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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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Friday, May 20, 2016

Crossword puzzle about Hive Inspections

Just for fun, I did a crossword on hive inspections that I plan to put in the GBA Newsletter, but I thought I'd put it here as well for your fun and games:

If you'd like to work it online, here's the link.
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8
9 10
11 12 13
14 15 16
17 18
19 20
22 23 24
25 26
27 28 29
Hive inspections
Seeing these on an
inspection lets you know
without having to see her
that the queen is alive and
doing well
What it feels like a ten frame
deep full of honey weighs
Used to make the bees think
there is a forest fire
If the temperature outside is
under 60 it is probably too
___ to open your hive for an
What's left in the smoker
when the pine straw is all
burned up
Sometimes you need to use
this tool to get the bees o
of a frame for easier
Another name for a hive
Some beekeepers just use
one pu of smoke at the hive
entry to greet the bees and
say __
If you see a small hive
beetle, _____ it with your hive
In an inspection you place
the top cover upside down
on the ground so you can
stack the boxes __ it as you
remove them from the hive
Really thick honey does not
pour quickly out of the cell
but is more likely to do this
When the beekeeper sees
this in the cells, he/she feels
great if there are multiple
A term to describe how bees
make honeycomb on
This or other varieties of this
substance can be used to
refill small hive beetle traps
during an inspection
If you use hive drapes, you
should pick tightly woven
material. Bees have hair all
over their bodies and are
likely to get caught in the
material if it is nappy or
The drone is not a girl.
Instead the drone is a ___
State that is the largest
source of package bees in
the country
The last three letters of the
protective headgear worn
during an inspection
Description of slime left by
small hive beetle
Bees typically land in the
entry and walk in__ their hive
We want to find in our
inspection that the hive is __
It's better for your hive to
face east or southeast than
this direction
What the queen is to the
bees in the hive
When you hurry and ____
through an inspection, you
are likely to miss something
important or to make a costly
error like dropping a frame
Collect this to melt and make
hive products
An essential implement to do
a hive inspection
Term for larvae
If you only see drone brood
in an inspection, you may
have a _______ queen
The key to a successful hive
inspection is to move ______.
Delicious product of a strong
The drone is not the Mama
of the bees but when he
mates with the queen, he
becomes the __.
If you break open a lot of
honeycomb during an
inspection, you invite other
bees to do this to the hive
you are inspecting
An abbreviation for
Tennessee apiary! Or when
you close up the hive at the
end of an inspection, you
might say, __dah!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Beekeeper's Car and the Parking Attendant

A friend of mine and I eat lunch every other Wednesday. Today we met at a restaurant where you have to valet park. We had a delicious lunch and at the end of lunch, we walked down to the valet stand and each handed the attendant our claim tickets.

Moments later David's car arrived; he got in it and rode away. The people behind me got their car; the people standing in back of them got their car. Mine had yet to appear.

Finally my car arrived from the parking deck. The attendant jumped out out of the car, and two bees flew out with him.

"M'am," he said, "There are bees in your car!"

My guess is that he arrived to get my car and saw bees on the driver's side window. He waited, hoping they would move, but when they didn't, he screwed his courage to the sticking place and finally got in anyway. Of course, he arrived with my car and without any stings, but he probably felt insecure for the whole fifty feet of the drive!

I told him that I was a beekeeper and that there are almost always bees in my car at this time of year. He and the other attendants, listening in, looked shocked and then laughed.

I haven't mentioned yet that last night my friend Gina gave me a swarm that she collected. I drove over to her house to get it at 7:15 last night and took it straight to the Stonehurst Inn where the I-Beam swarm had absconded. I have been desperate to get bees for them and was delighted to get the swarm.

I installed the swarm in the hive at Stonehurst, but as usual when one installs a swarm, some of the bees remained in the original cardboard nuc box in which Gina had dumped them.

Hive box ready for the dumping of the cardboard nuc box.

The bees are in this cardboard nuc box.

I'm ready to put the cover over the hive when I realized two things: there were bees clustered on the outside of the top box just beneath the edge of the inner cover on both the front and back of the hive.
I had put the nuc from which they came in front of the hive, but nobody was using the front door. 

Often when you install a swarm, the rest of the bees will just file in the entrance to join the queen. Not these bees.

So I shook and brushed the excess bees onto the inner cover. I used my bee brush to gently roll the bees on the upper edges of the top box up and onto the inner cover.

I noticed bees with their bottoms in the air, signaling to their sisters that the queen was in the hive. That felt comforting but the lack of use of the front door was distressing to me, since the I-Beam swarm hadn't taken to these quarters. 

The bees began to treat the hole in the inner cover as their entry and started moving into it. I love to watch the process - it's like a slow moving river of bees.

To me this view from farther back gives you the feel of the move to the center hole. To get this moving flow of bees, I had shaken the cardboard box, shaken the empty box I had used as a pouring funnel, and brushed the bees off of the hive sides to the top. 

Although typically I would have left the cardboard nuc until the next day, I wanted to return it to Gina because the restaurant where I ate lunch was close to her house. Also it was supposed to pour rain today and I didn't want the box to get ruined. I took the cardboard box (with the few remaining fifteen or so bees) to my car. 

Thus the adventure was created for the parking attendant! 

I was so concerned after the I-Beam swarm absconded. I returned to Stonehurst tonight to check and indeed, the bees had found the front entrance and were using it well. Typically I put in an entrance reducer, but decided to leave this one wide open for now. I can reduce the entrance in the next week's visit.

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