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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I began my 11th year of beekeeping in April 2016. Now there are about 1275 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.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

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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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Installing the Tom Swarm

Jeff went home to his family and I drove home with the split nuc and the swarm nuc in the back of my car.  Bees were everywhere.  I got most of them out of the car,  but when I locked it for the night there were still a few clusters of bees in the car!

I set the split nuc on its on set of cinder blocks, put a little leaf and grass pieces on the landing and left it.  The queen cell looked pretty newly capped (it was light biscuit as per Billy Davis), so it probably has almost its full time left - since the queen has a way to go in her development, it will be a month before the new queen is laying and three more weeks before any new brood emerges to add to the population, so it will be mid May before this will be an active hive, if then.  So the split is a hive to increase hive numbers but not one to expect to provide honey to harvest.












The swarm is a different matter.  The queen is mature and able to lay.  The bees with her have gorged themselves on honey to prepare for the journey and prepared to make wax.  I put this huge swarm in three 8 frame boxes (the equivalent of 2 10 frame boxes plus four).  I had some unharvested honey from another hive that I gave them (2 frames) and a few frames of drawn comb, although they should be ready to make wax right away.

I put frames in the bottom box and used the next box as a funnel.

 The bees on the comb are on a frame filled with honey.
















Once I got most of them into the hive box, I gently added in the frames and then put on box number three and added its frames.  It was a slow process because there were so many bees.  There were still a number of bees in the nuc box and on the lid so I left both facing the new hive.
















I don't have the best track record with getting swarms to stay but I employed everything I've learned from previous errors to make this work.

1.  I used old comb in each box and a frame of honey in each box
2.  I put them on a screened bottom board, but closed it up with the sticky board.
3.  I put on an entrance reducer, reduced to the smallest entrance (as per Billy Davis)
4.  I gave them plenty of space (3 8 frame boxes and a slatted rack.)
5.  I put pine needles on the landing to help them re-orient (we are miles from Tom's house - no chance of their returning home).
6.  I used last year's not-yet-painted boxes (they like the smell better than newly painted)

For a while a large group of bees were clustered right outside the entry.  But by nightfall, all were inside and the nuc box was empty.


















I put frames of honey in the swarm and put a frame of honey and pollen in the nuc.  I will however, make bee tea and feed it to both of these new hives - one recipe's worth until they get "on their bee feet."

I realize as I write this that I forgot to date the frames, most of which were foundationless.  I'll do it on my first inspection in about a week.

I did bring all the hive drapes into the house to wash as well as my car quilt (which protects my car from bee stuff), my swarm sheet, etc.  So my washing machine is on bee duty tonight.

Jeff and I need to install a Billy Davis robber screen on this and the hive we moved from Sebastian's.  I say Jeff and I because I really need him to operate the staple gun which I HATE doing.

Well, they are in the hive for the night, but I don't take anything for granted so I am crossing my fingers as hard as I can and hope they stay in the new home I have provided for them.  I am exhausted and am now going to bed after a long and very productive day.

Swarm at Tom's - Two Cat Size

Yesterday it rained in Atlanta and Tom texted me at about 1:30 PM when the sun was just occasionally breaking through, that the bees at his house were "going crazy."  He sent me this photo that he took of the front hive:

























Sure looks like a swarm to me, but it also looks like a swarm that couldn't get the queen to come along so they are out and ready but needing her to join them.

I told him they might not swarm until tomorrow but they would keep trying to get the queen.  Later he reported that he came home to find the bees gone - definitely they had swarmed and left.  He didn't see them anywhere.  Later that day he saw them up in a large pine tree on the edge of his property.

As I drove up to N Georgia, he said the hive was going crazy again.  Bees were everywhere and appeared to be gathering on a tree at about chest height.  I told him I would get Jeff and come to his house at 4:30 as I drove back into Atlanta.

Jeff was already there when I arrived and they were discussing that the bees were no longer in the pine tree and the group consensus was that the bees had moved from the pine tree to the shrub on which they now hung.  It was a HUGE swarm - about the size of two cats and gathered around a branch that hung down.





We spread a sheet under it and put a nuc box (looked really inadequate but that's what I had) on the sheet under the swarm.  We had brought the huge water cooler swarm catcher bottle.  Jeff climbed a ladder and although I was going to hold the bottle, it worked better for him to do it, so he was really the swarm catcher par excellence.  

Jeff shook the branch and the swarm dropped into the nuc box.  We then had to shake the tree a couple more times.  I set the box onto the sheet again (one shake was directly into the box), and the bees began doing the nasonov butts in the air to let the other bees know the queen was in the box.  We put the nuc top on catty-corner, leaving openings for the bees to join Her Majesty and worked the other hive.  There were layers and layers of bees in this box.


Because this hive had swarmed, we wanted to make a split from the back hive.  The second hive was full of queen cells.  We took a couple of frames with good queen cells on them to make the nuc.  The hive was left with at least seven other queen cells that we saw.  It too was preparing to swarm.  

We have not been able to do good swarm control (ie, checkerboarding) because this hive was in a deep and a medium.  As a result you can't move frames in the checkerboard pattern because a deep frame can't move into a medium box.  We had given these bees all kinds of room but you can't argue with the Darwinian imperative to split and survive!  So we did our own split on the second hive.  They may still swarm.  I don't think they have already because we found a frame of eggs, indicating that the queen was probably laying today.  

We made our nuc (in a deep box) up of both deep and medium frames.  At worse they will make drone comb off of the bottom of the medium frames.  But one of the queen cells we took was on a deep.  


























I'll cover installation in the next post.  You can see the capped queen cell near the rubber band and another queen cup with larva in it to the upper right.

What a Bee Day! Installing a Package at Loganberry Heritage Farm

Today was a two-three post worthy day.  At the beginning of the day, I drove to a farm between Dahlonega and Cleveland, GA.  It's a beautiful place - Loganberry Heritage Farm - where chickens run free and cows graze.  Sharon, the owner and a beekeeper, has hives there that she has been managing naturally.  We tried to get together last year but she follows the lunar calendar for guidance in beekeeping and there never was a day that I could come that was also good for opening the bee hives.

I was free to drive up today, though, so I loaded my car with bee paraphernalia and headed for north Georgia.  As I drove up, I got a telephone call from Tom.  The bees in his yard were swarming.  I couldn't do anything until I was done with Sharon, so I told him I'd be back in Atlanta and at his house at 4:30.

When I arrived at Loganberry Heritage Farm, Sharon, in a beautiful garden hat, had just returned from picking up four packages of bees to install.  She wanted me to help her check her hives from last year and to help her install one package so she could do the rest without me.

We went to look at the existing hives first.  They were located high on a windy hill.  I could see no real bee activity.  Some bees were flying in and out of the third hive but the other two looked pretty bee-less.  Sadly, these three hives were all in bad shape.  One hive had honey but no bees.  Another hive had a cluster of dead and molded bees about the size of a saucer over three frames.  The queen was dead right in the center.  The last hive had about a baseball sized cluster of bees in a medium box.

Upon talking this through, she and I decided that in the cold of the mountains where she is, up on that hill is probably too cold for the bees to winter well and perhaps they needed a more sheltered location.  She thought she might try to rescue the baseball sized hive by moving it into a nuc box and seeing if they could build back up.  Because she doesn't have any other hives that are going, she can't add to the resources by putting in a frame of brood and eggs.  I think they will not survive, but maybe she can make it happen.

We then installed the package into her beautifully painted hives, each with a hive top feeder.

First the bees are sprayed with a bee tea that Sharon had made with honey.


Then she removed the cover to the package and lifted up the feed jar.


We put the queen in her cage on the bottom bar of an empty frame (before we placed her there we removed the cork at the candy end of the cage).

  
Then it was time to shake in the bees.  We used an empty box as a funnel through which to shake the bees (keeping most of them in the box instead of on the ground.)


Then we put back in the frames for the bottom box.  We put on her hive top feeder and the inner cover.  Then we put the jar of syrup over the inner cover hole and used another hive box to surround the feeder.  These bees will be well taken care of by Sharon in the days to come.







Thursday, March 27, 2014

Moving Bees from Sebastian's House

Sebastian has a new (5 wk. old) baby boy and he and his wife have decided that they would like to send the bees back to us.  So on Monday night after dark, Jeff and I moved the bees to my backyard.

The hive seemed small, light and the bees seemed particularly uninterested in our efforts to move the boxes.  We strapped up the hive with no incident.  We stapled (Jeff did) a screen wire cover for the entry.

We had fed these bees bee tea (one feeder full - about 2 quarts) going into winter and had thought they might not make it because they had almost no stores before we fed them.  So when the hive seemed light, it was what we expected.  We were thrilled that they had survived despite the winter and low stores.


There were bees still in the empty rapid feeder cone when we removed it, so we covered it with a pillow case hive drape and set it in the smoker bucket for the trip to my house.







We set these bees up on Monday night.  Then on both Tuesday and Wednesday it was unseasonably cold in Atlanta.  I did see a moment of activity on a warmish part of one of those days, but not much.  I was thinking it was a small hive, so I wasn't surprised.

Today it was in the low 60s and I had a 2 hour break in the middle of the day, so I came home to look at the bees.  OMG, there were thousands of bees orienting to this hive.  I've never seen so many - thousands more than are in my strong hive.


There was brood in this hive from the bottom to the top.  The hive was only three boxes and a feeder above the inner cover surrounded with an empty box.  Bees, bees, bees.

I looked in the bottom box and saw brood, capped and uncapped and eggs in almost every empty cell.


I always use hive drapes and I have never seen so many bees landing on the drapes on top of the boxes.





The photo above is what I saw when I opened the middle box.  What a hive!

I covered it with a hive drape and again found brood, capped and uncapped, nectar being collected and lots of eggs.  I also saw many drones - not too many but compared to what I have been seeing (one or two in each box on a hive), there were twenty in each box that I saw.

I didn't see any swarm cells (yet) but I didn't go through every frame.  These bees were just orienting and I didn't want to disturb their home completely.  But that will be my next goal with both of the hives in my yard - to make a split or two from each of these strong hives.

When I got in the third box, again it was built out from one side to the other and included brood as well as honey.  I decided to turn the feeder surround box into a hive box and checkerboarded the frames from box 3 to box 4.

What this means is that I took frames 2, 4, and 6 from box 3 and replaced them with empty foundationless frames.  I put frames 2, 4 and 6 in those same positions in box 4 and put empty foundationless frames in box 4 in positions 1, 3, 5, 7 and 8.  I didn't do 7 and 8 because there was a slight cross comb in box 3 on 7 and 8 and I didn't want to risk breaking the honey comb and tempting a robbing situation.

I turned my attention to the other hive in the yard, my Northlake swarm from last year.  They were putting up nectar but had not used up the space in the box I added recently, so I left their hive as is.




I believe I can make a split from each of these hives next weekend or the next and will not change the honey production of the hive.  I won't do an even split, but will take five frames and make a split or if I find swarm cells, I may put my new queen castle from Brushy Mountain to use.
Also a neighbor across the street came over to ask if I could help her with a bee problem.  Bees (mine and I'm sure others from the six beekeepers who live within blocks of me) were going in and out of a large potted plant by her mailbox.  I stuck my hand in and obviously it was a water source for the bees.  I turned it over and water absolutely poured out of it.  She was amazed that I didn't get stung nor did she and that there was so much water in the pot.

To encourage my bees to get water in my yard, I put a round bread pan on top of my empty nuc box and floated wine corks in it.  I had fantasies about little bees being like loggers and trying not to roll the cork as they went for water, but it was the best I could do on short notice!








What's in a Name? The Confusion of the Name: Certified Naturally Grown

"What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;"   William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

As all companies who struggle with branding know, a name means EVERYTHING.  I once saw a yellow ribbon tied around a tree (the symbol designating the wish for a soldier to come home from war) with a huge sign that said "Yellow Ribbon Tree Removal."  A strange name for a tree removal company, I thought, since the name implied that although they chopped down the trees, they would come (grow) back.

When I first encountered Certified Naturally Grown at EAS in Boone, NC in 2010, I was thrilled that there was a way to designate something natural in the beekeeper's approach.  How I read and interpreted or assumed what the designation meant was that the beekeeper would be as organic as possible.

Organic is not something a beekeeper can claim.  Our bees gather nectar far and wide from an area up to six or so miles from the hive.  As such, we have no idea if the plants they choose have been treated (likely) with insecticides that might be harmful to the bees.  But as beekeepers we can do our best to keep pesticides out of our hive management practices by going treatment free.

But upon reading the requirements for Certified Naturally Grown, I think Shakespeare is wrong on this one.  It doesn't smell so sweet.

Essentially what the designation means is that the beekeeper is practicing IPM (Integrated Pest Management).  In other words, the beekeeper is certifying that before he/she uses heavy poisons, he/she will have tried conservative methods first:  powdered sugar (which does work for the backyard beekeeper but not for the commercial beekeeper), drone trapping, etc.  But CNG allows oxalic acid, formic acid to a degree, HopGuard, ApiGuard, Apilife Var, etc.

Thankfully they do prohibit Coumaphos and Fluvalinate.

Of my fellow beekeepers who have applied, the only one who comes closest to treatment free is Jay Parsons and he uses ApiLife Var when "needed."  And although regular inspections are required, the inspector doesn't have to be qualified as a CNG beekeeper themselves, which seems a little odd.  Any other beekeeper who is willing to take the time can inspect an apiary and declare it Certified Naturally Grown.  In looking at Jay's inspection record, none of the people who have "inspected" his operation are themselves qualified as CNG and that is true of the other two people I know whose inspection reports I read.

CNG puts no limits on feeding sugar syrup (despite it being a marked different pH than honey).  The president of our bee club, who urges everyone to "feed, feed, feed," and says on her application for CNG that she feeds heavily in fall and spring,  has qualified for CNG as has Jennifer Berry who feeds her bees 100% of the time, with no break, as she reported at the short course.

So I feel a little confused.  Should I apply for CNG?  My hives meet the requirements and then some, but since it appears to be simply a label implying something that isn't true, I feel somewhat hesitant.  I expect people who buy honey labeled CNG are assuming that being certified naturally grown means that nothing artificial goes into the hive - which depending on the individual beekeeper could be far from true.  These purchasers have no idea what IPM means, so CNG stands as somewhat of a misrepresentation just because of what's in the name.  (It isn't a rose.....)





Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bees at Tom's House - Second Inspection of the Year

When we first opened the hives at Tom's, we added a new 10 frame box to each hive.  These were foundationless frame boxes with one frame of drawn comb in the center of each box.

The first box has appeared to be the strongest hive so I wasn't surprised two weeks later to find that these bees had completely drawn out the new box and used all but the edge frames in the new box.


Here's what the last frame in the box looked like:
I love to watch the bees exuding wax and building the three teardrops with which they start most frames.  They are hard at work making wax and will fill it sometimes before the frame is completely filled, i.e., the queen will start laying or nectar will be stored in the teardrops before the rest of the frame has wax in it.

And then when I pulled the third frame in the box, there was Her Majesty!  I was thrilled to see her, long golden body, looking quite healthy.  And she laid an egg while I watched.  I carefully returned the frame to the hive, but not before taking several photos of her.
The second hive was built out almost as fully as the first.  They had made some crooked comb and I completely blame myself.  When you take frames out of the hive and cut out old comb, a remainder of wax is left against the wooden frame that suggests where the bees had built before.  The frames I put in these hives had been cut out but not "melted out."  

As a result, I think these bees were following the guidelines left by some previous crooked comb builders.  It only has to be a problem on one frame and then the rest follow to match the first.  So one half of this box - five frames - had crooked comb at one end.  You can see it between the hive drapes.

I hung each comb on the frame rack and worked on it there since I was alone and didn't have a helper to hold it for me.

I cut out the offending comb and then rubber-banded the comb into position.  I did something else that you are not supposed to do, but I hope helped with the situation.  When I returned the five frames to the hive, I turned every other frame opposite of the way it had been sitting so that the cut out part was against straight comb on both sides. 

This will confuse the bees as if I had rearranged their furniture without permission, but hopefully will encourage them to build straight comb.
In the photo above, you can see how the rubber bands are at opposite ends in frames 5, 4, and 3.  Hopefully this will fix the situation.

I didn't see the queen in this hive - didn't even look for her because I was doing comb repair.  But the hive looked healthy and I did see new larvae.

The hives need new boxes and Jeff has them to put on the hives on Thursday which should be finally a warm enough day to open the hives.  The foundationless frames in the new boxes have been cleaned - which means that I have dipped the frames into boiling water for 30 seconds on each end to melt the old comb patterns.  Then I have glued in popsicle sticks.  Hopefully they will not build crooked comb in these frames.

These bees are doing great and I am happy.  






Speaking to SOWEGA bee club

On Thursday, last week, I went to Albany, Georgia to speak to the SOWEGA bee club there.  They don't regularly have nonmember speakers, so I felt quite complimented that I was invited.  It's a long way from Atlanta - over three hours - so I arranged to spend the night with Bear and Marybeth Kelley who live about 45 minutes north of Albany.  Bear is the president of the Georgia Beekeepers Association and both of them are generous and very nice people.



















I talked to the bee club about using foundationless frames.  I encouraged them to try a few or a box of foundationless or at least some small experiment with foundationless frames to see how their bees did. 
















Hopefully some of them will give it a try.















Thanks to Marybeth Kelley for taking these photos.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Unnecessary Feeding of Bees in the Spring and the Backyard Beekeeper

At the February meeting of the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers, at the end of the meeting the president said as an announcement:  "If you aren't feeding your bees, you should.   Go home and feed, feed, feed."  I wasn't there for the end of the March meeting (I left a little early), but was told that again she emphasized, "Go home and FEED YOUR BEES."

At the short course in January, Jennifer Berry told the new beekeepers attending the course that at UGA they feed their bees every single day - over 500 hives.  She said, "We don't have the time to check each hives for stores so we just feed constantly all year long."

The key point that she mentioned is that they don't have time to check each hive.

When I opened my hives for the first time this year, every single one of them was bringing in nectar and storing it up.  They even had some newly capped honey.

Why would I feed those bees?

Feeding at the spring time has impact on the hive - sometimes it means the bees build up population when there may not be a nectar flow to support the build up.  The commercial beekeeper may need to do that to assure their bees are highly populated for their pollination business or the research apiarist may need to assure that their research study can have the hives available.

But the backyard beekeeper can let the bees do what they know instinctively to do - which it is to adapt to their current environment.

What if a tremendous amount of brood laying has been stimulated artificially by feeding sugar syrup and suddenly (as we are known to do in March in Atlanta) we have a cold spell?  The bees aren't able to keep that amount of brood warm and they die.

Another effect of feeding is that the bees backfill the cells available to the queen for laying and it creates the illusion that the bees don't have enough space.  So they swarm when really there was room for the queen to lay, but the beekeeper confused things by providing unnecessary sugar syrup.

At this time of year, all of the push in the beehive is for the bees to put away supplies for the winter ahead (in this case the upcoming winter eight or nine months from now).  We harvest the honey they are creating now in the early summer in Atlanta.  That honey, if the beekeeper does spring feeding when the nectar is being stored, will be in part sugar syrup.

We criticize beekeepers in China for contaminating the honey they sell with sugar syrup, among other noxious things.  How can we?  Almost every beekeeper I know in Atlanta is being told to feed their bees (and thus add sugar syrup to their honey).

Dean Stiglitz has suggested that if you want to make sure you are not harvesting honey diluted with sugar syrup, then put blue food coloring in the sugar syrup you feed your bees and if your "honey" is blue, you'll know your sugar syrup is in your "honey."

The university beekeepers are not raising their bees for honey - they are researching genetics, the varroa mite, and other things of interest to the commercial beekeeper.  They don't see a need to be careful about feeding.

The backyard beekeeper has the luxury of being able to look into every hive and determine, hive by hive, when feeding is or is not needed.

We are told that the bees use the sugar syrup for building wax and that the syrup won't show up in the honey that is stored "later."  My bees are storing honey NOW.   I would challenge our club president to put bright blue food coloring in the sugar syrup she is feeding to her bees and see if her honey is tinted blue at harvest.

I will not follow the admonition of the club president to FEED, FEED, FEED.  I do not see the point when my hives are not hungry.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Stonehurst Swarm Bees Made it Through the Winter

At Stonehurst we went into winter with two hives.  One died over the winter.  They had stores but the bees were on the frames just below all the stored honey in a smallish cluster where I'm sure they had not been able to stay warm enough.  The other hive (which is a swarm that voluntarily moved into an empty hive which had died early in the summer) is doing quite well.

I had stopped by a couple of weeks ago to take away the dead hive.  I'm going to harvest the honey from the hive that died.  Then when we get a new nuc for Stonehurst in April, I'll feed that honey to the new bees to help them get started.
























Today I went through the swarm hive to see if I could make sure they had a queen and add a box.  They went into winter in one deep and one medium.  I fed these bees bee tea (about a total of one gallon) as winter approached (at the very end of October).




These bees were not bustling like my hive at home nor like the bees at Tom's but were doing well.  There was brood on almost every frame.  I know bees are supposed to move up over the winter, but the queen had laid solidly in the bottom box and had brood, eggs, and larvae in the second box.

I had planned to add a third box and checkerboard frames up (every other frame empty in box 2 and box 3 in alternate patterns, but when I found so much brood in every frame, I decided just to add the new box with the center frame drawn comb to give them a ladder.



















The queen was laying drones in these large cells in the upper box.  Swarm season is coming.



















The bees had lots of nectar and pollen as well as eggs and brood.  I'm feeling good about how this hive survived the winter, especially since they are located behind a house and next to a fence so they have limited daylight.

Bees at Tom's - Bustling, Bursting at the Seams

Jeff and I checked on the two hives we installed in OCTOBER - remember when I bought the two hives at an auction for our bee club?  Well, I had no idea how they would do during the winter when they were installed in the hive so late in the year.

We fed these bees going into winter - we gave them five feedings of bee tea.  I think that is about 2 quarts per feeding per hive.  I didn't think we had a choice with the hives newly established at a time when NOTHING is blooming.

These hives were doing great.  The front hive was bustling and busy.  The frames were built out - all ten of them.  These bees are in a deep box with a solid bottom board.  (So far my bees that did the best over the winter are on solid bottom boards).  They overwintered in just that one box with an inner cover and a feeder over the hole in the inner cover with a surround box.  Because both hives had run out of space, they were storing both honey and drone brood in the space between the box and the inner cover on top of the frames.

The second (back) hive had not fully built out - they had a couple of plastic foundation frames on one side that they had not touched.  We still put a new box on that hive as well because about eight of the frames were built out and spring is coming fast.

We saw eggs and young larvae in both boxes but did not see the queen.  I was a little disappointed about that.  In addition to Gail and Ella (Tom's wife and daughter who both took the MABA short course in January), the neighbors and their children were all watching the process.  We didn't see any drones yet, but we saw drone brood.

We put a new box on each of these hives.  The new boxes each had foundationless frames with one solid built-out comb in the center of each new box.  These bees are bringing in nectar and raising brood, so we won't need to feed them.

We do need to add a slatted rack to each of these hives and will on our next visit.

A slideshow of what we saw and recorded is below.  I didn't take as many photos as usual because I was sort of teaching as I went. The first eight photos I took; Tom Phillips in whose yard these hives live, took the rest.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

First Chastain Hive Inspection 2014

Only one hive overwintered at Chastain.  My nuc and my unmated queen hive from the Fatbeeman (I will never recommend him to anyone again) both died/absconded before winter began and Noah's hive there died as well.

The first official hive inspection for Metro Atlanta Beekeepers was held on Saturday, March 1.  Julia was in charge of it and we had nine people coming to learn.  Some had attended the short course and others were members of MABA.

We found the hive alive and doing medium well.  It wasn't busting out of the seams as some others are right now, but there was evidence of a laying queen (we saw eggs and small larvae).  We also saw some drone brood as well as worker brood.  It was a coldish day, just barely over 50, so we worried a little about the passing around of frames, but this is a teaching hive and supposed to be a learning experience.  In other words, we probably sacrificed some brood for the experience of the participants.

One beekeeper borrowed a veil of mine and I'm embarrassed to say that there were THREE holes that I was unaware of in the veil material.  So she got a bee or two inside her veil.  It was an opportunity to show the participants how to move slowly and we were able to encourage the bees to leave with no harm to her!

If you can't see the slideshow below, here is a link to it.  Here is a slideshow of our inspection:

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