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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 18th year of beekeeping in April 2023. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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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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Monday, July 01, 2013

Overview of this Year's Beekeeping Endeavors

At my house:

  • The Patty Swarm Hive - tall and doing well.  I harvested one frame of honey from this hive last week and it was thin.  The top two boxes are honey - the top still has some room in it.
  • The Drone Layer - Now has made their own good queen in their own good time.  They will have one box of honey to harvest (you can see them to the left of Patty
  • The Unintentional Nuc hive with a queen who started out laying multiple eggs but may have the hang of it now.  Maybe it will go through winter or I'll combine it with another hive in fall.

  • The Morningside supply nuc - chugging along with my taking frames out of it at every inspection.  I've seen the queen (easy in a nuc) and she is large and lovely
  • The Don Kuchenmeister package hive - this one hasn't taken off.  I don't know if it's because there is bad energy between Don and me over the bad queen hive at Chastain, or if he just got bad bees this year, but this hive is doing OK but not making honey like the swarm hives at all.  They only have a box for themselves at this point and the nectar flow is about over.

  • The Northlake Swarm hive - going gangbusters.  I added a new box about four days ago.  The bees are tripping all over each other at the entrance.  They are drawing new wax and so happy with whatever nectar source they are working now.  They are all over the front of the hive in the photo because I have just closed it up from working on it and adding a new box.

  • The Atlantic Station Swarm:  This  hive is in the shade all day.  I don't know how much difference that makes but they are only three days later in installation than the Northlake swarm and are not doing as well, although the three swarm hives in my yard are doing better than all the other hives.  The photo below is in the middle of the inspection, so it's all apart and covered with hive drapes, but you can see that it is a three box hive.  On both it and the Northlake hive, I've kept the bottom closed up all season.

At other locations:
Morningside community Garden:
  • My best hive at Morningside garden was the victim of a pesticide kill and has not done well since then - still a big hive with some honey to harvest but is in recovery
  • The second hive at Morningside is a tiny little thing that hasn't gotten off the ground.  They are not using the front entrance of the hive - instead the bees enter the hive through the notch in the inner cover under the back of the telescoping cover.  They are only a two box hive.  If I ever add a box to this hive, the bees will be confused about their back entrance.  I always have to leave the box with the top slid to the back as far as possible to give them entry!
Stonehurst Inn:
  • Two hives are there - one is from last year and is doing OK but will have no honey this year
  • The other - free bees that just showed up and are just getting started
Ron's house near Emory:
  • The Mississippi Queen.  I went to Ron's house after teaching in the Med School at Emory this morning and found that Elvis had left the building.  She was gone and the hive had absconded.  The difference in absconding and swarming is that when a hive absconds, the queen and all the bees leave, taking supplies with them and they leave nothing behind.  I was so sad - both I was excited to have a Mississippi Queen since I grew up in Mississippi and I wanted the hive to succeed.  If the Unintentional Nuc succeeds, maybe I'll take it to Ron's but our hives are just not doing well there, for some reason
  • The Wilbanks Package hive is doing OK.  The queen is laying and bees are flying in and out, but they are not needing a new box - which is disheartening.  But at least they are alive and kicking, for the moment.  There's a community garden within eyesight from the hive and they should be feasting on cucumbers and blueberries but you never know.
  • We just moved both of those hives so we'll see how they do.  One of them does have a harvestable box of honey on it.  I haven't inspected since the move
Chastain - a hive and a nuc
  • At the last hive inspection on June 15, the Don Kuchenmeister failure of a hive still didn't have a laying queen.  We gave it another frame of brood and eggs from the nuc.  This hive seems hopeless but I keep optimistically thinking it will right itself.  In the end as winter approaches, I may combine the nuc with it.
  • Chastain nuc - feisty bees - I get stung every time I open the hive, but they are productive and busy.  We took a frame of honey from that hive on the 15th and I demonstrated crush and strain harvest for the people at the hive inspection.
Rabun County
  • Last time I checked on that hive was Memorial Day weekend.  I'm going up on Wednesday for the July 4th.  Sourwood honey flow is about to start.  The hive had an extra box on it, but I'll add another box if they are still bee-ing as they should.


  1. I've never seen anyone use hive drapes are they to prevent robbing or calm the bees or another reason?

  2. They keep the bees calm. Instead of exposing a whole box to sunlight and disturbance, only the area not covered by the hive drape is exposed. This is quite calming for the bees and I then rarely need to use my smoker


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