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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!
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jerry Wallace speaks to the Bee Club on the Calendar for the Beekeeping Year

Jerry Wallace is one of the beekeepers I most respect in our bee club. He and I compete on wax blocks and with our honey each year at the annual honey contest. Last year he and I gave a program together on how to harvest honey. He's wise and makes informed decisions about his beekeeping.

So we were lucky to hear him on February 11 (I'm late posting this) go through a calendar of the beekeeping year in Georgia and hear how he thinks about his bees each month.



Some things he shared that spoke to me:

  • In Georgia in a reasonable year, we can expect to get around 50 pounds of honey per hive.
  • The average honey yield in the Southeast is 30 pounds per hive; the average honey yield in the United States is 52 pounds per hive.
  • The beehive should be boiling over with bees at the beginning of the honey flow.
  • He uses the slatted rack for ventilation in his hives (I think he and I are the only beekeepers in Metro who do!)
  • Hives need more ventilation at the top than at the entrance.
Often on beekeeping forums people ask the fun question: What do you keep in your tool box. Jerry provided us with his list of his beekeeping tools:
  • A hive tool
  • A frame grip
  • A veil
  • A smoker
  • A propane torch
  • Gloves
  • Bee brush
  • An ice pick (?) - yeah, me too. So I asked him what he used it for and he said to enlarge the holes in frames when he wanted to wire them.
  • A frame tool - see pictures below
  • A fume board
  • Bee quick
  • A refractometer
  • A leaf blower
  • A wheelbarrow


The tool seen above and below is an actual tool. It's sold by Dadant and others. Dadant calls it a frame cleaner.

Jerry uses it to clean out the groove in the frame - a real boon if you are using starter strips as I do.



Jerry also provided us with a list of websites he finds useful as beekeeping resources. Here they are:

Metro Atlanta Beekeepers
Randy Oliver's Scientific Beekeeping
Georgia Master Beekeeping lecture notes
Beesource discussion forum
The Bee-L Listserv
Purdue Beekeeping publications
US Dept of Agriculture
Ohio State's Honeybee Lab page
CyberBee
Walt Wright's Articles

His calendar for Georgia:
  • January:
Check the cluster and feed the bees on days with temps above 60
Repair and paint equipment
  • February:
Open hives to look at the brood pattern
Mid February feed 1:1 sugar syrup to encourage brood rearing
  • March:
Make splits
Get swarms - usually these begin with the first day of spring
Equalize colonies
Set out swarm lure hives
Check the queen's laying patterns
Probably need to add a box at the end of March
Showed a diagram of Walt Wright's swarm management configuration
  • April:
The honey flow begins in Georgia
Add supers as needed - one at a time for undrawn foundation, all at once if drawn comb
  • May:
First three weeks are the best honey production weeks in Georgia
First week in May is the best week to produce comb honey
  • June:
Nectar flow ends in Georgia, although some great dark honey sometimes comes in at the end of June and into July
When bees are on the purple coneflower, we're at the end of the flow in Georgia
The best hives have 8 - 10 frames of bees going into the winter.
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3 comments:

  1. (I hope this posts) How interesting Linda! I bet you had a good time :) Hope your stings are getting better..I've been trying to leave you comments but blogger is having issues with the captcha not showing (the funny letters)..

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yay! It worked lol I've been trying and trying and trying to leave you comments. Glad I finally could!

    ReplyDelete
  3. hello Linda hope you seen my vid on utube click fatbeeman to view keep up the good work. Don

    ReplyDelete

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