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, June 19, 2016

How is Honey Made by the Bee? Spoiler Alert: It isn't Vomit...

At the Carter Center on Saturday at the Butterfly Trail Discovery Day, I had to field questions over and over about how the bees produce honey. People wanted to know if the bee vomited the nectar from a stomach.

I had to explain that although I do have a friend in West Palm who calls his apiary Bee Barf Apiary, in fact, the honey bee has an entirely separate honey pouch or stomach in which she carries her nectar. Her digestive organs are different from the place where the nectar goes. I felt clumsy in my explanation.

I have just read this article, however, which is the clearest explanation I have ever read of how the nectar is carried by the bee, how the nectar turns into honey, and how the digestive tract is separate from the honey processing part of the bee. You can read the article here.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mrs. Rosalynn Carter Becomes a Beekeeper and I was THERE!

Today at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Rosalyn Carter had an event to encourage the perpetuation of monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Holly Bayendor, the president of the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers, asked me and my friend and neighbor beekeeper, Curt Barrett to join her to represent MABA at the festival called the Butterfly Trail Discovery Day.

We had a table with Holly's observation hive and some beekeeping items. All day children and their parents stopped by to ask all about the bees. We tried to answer their questions, looked for the queen in Holly's observation hive (her husband, Jeff, was the best at finding her majesty), and handed out information about MABA's junior beekeeping program.

The highlight of the day was when Mrs. Carter came to our area to go into the hives that are resident at the Carter Center. These hives were started late last summer, so while this is technically one of the hives' second year, really they are new hives.

Mrs. Carter said that she felt a little nervous but she had promised her grandchildren that she would go into the hives. The photos below are the ones I took today and some that my nephew, Ben Tillman, and his wife, Stacy, took when I was lucky enough to be next to Mrs. Carter.

When Mrs. Carter was trying to get the gloves on, I was right across from her and said, "It's one of the difficulties in beekeeping - the small size is small for men." She looked up and saw me and said, "I like your shirt!"  Made my day!

Curt demonstrating how he has to hold his extractor when he turns it!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Bees in Bedford

I'm at a professional conference in Bedford, Pennsylvania at the Omni Bedford Springs resort. As I drove in I saw this old style building with bright blue beehives behind it. Later that day I stopped, pulled my car off of the road and walked over to take their photo.

I stopped at the concierge desk to ask about hiking trails. I wanted to find a way to walk to the beehives. The young man said, "You're a beekeeper?" He wanted to know why bees were dying, etc. 

He told me that last year was the first year the hotel had had bees and they had all died over the winter. He said that these are Russian bees since they have been told that they are hardier. 

I have seen bees on many flowers growing on the property and flowers are blooming everywhere. They are feeding these bees sugar syrup...as nectar is flowing. I guess their beekeeper has also been schooled to "feed, feed, feed" regardless of the nectar. It does mean that their honey will be laced with sugar syrup.

I did see lots of bees on the property gathering nectar:

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