So we were lucky to hear him on February 11 (I'm late posting this) go through a calendar of the beekeeping year in Georgia and hear how he thinks about his bees each month.
Some things he shared that spoke to me:
- In Georgia in a reasonable year, we can expect to get around 50 pounds of honey per hive.
- The average honey yield in the Southeast is 30 pounds per hive; the average honey yield in the United States is 52 pounds per hive.
- The beehive should be boiling over with bees at the beginning of the honey flow.
- He uses the slatted rack for ventilation in his hives (I think he and I are the only beekeepers in Metro who do!)
- Hives need more ventilation at the top than at the entrance.
- A hive tool
- A frame grip
- A veil
- A smoker
- A propane torch
- Bee brush
- An ice pick (?) - yeah, me too. So I asked him what he used it for and he said to enlarge the holes in frames when he wanted to wire them.
- A frame tool - see pictures below
- A fume board
- Bee quick
- A refractometer
- A leaf blower
- A wheelbarrow
The tool seen above and below is an actual tool. It's sold by Dadant and others. Dadant calls it a frame cleaner.
Jerry uses it to clean out the groove in the frame - a real boon if you are using starter strips as I do.
Jerry also provided us with a list of websites he finds useful as beekeeping resources. Here they are:
Metro Atlanta Beekeepers
Randy Oliver's Scientific Beekeeping
Georgia Master Beekeeping lecture notes
Beesource discussion forum
The Bee-L Listserv
Purdue Beekeeping publications
US Dept of Agriculture
Ohio State's Honeybee Lab page
Walt Wright's Articles
His calendar for Georgia:
Repair and paint equipment
Mid February feed 1:1 sugar syrup to encourage brood rearing
Get swarms - usually these begin with the first day of spring
Set out swarm lure hives
Check the queen's laying patterns
Probably need to add a box at the end of March
Showed a diagram of Walt Wright's swarm management configuration
Add supers as needed - one at a time for undrawn foundation, all at once if drawn comb
First week in May is the best week to produce comb honey
When bees are on the purple coneflower, we're at the end of the flow in Georgia
The best hives have 8 - 10 frames of bees going into the winter.