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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.

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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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Friday, May 06, 2016

Safety First in Beekeeping or Where has my Girl Scout Training Gone?

When I was a Girl Scout and later as an adult, when I was a Girl Scout leader, we always emphasized fire safety. Building a fire meant clearing an area of combustible material and taking every precaution to make sure fires could not spread from the site of the fire we built.

As a beekeeper, I have been working my bees for eleven years without paying good attention to my smoker. I light it on top of beds of pine straw; I set it down amid combustible material on the ground; I am simply ignoring all the possible dangers.

The President of GBA (the Georgia Beekeepers Association) several years ago literally burned up her apiary - hives and everything - from not being careful with her smoker.

Jeff, my son-in-law, was helping me at Tom's house where we light the smoker on top of the pine straw Tom has strewn over his hillside. 



I told Jeff about Tom bringing out a GIANT fire extinguisher the last time I had worked the bees there. I mean, look at that photo - it's a conflagration about to happen! But Tom's fire extinguisher is huge and heavy and I can't imagine lugging it about in my hive kit.

So the next time I saw Jeff, he had gotten me a present:


It's a fire extinguisher in a small can - a fabulous thing to have in my hive kit. I will never go to a beehive without it again. So grateful to have a son-in-law looking out for my bee-ing safely.

I hope I never have a reason to try it out, but if I do, like a good Girl Scout, I am now prepared.

4 comments:

  1. Oohh, that's a great idea. You can never be too safe. It's always better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.

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  2. Please remove the pine straw from around your hives. I can't think of any worse thing to have near a hive.You will be concentrating on the hives & by the time you see a fire it will be too late for that little extinguisher to do any good. If the fire moves under a hive it will go up as an uncontrollable torch from the wax.That little can is false security and the equivalence of bringing a pocket knife to a gun fight. Best clean up the apiary. A pound of prevention and all that! Re-read your first paragraph!
    All the best!!

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  3. Thanks for the heads up. That is actually someone else's yard. My own hives are on concrete with no pine straw around. I will be extra careful when I'm at Tom's though. Forewarned is forearmed

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  4. Janet Wilson11:54 AM

    Thanks Linda! I need something just like that for extra safety when the students work their student hives in the summer. We put concrete blocks beside each hive as a smoker rest, and had a stack of coffee sacks and a tote of water in the apiary in case of fire, but we've had extremely hot, dry summers lately with another on the way, and it is only a matter of time till someone starts a fire! We always want to be sure the apiary is prepared. I will get some Tinda right away.

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