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

Want to Pin this post?

Friday, June 27, 2014

And About the Neighbors.......

The house next door to me has been on the market and vacant for about a year.  Other houses in my area of Atlanta sell the minute they are put on the MLS, but not this one.  It's a really pretty house, but needs updating and has an odd floor plan that doesn't work well for children - at least that's why the realtor told me it has taken so long to sell.

I'm currently renovating my kitchen and since my house is very tiny, I've moved to the finished attic to live for the forever number of weeks it is taking to finish the job.  So a few days ago, I was sitting on my upstairs bed, talking to my friend Gina on the phone, and gazing out the window at the roof peak at the side of my house.  As I am watching the exterior of the house next door, I realized I was looking at what may be honey bees flying in and out above a second floor dryer vent.

The dryer vent looks like it is on the second floor and as you can see is rather high up since the house has a basement, a first floor and then the dryer vent.

I don't have a powerful enough zoom on my camera to get a clear picture of the insects flying in and out, but they do act like honey bees.

When we were little my Daddy used to say a poem to us:

"Whatcha' want?"
"I see a bear..."
"Big bear or a little bear?"
"Little biddy bear."
"Eat grass and watch him"
"Whatcha' want?"
"I see a bear..."
"Big bear or a little bear?"
"Run for your life, run for your life!!!!!"

I keep thinking about this as I watch the bees flying in and out of the hole entry above the dryer vent.  Do I eat grass and watch 'em or do I call the realtor and tell her the news.  You can see the hole entry above and to the left of the center of the dryer vent.

I have tried to photograph the insects with both my phone and my camera but neither have the necessary zoom capacity.

So a couple of days ago, I called the realtor.  I told her I thought there might be honey bees living above the dryer vent.  I told her that there are five beekeepers within a block of my house and although I thought they were honey bees, they were not likely to be my honey bees since bees when they swarm to a new home, generally go at least a mile away if they can.  I gave her the names and numbers of three master beekeepers I know who do bee removals.  I also offered my phone number for the owner (whom I don't know - the house was rented when I moved in next door) in case he had questions.  I hung up relieved but still a little wary.

Finally this morning I decided to take a pair of binoculars upstairs and look out of the window.  I think these might NOT be honey bees but rather yellow jackets.  One view through the binoculars looked like their bodies were more yellow than orange and more pointed at the end than the bee.  I am giving you a blurry photo which is the best I can do so you can see what YOU think!

When I talked to the realtor, she told me the house was pending contract, waiting on the inspection and the loan.  She commented that the inspection had already happened and the inspector did not notice the insect activity.

At least it has me thinking about the new neighbors and I will certainly take them honey when they move in and possibly (as one of my friends suggested) my Canadian honey buttermilk rolls!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Good Use for the Boardman Feeder

At this time of year, feeding the bees is not something anyone needs to do.  The bees in Atlanta are at the end of the nectar flow, but there is still some nectar to be had.  I haven't fed any bees this year in 2014.  All of my new hives were either nucs and were installed while we were having a nectar flow or the hives had overwintered and were just fine and not starving.

The Boardman feeder is particularly dangerous to use because it is like a billboard on the front of the hive screaming, "EAT HERE.  FREE FOOD!"

It's an invitation to robbing and that is a disheartening thing to happen to a beehive.

Last year at the Morningside Community Garden, we got complaints that my bees were showing up to take a swim at the neighbors' swimming pool.  They have a pool just over the fence from the beehives.  It's like Mr. McGregor's Garden - the bees feel tempted by the chlorinated water and are determined to visit the pool for a treat.  Only instead of going through a hole in the fence like Peter Rabbit, they fly right over it!

So to solve the problem last year, I put Boardman feeders on the front of both hives.  I filled the feeders with water, each with a drop of Clorox in it.  The bees got their water happily from the Boardman's and the neighbor complaints disappeared.

Since that worked so well last year, I've done it again on the Morningside hives.

So far, we haven't heard from the neighbors.  I was away a couple of weeks ago and as I drove home I noticed that the top was off of the hive with the blue markings.  I walked up to check and found the top on the ground at the bottom of the hill.  The hives look in this photo as if they are on flat ground, but actually they are at the top of a hill, the dropoff for which is right by the blackberry bushes on the back left.  

The top was lying face down at the foot of the hill about 15 feet below.  The hive was intact with the inner cover still tightly propolized.  I expect a storm blew the top off, but it seemed weird that it was located where the wheelbarrow and other equipment is kept and not directly below the hive on the ground.  

So far it hasn't happened again, so I feel sure it was the wind.  Maybe someone saw the top and just moved it with the rest of the equipment????

Friday, June 13, 2014

Honey Moon - Tonight, Friday the 13th

I saw this on Facebook (I do go there sometimes) and on the Weather Channel.  Thought you'd like to know:

Here's the link!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Amazing Gift for My Crush and Strain Honey

My friend, Bear Kelley, president of the Georgia Beekeepers Association, made me a gift.    I was talking to him about the difficulty of getting an effective pestle for crush and strain honey.  I have been using the same two since I began and they are small with the then requirement of lots of crushing.

I told him that when I was at the Chimneyville Crafts Fair in Jackson, Mississippi in December, I had asked a Mississippi craftsman to make one for me.  That one had a larger surface area but the handle had a pointed tip and over time, really hurt my hand.

Bear came to the rescue and made me a gorgeous honey crusher.  He hand-turned it out of southern pecan - more fitting than he knew because the southern pecan has had quite a role in my life.  My parents lived on land with giant southern pecan trees.  I remember feeling frightened as I watched the tall trees bend and parts of them break off in the hurricanes that came up the river from New Orleans to my hometown of Natchez.

Then when I was a senior, I asked my father if I could buy a class ring.  He said a class ring was a complete waste of money and if I wanted one, I'd have to earn the $50 that it cost by myself.  So I picked up pecans under those trees on our land and sold them to a pecan packing plant.  I quickly learned that I could make more money if I sold them shelled, so I became an expert at getting the shells and the bitter interior lining off of the meat of the pecan.  I earned my $50 and got my class ring - and as my father predicted - never wore it.

So southern pecan is a part of my history and actually represents hard work to me, so it is fitting that Bear's honey crusher is made of pecan and I will be using it to work to get the honey out of the honey comb.

Before he gave it to me, he entered it in a honey contest where he won a blue ribbon for his efforts.
After the contest, he branded it with his name Bear in the top of the handle.

Thanks, Bear - I'm SO EXCITED to have this lovely piece and to get to use it.

Pin this post


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...