Welcome - Explore my Blog

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.

Need help with an Atlanta area swarm? Visit Found a Swarm? Call a Beekeeper. ‪(404) 482-1848‬

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nice parts of the blog in 2007

I've enjoyed keeping this blog so much.

People have written me from all over the world - both in comments on the blog itself and in email behind the scenes.

This blog has had 37,344 hits so far this year (and there will be between 60 - 100 more tomorrow).

The most popular places people go to on this blog (besides the first page) are:

Outside of views on the blog, on Google's YouTube, the crush and strain honey video has been viewed 811 times, the solar wax melter video has been viewed 782 times, the chunk honey video has been viewed 488 times and the small hive beetle trap 495 times.

Perhaps the biggest compliment on the blog came from Bee Culture magazine in October 2007 when my blog was featured first in an article on Blogs and Web Pages. I was completely surprised and found out about it through a post someone put on Beemaster! I scanned the page so that you can see it if you don't subscribe to the magazine.

As a beginning beekeeper, it is my pleasure to share my trials and tribulations, catastrophes and triumphs with all of you.

Thank you for reading my blog in 2007.

See you next year!

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Good news! The Bees in Both hives are alive and flying

When the temperature hit 50 degrees (F) this morning, the bees started flying out of both hives. We are supposed to have a high in the 60s today so they should have some time to do cleansing flights and carry out the dead.

I even noticed a bee bringing in pollen. The only thing blooming around my house is a Camellia Sasanqua. The Sasanqua blooms in early winter and the one in my yard is blooming a lot right now. I guess that's where she got it - the pollen looks like what I see in the plant.

The first two pictures are from Bermuda. The second two are from Mellona. In the first Mellona picture, one bee is trying to convince another bee that she is dying and should be carried away.

There is less activity at Mellona, but it has always been a smaller and more tranquil hive than Bermuda.

Well, at least for the moment, I am relieved that all seems well in my bees' world.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Short Course in Beekeeping at Metro Atlanta Beekeepers

There's not much news on the beefront. My bees are clustered, it's cold in Atlanta, the hives are heavy and there's nothing new to report.

Everyone that I have given lip balm to is ecstatic about it - which makes my day.

So I decided I should post about the short course that is being offered by the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association. If any of you are close to the Atlanta area, the course is a great one. After I took the course I bought bees, joined the club and started my blog.

Here's the link to the short course.

You'll notice if you click on the agenda that I am one of the presenters - that doesn't mean I'm an expert - in fact I'm doing a little presentation with some other beginning beekeepers to help me on the trials and tribulations (and hilarity) of the process of beginning beekeeping.

If you sign up, please tell them that you heard about it from me!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Holiday Party

The Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association Holiday party was held at the Atlanta Botanical Garden (where we have our monthly meetings) on December 12. Below is a slideshow of snapshots from the event. A great time was had by all!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Learning about Lip Balm

I made my first attempt at making lip balm today and it turned out OK - not great, but I learned a lot. Here's what I did:

1. I bought Coconut oil (organic and virgin) from the Internet
2. I bought 100 containers from the Internet and some from the Container store
3. I bought 1" circular mirrors from EBay
4. I followed the recipe in Kim Flottum's book: The Backyard Beekeeper.
5. I weighed and melted the wax
6. I put the glass jar of coconut oil into a boiling water bath to melt it
7. When both were melted and both were 150 degrees F, I stirred them together.

Now the problems start. The recipe said to take the mixture off of the heat and stir in the vanilla and honey. As soon as I took the mixture off of the heat, it started solidifying. I poured in the honey and vanilla but they never really mixed well despite my using a whisk.

So I put the glass measuring cup with the mixture in it on top of one of the boiling water baths with the burner turned off and the mixture came together much better. I filled the containers by using a syringe that the pharmacist at Target gave me. I put the container filled cookie sheet right beside the boiling water bath on top of which sat the balm mixture so that it wouldn't solidify before getting into the container.

Filling the containers wasn't easy - somewhat messy, but I succeeded in filling 90 small containers and five larger ones. As they cooled I realized that in about 20 of them, the honey/vanilla mixture was on the bottom of the lip balm and that those would not be usable because there was liquid below the balm mixture.

I don't know if I can wash and re-use these containers - I hope so - it's a lot of effort if I have to throw out 20 of them.

My camera lens had a smudge on it, but I made a slide show anyway to show you the pictures:

Checking on the Bees

I had two jars of heavy sugar syrup ready and decided to put them on the hives today.

If you don't believe in global warming, you should come to Atlanta. It hasn't been significantly cold yet although we did have a couple of below-freezing nights. Today it is 78 degress - horrors - and it's supposedly winter. I've lived here since 1979 and each winter seems significantly warmer.

The temperature roller coaster is confusing to the bees who are flying today, as one might expect.

I opened Mellona (first picture) to find the feeding bag I had left earlier was completely empty, so I replaced it with a feeding jar with holes punched in the top. I didn't make up feeding bags this time, although Jennifer Berry swears by them, because the last time I put a feeding baggie in the hive when I came back it had 15 dead bees inside it.

In Bermuda I was surprised to find a huge palmetto cockroach in residence - see him at the upper right corner? The bees were ignoring both me and the roach. I brushed a few bees aside and gave them a jar for feeding as well. It was too tall for the empty super that is on the hive so I found another empty super and added it to Bermuda to accommodate the feeder jar.

While I was fooling with the bees, I added water to their water source. With the terrible drought we are enduring (did someone say global warming?) this may be their only source of water. I don't even know if bees take in water during the winter, but I don't want to neglect them in any way this year - I can't stand to think of my bees who died last winter from beekeeper neglect.
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