KAAT BYRD: How did your story with the bees begin?
MICHAEL BUSH: I wanted to be more self sufficient. Really I wanted to homestead but had no money for land. Beekeeping was a way to get honey (the only sweetener I prefer) and be more self sufficient without needing land. I was not good at gardening but was good with animals (chickens etc.) so I tried bees. They should have come with a warning label. They are addicting.
KB: What is your focus and goal as a bee guardian?
MB: Understanding bees.
KB: How does the local environment shape your work?
MB: The local environment shapes everything about beekeeping…
KB: What threatens your (work with the) bees and how do you work with these
MB: I suppose the biggest fear/threat is farmers spraying insecticides. Not
much I can do about it.
KB: What do you believe is the key element for a healthy and strong apiary?
MB: Good forage and not being sprayed with chemicals by the farmers.
KB: What are you working on right now?
MB: Everything… raising queens, keeping bees on natural combs, trying to
understand all of what drones do in the colony, trying to figure out
better ways to overwinter, trying to figure out how to teach an art to
people using words…
KB: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
MB: Kirk Webster and Dee Lusby.
KB: Can you share one of your favorite bee stories?
MB: Tough. I guess I haven’t really collected stories… you occasionally
see something so out of the ordinary that it challenges your model of
the world. Like a queen in the hive next door to hers or a queen
wandering around on the outside of the hive and you put her back in and
she’s still there a month or so later… so she wasn’t being run out…
I suppose the things people like to hear are the stupid things. Most of
those, though, are too depressing to dwell on, like a lid on a miller
feeder that the bees figure out how to get in but not out and thousands
die in the feeder. The ones that often make people laugh are things
like shaking a swarm down the back of your neck at the top of a 20 foot
ladder. It wasn’t funny to me, but for some reason people think it’s
KB: A piece of advice for rookie bee guardians?
MB: There is still hope for you. Run away. Bees are addicting. Bee fever