Friday, April 10, 2009

Welcome to the Burgh Bees Blog!

Welcome to our blog devoted to all things beekeeping, especially in Pittsburgh! We'll let you know all of the bee events in the Burgh here as well as try to help keep you connected to other apiaries in the world.

If you have a question that you would like answered, email, and we'll post the answer here. We don't pretend to have all the answers, so please feel free to post what has worked for you!

In an effort to promote bees and beekeeping in Pittsburgh, we initiated our year long intensive beekeeper training program last Sunday, April 5 with a full and enthusiastic class of 35 future beekeepers! While our class this year is oversubscribed, we're already thinking ahead to next year's classes and hope anyone who wasn't able to sign up this year will consider again in 2010.


  1. Robert the beekeeperApril 13, 2009 at 4:07 PM

    You don't have to move splits you make in your yard to a distant location, looking to avoid the loss of foragers you put in the new colony returning to the original colony.
    You can leave a split in the same yard. The young house bees who have not yet flown will stay with the brood. Plenty of extra bees shaken into the split box will insure that there are enough to keep the split brood warm, especially this time of year.One has to be careful not to feed for a couple days or returning foragers will signal the mother colony to start robbing the little split. They might do this anyway, so one has to reduce the entrance of the split to pretty small and keep an eye on it. One old time beekeeper (C.C. Miller) never moved splits away from his apiary. He would shake all the bees off the frames he made the split from, even using frames from multiple colonies, then would put the empty brood frames in a box on top of any colony separated by a queen excluder. Nurse bees will move up to cover the brood in a couple hours who had never left their home. He would then remove the box and put it anywhere he chose.The bees would stay put!

  2. Robert the beekeeperApril 13, 2009 at 4:17 PM

    Troy mentioned that the new White House colony swarmed! that was fast. Any pics of the swarm available?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I saw it on the television news . . . don't have any photos, sorry.

    Maybe if you search the net, you can find the video out there somewhere.

    Farmer Troy

  5. Is there a free service to remove bees, in the Pittsburgh area?

  6. Here's an interesting article on the White House bees from Susan Reimer's "Garden Variety" blog in the Baltimore Sun:

    APRIL 9, 2009
    White House bees
    At least pollination won't be a problem.
    On the same day that First Lady Michelle Obama and her fifth-grader friends planted seedlings in the new White House kitchen garden, White House carpenter Charles Brandts, who is also a beekeeper, lent his skills after a swarm of honey bees was found near one of the front gates at the White House.
    Brandts carefully put the queen bee in a cardboard box and the swarm followed her. The box was sealed and the bees removed from an area very near where television camera crews set up for live shots from the White House.
    Brandts explained to MSNBC that the bees had been "cast off" by another hive that had grown too large and that the swarm was the beginning of a new hive.
    Honey bees do the much of the pollination work needed by America's food crops, but they have been mysteriously disappearing. Hives, or colonies, are "collapsing" as a result of what scientists believe is a virus.
    I talked about this situation - and what home gardeners can do to help - in a column in The Sun a couple of weeks ago.
    Photo credit PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images