Bees | New Hampshire Public Radio


Monarch butterfly and bee on a pink milkweed flower.
Jim Hudgins/USFWS

Pollinators are an essential part of our ecosystem, and have been in decline for years. We talk about small and big ways that you can help support pollinators, in your garden, yard, and outdoor spaces, and what species of pollinators and pollinator-plants are native to New Hampshire. 

Air date: Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

How to Get Started Beekeeping in N.H.

Apr 26, 2021

The beekeeping season is short and busy in New Hampshire. Bees are vital for pollinating most of the food crops humans eat.  We discuss how to get started in beekeeping and challenges such as winter hive loss and drought. And we find out how to encourage more bees to your own backyard. Email your questions to or call during the show: 800-892-6477.

Airdate: Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Seacoast Bee Keepers Association

People in Concord and Portsmouth will rally for the bees this weekend.

Organizers in Concord will share organic growing tips and give out free seeds in front of the State House Saturday at 10 a.m.

Attendees can bring organic food to donate to a local homeless shelter.

A rally at the Portsmouth farmers market will also highlight concerns about probable human carcinogens in certain pesticides.

Molly Jacobson / UNH

New research shows a decline among some of the wild bees that pollinate important New England fruit crops.

A study of 125 years of records – one of the first of its kind – shows 14 native bee species are in decline in the Northeast.

UNH Assistant Professor Sandra Rehan says the world has thousands of wild bee species – such as bumblebees. Most are solitary, and don’t build hives like honeybees.

Seacoast Beekepers Association

New Hampshire lawmakers on Tuesday will take up a proposal to ban most uses of pesticides that are toxic to bees.  The House bill comes from second-term Nashua Democrat Catherine Sofikitis.

Marklin Candle: Spiritual Inspiration from Bees

Dec 19, 2018

Since 1985, Martin Marklin has purchased over 250,000 pounds of beeswax to make liturgical candles. When he realized how little he knew about the creatures that produced his beeswax, he became a beekeeper.  This decision, he says, transformed his business and his life.  Now, with his candle factory in Contoocook, he shares his knowledge of bees and the inspiration he found.

Laura Deming / NH Audubon

New England naturalists will be in New Hampshire this weekend to talk about new efforts to restore pollinating species and native plants. NHPR's Annie Ropeik has more about their first-ever pollinator symposium.

Daniela Allee / NHPR

Peterborough's community center is getting a bit of a makeover—with a honey bee mural.

It's part of a local group's effort to raise awareness about the role bees play in our food systems.

Each bee Matt Willey paints is about 3 feet long. By the time he's done, there'll be 200 on this wall.

"It's amazing to me how many people I meet don't even know what a pollinator is,” he said.

What's Happening to New Hampshire's Honey Bees?

Jun 20, 2018

Scientists and beekeepers are trying to find out why almost 60% of honey bee hives died out last winter, and even more the winter before.  

iStock Photo

We may be hearing a lot about bees this week. It's national pollinator week - a chance to talk about the important role pollinators play in agriculture and the environment. And in New Hampshire, several organizations are planning events

As the populations of pollinators decline, national organizations like the Pollinator Partnership are working to raise awareness about the bats, bees, and butterflies that pollinate our crops.

Sandra Rehan/UNH

Monday, researchers from UNH released the first scientific findings about the state of New Hampshire’s bee population.

It's the first comprehensive list of bee species in the state, including 17 species never before recorded in New Hampshire.

The research comes after years of reports of declining bee populations around the country.

Assistant professor of biology Sandra Rehan co-authored the report and said biologists will use this data as a baseline to measure future trends.

Courtesy Hamish Irvine via Flickr/Creative Commons

A Something Wild fan wrote in recently with a question or two. Ben, a backyard beekeeper in Deerfield, asks “I know there has been a lot of buzz about chemicals getting into the bee's main protein source, pollen. It would be really cool if you could mention the bees and what kind of plants the bees pollinate (and are exposed to) throughout the various seasons. Furthermore! Where in the world are the bees getting pollen in the winter? Sometimes I even see my bees bringing in pollen from who knows where on the rare warm day in the wintertime." 

Davide Zanchettin via flickr Creatiev Commons /

We’ve heard the claim before – low-income urban kids aren’t getting to spend enough time in the woods.  But what if outdoor education isn’t just about where you live – but how you’re being raised?

On today’s show, our station wide series The First Decade continues, with a look at environmental education. Plus, a bee researcher explains two new studies that offer increasing evidence that a common form of pesticide is harmful to wild bees. And, Dr. Kanye West?  We discuss the function and failures of honorary degrees.  

Make Your Own Bee Hotel

May 20, 2015
Farrukh via flickr Creative Commons /

After our interview with Dave Goulson author of A Buzz in the Meadow and A Sting in the Tailwe asked him what else we could do to help bees, aside from planting bee-friendly gardens. He mentioned making a "bee hotel." We often think of honeybee hives buzzing with activity, and while communal living is a trait for some bees, other bees are more solitary and they like to nest in holes. Often these holes are left behind by wood boring insects in tree trunks. These days, those holes become harder for bees to come by; the bee equivalent of a housing shortage. For these types of bees, it's a nice gesture to provide them with a place to stay. 

Conall / Flickr/CC

Behind recent declines in bee populations are threats as diverse as pesticides, disease, and climate change.  And fewer bees could mean a widespread hit to many types of agriculture. We’ll talk with beekeepers and researchers about what they’re seeing,  also what the future might hold, and what could be done.


Bee Hotel In Durham Open To Pollinators Only

Jun 9, 2014
New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station / University of New Hampshire

Bee populations are in decline worldwide. At UNH, researchers are beginning the first major assessment of diversity in New Hampshire’s bee populations.  Part of that effort involves a "bee hotel" at Woodman Farm in Durham. 

UNH Biology professor Sandra Rehan says the hotel, made of bricks and wood, will provides a habitat for bees to nest and forage freely. The idea, she says, "is to create and maintain native bee habitats to improve healthy pollinator communities." 

3.20.14: The Birds, The Bees, & The Birds And The Bees

Mar 20, 2014
Neomodus photos & SeaDave / via flickr Creative Commons

While the weather these days might not be an indicator, spring is officially here. Which got us thinking in the Word of Mouth pod...about the birds and the bees. And also birds and bees. On today's show a conversation about the most awkward talk a parent has to have: "the talk." Also, a bird expert tells us about this year's unusual snowy owl migration. We'll also hear about the next great frontier in self tracking apps: fertility apps. 

Listen to the full show and click Read More for individual segments.

BSC Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

According to new research out of UNH, the same event that spelled the end of the dinosaurs nearly did in bees as well. An investigation into the genome of the small carpenter bee shows bee evolution ground to nearly a halt right around the time dinosaurs died out.

UNH professor Sandra Rehan was busy mapping out the ancestral trees of the four tribes of carpenter bees she studies when she noticed something funny: around 65 million years ago evolution paused.

Hollis Town Hall Unsuspecting Home For Huge Beehive

Oct 13, 2013
Justus Thane / Flickr Creative Commons

Contractors renovating the old Hollis Town Hall met with a surprise recently—a huge beehive inside one of the walls.  Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Mark Le Doux says the bees were long gone.  But they got a pretty clear tip-off before they even saw the hive.

“We were told that there is honey that’s seeping out of the wall.  And rather incredulously, we went up and took a look, and sure enough, there were pools of honey on the floor up against the wall,” Le Doux says.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

By all accounts, New Hampshire is in the midst of a bee-boom: bee classes and clubs are overflowing with new members. And a conference center in Concord that has caught the bug, but had to overcome a unique challenge to keep bees.

Ryan Lessard

Hundreds of first-time beekeepers across the state are anxiously awaiting their first shipment of honey bees this week. NHPR’s Ryan Lessard reports on the growing popularity of the hobby and what it could mean for the pollinating insects’ struggle for survival.

Beekeeping's Costs Growing Along With Its Popularity

May 6, 2013
me'nthedogs via Flickr Creative Commons

As NHPR's Ryan Lessard recently reported, beekeeping is increasing in popularity in the Granite State - but the hobby is also getting more expensive. Joining us to explain why is Barbara Lawler, President of the New Hampshire Beekeepers Association.

iStock Photo

E - The Environmental Magazine