The Beehive & Beat Hôtel’s Honey Hives

May 23rd, 2014  |  Published in news

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The Beehive & Beat Hôtel’s Honey Hives

The Beehive and Beat Hotel Source Honey from its New Hives at the Bee Sanctuary in Boston’s South End

 (BOSTON, MA) – [May 16th, 2014] The Beehive located in Boston’s South End, and Beat Hôtel located in the heart of Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA, have begun their very own hives to produce honey for their restaurants.  The hives are within The Bee Sanctuary at The Best Bees Company in Boston’s South End. One hive will be maintained for each location.

Each hive space is roughly 2ft x 3ft with resident non-aggressive Italian honey bees that draw their nectar from nearby flowers, most commonly from the Public Garden in Boston and other neighboring sites. Each hive begins with 10,000 bees and can grow in size to 80,000 bees by harvest time in late summer or early fall. The anticipated yield for each hive varies and is difficult to project according to Noah Wilson-Rich, Ph.D., Founder & Chief Scientific Officer at The Best Bees Company, “The yield can range from 0-100lbs. That being said it is interesting that our highest yields have been in urban environments like the South End and Harvard Square the same locations as The Beehive and Beat Hôtel locations,” said Noah Wilson-Rich, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Best Bees Company, LLC.  Honey bees are of tremendous economic and ecological importance, and Best Bees Company uses its profits for research to improve the dying honey bees health.   By making partnerships similar to this with The Beehive and Beat Hôtel, the company says that “together, we are saving the world, one honey bee at a time.”

The Beehive and Beat Hôtel will look forward to harvesting the honey hopefully in August and incorporating it into their menu items. “Honeybees are under threat worldwide because of virulent viruses against which they have no natural defenses. Without beekeepers like Noah and his team at The Best Bees Company to care for them, honeybees could disappear in a few years. We’ve always been very involved in our communities and we’re looking forward to the yield and offering this uniquely local honey to our guests,” said Jack Bardy, Co-Owner of The Beehive and Beat Hôtel.

About The Beehive:

The Beehive is an underground Bohemian bistro featuring amazing cuisine, libations, artwork and live music nightly. Nestled below the Boston Center for the Art’s historic Cyclorama in Boston’s South End, The Beehive serves the eclectic fare of Chef Marc Orfaly, rustic comfort foods infused with American, European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern influences. The Beehive is at 541 Tremont St., 617-423-0069; Hours are as follows: Dinner: Sunday through Wednesday from 5:30PM to 12:00AM, Thursday through Saturday from 5:30PM to 1:00AM. Bar to 2:00AM, entertainment nightly. Brunch Served Saturday and Sunday from 10:00AM until 3:00PM, bar menu 3:00PM to 5:00PM.

About Beat Hôtel :

Beat Hôtel is an American brasserie and bar located in the heart of Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA. Inspired by the hippie and beat movements of the mid-twentieth century, Beat caters to all walks of life. Their mission is to satisfy the local community as well as vagabonds passing through. With an always fresh, seasonal, and wholesome menu, enjoyable for carnivores and vegetarians alike, Executive Chef Rebecca Newell’s dishes draw influence and flavors from around the world. The bar celebrates American spirits and American artisanal wines crafted by small batch winemakers with heart and soul. To heighten the senses further, Beat features daily live music by cutting edge musicians in jazz, blues and world music, bringing eclectic artistry to their stage in Cambridge.  For more information

About Best Bees Company, LLC:

The Best Bees Company is a beekeeping service and honey bee research operation, founded in 2010. Its primary aims are to 1) raise funds for research related to improving honey bee health, and 2) bolster honey bee populations. Best Bees delivers, installs, and manages honey bee hives for residents and businesses throughout New England – in urban, suburban, and rural habitats, alike. Revenue from these beekeeping services fund in-house research at the Urban Beekeeping Lab & Bee Sanctuary, and also at multiple field sites throughout Massachusetts, including one at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center in Nahant, and another in the City of Boston. Best Bees has grown from only one person (Noah Wilson-Rich) working out of the living room of a small Boston apartment to now employing 17 people, including one post-doctoral researcher, five college student interns, and four retired persons, all working out of an industrial/lab space. Contact for more information.

Best Bees Company, LLC

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer – Noah Wilson-Rich, Ph.D.

Boston, MA, USA,



We’ve joined Pinterest!

February 1st, 2013  |  Published in Just for fun

We are keeping up with social media by joining Pinterest, a website designed to help people track all sorts of personal interests. Find us at, and stay up to date with all of our exciting updates on our Facebook page at

Bees without Borders

December 24th, 2012  |  Published in Just for fun, news

Ever wonder what Best Bees beekeepers do in the winter time?

Ever wonder what Best Bees beekeepers do in the winter time?

Bees Without Borders is a 501(c)(3) charity that has worked all over the world, from Brooklyn to Baghdad, teaching beekeeping as a means of poverty alleviation.

Meet Andrew Cote, co-founder of Bees without Borders:

Meet Noah Wilson-Rich, founder of Best Bees Company:

Beepeekers from Best Bees are joining the next Beekeepers without Borders trip – a return to Kenya! – from December 2012 to January 2013!

Article Review: Add some honey to your lip balm

December 22nd, 2012  |  Published in Honey Bee Review

Written by Sophia Stone, Simmons College undergraduate biology studentpage1image1856

Fazliana M S, Seri Chempaka M Y, Zainah A. The potential application of honey in enhancing the acceptance of herbal lip balm. Malaysian Journal of Med Sci. 2007:14(1):115-116.

A study was done with thirty women in Malaysia to test whether or not the addition of honey in lip balm made it more accepted. The women used the lip balm for two weeks and rated it on a point scale. They rated the lip balm’s overall acceptance, aroma, smoothness, taste, texture, color, and spreading ability. Other observations included cracks in lips and mouth odor.

The results from this study showed that the lip balm containing honey helped to reduce mouth odor and heal chapped lips and moisten them. The researchers believe these results may be because the honey has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. The women in the study also liked the lip balm because of the color. The researchers found that as honey content in lip balm increased, the color became darker and the women liked it more and more. The researchers concluded that putting honey in lip balm makes a desirable and high quality product. This is because the honey enhanced the taste, color, and medicinal and nutritional properties of the lip balm.

I think this study is very interesting. I have had many lip balms containing honey and have enjoyed them. I think a flaw in this study is that there was no control group. I think it would have been better if there were two groups and one group received a lip balm with honey and the other group received a lip balm without honey. Then the lip balms could be compared.

Article Review: Honey bees as a means of sustainable livelihood in rural areas

December 22nd, 2012  |  Published in Honey Bee Review

Written by Katherine Norregaard, Simmons College undergraduate biology student

Azeez, F. A., Akankuku, A. I., & Ojo, O. B. (2012). ASSESSMENT OF HONEY PRODUCTION AS A MEANS OF SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOOD IN IBADAN METROPOLIS. Continental Journal Of Agricultural Economics, 6(1), 46-51. doi:10.5707/cjae.2012.

This study aimed to look at the possible benefits of honey production in remote rural areas.

Honey bees use the honey that they produce as a food source in cold weather or when food resources are scarce.  It is because of the chemical properties and unique composition that honey is able to last for extended periods of him (as long as humidity is kept at a minimum).  Honey is often used in cooking, baking, to sweeten beverages and other foods, as well as used to make some alcoholic beverages.  Honey also has many religious connections including being mention in the Christian New Testament and the Quran.  In addition honey has many valuable vitamins and nutrients as well as medicinal qualities.  This study surveyed residents on their involvement in honey production, education and the profitability of honey production.  This study showed that those who had more experience with honey and increased education about honey production had increased profitability when it came to selling their honey.   This study suggests that by educating those about honey production, those in rural areas can become successful in honey production.  Honey plays a vital role lives as it has nutritional, medicinal and economical value.  In addition it does not perish quickly further increasing its value.  With the right education and experience honey production is successful means of income.

Article Review: Urban beekeeping and the neighbors…

December 22nd, 2012  |  Published in Honey Bee Review

Written by Katherine Norregaard, Simmons College undergraduate biology student

Salkin, P. E. (2012). HONEY, IT’S ALL THE BUZZ: REGULATING NEIGHBORHOOD BEEHIVES. Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, 39(1), 55-71.

Over the past couple of years there has been a huge increase in the popularity of beekeeping.  Many urban areas have hives, and recently many urban cities have made beekeeping legal.   Retailers are beginning to sell delicious honeys and beeswax products all produced from local hives.   Despite this new positive energy surrounding beekeeping there has actually been push back from neighbors of backyard beekeepers.  This article provides information about important aspects of beekeeping that must be considered.

  • Honey must be sold in accordance with FDA labeling including nutrition and ingredients labeling
  • Some individual states have laws regarding transportation of bees in and out of state, rules regarding infected hives, and restrictions regarding needs for inspection
  • Many states also require permits
  • In many states, such as California the production, packaging, transportation, labeling and sale of honey is highly regulated.
  • Hives are considered to be a nuisance, under law, when there are injuries, or they interfere with a neighbors enjoyment of their property
  • In addition to federal and state regulation, there are also local government regulations.  All guidelines and rules must be followed
  • Classification of bees may be specified: aggressive vs. nonaggressive spcies many cities will ask you to specify
  • Lot size and colony density: how many bees will be on a single lot?
  • Setbacks that you may come across: minimum lot size, distance from schools, parks or playgrounds
  • Flyaway barriers may be required: structures to raise the flight path of bees when they live their hives, a way to limit interactions with residents
  • Access to water: important for bee health
  • Identification signs: to post beekeepers information that is associated with that hive
  • Fire and safety regulations may be put in place: when smoking the hive, many cities may have restrictions due to fire hazards, is an important factor to be aware of

Article review: Eastern versus Western honey bees

December 21st, 2012  |  Published in Honey Bee Review

Written by Tam Luong, Simmons College undergraduate biology student

Review of: Qiu-Hong Qin, Xu-Jiang He, Liu-Qing Tian, Shao-Wu Zhang and Zhi-Jiang Zeng. Comparison of learning and memory of Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. Comparative Physiology A Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiolog. 2011;198(10):777-786

Honeybees are known for several advantages as an excellent model organism for research on learning and memory among invertebrates. Many studies focus solely on the Western honeybee, Apis mellifera. In contrast, the authors in this article did a study on learning and memory in the Eastern honeybee, Apis cerana. This study was carried out to compare behavior and memory for A. cerana and A. mellifera in China, by using a Y-maze apparatus that was set up in the laboratory.

The study showed that A. cerana is significantly better at recognizing color and grating (framework of bars) patterns than A. mellifera. This ability is important for honeybees to track food. It is necessary for both species in remembering not only the color and shape of flowers, but also how to get to them because honeybees have to fly several kilometers in forest region to collect pollen and nectar.

While reading this article, I found two interesting facts that the authors mentioned:

  • According to a recent study, two species can understand each other “dance language” in a mixed colonies. A. cerana can decode the “dance language” more accurately and quickly. It showed that A. cerana may have a stronger learning and memory capability compared to A. mellifera.
  • Also, A. cerana can distinguish and remove dummy larvae made of paraffin mixed with brood pheromone in the worker cells, while A. mellifera will seal the cells of dummy larvae. This shows that A. cerana’s ability to distinguish dummy larvae is better than A. mellifera due to their stronger visual and olfactory sensations. With this ability, it helps A.cerana survive in the tropical environment in Asia.

Article Review: In-hive chemicals may make honey bees more susceptible to pesticides

December 21st, 2012  |  Published in Honey Bee Review

Written by Katherine Norregaard, Simmons College undergraduate biology student

Review of: Hawthorne, D. J., & Dively, G. P. (2011). Killing Them with Kindness? In-Hive Medications May Inhibit Xenobiotic Efflux Transporters and Endanger Honey Bees. Plos ONE, 6(11), 1-6. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026796

Many hives receive regular treatment of oxytertracyline (antibiotic) for prevention/treatment of diseases and acaricides (pesticide) for prevention/treatment of parasites.  In addition to these treatments, honey bees are also exposed to an array of pesticides and other toxins through their interaction with their environment (specifically crops treated with pesticides).  As a result, honey bees are exposed to a wide range of combinations of pesticides as well as antibiotics, little research has been done on the possible harmful effects of combining these pesticides.  In this study researchers looked at possible combinations and the possible effects on honey bee health and mortality.  This study found that bees that were pre-fed oxytertracyline were sensitized to the acaricides, coumaphos and τ-fluvalinate.  These findings suggest that the antibiotic may interfere with the normal excretion or metabolism of these pesticides, which ends up making the pesticide ineffective towards the prevention/treatment of mites.  Further, applying both oxytertracyline and acaricides together could increase adverse effects of acaricides and possibly other pesticides.   More research must be done looking at the effects of the combinations of both antibiotics and pesticides on the health of honey bee colonies.

Best Bees says: Practically speaking, smart use of in-hive chemicals will involve knowing which ones interact with which pesticides. Use chemicals as sparingly as possible so as to avoid an artificial living environment for the bees.

The Perfect Gift: Adopt a Honey Bee Hive!

November 20th, 2012  |  Published in Just for fun

Best Bees Beehive Adoption Certificate

Best Bees Beehive Adoption Certificate

Looking for the perfect gift? Adopt a honey bee hive in the name of a special someone! Perhaps this is a person who understands the importance of pollinators and the environment, or just appreciates a well-intended donation to a great cause. We mail a jar of honey from the adopted hive (or from the same apiary) along with this customized certificate.

Article Review: Overplaying the role of honey bees as pollinators?

October 23rd, 2012  |  Published in Honey Bee Review  |  3 Comments

Written by Peggie dePasquale, Simmons College undergraduate biology student and Best Bees Company intern 2012-13

Review of: Ollerton J, et al. 2012. Overplaying the role of honey bees as pollinators: a comment on Aebi and Neumann (2011). Trends Ecol Evol 27:141-2.

This article makes the hard-to-swallow claim that honey bees are not the important pollinators that headlines are leading the public to believe; they may even be harmful.

One fact used to support such claims is in regards to agriculture. Sense 2006, when Colony Collapse Disorder first began to take effect, crop yields have increased despite a drop in the honey bee population. The authors also claim that honeybees are even less important as pollinators to wild plant communities. Instead research points to native bees, such as bumblebees and hoverflies as the most important pollinators in both wild and agricultural plant communities.

This article goes even further in discrediting the honey bee, claiming that managed hives result in unfair competition with native bees and pollinators. Supposedly, one area in California demonstrates how a high honeybee population results in lower native bee populations. This was used to support the author’s final jab at honey bees; they lower biodiversity in areas where they are not native.

Despite wanting to disregard all of these claims, they are only one side of an argument, which I happen to support the other side of. With that said, here are a few facts not to forget when reading an article such as this:

  • Honeybees are extremely good and efficient pollinators because of their sheer numbers – tens of thousands per hive instead of one (solitary bees) or a few dozen (most other bee species)
  • Although there are other pollinators out there, honeybees account for the majority of the pollination performed today, adding at least $15 billion to the US economy annually for their role as pollinators
  • Last but not least…only honeybees can make copious amounts of delicious honey!

Article Review: Honey processing, storage, and shelf life

October 23rd, 2012  |  Published in Honey Bee Review

Written by Peggie dePasquale, Simmons College undergraduate biology student and Best Bees Company intern 2012-13

P. Parvanov & D. Dinkov. 2012. More Insight Into Organic Bee Honey Processing, Storage And Shelf Life (2012). Bulgarian Journal of Veterinary Medicine 15:206-210.

The health of honeybees is very important, and so is the quality of the honey they produce. In the article “More Insight Into Organic Bee Honey Processing, Storage And Shelf Life”, authors explore the regulations placed on organic honey marketed today. Regulations includes what practices must be avoided when managing beehives, such as over smoking, or giving sugar feed (one month prior to honey harvest).

The authors wrap up the article with some suggestions for regulating organic honey, arguing that storage temperatures should be less than 20o C to avoid losing any of the honey’s health properties. They also suggest a shelf life of no more than 1-2 years depending on the heating processes that have been carried prior to packaging.

While reading this article I was surprised at the amount of regulation that was placed on categorizing honey as ‘organic’. I was also caught off guard by the shelf life suggestions made at the end of the article because I have always thought of honey as a naturally preserved food. Seemingly that is only true to a certain extent.

We’ve moved the blog over to Facebook

January 19th, 2012  |  Published in news

Find us at:

We’ve been updating every few days on Facebook! If you are not yet following us on there, then please search for us under “Best Bees” and say you Like! us. You’ll stay informed with the latest information about honey bee research, pictures and videos, lecture and event announcements, and the latest headlines that we and others post on our Best Bees Facebook page.

Again, find our blog now at

Meet the Beekeeper event this Tuesday at Follow the Honey, 1132 Mass Ave., Cambridge, MA

December 18th, 2011  |  Published in Just for fun

Give the Gift of Bees – Saving the World One Bee At a Time

November 25th, 2011  |  Published in Just for fun

Happy holidays, friends! We wish all of you a terrific Thanksgiving and holiday season with friends and family. In celebration of the ones we love, and of the things that are important and truly special, we are offering three unique gift options this year.

We’ve been working with Good Paisley’s fabulous founder Kimberly Weller La Rosa ( to create two great, unique and unexpected gifts.

Give the Gift of Bees – Saving the World One Bee At a Time

We have two options to choose from:

1. The ultimate gift package includes a bee hive, maintenance, and honey harvesting for $975.

2. This is our favorite. Adopt a hive! For $50, adopt a honey bee hive for a special person in your life, and they will receive a certificate of their hive Queen’s name, periodic updates about the hive’s status, and a jar of honey fresh from the hive!

100% of all these profits goes to help fund our research to improve honey bee health. It is a great cause and it resonates as a perfect gift for the holidays.

Please contact us at to purchase.

Also check out more information on Kimberly Weller La Rosa’s amazing business advising at Good Paisley (

Most Store-Bought Honey Isn’t Honey At All, Tests Show

November 17th, 2011  |  Published in news

Hello friends! One of our fellow beekeepers and consult clients, Anthony, passed along this article posted on the MSN Health website. It reports results from a study done recently at Vaughn Bryant’s lab at Texas A&M University on over 60 jars of store-bought honey from 10 states and Washington, D.C. Dr. Bryant analyzed these honeys for their pollen content, and found that most of the honey were so processed that over 75% of store-bought honeys were not actually honey at all, but a heated and ultra-filtered honey extract.

The take-home message here is to either buy your honey direct from the beekeeper (or at a farmer’s market or direct honey seller such as Follow the Honey in Cambridge, MA, see friends website list at right), or from your own honey bee hive! Honey doesn’t get more local than from your own property, and we at Best Bees Company are the only full-service operation that will do all the hive setup, management, and harvesting for you. Our harvesting methods are unheated and unadulterated, leaving you with only completely pure, pollen-rich, local honey goodness.

Read up more here:

And here:

Food Safety News

Food Safety News

Follow the Honey

November 11th, 2011  |  Published in Just for fun

Follow the Honey, 1132 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA (Harvard Square)

Follow the Honey, 1132 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA (Harvard Square)

Follow the Honey (, also see our friends list at the right of the page) is a remarkable retail store in Harvard Square (Cambridge, MA) that sells all things honey. They sell specialty honeys from all over the world, as well as local honeys from our very own Massachusetts beekeepers. This store is absolutely something special. Honey stores are somewhat common in other parts of the world, such as in Iran, where honey sellers are an important part of the local culture. Follow the Honey brings this special tradition to us here in the United States, and everyone should check it out.

We at Best Bees Company have teamed up with Follow the Honey by installing and managing an *indoor* honey bee hive inside the retail store. These live in a unique hive made of wood, wax, and glass, so viewers can observe everything the bees are doing. They live in an observation hive, in the same setup that we provide classrooms (see The Follow the Honey bees have a very special story. Read all about them through the link below, and come visit them in Cambridge to see them close up!

Where my bees at dance video

November 11th, 2011  |  Published in Just for fun

This video is so fun, with an important message. Turn the volume UP and get ready to dance! It was also a big hit on our Facebook page (search for “Best Bees” on Facebook and say you “Like”!)

Where My Bees At? from Davi on Vimeo.

Pumpkins and Pollinators: The Xerces Society

October 20th, 2011  |  Published in Just for fun

Hello friends! The Xerces Society ( is a terrific non-profit organization that was founded in 1971 for invertebrate conservation. Everyone should know about them. Invertebrate conservation should be of great interest to any of us who like food. In addition to all the fruits and vegetables that we eat, many plants that are pollinated by invertebrates are also fed to cattle, chickens, and other meats that we rely on for food. Even if you don’t like food (::wink::), this month of October brings another special connection with insect-pollinated crops. Pumpkins! The Xerces Society just released a short, informative write-up about the relationship between bee pollinators and these fruits (pumpkins and squash) that we enjoy so much at this time of year.

Read more at this insanely long link:

Guest Blog! An expert’s guide to overwintering, by Tony Lulek

October 17th, 2011  |  Published in Just for fun, news

Hello friends! With winter approaching, everyone is talking about preparing the bees. What do bees do in the winter? How should beekeepers best prepare a hive for the cold, dark months? Well, as with any topic, ask 10 beekeepers a question, get 11 different answers. Tony Lulek is a really great guy who I first met through the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association ( He invited me to give a talk about my research relating to honey bee immune function and disease resistance at a meeting of the Norfolk (MA) County Beekeepers Association last year, and I had such a great experience doing it. We meet up for dinner occasionally, and chat about all things bee. In all honesty, we do our best to discuss anything else, but the topic always seems to come right back to bees. Tony has been keeping bees for many years, and was an obvious choice to author a guest blog about the ins and outs of beekeeping in the winter time. I hope you enjoy Tony’s words, and feel free to contact him directly with questions and comments at Also check out his awesome bee products at Om Sweet Om and Little Beehive Farm on Facebook and, Facebook: Little Beehive Farm, Facebook: Little Beehive Farm

Noah and I were having dinner the other night and though we talked about many things, honeybees are our most common interest. I admire Noah and his passion and enthusiasm for honeybees and beekeeping. He is a bright shinning star and will make a mark on the world with his energy and his work. He is tireless in his thinking and it shows when you talk to him about bees and the rest of his life. There are very few people in the world like him. So when he asked me to write something for the Best Bees blog, I was honored.

One expression that seems to have lasted throughout the years is: If you ask 2 beekeepers a question, you will get 3 answers. Having
said that, the methods that I describe below are the results of my 7 years of trial and error as a beekeeper. This has also translated into the philosophy that we teach at bee school for the Norfolk County Beekeepers Association. We are one of the few clubs that actually prescribes to an organic or natural treatment for varroa mites. It is our opinion that beekeepers need to treat for varroa mites and the methods we recommend are ApiQuard (Thymol) or MAQS (Formic Acid). Both of which are considered by some to be natural as well as organic. We also stress that the each individual must educate himself or herself on the treatments available and make a conscious choice on what to do about varroa mites. I encourage everyone to read as much as possible and then make a decision. For some of you that choice will be no treatments of any kind, naturally occurring or synthetic chemicals, but for others it may be a combination of treatments. As well, over the years, you may change your mind and you may try other methods, especially as new research is being doing and current treatments are revisited and revised, or replaced. The health of our bees is of the utmost concern to all of us. The current research being done will lead to new and hopefully more natural and organic treatments for varroa mites. And we can’t do it alone, your experiences and sharing will help all beekeepers. I encourage you to do just that. Share your experiences.

Winterizing is a tough topic and can cover many areas. I think the best advice to give to beekeepers is to start thinking about winterizing in August.  I know it is already October, but better late than never. At least for the advise.

I took off my last honey supers two weekends ago and they are now sitting on the kitchen table waiting to be extracted. Some will be for my use and some I will feed back to the bees. There is a lot of honey, not as much as I wanted of course. But my main focus now is feeding the bees. I put on a 2:1 sugar syrup two weeks ago. I will keep this going until around the middle to latter part of October. That should give the bees plenty of time to take in as much syrup as possible and to have the time to process it into capped honey.
One thing you don’t want going into winter is uncapped honey in the hive. Cold will not kill the bees, but moisture or wetness in the hive can kill them in a heartbeat.

The next issue is varroa mites. I hope that you have treated for them this past summer. MAQS (Mite-Away Quick Strips) came out this year and there is no excuse for you not to treat your hives. Without getting into the thick of things, varroa mites need to be controlled. They are just part of the problem, but if we can control them, mind you I didn’t say get rid of them, then the bees immune system can begin to recover. If you have not treated in any form for varroa mites, your chances for survival this winter is bleak. As
part of an integrated pest management (IPM) system, you need to treat for mites. Along with the new MAQS there are two other options, ApiGuard and Apilife Var. But at this point in the season there is not much you can do, due to the changing weather. All of the treatments are temperature sensitive. In your IPM system, you should be sugar dusting with powdered sugar. The treatment
is ½ cup per brood chamber, every 3 weeks. Sprinkle this over the top each brood chamber, brushing it through window screen. You can sugar dust late into the fall as long as the weather is warm enough to go into the hives. I dusted as late at the middle of November and both the hives I dusted that year made it to spring. This will reduce the number of mites in your hive to some degree, but a full treatment of MAQS or ApiGuard is recommended. A wise beekeeper I know always treats his hives on August 1 with ApiQuard. He pulls off his honey supers, treats as prescribed. And then returns his honey supers for the late summer/early fall nectar flow. He has great success with wintering over his hives.

Now is also a good time to get your winterizing equipment ready. You will need a shim for your feeding of fondant or sugar cakes, a shim that contains homosote, and your winter mouse guard. I would suggest you put on your mouse guard now. Those little rascals are looking from a warm place to settle down for the winter, and what better place than a bee hive?; sheltered from the wind and full of great food. But one word of warning; check to make sure there aren’t any mice in there BEFORE you put the mouse guard on or
basically your screwed. J

I also would suggest a wind guard for the hives: just a way for the bees to be protected. Whether it is a natural setting like trees or
shrubs, or you put up a fence of some sort around the hives, the hives will do better when protected from the harsh winter winds. I don’t suggest wrapping the hives with anything. In the old days, some people wrapped their hives with tarpaper.  BLACK tarpaper. BLACK HEAT ABSORBING TARPAPER. GET IT? What happens when the sun hits that black tarpaper? It heats up the hive. It gives the bees a false sense of the outside temperature. I did this a few years back and lost thousands of bees as they flew out, thinking it was warm, and their pour little bodies froze to death all over the snow.

Come the end of October you hive should weigh between 80 and 100 lbs. The top brood chamber should be filled with honey stores and the bees should be down in the bottom brood chamber. This is how you want your hive ready for winter. With this much honey in your hive, your bees treated for varroa mites, and some good luck, your bees should make it through to next spring. But be forewarned! You will need to check on your bees. Stay tuned for next months report on winter survival.

I want to leave you with one last thought. We are all in this together, working hard to be the best beekeepers we can be and to protect
our precious resources: the bees.  I applaud all of you for being beekeepers in these trying times. Keep up the good work.

Tony Lulek is the current president of the Norfolk County Beekeepers Association as well as the bee school director. In addition he is a director on the Holliston Agricultural Commission in Holliston, Massachusetts, where he resides.

Honey bee tongues and mathematics

October 14th, 2011  |  Published in news

Honey bees are so important because of their role as pollinators of so many fruit and vegetable crops that we rely on for food. Did you know that honey bees are also important for research about mathematics? Check out this article that was up on MIT’s homepage yesterday, recently published from the MIT Mathematics Department, and brought to our attention by one of our Cambridge clients, Linda (thanks for sending us the article, Linda!).

How the 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine relates to our research at Best Bees Co.

October 5th, 2011  |  Published in news

Hi friends! As most of you know by now, this is Nobel Prize announcement week! This is a very exciting time for scientists, writers, economists (announced later), and peace makers around the globe.

The first award was the prize for Physiology and Medicine, announced yesterday. This year, the laureates are Jules A. Hoffman, Bruce A. Beutler, and Ralph M. Steinman for their individual works about how the immune system functions. Hoffman and Beutler Hoffman will split half of the 10 million Swedish kroners (~$1.4 million USD) for their work identifying the Toll system in invertebrates and the Toll-like system in vertebrates, respectively. Steinman discovered dendritic cells, which are a first line of defense in vertebrates by recognizing foreign bodies and presenting their antigens to other parts of the host and therefore initiate a cascade of subsequent defenses.

This is so exciting for us at Best Bees Company, because our research is a direct extension of this work! Without the foundations of invertebrate immunology laid out by Jules Hoffman and his collaborators, we would not be able to make any progress with understanding how to make honey bees healthier, or how to develop vaccines and medicines for them. We think the Nobel Prize committee made a terrific call with this award. We feel very encouraged by this nod to the importance of our research, and we applaud Drs. Hoffman, Beutler, and Steinman for this honor, and thank them gratefully for their contributions.

Medical uses for honey bee products – all the latest updates from around the globe!

September 30th, 2011  |  Published in news

Image from

Image from

Greetings from the Apimondia conference in Buenos Aires! This conference is massive, with as many as four scientific talks occurring at once in different rooms named after each continent around the world. There is a Europe Room, an Asia Room, Antarctic Room, etc. Presentations are divided amongst seven different commissions, or broad subjects, as follows: Apitherapic (meaning how honey bees are used to improve human health), Bee Biology, Bee Health (the Best Bees presentation was in this commission), Beekeeping Economy, Beekeeping for Rural Development, Beekeeping Technology and Quality, Pollination and Bee Flora, and some combined symposia.

We at Best Bees are sometimes asked about the value of honey bees and their products to human health. So, let me devote some space here to update you with highlights on the latest information in Apitherapic research and ideas. Please feel free to contact me ( or the scientist directly (info included below) for additional information on any of these topics. Presentations included the benefit of honey bees to a wide span of human ailments, including the following:

Symbol of Caduceus from

Symbol of Caduceus from

Treatment of alcoholism: Bee venom stimulates alcoholdehydrogenase and adcetaldehydrogenase, and keeps these enzymes at elevated levels during alcohol withdrawl. Researcher: Igor Krivopalov-Moskvin, Scientific Research Institute of Clinical Apitherapy, Russia (

Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): Wound dressings with propolis (i.e., “bee glue”, a product of bees from plant resins) showed an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect with reduction in infection relapses. Researcher: Walter Fierro Morales, MD, Montevideo, Uruguay (

Anti-acne: Bee venom is an effective treatment against acne causing bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes, clindamycin-resistant P. acnes, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and S. pyrogenes). Scientist: Sangmi Han, National Academy of Agricultural Science, Suwon, Republic of Korea (

Wound healing: Bee venom has been used for wound healing for centuries. Using studies of full thickness skin defects on mice, wounds treated with venom healed faster compared to Vaseline or no treatment control groups. To get a bit technical, the mechanism of action likely has to do with decreased TGF-B1, fibronectin, and VEGF mRNA levels and increased collage-1 mRNA levels in the venom-treated group compared to controls. Scientist: Sangmi Han, National Academy of Agricultural Science, Suwon, Republic of Korea (

Oral and maxillofacial surgery: After surgery, gauzes soaked in propolis from beehives showed fast wound healing without need for antibiotics. Scientist: Armando Oscar Francisco Virgillito, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Malvinas Argentinas Hospital, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina (no email provided).

Antimalarial and antiplasmodial activity: Propolis hydro alchoholic solution showed antiplasmodial activity in mice. Scientist: James Hutagalung, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Parasitologi Airlangga University, Indonesia (

Fibromyalgia: This is a common rheumatological condition characterised by chronic widespread pain for longer than three months. Patients were injected with bee venom weekly and also put on a diet with pollen. The been venom was attributed to have an analgesic effect (meaning less pain), while the pollen supplements nutritional areas associated with fibromyalgia, including zinc, magnesium, fiber, and L-tryptophan. Overall, patients reported less pain from headaches and migraines, less fatigue, and less anxiety in more than 85% of cases. Remission of pain occurred between the second and third weeks of starting treatments. Scientist: Walter Fierro Morales, Apitherapy Clinic, Montevideo, Uruguay (

Menopause: Molecules called isoflavenoids are found in the red propolis from Decastophyllum plants in Brazil. These isoflavenoids are phytoestrogens with similar chemical structure to human estrogen. Menopause symptoms may appear when estrogen levels decline. These symptoms can be naturally alleviated by including this propolis from beehives to other herbal formulations that traditionally, per ancient Chinese medicine, treat each symptom individually. Scientist: Frederique Keller, The American Apitherapy Society, Northport, New York (

Increasing human libido - Okay, so this one is a bit less scientific and more of a sales pitch, but this company claims to have a link between royal jelly and increased hormones. I’d say contact the scientist for more info if you’re interested. Scientist: Hossein Yeganehrad, Capsian Apiaries, New Westminster, BC, Canada (

Liver disease: This presentation was quite vague. I am still not exactly sure how bee products help people with liver disease. I did learn about an interesting set of observations that a general diet with medicinal bee plants and their associated bee products can help to restore the function of the gall bladder, stomach, and the intestines. Scientist: Stefan Stangiciu, Apitherapy Consulting & Trading International, Dambovita, Romania (

Burn healing: Collagen-based films containing red and green propolis from Brazil improved burn healing, with the red propolis providing the best benefit. Scientist: Enrik Almeida, University Tiradentes, Aracaju/SE Brazil (no email provided).

Apimondia Congress updates on honey bee research live from Buenos Aires!

September 26th, 2011  |  Published in news

Andes mountains as seen from Santiago, Chile - Buenos Aires, Argentina flight

Andes mountains as seen from Santiago, Chile - Buenos Aires, Argentina flight

My current office space while attending the Apimondia conference overlooking the Cementaria de la Recoleta, site of Eva Peron's grave, Beunos Aires, Argentina.

My current office space while attending the Apimondia conference overlooking the Cementaria de la Recoleta, site of Eva Peron's grave, Beunos Aires, Argentina.

Greetings again from the Apimondia conference in Buenos Aires! The scientific talks are terrific, and the trade show (ApiExpo) is massive. Here are some highlights from the scientific talks:

What’s new in honey bee science?

Karl Crailsheim (Austria) provided updates on what is new in honey bee research, spanning the following subjects: Systematics, genetics, diseases, physiology, behavior, sociology, robotics, human health, ecology, and pollination. A global survey of honey bee hives was started at the last conference in Montpelier in 2009. This survey is continuing now in Buenos Aires, and will be continued at subsequent Apimondia conferences. The goal is to better track honey bee losses and gather more data about managed honey bee hives in general from around the world. This sounds like a fantastic idea to me.

So, what do we know about honey bees now that we didn’t know a few years ago?

What makes a queen? This question was first explored by Rhein in 1933. We knew that queen bees are formed from excess feeding of royal jelly, a substance that is rich in proteins and other things that enable the reproductive organs to fully develop. New research (see Kamakura et al. 2011) explores exactly what those ‘other things’ are. One hot topic ingredient is called ‘royalactin’, a protein that increases body size, enhances overy development, and reduces development time. Royalactin has similar effects on other insects, too.

What do males do, anyway? Crailsheim discussed a new paper by Stout and collaborators (2011) that investigates worker/drone interactions. Worker bees share information to other workers by vibrating, but they also do this toward drones. What information are they conveying? Drones don’t do much other than eat and have sex. They stay inside when it’s cold, and tend to only come out when it’s warm. But how do males know that it’s warm out? Perhaps the workers are telling them so. I think that this behavior could have an adaptive value for at least two reasons. First, when a drone goes outside, it is no longer consuming resources in the hive such as honey and pollen. These resources could then go to the queen to increase the colony members’ fitness. Second, a drone has a better chance of finding a mate outside the hive. Increased chances of the drone mating also increase the chance of shared genes between the drone and the worker. Hence, evolution would have favored this type of vibratory behavior.

Do honey bees sleep? This is such a cool question, right!? Kaiser and collaborators thought so, too, and published a couple of papers on the topic back in the 80′s (1983 and 1988, to be exact). They kept bees in darkness for a week and documented a typical rhythm of activity and non-activity (still). Fast forward to 2011, Eban-Rothschild and Bloch explored the circadian clock of honey bees. They found that this cycle is socially regulated. Foragers anticipate day/night fluctuations based on sun-compass orientation. The sleep state has a characteristic posture, with reduced muscle tonus and elevated response threshold (meaning the bees are not as responsive). ‘Sleep’ deprived honey bees are not able to perform tasks as well. Neat!

More research updates to follow! Stay tuned.

Live from the 42nd International Apicultural Congress!

September 22nd, 2011  |  Published in news

¡Bueno bueno! Buenas! ¡Hola amigos! Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I’m live blogging the 42nd International Apicultural Congress, also known as Apimondia! My favorite nickname for it is, “The Olympics of Beekeeping” because it happens every few years at some new and exciting place around the world. Two years ago, the 41st Congress met in Montpillier, France, and two years from now the 43rd Congress will meet in Kiev, Ukraine. Today is the first official day of scientific talks, poster presentations, and trade show. If things continue as they are, then you’ll likely be seeing me in Kiev.

I have three reasons for attending Apimondia, and no, none of them is the exotic location. I live off an adjunct professor salary, and I’d much rather have groceries and gas, but hey, I’m a big science geek, pizza slices and a bike can get a guy pretty far.

Apimondia banner at the entrance of La Rural conference center, Buenos Aires, 21SEP2011

Apimondia banner at the entrance of La Rural conference center, Buenos Aires, 21SEP2011

First, this is a terrific audience to present one of my research projects to, involving a new method for testing honey bee immune function. I applied to give a talk, but instead was provided the exciting opportunity to create a poster and stand by it to recruit poor innocent souls to listen to my spiel about changing the world. Of course I accepted the offer immediately. I’ll be standing by poster #30 tomorrow, wearing a shiny new bowtie with honeybee print that my roommate Ian gave me as a good luck present. Thanks, Ian!

Second, I want to communicate science to the public. I’m sick and tired of the lay community being out of the loop with current scientific research. Instead of sitting on my touchas and complaining about things, I decided to hop on a flight and live blog from Apimondia. What is live blogging, you may ask? Well, it’s basically online journalism as it happens, right away, direct from the location. Unfortunately, this conference center (La Rural) doesn’t offer Internet services to conference goers, so I’m not able to post notes from each talk that I attend en site. In lieu of an honest to goodness ‘live’ blog, I’ll be posting my notes whenever I get Internet access. These will most likely be upon returning to my temporary home in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires.

The third goal is to explore the trade show – ApiExpo – and to learn what current and new products are out on the commercial, global marketplace. This is an indicator as to how well the scientific data have translated to the lay community and thus further improved the state and art of beekeeping. ApiExpo also provides me with an opportunity to talk to vendors and learn how to successfully bring a product of my own research to the global marketplace.

So, let’s get started!

I have arrived! Let the fun begin!

I have arrived! Let the fun begin!

Honeys from around the world!

Honeys from around the world!

Meads (honey wine) from around the world! ::glug glug::

Meads (honey wine) from around the world! ::glug glug::

Update on all the mid-summer buzz!

July 21st, 2011  |  Published in news

Noah showing a frame of honey bees at one of the research apiaries in Truro, MA, July 2011. Photo taken by Matthew Sandager (

Noah showing a frame of honey bees at one of the research apiaries in Truro, MA, July 2011. Photo taken by Matthew Sandager (

Hi friends!

Things have been so busy and productive lately that I can’t believe nearly a month has gone by since our last post! We’ve got a TON of new updates for you!

First and foremost, everything we do – from increasing local honey bee populations to raising research funds to conducting the actual research – is to improve honey bee health. During the past few weeks, we’ve worked tirelessly to get out into the community and educate about the importance of honey bees. On June 22, Best Bees Co. founder and CEO, Noah, gave a talk at Boston University’s Metropolitan College as part of the Gastronomy program’s Urban Agriculture course, titled, “Urban beekeeping, pollination, and honey.” The course was led by Prof. Rachel Black, and was a ton of fun. Check out the following article summarizing the experience, written by Leslie Friday for BU Today:

Last week, Noah spent some time with Kate Vander Wiede, Managing Editor of the South End News, at a backyard beehive in Boston. Noah and Kate donned beekeeper’s suits and went right into a lovely honey bee hive on W. Concord St., between Tremont and Shawmut Avenues. Kate’s write up about the entire experience is featured on the cover of today’s issue of the News. You can find it at any neighborhood news stand, or online, here:

This coming weekend, we’re leading two more exciting community events. On Saturday (July 23, 2011), Noah is teaching the first “Urban Beekeeping” course at the Boston Center for Adult Education ( The local media has been having a field day with this! Read all about it at the following links:

NECN (TV broadcast clip):

Daily Candy (online blog): (Boston Globe’s website):

And perhaps what’s most exciting for us is getting back to the research, our core mission. After *four* attempts at ordering the active ingredient for our vaccine trials, we finally received the reagent in stock at our new Albany Street laboratory space. We also received the active ingredients for the probiotics trials, as well as all the other natural ingredients for making lip balm – another product we’re developing to raise more money for research.

Lastly, we recently met up with one of our favorite photographers, Matthew Sandager, at one of the Best Bees Research Apiaries on Cape Cod. Check out some pictures, below.

Photo of Noah working a honey bee research hive in Truro, MA, July 2011. Taken by Matthew Sandager (

Photo of Noah working a honey bee research hive in Truro, MA, July 2011. Taken by Matthew Sandager (


Photo taken by Matthew Sandager (

Photo taken by Matthew Sandager (


Notice how gentle these honey bees are! Photo taken by Matthew Sandager (

Notice how gentle these honey bees are! Photo taken by Matthew Sandager (

It’s National Pollinator Week!

June 22nd, 2011  |  Published in Just for fun

Hi friends! This week is an exciting time – it’s National Pollinator Week!

To celebrate, we installed five new honey bee hives across eastern Massachusetts – Rockport, Boston, Medford, Brewster, and Provincetown. We’re also hosting the only Boston showing of the documentary film, “Vanishing of the Bees” tomorrow evening (Fenway High School, 174 Ipswich Street, Boston, MA, see below for more details). This film tells the amazing story of why honey bees are so important, why they are disappearing, and what we can do to help. If you like eating food, then you like pollinators.

For more information, check out the Pollinator Partnership’s website at Here’s a summary from their site describing what National Pollinator Week is all about:

Five years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of the final  week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward  addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations.  Pollinator Week has now grown to be an international celebration  of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats  and beetles. The growing concern for pollinators is a sign of progress, but it  is vital that we continue to maximize our collective effort.  The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture signs the proclamation every year. Pollinating animals, including bees, birds,  butterflies, bats, beetles and others, are vital to our delicate ecosystem,  supporting terrestrial wildlife, providing healthy watershed, and more. Therefore,   Pollinator Week is a week to get the importance of pollinators’ message  out to as many people as possible. It’s not too early to start thinking about an event at your school, garden, church, store, etc. Pollinators positively effect all our lives- let’s SAVE them and CELEBRATE them!

The Pollinator Partnership   is proud to announce that June 20-26, 2011 has been designated National Pollinator Week by the U.S.   Department of Agriculture.

No Joe Schmo blog interview with Best Bees founder, Dr. Noah

June 17th, 2011  |  Published in Just for fun

The No Joe Schmo blog ( is something truly unique. Blogger Megan Hess is the author of No Joe Schmo, where she chronicles people with interesting jobs and careers. Megan is a recent graduate from Syracuse University, and I applaud her efforts with this fun blog. She was a pleasure to talk to, and I really enjoyed reading her final product. Check out the article here:

As Megan Hess writes, "Note: Beekeper suits do not actually resemble Lady Gaga's beekeeper hat." Photo credit:

As Megan Hess writes, "Note: Beekeper suits do not actually resemble Lady Gaga's beekeeper hat." Photo credit:

Jill’s List

June 17th, 2011  |  Published in Just for fun

In addition to planning the fundraiser, we’ve made friends with the folks at Jill’s List ( Abby Ackerman is a writer at Jill’s List, who describes the site as, “An online directory of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for patients, practitioners and organizations.” Jill’s List contains a directory of practitioners, and a place for everyone to explore health related topics in the Jill’s List blog and events. Best Bees and Jill’s List overlap interests in that we both raise awareness of health and food=related issues. Check out Abby’s fantastic article, called “The Case of the Vanishing Bees”, here:

The Weekly Dig’s film critic reviews “Vanishing of the Bees”

June 17th, 2011  |  Published in Just for fun

Hi everyone! As you know from our last blog entry, and from the Best Bees Facebook page, our fundraiser screening of “Vanishing of the Bees” in one week from today. In preparation for the big event, our friends over at The Weekly Dig have published a great review of the film. Check out the Dig’s film critic, Kristofer Jenson’s review here:

Vanishing of the Bees fundraiser screening!

May 26th, 2011  |  Published in Just for fun


Best Bees fundraiser screening poster

Best Bees fundraiser screening poster


Exciting news – we’re hosting a fundraiser! If you’re already a fan of us on Facebook, then you’re already aware of the news. If not, then make haste! Search for “Best Bees” on Facebook and say you “Like” us right away!

Best Bees Company is sponsoring a fundraiser screening of the award-winning, documentary film, “Vanishing of the Bees” on Thursday, June 23 at 6pm at Fenway High School in Boston. $10 suggested donation per person. All are welcome and encouraged to attend!

Stay tuned for more details as we continue to plan this event.

Watch the film’s trailer here: and read more about the film here:



Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives.

Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables.

Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capital Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees.

Filming across the US, in Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers indicate alternative reasons for this tragic loss. Conflicting options abound and after years of research, a definitive answer has not been found to this harrowing mystery.

We hope that you will join us for the film’s fundraiser screening! Thursday, June 23, 6pm, Fenway High School auditorium. This event is open to everyone in the global community who likes food and wants to have more of it in the future.