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.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Winter Solstice - the Shortest Day of the Year

I try to post on this every year because I find it so phenomenal.  In the dark depths of the beehive, I hope my bees are alive and making it through what has already been an unusually cold winter in Atlanta.  On warmish days most of my hives are flying.  I've learned not to assume those who are not flying are dead-outs until later in the winter because if they have stores, sometimes they aren't flying and are still doing fine.

Today is a turn-around time for bees and all of us.  From now until the Summer Solstice on June 21st, the days begin to extend in length.  I don't know how the queen bee knows this in her life of darkness.  Inside the hive, she has no idea if the sun set early or late; if the day was short or long.  But somehow she senses it and on the Winter Solstice, her biology tells her that it is time to start her spring build-up.
From today, the queen will gradually start laying more eggs and begin to raise bees who will increase the hive numbers so that when the nectar flow begins, the hive is truly ready with the bee numbers needed to gather stores for the winter.

That's all the bee is really about, isn't it?  She lives to gather nectar and make honey so that her hive can survive the winter.  We beekeepers take what we deem to be the surplus honey and hope to have left the bees enough to feed themselves and the developing young through the winter.  But all we are doing with our honey harvest is interrupting a process of supply buildup that is the cycle of life in the beehive.

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