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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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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rabun County Bee Talk

On August 20, I gave a talk for the Rabun county people on how to start beekeeping the natural way. I did an hour and a half PowerPoint on Becoming a Beekeeper and then we went into the hives at the community garden.

I was so scared to go into those hives. After all the positive things I had said, I hadn't been to check on the hives in a month and was quite sure I'd find disaster in the hives.

The talk went well. There were about a dozen people there. They asked good questions. About three of them were already beekeepers but said they came because of the old saying, "Ask ten beekeepers a question and you'll get 12 different answers." They figured I might have something new for them to learn. I don't know if they did, but nobody fell asleep and I think it was a good talk.

Going to the hives felt tentative to me. I could see bees flying in and out of the first hive - so I knew there were bees inside, but wasn't sure how we'd find them. I had seen NO larvae the last time I was there. We opened it up and there were bees, honey, larvae and we even saw the queen. She was gorgeous and sort stood there for all to observe her!

The second hive looked neglected and abandoned. I ended the talk before exploring it. One of the experienced beekeepers remained with me to check it out, though and I greatly appreciated his help.

In the month since I was there, the hive was completely covered in kudzu. I was nervous about all of this and didn't have the forethought to ask anyone to use my camera, so I didn't get any pictures. I wish I had - seeing kudzu dripping grape colored blooms and covering this hive was quite interesting.

The other beekeeper and I cut back the kudzu with some garden clippers I carry in my bee bag. The hive looked forlorn. He smoked the front door and lo and behold, some bees appeared. I opened the hive and at first it looked pitiful. There was no honey, no brood in the top box.

But in the second box there was honey, brood, and eggs. I was relieved. The hive isn't doing great - smothered in kudzu, it's rather amazing it was functioning.

Neither of these hives had extra honey and both had a box on the top that was relatively unused. I removed the top box from both hives. There was some honey in the top box on hive one, so I put those frames into the second box in spaces where there were some empty frames.

I'll go back up and check it again really soon and see if they need feeding going into winter.

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