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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 17th year of beekeeping in April 2022. 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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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Now THIS is a Beard

This hive started from a package that I got from Jarrett Apiaries at the beginning of bee season.

I got home in the 90 degree June (??? - feels like August) Atlanta evening and found this hive looking like:

And when I went around to the back, there were even more bees consigned to the outside of the hive!

This is a HUGE hive and I have not opened up the screened bottom board.  I haven't done that for the last two summers.  But for this hive, I may have to.

I wanted to give them room to spread out inside the hive but it was 8 PM when I got home.  So I went out and put on two empty boxes - undrawn frames - just to give them some hangout room inside the hive.  (This hive has a slatted rack at the bottom.)

I carefully moved the top to avoid upsetting the bee beard at the back and gently put those girls on the inner cover.  Still it was hard to find a handhold.  I only got stung once in this whole maneuver, though, on the ball of my thumb.  I put the two empty boxes on and closed the hive up.

One bee seemed interested in the salty sweat on my hand:

However, as night fell, the beard was hardly disturbed and no bees appeared to go inside. I expect the space needs to be distributed throughout the hive for them to take advantage of the extra boxes I gave them. 

After a hot night, the beard was only slightly smaller this morning, but there were no bees bearding at the back of the hive.  I'll put some beer caps on the inner cover to lift it up a little and that might help as well.

The nectar flow is over and it's time to harvest and make splits. I'm not certain about this hive because at Jarrett Apiaries, they use oxalic acid, so this hive may not be able to deal with varroa mite on its own.  Still, it's such a strong hive that I will make some overwintering nucs from it for the winter.  

I'll have my work cut out for me for the next couple of weekends!


  1. precioso post, me encanta tu blog, espero te pases por el mio y te quedes!! un abrazo desde España

  2. Thank you for the hug from Spain and for reading my blog posts!

  3. Anonymous3:56 PM

    If you are a non-treatment beekeeper why do you buy bees from any commercial beekeepers?All commercial beekeepers treat their bees with something. Right or Wrong? If they tell you they don't you are being lied to. You can't take bees from a commercial beekeeper and say I am going to be a natural beekeeper--you know what I mean?

  4. Exactly - I don't buy bees typically. I thought my hives were not going to make it through the winter so I ordered two packages from Jarrett - and we were getting packages for Joe Lamp'l for Growing a Greener World from them. Slade does a good job and I don't know if his nucs are treated but they have come from bees with an oxalic treatment. Most of my hives are splits from survivor hives or swarms. These two are from Slade. We'll see how they do over the winter.

    I absolutely agree with you but there are no beekeepers of whom I am aware selling bees in Georgia who don't get their nucs from south Georgia where the bees are all treated. If I have start out with zero hives, I have to start somewhere and that's what I thought was going to be my end of winter situation. Turned out I had four hives and a nuc that made it through the winter, so I have split those and made the most of them.

  5. will they draw out the two empty boxes even though the flow is over? or is that just to give them space for air flow?

  6. They will not draw out empty frames without a nectar flow, but the frames give them hang out space and provides air flow. I also put beer caps on the corners of the inner cover to lift the top cover up just a bit and increase air flow. The beard has visibly decreased with both of those changes.


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