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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 16th year of beekeeping in April 2021. 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. 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.

Need help with an Atlanta area swarm? Visit Found a Swarm? Call a Beekeeper. (678) 597-8443

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Questions that were on my Mind as a First Year Beekeeper

As the beginning of my third year in beekeeping approaches (I started on Easter Sunday, 2006), I have been thinking about the questions I wish someone had answered for me as I got started.

One of my recent assignments was to give a presentation at the Short Course on "Bee-ing a Beekeeper" which was about my experiences and the stories of a panel of several others. I focused on the fun(ny) parts of Bee-ing a Beekeeper. I've thought about posting the PowerPoint presentation I did and then thought it wouldn't be the same without the stories to go with the pictures, but I may post it anyway.

In thinking about what I might address if I were asked again to talk about first year experiences, I generated (in no particular order) the questions that were on the top of my mind when I got started. They are:
  • How hard is it to put together a hive box?
  • What do you use to light a smoker?
  • How do you put the bees in the hive and what are the scary parts?
  • How do you deal with your neighbors?
  • What is it like to be stung the first time?
  • How much is the initial investment and do you have to have an extractor?
  • Will you have enough wax the first year to make candles?
  • What's the purpose of a hive inspection and how hard is it to do one?
  • What are the most confusing parts of the first year of beekeeping?
I think I'll post on these questions over the next few weeks as many people begin their beekeeping experience for the first time. I've recently addressed how to build a hive box and how to deal with your neighbors. Stay tuned for posts on the rest of these questions.


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  2. Hi Linda. I've been a reader of your blog (from Duluth, Ga) for a couple of months now, and it has been a wonderful source of information as well as a very fun read.

    I have never had a hive, so I'm trying to get as much information before I jump into it. Your blog has helped. I have a question about keeping bees during the Georgia summers (since you are answering some questions about the first year experience). :)

    Are there any precautions you have to take because of the high temperatures and humidity? I always imagine a picture of what happens to my chapstick after I've left it in the car during a hot summer day, and I was wondering if a similar situation can happen to the hive during our summers.

    Has our weather caused any problems for your hives during the summer?

  3. Hi Will,

    The bees keep the inside of the hive at 92 degrees (approximately) during the summer. In winter they keep the cluster at 92. Sometimes it gets so hot in Hotlanta that they send bees outside to spend the night on the outside of the hive in order to keep the temperature "low" enough inside the hive during hot weather. If you'll search my blog for "bee beard" you'll see pictures of what they do. Inside they are fanning their wings to ventilate and keep the hives at the optimum temperature. I try to help them by keeping screened bottom boards open on my hives, using slatted racks to allow more inside-the-hive ventilation and by propping the top of the hive open with a stick (pretty sophisticated, huh?!?!) Wax melts at approximately 140 degrees, so the hive doesn't allow the inside temperature to get to that, even in Florida or Hotlanta.


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