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Beekeeping Today Podcast

Aug 24, 2020

Dr. Rachael BonoanIn this episode, Kirsten Traynor meets up with Dr. Rachael Bonoan, a bee biologist and ecologist. Bees have some unusual and quirky behaviors. They discuss bumble bee high fives, why honey bees like stinky, dirty water, and how our pollinators may be seeking out unusual food sources to gain important minerals. Rachael tells us about doing science in Costa Rica, where she looked into the foraging habits of vulture bees that turn carrion into slurpy meat soup. To her astonishment, some bees that normally collect pollen also loaded up bits of meat into their pollen carrying corbicula, wearing little packets of shredded chicken.

Rachael has spent the last two summers searching for the rare Puget butterfly in the Pacific Northwest. She and her team were Male Blue Puget blue Butterly - copyright © Rachael Bonoanhoping to locate the caterpillar in the wild so they could document its feeding habits and interactions with ants. But despite roaming the prairie landscape with up to nine people, they found only a handful—definitely not enough to say anything conclusive.

She’s just taken a new job as an assistant professor at Providence College in Rhode Island, where she will once again be studying honey bees—her favorite pollinator as they both stay busy, work tirelessly and fuel their adventures with sweets.

Listen to the discussion today!

Additional information:


Kirsten's interviews are brought to you by BetterBeeBetterBee. BetterBee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customer service, continued education and quality equipment. How do they do this? Because many of their employees are also beekeepers, so they know the needs, challenges and answers to your beekeeping questions. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, BetterBee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at

This episode is brought to you by Global Patties! Global Patties is a family business that manufactures protein supplement patties for honey bees. Feeding your hives protein supplement patties will help ensure that they produce strong and health colonies by increasing brood production and overall honey flow. Global offers a variety of standard patties, as well as custom patties to meet your specific needs. Visit them today at and let them know you appreciate them sponsoring this episode! 

2 Million BlossomsWe want to also thank 2 Million Blossoms as a sponsor of the podcast. 2 Million Blossoms is a new quarterly magazine destined for your coffee table. Each page of the magazine is dedicated to the stories and photos of all pollinators and written by leading researchers, photographers and our very own, Kim Flottum.


We hope you enjoy this podcast and welcome your questions and comments:

Thanks to Bee Culture, the Magazine of American Beekeeping, for their support of The Beekeeping Today Podcast. Available in print and digital at

Thank you for listening! 

Podcast music: Young Presidents, "Be Strong"