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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. 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.

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.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

A sad winter's tale of bees

Note: Originally the pictures didn't show up in this post. I've had a terrible time since Google went out of Beta for their Blogger program. When I post pictures through Google's Picasa program, they don't show up here online. I tried today and with some effort (and signing in to my blog site numerous times) I have finally managed to get the pictures onto this posting and to make some new posts as well.

We have the luxury in Atlanta of winters that are often quite mild. This winter has been one of the mildest in memory - and I've lived here since 1978. However, we've had several days in a row when the night temperature is 25 degrees and then the temperature in the daytime rises to the 50s. I've seen very little bee activity.

Suddenly yesterday the temperature rose to 60 degrees and the mortician bees went to work. Since my hives are on the deck, the bodies are obvious and not hidden by grass. I opened the hives today and know that the bees are well and active, but the sight of this many bodies all of a sudden was disturbing. The bodies on the landing are dead bees as well as all those bodies on the deck.

Here's a closer view of the bodies in front of Bermuda.
Today there was a lot of bee activity around 3 PM but the skies clouded up and the bees went back indoors to huddle. It will not be as cold tonight (expected low of 40 degrees F) so there may be even more housecleaning tomorrow.

The bodies look so sad to me - their little eyes are still shining and often as in the picture above their wings are outstretched but they are as dead as can be and are just waiting for the wren who likes to eat them. Today I saw a downy woodpecker leave the nearby pinetree which grows through a hole in my deck and land on the deck itself to feast on dead bees.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Beekeeping Short Course at Botanical Garden

Last year I got started with my bees by taking the "short course" offered by what is now my beekeeping group: the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers. This year the short course is on

Saturday, January 20,
from 8:30 - 4:30
at the
Atlanta Botanical Garden
1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E
Atlanta, Ga 30309

The course is great to help you get started in beekeeping. I learned how to build the parts of the hive that are essential (how to put together a frame, for example); how to think about the year in the apiary; how to consider handling various pests and bee diseases; when and how to feed the bees; when the honey flow starts; the biology of the bee; and all about pollination (did you know that 80% of what we eat is in some way dependent on bees to pollinate some plant involved in that product?)

There are also great door prizes and lots of them. Last year I won a complete set of deep super frames (looked like a pile of specially cut wood to me, but they were easy to construct and quite helpful). I'm one of those people who never wins anything, but I did at the short course as well as did many others.

My job for the club is to put together the Goody Bag for the course. We do have lots of goodies - from tiny jars of honey put up by one of our members, PN Williams, to literature from the National Honey Board and the Georgia Dept of Agriculture.

If there are any of you out there who'd like to come, here's where you register. A day of bee education like this is not to be missed!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Birds and the Bees

In the circle of life, everything in nature is part of a great life/death cycle. During warmer days (of which we have had many in Atlanta) the bees clean out the hives and leave the dead bodies on the ground a short distance from the hive. By having my hives on the deck, I can see the collection of bodies. To see them better, click on the picture above to enlarge it.

A wren has a feast on my deck, eating the bee bodies. I tried and tried to get her picture while she was out on the deck, but my camera against the glass of the door always startled her. She ran to safety under one of the hives. If you look closely (or click to enlarge) the picture above, you can see her. She is to the right of the space beneath the hive and her little eye is glistening. She enjoyed the dead bees to her fullest!
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Beekeeping Christmas ornaments

This year three friends gave me beekeeping ornaments for my tree. The first is a female beekeeper angel! This is wonderful because I used to have an "angel" tree. You can see her veil, her wings, and the skep in her hand.

The second ornament is a beekeeping glove with a beehive in the hand and a bee on top of the glove.

The third is this wonderful "Bee Merry" message

All of these ornaments certainly made my Christmas a merrier one.
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