About Project Bees
We want to promote beekeeping and increase bee awareness.
Spend some time on our website, learn some interesting facts about bees, discover educational opportunities and resources, and visit and comment on our blog.
Proceeds from sales of our products help fund urban beekeeper "startups".
Bee “Onesie” Jump Suit – 18 months – 100% Cotton$22.00
Black Queen Bee Pillow Cover (18″x18″ / Burlap)$12.00
Blue Ink Bee Fern Pillow Cover (18″x18″ / Burlap)$12.00
French Grain Sac Pillow Cover (18″x18″ / Burlap)$12.00
Natural Flax Hemstitched “Bee” Napkins (18″x18″) – 6 napkins$25.00
Natural Flax Hemstitched “Queen Bee” Napkins (18″x18″) – 6 napkins$25.00
Paris Country Bee Pillow Cover (18″x18″ / Linen)$12.00
Pollinator Wrapping Paper (26″x72″ Roll)$25.00
Printed BEE Tea Towel (26″x20″) – 100% Cotton$14.00
Printed QUEEN Tea Towel (26″x20″) – 100% Cotton$14.00
Wildflower Seed Bombs (Bag of 5)$7.50
“Project Bees” Bumper Sticker (Original Art | 5″ wide, 3″ tall)$5.00
“Project Bees” Coffee Mug (Blue)$15.00
“Project Bees” Coffee Mug (Grey)$15.00
Large “Project Bees” Tote Bag (18″x18″ | light canvas | white)$22.00
Small “Project Bees” Tote Bag (14″ x 14″ | light canvas | white)$15.00
Stone “Queen Bee” Coasters (4″ square | Pack of 4)$15.00
Blank Note Cards (10-pack, with envelopes)$10.00
Address: 4454 Q Street NW Washington DC 20007
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Organizations / Clubs
There are many clubs and organizations that offer information and classes on bees and beekeeping. We have listed a few here to get you started.
The more you learn about bees, the more interested you will become! Here are some interesting facts about bees to inform you.
Here are some references you might want to check out. There are also some books targeting younger audiences.
Becoming a Master Beekeeper requires considerable knowledge and experience. Read how you can accomplish this…
A great teacher introduces their students to stimulating and engaging lessons which are pivotal to a students’ future success. Exposing students to current events such as the science and status of bees and their importance to our survival, could spark their interest in important environmental and social issues.
Please Contact Us with Questions, Comments.
We would love to hear from you and answer any questions you have. Anything you can share that might be of interest to like-minded people and those interested in learning more about beekeeping, please let us know. We can post new content quickly and easily.
Project Bees Blog
Both the color and the taste of honey depends on where the bees buzz. The flavor of honey is determined by the nectar of the flowers the honey bees visited. For example, the honey created from the nectar of the orange blossom looks and tastes totally different than honey from a buckwheat blossom. Although color is not included in the USDA grading system, many users of honey are interested in color. Honey color is the result of the floral nectars that go into it. For the most part, lighter honeys are mild flavored while darker honeys are stronger. However, there are some exceptions like basswood which is considered a strong flavor but light in color and tulip poplar which is dark in color but considered mild.
From a human health perspective, darker honey is usually higher in antioxidants than lighter honeys. Antioxidants inhibit the oxidation of molecules which can happen when a chemical reaction occurs that transfers electrons or hydrogen into an oxidation agent. Basically, the honey researchers found that darker honey has less water and more antioxidants than lighter colored honey.
Thomas Seeley presented at the Eastern Apiculture Society annual conference August 2017 discussing the concept of Darwinian Beekeeping. When we think of Darwin we think survival of the fittest (6th grade science). Darwin’s theory of evolution is basically the continued existence of organisms that are best adapted to their environment, with the extinction of others. Seeley’s Darwinian perspective on beekeeping is to recognize that honey bees have a stunningly long evolutionary history. He contrasts wild colonies vs. managed colonies providing specific difference between environmental adaptation and the managed current bee colonies.
The lecture made me consider honey bee management from an evolutional perspective which would be close to impossible to implement in an urban setting. For example, spacing my hives far apart and refraining from treatment (both from the Darwinian approach) contradicts basic practices in urban beekeeping. However, housing bees in small hives and placing hives off the ground, both do able.
The bees continue to be challenged by pesticides, mites, and climate change so any bee-friendly approach with good intention and best practice will benefit the honey bee.
‘Nucs’ or nucleus colonies are small honey bee colonies created from larger colonies. The name is derived from the fact that a nuc hive is centered on a queen – the nucleus of the honey bee colony. A five frame nuc consists of a “laying” queen that has already been accepted by the hive. The three inner frames contain brood in all stages and the two outer frames contain honey, pollen, and adhering bees. For the last two years I’ve installed packages of bees rather than nuc hives. The packages consist of approximately 6,000 bees or 3 lbs. of bees and a mated queen – that’s it. As opposed to a nuc, the package of bees after install, start their colony from scratch. Feeding is crucial and needs to be done frequently. Personally, I prefer the install process – unplugging the queen cage and shaking the bees into the hive. A bit of an adrenaline rush. But…after installing the nuc today, I must admit it’s somewhat reassuring to see the colony fully functional immediately.
For bees, their forage or food supply consists of nectar and pollen from blooming plants within flight range (2 – 3 mile radius). The source for nectar and pollen differ with the region, season, and vegetation. So, before you begin to plant…..check out the seed mix for your region. To search for the seed mix that is suitable for planning in your area, the Xerces Society (Center for Invertebrate Conservation) provides this information. Please visit ‘Pollinator Conservation Resource Center’ to browse the list of regions and recommended pollination plants.
NOTE: BEE FRIENDLY GARDENS ARE FREE OF CHEMICALS.
Here is a list of my favorite gardening books that focus to the needs of pollinators.
1 – 100 Plants to Feed the Bees: Provide a Healthy Habitat to help Pollinators Thrive. The Xerces Society
2 – Pollinator Friendly Gardening: Gardening for Bees, Butterflies, and other Pollinators. Rhonda Fleming Hayes
3 – 101 Organic Gardening Hacks: Eco-Friendly Solutions to Improve any Garden. Shawna Coronado
4 – Bees: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Garden. Heather N. Holm
5 – Companion Plants for the Kitchen Gardener: Tips, Advice, and Garden Plans for a Healthy Organic Garden. Allison Greer
6 – The Cocktail Hour Gardener: Creating Landscapes for Relaxation and Entertaining. C. L. Fornari
7 – Hope for the Honey Bee: How to Grow a Year-Round Bee Garden in Ten Easy Steps. Catherine Ann Garvin
Project Bees is preparing hives to distribute before the 3 lb boxes of bees (approx. 6,000 to 10,000 per box) are picked up from Dadant in Chatham Virginia on April 17th . Dadant Beekeeping and Honey Bees has been in business since 1863 and the family business continues to provide keepers like myself with heathy Italian honey bees (Apis mellifera ligustica) from a certified commercial operation in Georgia.
This season Project Bees’ hives will be located in various settings ; rooftop, backyard, and on a farm. It should be interesting to track the success of each hive, including, honey production, pollen, nectar intake, queen and brood, frames and comb and the basic health of each colony.
Things to think about – Bees’ Rules:
1 – Bees should be adapted to your location.
2 – Bees should be selected to your management style and technique.
3 – Bees should be resistant to pests and disease – treat your hive.
4 – Bees should have enough room for brood
5 – Manage swarming – know what to look for before it happens.
6 – Make sure there is enough food and water at all times.
7 – Keep excellent records.
8 – Isolate bees from other bees to avoid robbing.
9 – Seek continuing education and educate yourself on safety.
10 – Have an EpiPen on hand for emergency treatment of anaphylaxis.
Elizabeth Hill, economist/beekeeper, gave a presentation at the Beekeeping Certification course ( through the College of Agriculture and Sustainability and Environmental Science at UDC) on The Biology of Honeybees and Colonies: Queen, Worker, Drone/Life Stages, Activities. Ms. Hill suggested a must read book, Honeybee Democracy, by Thomas Seeley.
I purchased the book and found the entire read to be extremely interesting as well as the fact that Thomas Seeley is a biology professor at Cornell and a beekeeper in Ithaca – very close to my home town in upstate NY.
Mr. Seeley’s research reveals the amazing discovery – honeybees make decisions collectively and democratically. He describes how bees evaluate potential nest sites, share their discovery with the colony, engage in open deliberation, choose a final site, and navigate together to their new home.
Just as the ‘waggle dance’ instructs the hive where to find a food source, Seeley continued the studies begun by earlier theorist, that the bees also do dance-like movements when looking for a nesting site (usually post swarm). Instead of dancing within the colony to communicate direction of food to the foragers, the bees looking for a nesting spot do a dance on the backs of the bees in a nature formed colony. The process involves decision making much like a group of individuals do when making decisions.
It’s a fascinating read about very remarkable insects.
2017 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow
January 10-14, 2017
San Luis Resort Properties and the Galveston Island Convention Center
THE PRE-REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS THIS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16.
Be sure to register now to take advantage of the discounted rate and ensure your place at the conference.
During the 2017 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow, you’ll have the opportunity to hear two fantastic keynote presentations:
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
9:15 AM – 10:05 AM
Beyond the Bees: Why “Solving the Bee Problem” Isn’t Going to Work
Dr. Jonathan Lundgren
Recent declines in pollinators are symptomatic of widespread simplification of the landscape. Siloing solutions toward individual stressors on the bees will likely result in ongoing bee declines. Large scale reformations to our food production system are necessary to solve the bee problem, and will accompany numerous other societal benefits. Despite resistance from the current agricultural infrastructure, innovative farmers are proving that systems that promote soil health and biodiversity conservation are profitable and represent a healthy alternative to input-intensive agriculture.
Friday, January 13, 2017
1:50 PM – 2:40 PM
Is Secondhand Smoke Killing Bees?
Dr. Jeff Pettis
Many factors are involved in the loss of honey bee colonies in recent years. The list includes the “four Ps”: poor nutrition, parasites and pests, pathogens and pesticides. Of these, the role of pesticides remains controversial in that studies were often criticized for being lab based or for not using field-relevant doses. Recent papers published in Science and Nature leave no doubt that pesticides are harming solitary and bumble bees and must be having effects on honey bees as well. However, the chemical companies continue to use their professional public relation machines to downplay findings, cast doubt on researchers and put pressure on government bodies to maintain the status quo. These same tactics were used successfully by the tobacco industry for many years to cast doubt on the link between smoking and cancer. So, is secondhand smoke killing bees? We need all parties at the table acting in good faith to solve the problems of pollinator decline. Industry needs to stop blowing smoke and work to limit unwarranted prophylactic use of pesticides and help return to a more Integrated Pest Management approach for farming. The bees will thank us.
There are many reasons to keep bees. Here are the main reasons people keep them:
Honey Production – Honey is the human race’s oldest sweet. A new keeper should NOT expect to harvest any substantial honey until at least the colony’s second or third year. Leave it all for the bees to survive. Honey is like money in their bank. A full size colony needs about 27 kg (60 lb) of easily accessible ripened honey to get through the winter.
Beeswax, Mead And Hive Products – Honey to produce mead (honey wine) enables one to control the entire mead-making process.
Beeswax is the only natural wax produced by bees. This does not interrupt pollination, honey production, or colony success, rather it’s a natural product only bees can produce.
Pollination – Bees are the key to ensure that fruit, berry, vine and seed crops are well pollinated. Honey bees are often the easiest pollinator to provide in large numbers.
Sell Bees (Packages, Nuclei and Queens) – Beekeeping companies profit from the sale of packaged bees, nucleus hives, and queen bees.
The focus of Project Bees is POLLINATION. Imagine living in a world without flowers or fruit or even coffee or chocolate for that matter. Thanks to the wonderful work of pollinators like bees, much of the food we eat and flowers and plants we enjoy are possible. Project Bees purpose is to launch beekeepers with a focus to increase pollinators.
FYI- it’s not just bees that are doing all the work. butterflies, birds, beetles, bats, hummingbirds wasps and even flies are important in the pollination process. But despite the importance of pollinators, they are taken for granted all too often. Worldwide, there is an alarming decline in pollinator populations. Excessive use of pesticides and an ever-expanding conversion of landscapes to human use are the biggest culprits.
What is robbing?
Robbing is a term used to describe honey bees that are invading another hive and stealing the stored honey. The robbing bees rip open capped cells, fill their honey stomachs, and ferry the goods back home. They will fight the resident bees to get to the stores and many bees may die in the process.
When does robbing occur?
Robbing can occur anytime during the year, but it is most evident in the late summer or early fall, especially during a nectar dearth. Robbing can often be seen in the early spring as well, most frequently before the first major honey flow.
Why does robbing occur?
Honey bees are compulsive hoarders. They will collect nectar or honey from any source they can find, and that includes a poorly guarded or weak hive. Personally, I think “looting” is a better description because, like human looters, they tend to prey on the weak and vulnerable, especially a hive with a problem.
Think of it like this: It is a hot August afternoon. It hasn’t rained in weeks. The flowers are long past their peak and the few that remain are crispy. A gang of bored workers with too much time and not enough to do is hanging out, looking for trouble. Suddenly, one of the gang picks up on a scent . . . sweet! It’s coming from a nearby hive where the beekeeper has spilled some syrup. A few scouts check it out and believe they can overpower the lethargic guard bees lounging in the heat. Within minutes the dancers post directions on CombBook and the siege is on.
How can I recognize robbing?
Sometimes a weak hive will suddenly come to life. You, a new beekeeper, are ecstatic because a hive you thought was dying is now thrumming with activity—bees are everywhere. You think the colony has finally turned itself around. But when you go back the next day, no one is home. The honey frames have been stripped clean, bees lie dead on the ground, and the small colony is decimated.
At other times, the signs are more subtle:
- Fighting bees tumble and roll—sometimes on the landing board, sometimes in the air.
- Dead bees lie on the landing board or on the ground in front of the hive.
- Robbing bees can often be seen examining all the cracks and seams in a hive, even at the back and sides.
- Robbing bees are often accompanied by wasps that are attracted to the dead bees as well as the honey.
- Some of the bees in the fray may appear shiny and black. This appearance is created when the bees lose their hair while fighting. Both attackers and defenders may have this appearance.
- Robbing bees never carry pollen on their legs.
- Robbing bees often sway from side to side like wasps, waiting for an opportunity to enter the target hive.
- Pieces of wax comb may appear on the landing board as the robbers rip open new cells.
- Robbing bees are louder than normal bees.
- Because robbing bees are loaded down with honey when they leave the target hive, they often crawl up the wall before they fly away and then dip toward the ground as they take off. This may not be immediately obvious, but if you study them for a while, you can see it.
The familiar buzz of a bumble bee is one of those summer sounds that is easy to take for granted. But for the bees, buzzing has a purpose. They may buzz during courtship, or out of alarm if they are caught or trapped. Another reason is to collect pollen.
Some flowering plants hide their pollen in structures called anthers, and to get it, bumble bees (and other bees) bite the anthers and then hang on and buzz until the vibration causes the anther to spill out particles of pollen.
The process is called sonication, or buzz pollination. Studies support this behavior to be innate rather than learned. This seems to come naturally to the bees.
■ Grab on to anther with mandibles.
■ Buzz until doused with pollen.
■ Groom pollen off front legs and other parts of body and stick onto pollen baskets on rear legs.
So next time you hear a bee buzz….