July Honey Bee Power Plant: Russian Sage

July Honey Bee Power Plant: Russian Sage
Russian Sage – Perovskia atriplicifolia Russian sage, is one tough cookie, easily grown in average to dry, well-drained soils in full sun. It will grow in part shade, but stems will be prone to flopping over. Plants are drought tolerant once established. The gray-green foliage is pungent when crushed, making this one both deer and rabbit resistant. The light blue flowers are arranged in whorls along branched panicles, giving the plant a very light and a

July Meeting Recap: Charm City Meadworks

July Meeting Recap: Charm City Meadworks
Speaker: James Boicourt, beekeeper, meadmaker and co-owner of Charm City Meadworks What is mead? Mead is an alcoholic drink made of honey and water that has been fermented with yeast. It can be flavored with herbs, fruits and other flavorings during the process. James explained the Charm City processes, answered questions, and treated attendees to a mead tasting – an excellent close to a warm July evening. Mead is produced by a cold process, simila...

July Letter from the South

July Letter from the South
Actually this month's letter is being written in Durango, Colorado.  Mary and I were on vacation out here, visiting her brother-in-law, when unfortunately Mary broke her leg.  She is currently in rehab and doing well, but our vacation out here has been extended while she recovers enough to travel back home. Our vacation actually started with the Heartland Apicultural Society meeting in Evansville, Indiana, a very nice three-day conference.  The attached

PAST: It’s time to Party with the Animals! 2017

PAST:  It’s time to Party with the Animals!  2017
Montgomery County Agricultural Fair August 11 – August 19, 2017 Started 72 years ago as a way to provide a county show for the 4-H members in Montgomery County, our local fair is now one of the largest county Fairs in the State of Maryland – and obviously the best! For MCBA members, the Fair provides an opportunity to sell products of the hive, compete for prizes, present live bee demonstrations to the public, and talk about bees with thousands of

Orchid Bees: The Little Things In Life

Orchid Bees:  The Little Things In Life
I’ve spent over 6 weeks in Costa Rica over the past three years volunteering on a native bee research project with a Dr. Gordon Frankie from UC Berkley. Tropical bees are very different from those we find around here in Maryland. The most common bees in the tropics are stingless bees which form colonies and tend to be very small bees. Oil bees are common in the tropics and I’ve written about them before. Another common group of bees found in the tro...

MCBA Outreach

MCBA Outreach
Beekeepers love to talk about bees, especially honey bees. It's a wonderful to see kids, people of all ages be amazed as they learn about the habits and activities of honeybees. The club’s purpose is to support honey bee keeping in Montgomery County, MD. One of the ways the organization does this is by giving talks/presentations and exhibiting at local events. Club members have done presentation for preschoolers, reading picture books and identify b...

MCBA’s Lending Library

“Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.” 
― John Muir Come to club meetings to talk and hear about bees. Leave club meetings inspired to try something new with your bees. Use club resources to better understand the ways of the bees. Club members may check out books and DVDs at the monthly meetings for one month. Browse the collection and sign out a book – book title, your name & contact (phone or email) and

June MCBA Meeting Recap: Sustainable Honey Bee Program

June MCBA Meeting Recap: Sustainable Honey Bee Program
The first portion of the monthly meeting was a discussion by members about their hives, announcement of upcoming events, the status of our bee yard, requests for speakers at community events and the County Fair (August 12 – 19). After a break, Leon Vandenberg introduced Alex McClellan, Chief Operating Officer of the Sustainable Honeybee Program in Purcellville VA, and his colleague Parks Talley. Alex explained that the Sustainable Honeybee Program (S

MCBA Picnic Fun

MCBA Picnic Fun
The annual MCBA picnic took place on June 12, 2017 behind the Brookside Nature Center.  Beekeepers kicked off the festivities by testing mite loads in the club hives with Tim McMahon.  After working up an appetite in the hives, members feasted on delicious, club-supplied barbecue and member-supplied sides and desserts.  Many a swarm story was overheard. ...

Sunflower Pollen May Boost Honey Bee Health

Sunflower Pollen May Boost Honey Bee Health
If I could take my bees on an outing it would be to the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area off River Road in Poolesville. Thirty acres of sunflowers have been planted just for the wildlife to enjoy. They will bloom early to mid-July. It is sight to see. The blooms all face the sun and are buzzing with bees of all types. In addition to being a plentiful food source for our honey bees, the sunflower pollen may provide defense chemicals that improves bee ...