Honey Bee Stewardship at the Psycho Chicken Eco Farm

Apiary Support Services:

Need a beekeeping mentor?  Want to have someone teach you how to perform a sugar shake, a deep hive inspection, or evaluate your apiary setup?  Want to learn advanced queen rearing techniques from a student of Dr. John Keefus, the pioneer of disease resistant queen breeding?

Reach out to Peter to see if he can help.

Checkout the NEWS page and sort by ‘bees’ for beekeeping associated updates from our apiary.

I’ve created A Western North Carolina Honey Bee Queen Breeding Cooperative (WNCQBC), check out the google site for details:

Also at www.wncqbc.com 

If you really want to ‘save the bees’ convince all your neighbors to stop using pesticides, eat organic food, plant a pollinator garden, and write your state representative to stop this madness:

Handy References:

Good videos from Ag. extensions/professional sources/historic documentation


Queen Rearing/Breeding related:

Scientific Papers I found interesting/useful
    See also www.wncqbc.com


  • Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health
    • Harrell and Crowder, 2012, 192 pages
    • Author’s website.
    • Peter’s Rating 4/4
      A great, concise, fact filled, well written, and readable book with both beginner and advanced topics.  Whether or not you use top bar hives, every beekeeper should read this book.
  • Storey’s guide to KEEPING HONEY BEES
    • Malcom T. Sanford & Richard E Bonney, 2010, 244 Pages
    • Author’s website.
    • Peter’s Rating 3/4 +
      A well rounded and good book for beginners. Not as concise as Harrell and Crowder’s book above, and this volume also suffers from seemingly discontinuous writing–likely a by product of being largely based on other works, however it remains a well rounded and easy to read book that brings up the importance of genetics, that treatments for varroa are creating strong mites and weak bees, and the social reality of reactionary action by the uneducated populous
  • Following the Wild Bees, The Craft and Science of Bee Hunting 
    • Thomas D. Seeley
    • http://pages.nbb.cornell.edu/seeley.shtml
    • Peter’s Rating 4/4
      A delightful read which consolidates, and refines various sources on the ancient practice of bee hunting with plenty of insightful, practical tips and personal adventures included.  In this book, Seeley shares with us his love of this fascinating insect while introducing bee ‘hunting’ as a recreational endeavor.
  • The Buzz about Bees, Biology of a Superorganism
    • Jürgen Tautz, 2008, 284 pages
    • Author’s website.
    • Peter’s Rating (not finished reading yet, but I can already tell I’m going to like this one)
      This book is heavy duty. It is not a beginner book about beekeeping.  Jürgen is a respected, published researcher who has received many awards (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%BCrgen_Tautz).   So far I’ve spent more time stopping and thinking about the concepts presented in the book, than actually reading.
  • Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping
    • Dewey M. Caron, 1999, 354 pages
    • Peter’s Rating (Not finished reading)
      Trina likes this book a lot.  It’s a great introductory text with advanced concepts, well organized and clearly presented, even if a bit dated now.
  • Top-Bar Hive Beekeeping:  Wisdom and Pleasure Combined
    •  Mangum, 2012, ~400 pages
    • Author’s website.
    • Peter’s Rating 3/4
      A mammoth ~400 page book with interesting (and sometimes lengthy) anecdotes with gems of hard won wisdom peppered throughout.  Poor editing, but good organization.  Proves that commercial beekeeping can be done effectively with top bar hives.
  • Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey
    • Brother Adam, published 1975, 122 pages of relatively large type
    • Peter’s Rating: 3/4
      Though a touch dated and with somewhat antiquated verbiage for it’s modern era publication date, Brother Adam’s emphasis on empirical observation and common sense approach to beekeeping is a refreshing and quick read with many practical consideration given early into the text.  A completely worth while read.
  • The Practical Beekeeper, Beekeeping Naturally
    •  Michael Bush, 2014, 222 pages
    • Author’s Website.
    • Peter’s Rating: not finished reading, pretty preachy, but lots of good info especially regarding the benefits of not using foundation, allowing bees to build their own comb and make their own cell size/inter-comb spacing.  A book covering more natural techniques for Langstroth based beekeeping.
  • The Beekeeper’s Handbook, fourth edition
    • Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitable, 2011, 308 pages
    • Author’s CV at USDA site
    • Publisher’s Site
    • Peter’s Rating: 2/4
      Heralded as ‘the beekeeping book’  for decades, first printing (C) 1978, though a storehouse of information and ‘traditional/conventional’ (Langstroth) techniques, I was disappointed and at times irritated by this book.  The answer to nearly every disease or parasite problem was to ‘treat with [insert outdated, mite resistant pesticide, or antibiotic now banned or discouraged]’.  There are also multiple instances where sloppy editing in this latest revision results in the text itself, or the text and the figures contradicting one another.  Some advanced topics are glossed over or simplified.  While still a valuable resource, it was a disappointing read in preparation for certification tests due to the inconsistencies and out-dated information.  Though it’s emphasis on improved genetics over parasite treatment in the next to the last chapter was good to find, it seemed a little to late for redemption.



2017-05 — Guest Speaker on the Treatment Free Beekeeping Podcast


Local Club

State Association


My notes from the 2016 NCSBA Journey(wo)man prep course by our own wncbees.org education coordinator Janet Peterson now on google drive (These are pretty rough around the edges but I wanted an easy way to share with other classmates who might have missed a class/wanted to compare notes, not intended to be a comprehensive or necessarily accurate reference, use at your own peril):


Why this page?

This page was created to share some of the articles and references that have proven useful to me as I continue to learn how to help this amazing species of bee survive humanity on the gem of a planet that we share.

I took to working with bees well, like a bee to a Mountain Mint or Borage flower.  With basic( 2014) Journeyman (2016) bee keeper certification in the state of NC complete, I’ve started studying for the next level in the NCSBA’s master beekeeper certification program and our mini beekeeping library continues to grow.



Why bee stewardship instead of bee keeping?

All life is sacred.  Humans have no more dominion over the creatures of this planet than they over us.  Bee “keeping” implies possession or ownership of these insects.  Which is a sad joke.  We’ve created far more problems for bees than we have benefited them.  Shifting our mindset from ‘keepers’ to guardians or stewards is the right thing to do.

Though Chief Seattle may not have said it, never-the-less, this much is true: “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.

This wisdom remains unsurpassed in depicting human’s appropriate interaction with the natural world.

And credit is due to Corwin Bell at www.backyardhive.com for introducing me to the concept of bee-guardianship in the first place (though I really wish he would wear a veil–it sets a bad example, eyes are a difficult thing to replace).