All posts by jim

About jim

Academically - (Active) Beekeeping Specialist, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University and (retired) The Ohio State University Industry Involvement - The Alabama Beekeepers' Association Interests - Honey bee biology, behavior, and management One Tew Bee, LLC

2019 Alabama Cooperative Extension System Beekeeping Symposium Registration Information 24th annual ACES Beekeeping Symposium will be held at the Clanton Performing Arts Center in Clanton, Alabama.  This is a one-day meeting (February 2, 2019) that provides nationally-known speakers, a large number of vendors, a beginning bee course and lunch are provided.  Preregistration is required to reserve a lunch.  Click the link below for all necessary information.  The organizers have been working approximately a year to develop this meeting and all hope that you can attend.

Registration Form & Program Schedule

Thanks for you interest,

Dr. James E. Tew

State Specialist, Beekeeping

Using robbing behavior to determine the vitality of the nectar flow

Just a comment.  I have no proof, only observations.  I suspect that increased robbing behavior is directly related to the productivity of the nectar flow.  This has always been been beekeeping common sense.  Extracting after the flow was over always brought hoards of curious bees to the extracting area.

But my comment is that robbing behavior in the bee yard (it appears) can be used as a barometer of the nectar flow.  If weather temporarily stops the flow, I suspect that foragers will be attracted to the equipment that has their interest – even if the honey rewards are scant.  I suspect if the flow starts up again, the robbing foragers will be gone.  It is as though frames or combs still having small amounts of honey can give the beekeeper an idea of the condition of the flow that day in that yard.  I’m only guessing.

If I photograph, the pic only looks like robbing behavior.



2018 Alabama Cooperative Extension System Beekeeping Symposium


Information needed to pre-register for the upcoming event is posted at the link below.  The event will be on February 3, 2018.  All other information is contained within the URLs presented below.  An online registration address is contained with the Registration Form.   The meeting program is also available for review in the Registration Form packet.

2018 Registration Form

As usual, there will be a large number of vendors at the session.  The list is posted below:

2018 Vendors

In many instance, equipment orders can be  pre-orderd and delivered to the meeting.  This could save you shipping costs.

If questions are not answered by the information provided here, contact:

Thanks for your interest,


Jim Tew 

State Beekeeping specialist, ACES


Just a thought about colony guard bees….

This summer, I had an issue with one or two aggressive colonies.  I had to move them from my home apiary.  When I opened the stockade gate to my apiary — guard bees were immediately there for me.  After moving the offending colonies, things really calmed.  But even now after having worked bees and reentering the apiary, several bees are (nearly) immediately upon me.

I had the thought that these bees are not guarding a particular colony – they are essentially guarding the apiary – which in turn guards the their home colony.   Could I call these defensive bees – “apiary guard bees”?  Do they remember my various odors or my appearance?  They seem to be more that spontaneous colony guards.  Its impossible to determine from which colony these apiary guards are from.  I find this global guarding behavior interesting.

Being Gentle with the Bees

Being a bee-friendly beekeeper

Within a wide range, each beekeeper maintains their colonies in ways suitable to their lifestyle and personal schedule. Some of us can allocate more time to our bees than others. As colony numbers increase, you should expect to spend less time with individual colonies. Beekeepers who rarely manipulate their colonies will most likely have
some, or even many, die. Alternatively, beekeepers who open their practically every day are also putting stress on their colonies. New beekeepers can be somewhat excused. They are still learning and are excited to explore their new bee world.

Continue reading Being Gentle with the Bees