Bees

Mark Davis

As the weather turns toward summer, bee colonies in Idaho are starting to expand. Every year, old colonies split away from the hive and go looking for a new home. It’s called Honey Bee Swarming and it happens from March through August.

Mark Davis says this year’s swarming is getting a late start, because of all the wet weather. Known as Treasure Valley’s “Bee Man,” Davis is the founder of the nonprofit, family-based Treasure Valley Bee Rescue, a group that will relocate swarms rather than exterminating them.

Brad Smith / Flickr Creative Commons

Ross Winton has been spending a lot of time lately catching butterflies in south-central Idaho and putting tiny stickers on their wings. That’s so they can be identified by scientists who see them in other places. But Winton, a biologist with Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game, thinks now the last of them may have moved out of state for the season. Winton is part of a regional monarch butterfly study. He says scientists know in great detail where a monarch born in upstate New York or Michigan or Northern California will travel in its life.   

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) is encouraging all its members to make a plan to protect pollinating insects and most states are doing that or have already adopted one. Dudley Hoskins with NASDA says the plans are needed because bees face a variety of threats.

Greg Lilly / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho officials are devising a statewide plan to protect the health of pollinating insects.

The Capital Press reports that the Idaho State Department of Agriculture is asking agricultural organizations and other interested groups to speak up at a public meeting scheduled for September. The Idaho Potato Commission, the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Seed Association, Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club and the Idaho Honey Industry Association have already been invited.

Brad Smith / Flickr

Honeybees are dying off at an alarming rate. For several years, scientists have been looking at a number of factors that may be influencing their survival. Now, a University of Idaho scientist has found a working model that may explain why honeybee colonies collapse.

UI professor Brian Dennis built a mathematical model that shows the size of the beehive may be the critical factor in colony collapse disorder. That’s when too many bees in a hive die or disappear and the hive falls apart.

Buzzworthy Breeding To Bring Back Bumble Bees

Aug 10, 2014

Some scientists are going to great lengths to help the agreeable Western bumble bee make a comeback.

Still smarting from a wasp sting this summer? Well, you're not alone. It's been a "banner year" for yellow jackets in the Northwest by many accounts.

Jordan / Flickr Creative Commons

Officials in the central Idaho town of Hailey have approved beekeeping in the city.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports the Hailey City Council on Monday revised the definition of urban agriculture to include honey production as a permitted use in all residential and transitional zones.

City officials say they approved the plan to help re-establish bee populations.

The ordinance has numerous requirements for beekeepers, including a provision that allows the city to remove hives with aggressive bees.

A New Sperm Bank...For Bees

Jun 10, 2013
Credit Scott Butner / Flickr

Washington State University scientists are developing a sperm bank to capture the biodiversity of honey bees. The hope is to breed stronger pollinators, since populations keep declining.


A swarm of factors is causing heavy losses in honey bee colonies. That's the bottom line of a report issued jointly Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report identifies a parasitic mite as a leading culprit in combination with diseases, poor nutrition, genetics and pesticide exposure. People who care about bees here in the Northwest were underwhelmed.