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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Keith Fielder, Master Beekeeper, Speaks at Metro Atlanta Club

Keith Fielder, [if you click on the link, his write-up is on page 3] a Master Beekeeper in the state of Georgia, was the speaker this past Wednesday at the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association. He spoke on Bee Biology for Dummies. I enjoyed what he had to say and learned some things I didn't know.



He had marvelous illustrations in his PowerPoint from HowStuffWorks and referred very positively to their Internet site and the illustrations available there. I went for a visit. How's the above for an information-filled illustration (Thanks, HowStuffWorks!)?

Interesting facts from Keith Fielder:

1. Bumblebees scent-mark the flowers they visit. This explains why some flowering plants have one or two bumblebees one day and are covered the next.

2. Flowers have a negative charge. The hairs on a bee's body have a positive charge. Since negative and positive attract, the bees are literally drawn to the flowers. Pollen is also attracted to the positive charge on the bee. And interestingly enough, women's hair is negatively charged so when bees fly into your hair, according to Keith, they are drawn there and can't prevent being pulled into your hair!

3. The pollen basket isn't really a basket at all but rather a concave surface covered with stiff hair. The bee combs the hair on its body, gathering the pollen on its body hairs and bringing the pollen into a ball on its leg.

4. And, away from bee biology into commenting on the hive, Keith said that the honeycomb is the "liver of the bee colony" in that it absorbs all the yuck that comes into the hive. This is important rationale for getting rid of old comb on a regular basis and bringing new comb into the hive.

We are very lucky in Atlanta to have such a wealth of wise beekeepers who come to speak to us.

Keith Fielder is full of knowledge. This is the fourth time I've heard him speak.
  • He spoke at my first Young Harris meeting on Requeening your hives;
  • He gave a similar talk to our bee club earlier this year on making a push-in queen cage of #8 hardware cloth;
  • He spoke at GABA on giving talks about beekeeping to school children, I believe; and
  • Now I've gotten to hear him on bee biology. He's always entertaining and I'll look forward to my next opportunity to hear him talk on any bee topic.

Our speaker in October for his second visit to our club this year is Dr. Keith Delaplane.

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