman; Walking in Paris by Studio Le Bus; Original guitar background instrumental by Jeff Ott

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

Growing Planet Media, LLC


S4, E33 – Beekeeper's Lab with Kim Lehman


Jeff Ott:Welcome to Beekeeping Today Podcast presented by Bee Culture. Beekeeping Today Podcast is your source for beekeeping news information and entertainment. I'm Jeff Ott.

Kim Flottum:I'm Kim Flottum.

Sponsor:Hey, Jeff, and Kim today's sponsor is Global Patties. They're a family-operated business that manufacturers protein supplement patties for honey bees. 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:Thanks, Sherry and thank you Global Patties. Each week we get to talk about how much we appreciate our sponsor support, and we know you'd rather us get right to talking about beekeeping. However, our super sponsors are critical to help making all of this happen from transcripts to hosting fees, to software, to hardware, microphones, recorders, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They enable each episode.

With that, thanks to Bee Culture magazine for continuing to presenting sponsorship of this podcast. Bee Culture has been the magazine for American beekeeping since 1873. Subscribe to Bee Culture today. We also want to thank 2 Million Blossoms who sponsored this episode, check out their 2 Million Blossom Podcast at

Hey everybody, we're really glad you're here. Hey Kim, how's January treating. It's the end of the month. Last day here.

Kim:I think treat isn't quite the right word.

Jeff:Lashing you?

Kim:Yes. Something like that. Cold snow it's winter in Ohio and every year I keep hoping it's not going to be, but every year it is. After 30 some years I'm still not used

to it.

Jeff:Well, I can empathize with you buddy. All right. Well, we do have a really big show today and we're kicking off a new feature, but first let's talk about our guest. Kim, you know Kim Lehman our guest for quite a few years she used to write for you at Bee Culture.

Kim:Yes. I found her at a meeting. She was at one of the bee meetings I was at and I was so intrigued with how she was able to deal with children and to teach. Occasionally she'll just break out in song and you're never quite sure what you're going to get when Kim shows up in the front of a room, but it's always good.

Jeff:Well, that's fantastic. She does a great job. Was every other month in Bee Culture, her kids' page.

Kim:Yes. She's still there.

Jeff:I'm looking forward to talking to her in just a little bit, but before we get to Kim Lehman, we promised a brand new feature and we're going to start that next. Kim, why don't you introduce that for us.

Kim:We're going to start doing every other week or so. We're going to start doing a short book review segment at the beginning of our show. It's called Bee Book's Old and New, and we're working with Northern Bee Books on this so that we will be looking at the books that they sell and books that are old, really old books by Langstroth and whoever so that if you can find them you'll know what they're about. If you can't find them, at least you'll know that they exist and to keep looking for them.

Old Bee Books are a specialty of mine. I've got a whole bookshelf full of them downstairs. When the world isn't treating me, right, I'll pick up one by Pellet or Root or somebody and sit back. It's amazing how similar and different beekeeping was 50 or 60 or 100 years ago than it is today. Of course, they didn't have varroa but anyway that's, what's starting. Bee Book's Old and New.

Jeff:Fantastic. A new segment featuring Kim. All right, well, let's get right to it. Bee Book's Old and New.

Sponsor:Welcome to Bee Books old and new brought to you by Northern Bee books, publishers, and sellers of fine books on bees, beekeeping, and the global beekeeping industry and our very own growing planet media here's Kim with today's Bee Book's Old and New.

Kim:I want to welcome you to a new segment of our Beekeeping Today Podcast. Being an author, editor, and writer for almost 50 years, you might suspect I enjoy dealing with books. You would be right. We tried doing a quick book review before our regular program earlier on, but it seemed to me to be too hurried, too little attention to a book I wanted you to know more about. I wanted better.

I started this project with people from the Northern Bee Books in the UK who I've known and worked with for close to 30 years. They're publishers of almost anything, bees, and beekeeping, and they work with printers around the world to keep your postage cost within reason and make their books available to almost any bookstore, bee supply company, or web business to sales books, but there's more. They're also collectors and sellers of antique, antiquarian, and used beekeeping books, which they offer on their used book page. The link to that is on their webpage. They have almost 500 titles there. You can browse and search. It'll take you a while.

We put our heads together and we're going to see what happens. We call this Bee Books Old and New. Some from them, some from the other publishers, and some from my personal library, either old or new. I still do formal book reviews for our sponsor, Bee Culture magazine. If you are a subscriber may see a review there that was also here, but there, it will be longer have more information on source and pricing. Let's get started. Let me just say upfront that I may repeat myself sometimes, or stumble a bit. Please, excuse my bumps. I'm not so good at this.

As I said, I have a decent library of used beekeeping books, and that's where we'll start today. Back in the 1920s and 30s, Frank Pellett was the state apiary inspector for Iowa, the field editor for the American Bee Journal, and a very productive author. His titles include American Honey Plants, Productive Beekeeping, Practical Queen Rearing the Beginning Bee Book, Romance of the Hive, Bees and Honey, and the one that I enjoyed most, The History of American Beekeeping released in early 1938. If you want to know where we are, you have to know how we got here.

He covers it all by the way. From the beginning of time to the beginning of World War I. He starts with how the honey bee got here, Langstroth's influence with bee space, then onto the beginnings and more of smokers, extractors, commercial queen production, the growth of migratory beekeeping selling live bees, bee pasture on purpose, disease control, and so much more. He devotes an entire chapter to gleanings and bee culture and one to the American Bee Journal. He goes to some length detailing the lives of the people who invented or significantly improved these devices and follows additional improvements over time.

He also follows the trail of the introduction of the wax moth and that queen bee of smoker fame determined the source and cause he thought of American Foulbrood. He did find that combing honey from an infected hive would cause an infection if moved to a clean hive. He finishes with an appropriate chapter on memorials for the pioneers of American beekeeping. Pellet's writing go just a tiny bit dated. It's easy to read and well written and detail and facts. If you can find a copy of any of his works, don't let them go.

Next. A Beekeeper's Life. Tales from the Bottom Board by Ed Colby. Available from Northern Bee Books, Bee Culture, and most bookstores. Ed started writing for Bee Culture magazine more than 20 years ago and he's still at it. He tells a story every month and because he's an incredible storyteller his stories get read by nearly every subscriber every month. He is quite popular. If you subscribe, now you may have missed some of his early years, but now you can catch up with this book. There's 61 stories here each only a couple of pages long. It's easy to pick up, read a couple with your coffee in the morning and get to work on time.

Ed went to Northern Bee Books with a thought of a collection of these stories right after I left and before Jerry had settled in. They jumped at the chance because they knew of his popularity here and in the UK. I'm glad they did. Ed was and is a sideline beekeeper with maybe a couple of hundred hives in a good year. He hangs around with a lot of commercial guys that live near him in Colorado. He's done almonds, sold nucs, pollinated other crops, had bee yards in odd, unusual, and wonderful places.

He made his day-to-day living as a ski patroller on the Snowmass in Aspen mountains for over 40 years. Some of his stories have a lot to do with who he worked with, who he met, and what he learned there. Some are scary and some are incredible.

Ed stories range from some well-meaning name-dropping too. Marla, the scientists, Terry Bradshaw, Tina, and Paul, the beekeeper. He also passes along the lesson all of us need to learn. Life is a gift. Don't waste it. Easy to read. Well written and well-edited I might add and hard to put down. This is a beekeeper story about a beekeeper's life. "Follow your heart," His dad told him we're glad he did.

(editor’s note: You can listen to Ed on Beekeeping Today Podcast on occasion, read stories from his book. He also is part of our Regional Beekeepers series. You can find all of Ed’s contributions here:

Next, Silent  Earth, Averting the Insect of Apocalypse by Dave Goulson. This is available on the web and in bookstores, any place pretty much that books are going to be sold. If you had to take a test to become a beekeeper, this book I think would be required reading. The author is an entomologist from the UK and is interested in all insects and the information this book applies to all insects, including the honeybee. Also to people, animals, oceans, forests, farms, melting ice caps, forests, fields, and all the rest of living things. The title sums it up quite well. It is drawn from Rachel Carson's Silent Spring but now it's Silent Earth. Insects are the case study of how we are rapidly destroying our planet.

He begins with a brief history of insects and how they're disappearing at the rate that with no changes, 75% of them will be gone in about 50 years. Then he spells out many of the reasons why this is not a good thing. For instance, about 80% of the world's population eat insects on a routine basis. This makes more sense than you might think. Insects more efficiently convert food and water to edible food. They are nutritious and low in fat. Insects don't make biological waste, they consume it and turn it into more food by making better soil. They consume pest plants without using chemicals. They eat dead animals, and from our perspective, they're excellent pollinators producing our food.

But, and you know there was one here, the planet has arrived at the Anthropocene. A time when the Earth's ecosystems and climate are being altered by human activity. One aspect of that is the decline in biodiversity. Since the year 1500 or so, 80 plus species of animals and 180 species of birds have become extinct. A 2018 study by the world wildlife fund estimates that between 1970 and 2014 the population of all land vertebrates had fallen 60%. The population of all freshwater vertebrates had declined by 81%.

A 26-year study in Europe found that insect biomass declined by 76% in the US. The Western Monarch butterfly population has declined 97%, and the Eastern Monarch population by 80%. A study in the UK measured the butterfly population down an average of 46% with some species down 77%. There is sadly essentially no comparable data from the continents of Africa, South America, Oceania, or Asia.

He moves on to a poisoned land. The evolution of pesticides. He shares a bit of history about DDT and parathion in the '40s, both neurotoxin and moves on to the neonicotinoids in the 1990s used as systemic seed coatings. The LD 50 of most of the most popular brand of these is 14 billionth that's with a Bee of a gram but only a small fraction of the chemical is absorbed by the plants that they're applied to. The rest goes into groundwater and moves everywhere water goes; streams, rivers, lakes, wells. There has been essentially a global contamination, but the pesticide company's argent is that with the ET, farmers used about 2,000 grams per hectare. While with the neonics, it's only 10 grams per hectare.

Fungicides harm Bees by killing gut by and they also inhibit natural pesticide detoxification in the insects, thus increasing even more their lethal effects, but you can't see that so it doesn't count. Herbicides too, primarily glyphosate, by removing flowers, killing gut bacteria, affecting the learning and orientation capabilities when flying, and it causes cancer in people.

Even fertilizers have a role here. They change microclimates for caterpillars destroy algae in ponds increase methane release from the soils and eventually breaks down into nitrous oxide, another warming chemical in the air. Not surprisingly climate change has a role here too. The total combined events of heat waves drought, wildfires, floods, landslides, avalanches, and storms have changed from about 200 a year in 1980, to over 700 a year in 2016.

I don't know how many there's going to be this but I'll bet you it's going to be more. We did that. What can be done? Well, start by raising awareness, convince those with the power to change things to begin. Change farming, become sustainable, reduce monocultures, reduce food waste, eat healthier, support local agriculture with community gardens. Vote for the right people, use social media, and more, and mostly, don't quit.

He lists the actions that local communities can do, what local governments can do, and what national governments can do and mostly what farmers can do. At the end, there is a long reading list of resources and supporting information including the list of references for his data. Rachel Carson tried with Silent Spring. She started this, but now we have to finish this or will it be a time for a Silent Earth?

(Editor’s note: Kirsten Traynor interviewed Dave Goulson on her podcast 2 Million Blossoms – The Podcastabout his book, “A Sting in the Tale”. You can listen to it here: ).

There you have it. The first chapter of Bee Books Old and New. I hope you enjoyed listening as much as I enjoyed reading these excellent Bee Books. I encourage you to get your own copies to absorb all that they contain. We've only scratched the surfaces here. Then share those books with others who will enjoy them too. Listen again in a couple of weeks for the next edition of Bee Books Old and New. Sponsored by Northern B books and today podcast. Thank you.

Jeff:All right. Well Hey that was sounded really good Kim. Let's get into our interview with Kim Lehman, but first a quick word from our friends at Strong Microbials.

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Now you can help improve your honey colony health with a quick, easy, and safe to use product. Strong Microbials' Super DFM Honeybee uses naturally occurring bacteria to restore the healthy gut biome of your honeybees. Check them out today at

Jeff:Hey, and while you're at the strong microbial site make sure you click on and subscribe to The Hive. The regular newsletter full of interesting facts and product updates. Hey everybody, welcome back sitting across the virtual zoom table right now is Kim Lehman. Kim Lehman is from the Bee Culture magazine kids page. Kim welcome to Beekeeping Today podcast.

Kim Lehman:Thank you so much. I'm really happy to be here today.

Jeff:I'm glad to have you here.

Kim:It's good to see you again Kim. It's been too long. I hope you're doing well in this crazy time.

Kim L:I'm doing amazingly well. I feel balanced, happy and all is good.

Kim:It's good to hear.

Jeff:Well that's good at the end of January to feel that way. January usually drags it's infectious to see you there ready to rock and roll. Kim, we've invited you to the show today, one, as I mentioned you do write the regular column, the kids column, in Bee Culture magazine, but you also have a fabulous book out that's called The Beekeeper's Lab. I want to talk about both of those. Well first tell us a little bit about you, yourself, your background, and then we'll get into both of those.

Kim L:Excellent. My background is in education and I am also an entertainer. I'm a professional storyteller and musician. I go out to libraries and schools, parks, museums, and tell lots of stories lots of stories about nature, plants, animals, and bees of course. I write forBee Culture magazine, do the kids page, and I've been doing that for quite a while. In terms of I'm just a hobby beekeeper. I started years ago before the mite, pre-mite years, and I'm interested in gardening and herbs, I make my own tinctures and so was just a natural progression into gardening and my other interests.

Jeff:That's very good. We definitely shows in the pages of the book and the magazine.

Kim:How long ago did you hook up with Bee? I know you started when I was still editor of Bee Culture. I don't know, I don't remember if I had to convince you to do this or you had to convince me but about how long have you been doing this?

Kim L:Oh about 15 years.

Kim:Oh my gosh.

Kim L:I know, it's hard to believe.

Kim:I feel old again still, 15 years. Well in 15 years I have to tell you it has been remarkably consistently good. No. It was always two pages. I never had to worry about it. I didn't have to proof them, I didn't have to look and make sure they were right. You did it right every time and you did it well every time. From an editor's perspective, you are the perfect person to have doing this. Jeff, are you familiar with the kid's page?

Jeff:Oh, absolutely.

Kim:There's a lot of you get Queen Bee, you got some characters that you bring on every once in a while, you've got puzzles. There's the, what is it? The club that you can join.

Kim L:We started the Bee Buddies Club, and it's an old-timey club where I send things through the mail, not online. You can send me two self-addressed stamped envelopes, and I send one with a membership card and to the Bee Buddies, and stickers, and bookmarks, and things like that. Then on kid's birthdays, I send them something. I send them some prizes in the envelopes. That's been going on for a while. We have Bee Buddies in every state in the United States, and in three different countries.

Kim:Oh, how neat.

Kim L:Yes, it's pretty fun.

Jeff:I think is very fun. It makes me think of a long ago. Old Captain Kangaroo, remember that? I remember signing up to Captain Kangaroos Club and getting something from him regularly. What you're doing, I can relate would be is exciting for a kid to receive- especially these days, physical mail, from the mailman.

Kim L:Oh, yes, you are so giving away your age.


Jeff:There's no video, so that's all right.


Kim L:I feel like if I can make some connections with kids. They write me letters, they send pictures and illustrations and jokes and poems, and we publish all of those in the magazine as well. We try to feature one child, every issue as well. We try to feature Bee Buddy.

Kim:What's the average age of your Bee Buddy?

Kim L:It's about seven or eight.


Kim L:We get them as young as 1, and as old as about 15. The average age is about 7 or 8. I gear the page for that age as well.

Jeff:Does it cost the child or the parent money to be a Bee Buddy?

Kim L:Just two stamps. That's all.

Jeff:There you go. Great entertainment for the cost of two lifetime US Postal Service stamps.

Kim:There we go.

Jeff:Forever stamps. That's the word I was looking for. Well,

Kim:Kim, we're doing this in the middle of January, or almost the middle of January. I haven't seen your February issue yet. What's coming out in your February issue? Jeff, just to make sure Kim is in every other issue of bee culture magazine. She wasn't in January, so she's going be in the February issue. I don't have the February issue yet. What's coming up, Kim?

Kim L:In December, it was how to make beeswax wraps. It was an activity. This time, it's a game. It is a famous beekeeper matchup game. I have a little bit about nine different celebrities that either have bees on their property or are actual beekeepers, and a little bit about them, and you have to match up those famous beekeepers.

Jeff:Oh, that's fun.

Kim L:I was surprised.

Jeff:Without the aid of Google?

Kim L:Without the aid of Google.


Kim L:I'm really surprised. Beyonce is a really big bee fan. She has bees on the roof of her place. Morgan Freeman, of course, has a lot of bees on his property in Mississippi. Scarlet Johanna was given bees for a wedding gift.

Jeff:This was interesting.

Kim L:It's fun.

Jeff:The Black Widow herself is keeping bees? There's something funny about that. Anyways, what else?

Kim L:There's little directions on how to make a Valentine that is bee-related. I used a photo of my dog. Just little things like that. The page has information, it has games, it has activities, has recipes, just anything that would interest the younger audience.

Kim:It's the only one that you can find in a beekeeping magazine, Jeff, just so you know. [laughs] We have an exclusive. Well, Kim, you're not doing the kid's corner. You said, what else do you do? What else are you doing with kids?

Kim L:I'm a professional storyteller, musician. I'm still doing those things with children. I do a lot of workshops, working with people that work with children on how to use literature, art, poetry, music, those kinds of things. The arts are really important to me. I like incorporating them and sharing them with adults that work with children and with children themselves.

Kim:If I recall, you were I want to say, Austin, Texas.

Kim L:Yes, I'm about an hour outside of Austin. I live near a small town called Smithville. I'm out in the country now, which I really love and close enough to Austin that I can go in and get a little Austin fix here and there.


Kim:I spent some time in Austin quite a few years ago. Is a nice city to live in. I like the weather a lot better than I like Ohio's weather. Actually, I moved there to get away from Wisconsin winters. All of the above were solved by moving to Austin. You working with schools, libraries, what's your venue?

Kim L:I go in, and I'm also with the Texas Commission on the Arts. They supply some funding to bring me into schools and libraries. I usually do really large groups, so I do assembly types with up to 300 kids at a time. I also do a lot of science-based programs that have hands-on components. I do one on the science of sound, one on engineering, one on bees, of course. I like to keep busy. I like to do a lot of different things. I really enjoy keeping busy with a lot of different things. I really enjoy all the arts, I do a lot of visual arts and music. It keeps me out of trouble.

Kim:Jeff, we had Kim come up to one of our October events a few years back when we had all of the voices of bee culture come and talk. Kim was one of the people that came up and she was telling a story about how to tell a story which I found fascinating because I'm not a very good storyteller, but what made it even more amazing to me was that right in the middle of it she broke into song just like that. It was very entertaining

Kim L:You mean like this?

Oh, the honey bees, are fabulous and great,

from flower to flower, they pollinate,

to make the food, to make the seeds,

are tiny treasures, the honey bees.


Jeff:Wow, bravo.

Kim:That was great. That's what she does. You see why she's so entertaining. She can tell stories and sing songs. She knows all of the topics which really interest her and kids.

Jeff:If I'd known you were going to break out in song I would grab one of my guitars in the background and accompany you.

Kim L:Oh, nice.

Jeff:That was very nice. What other bee songs do you have? What's your next favorite bee song?

Kim L:I'll tell you anybody can create their own little bee diddy's. It's so simple. It's called a piggyback song where you take a tune that you know and all you do is change the words. Here's what's considered a piggyback song. The tune is I've Been Working on the Railroad and I just changed the words up. It's:

Workers working in the beehive, all these nice warm days,

workers working in the beehive, in those so many ways,

building calm and feeding babies, fanning wings cleaning up the hive,

guarding foraging and flying, to help to the hive survive.

Workers want to buzz, workers want to buzz, workers want to buzz around around,

workers want to buzz, workers want to buzz, workers want to buzz around.

Someone's in the field finding flowers, someone's in the field I know,

someone's in the field finding flowers, looking for the nectar flow.

And singing flee fly, flittery, ay, oh,

flee fly, flittery, ay, oh, oh, oh, oh,

flee fly, flittery, ay, oh

looking for the nectar flow.

Kim:[laughs] Oh, that's great.

Jeff:That's that is good.

Kim:Thank you for that. That was amazing.

Kim L:Really, anybody can just write their own little song anytime that you're doing a presentation or just talking with people or just looking, if you have grandchildren it's a great thing to help them do. Because children can write their own songs as well.


Sponsor:Betterbee as pleased to sponsor today's episode of Beekeeping Today Podcast. For over 40 years Betterbee has supplied beekeepers across the country with the tools, equipment and knowledge needed to succeed. Many Betterbee 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 support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast, Betterbee truly lives up to their tagline of beekeepers serving beekeepers, see for yourself at

Kim:You also did a book and I remember I haven't seen it for a while. It's in my library here someplace, but Jeff you've seen it yet. The Beekeeper's Lab. What's in the book. Tell us about the book Kim.

Kim L:Well, it's 52 activities based around the hive. There's a chapter on honey. There's a chapter on wax. There's a chapter on pollination, one on saving the bees, just different things like that. It's using honey using pollen, using beeswax, experiments to do centered around bees. There's a little experiment with pollination magic and how to dissect a flower to understand the parts of the flower and pollination. There's little tidbits of information on each with each activity. There's a lot of photographs, so it is really easy to follow and make all kinds of things all centered around the hive.

Jeff:The photography's beautiful well done on that. I really enjoy that.

Kim:Your primary audience for this is--

Kim L:It is families geared toward children about 8-10, 8-12.

Kim:I'll tell you a little bit, just a short story about this. Jeff, the people who published my books, Quarto, came to me some time ago and they said we want to do a children's book on bees. I just looked at him in disbelief because I don't do children very well, but I know somebody who does. I sent them towards Kim and it worked out quite well. They were happy, Kim was happy and we got a great book out of it.

Kim L:Thank you so much. I really enjoyed the whole process.


Jeff:I really wish I had this book when my kids were little and because the projects in it would be great any time of the year, but especially in the winter on those rainy days, when everyone's climbing the walls and the projects are simple and they're straightforward. The photography in the book really helps you visualize how you're going to do whatever you're going to do. One of the things I liked was, take it further. Each chapter, each section has a take it further where if you want to explore that activity a little bit more or the next step in this process you explain that or give you some ideas of what to do next.

Kim L:Yes. I really like giving people ideas and opportunities and different ways to do different things. I think that's really important. I think it's really important as a way to connect with children. Especially if you have grandchildren or your own children, what they're going to remember is the time you spend with them and children love to learn. If you can teach them something, they appreciate it. It creates a memory that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

Jeff:Oh, absolutely. Which one of the activities do you enjoy the most? What's your fallback or go to activity?

Kim L:I would have to say if I had to choose is one of them, it would be the beeswax votive (candle) bowls. I make a lot of them. I probably have made 500 of them in my lifetime. It's a very easy project and it's a very beautiful project and children can do it, adults can do it. The secret is, you fill a balloon with water and you dip it in beeswax and it makes a bowl. Then I take pressed flowers and put them on the outside and then you put a candle inside and it glows and they're beautiful. They're so fun to make. That's probably my favorite

Jeff:I'm excited, happy that you chose that because that is exactly the one I was looking at to ask you about. That's the one I haven't done it, but that's the one I would start with. Why not start with the hardest one, but they look beautiful and they look just would be a great piece of work to have sitting on a countertop, whether you have children or not. I enjoy it.

Kim:It's always exciting Jeff, when you're making those. If you put two hot wax in the balloon and then put it in two cold water and the balloon decides to get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and then you've got beeswax all over your kitchen.

Jeff:Well, I'll take Kim Kim Lehman's recommendations not yours, Kim Flottum.

Kim:We used to have somebody at work who routinely made those and sold them in our store. I was talking to him one time and he was telling about the fact that he has is essentially a quarter-inch of beeswax on everything in his kitchen because he gets in a hurry and he--

Anyway, yes, just practice a little caution when you make that, but you're right. When they're made, you can put a votive in the bottom of it and you get this beautiful glow that comes through the-- If you can make it thin enough that the light will come through, but thick enough that it doesn't collapse on itself. It's always a little bit of a trick, but once you get a votive the middle of it burning, it's just, and then turn out the light's spectacularly pretty.

Kim L:Yes, true. It's a beautiful gift.

Kim:Kim, we've covered your book and we've covered Bee Buddies and all of the children you've got involved in. What else you're doing with your storytelling and singing and talking about different aspects of science. What have we missed?

Kim L:I think we'd be a little remiss if I didn't tell at least one little teeny story.


Kim L:You may be familiar with the ancient Greek mythology. Kronos was the king of the gods. He was monstrous and gigantic and he was full of greed and madness and his family was not safe. When Kronos's wife gave birth to a baby boy Zeus, she knew he was in great danger. She escaped and she took Zeus to an island, the island of Crete and she hid Zeus in a cave there.

Amalthea, the goat, and Melissa, the nymph, took care of Zeus. The goat gave goats milk and Melissa the nymph, she would go out and she would gather honey that the bees had made the bees that had lived in the cave. She would give Zeus honey. These bees were just a gray color, like the gray of the inside of a cave. As time went by and Zeus grew strong. Zeus went back and defeated Kronos and became king of the gods. He always remembered the bees and the honey. He rewarded the bees instead of being the gray doll color, he gave the bees yellow and black to be beautiful like they are even to this day.

Kim:That's a great story.

Kim L:Of course, you have, Melissa.


Kim L:Which of course is Greek for bee. We've our Apis mellifera.

Kim:The lady who runs the candle store at the root company's name is Melissa. We always like bringing those two together and we had an observation hive in her store. We had all sorts of bees, but this was nice. Yes, that was nice. Thank you.

Jeff:That's very nice. I did not. I learned something on the show. I didn't know, Melissa meant bee.

Kim L:there's a lot of bee folklore. A lot of bee folklore. There's a wonderful story in the Jewish tradition about King Solomon and the Bee, there's all kinds of folklore about bees humming and singing on Christmas Eve. The Mayans have the four Bee gods holding up the sky. Bees perforate all kinds of cultures and all the folklore that goes around bees. That really fascinates me too.

Jeff:Well. It's been wonderful having you on the show today, Kim, and look forward to having you back and look forward now to your columns and bee culture. I'll have a better understanding and better perspective on the work that you put into it and the meaning for all your Bee buddies to see that every time they get a chance to work the puzzles and other activities.

Kim:Yes. Thanks for being here today. Kim was good seeing you again and I hope we get to meet up one day again soon, get in the same part of the country. If one of us can get on a plane, perhaps.

Kim L:I'm really happy and honored to be invited

Kim L:today. I totally enjoyed talking with both of you.

Jeff:Thank you.

Kim:Nice having you here again. It was good to see you. Take care of yourself.

Kim L:Be happy. Be well


Kim L:All right.


Jeff:Boy, Kim, after meeting Kim Lehman and experiencing her energy, I can definitely see where all the activities come from in her book, Beekeepers Lab, 52 family-friendly activities, and experiments. That's fantastic.

Kim:It is. It's a good book. Like I said, we were talking earlier. It's good to look at. It's good to use. You will learn lots of things and how to do things remarkably well for that project.

Jeff:It's fun. Her bee and the pages each month, or every other month are really good. One of the things I was thinking about as I was going through this book, is that many of the activities would be really valuable for the bee club to do too. They don't have to be just for the kids. Even the bee balloon candle, the balloon bee candle. [laughs] That's hard to say five times quickly, would be a great project. I could even see a bee club doing that as a project, and selling the candles at a county fair.

Kim:They're if you've never seen one, they are stunningly beautiful. You fill a balloon with water, you dip the balloon and liquid wax, and you hope that it doesn't-


Kim:-warm up too much and pop the balloon. If you may do it right, then when you're done, let the wax harden, you remove the balloon from inside and you've got a candle holder. That's the shape of the outside of the balloon. Then you put a candle in it, like a small votive, and it shines through the wax shell that you made using the balloon. It's pretty nice.

Jeff:Really good, and her song is just what she calls it, "The piggyback song." [laughter] I've never heard that term, but we've all been doing piggyback songs all along and it's fun.

Kim:Well, she does It so well. That's the way her song sounds like the original, her song should be the original and the other one is piggyback.


Kim:But there you are. I'll go back to kids for just a second. I was very pleased to hear that she's got over 2,000 kids in some, in every state that says a lot to me. Good job, Kim.

Jeff:Just for the cost of two stamps. Well, that about wraps it up for this episode. Before we go, I want to encourage our listeners to rate us five stars on the Apple podcast, wherever you download and stream the show, your votes help other beekeepers find us quicker, even better, write a review and let other beekeepers look 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 webpage.

As always we thank Bee Culture, the magazine for American beekeeping for their continued support of the Beekeeping Today Podcast, we want to thank our regular episode sponsor global patties them out at We also want to thank Strong Microbials for the support of the podcast. Check out their full probiotic line at We want to thank you Betterbee for joining us as a supporter, check out their full line of beekeeping supplies and stations as you get ready for the springtime at

Finally, and most importantly, truly, we want to thank you, the Beekeeping Today Podcast listener for joining us on this show. feel free to send us questions and comments at questions at Beekeeping Today Podcast. We'd love to hear from you. Anything else, Kim?

Kim:Yes, I bet you, everybody, listening to this know somebody with kids or grandkids, it would really take really enjoy Kim's column in Bee Culture, and hooking up with her on a routine basis and become a bee buddy. If you know that person, pass this information along, and at least the kids will be glad that you did.

Jeff:There you go. Thanks a lot, Kim. Thanks a lot, everybody.

Kim:Take care.

[00:44:23] [END OF AUDIO]

Kim LehmanProfile Photo

Kim Lehman


Kim Lehman has worked for over 30 years as a honey bee educator, teacher, professional storyteller, musician, and author. She founded and produced the Kids and Bees Program, an educational program for the public, at national beekeeping conferences in 15 states.

Kim writes a kids page for Bee Culture Magazine and is the author of the book Beekeeper’s Lab: 52 Family-Friendly Activities and Experiments Exploring the Life of the Hive.