I was asked to be a part of an educational resource website, Twinkl, in an article about the honey bee and other bees. Here it is, if you'd like to see. The resources on the page are fantastic and really helpful to students meeting the honey bee for the first time.
Welcome - Explore my Blog
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. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.
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Saturday, May 22, 2021
My friend Kathy Bourn sent me this video which is very heartening if you want to be a treatment free beekeeper. I haven't treated in my entire sixteen years of beekeeping but this guy doesn't treat and does research to support what is happening with his bees:
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
A little less than a week ago, I was meeting with the inspector from the Department of Agriculture to help him explore the pesticide kill at my community garden hive.
Today I went to the garden to check out the other hive there and to put some swarm lure on the hives there. There are two empty hives - one that hasn't had a hive in it this year and the dead hive. When I arrived, this is what I saw:
Hope for the future!
There are so many other living spaces they could pick but just in general it feels good to think they are considering our community garden as a living space. I would be so, so happy if a swarm moved in.
Sunday, May 09, 2021
The horror of a pesticide kill is extensive. It starts when you see the basketball sized pile of bees dead outside the hive; it continues when you smell the stench of hot dead bee bodies; and it gets worse when you find even more dead bees on the screened bottom board of the hive. I went through all of this when my best hive was killed last week.
The first step was to recognize the reality of the death of the hive. I just didn't want to believe it and took off box after box and looked at frame after frame, hoping it wasn't true. The hive had almost three full boxes of bright white new wax filled with nectar and some capped honey. The hive beetles had begun their opportunistic sliming of the lower boxes, also with some nectar-filled frames. UGHHH.
The next important step was to report the kill. I felt a little reluctant - what were the officials to do? Bees fly three to six miles for nectar and the source of the poison could be anywhere. But my friends urged me to report the kill. In Georgia, this means contacting the Department of Agriculture and filling out a form.
However, the form is designed for farmers and not for beekeepers. Here's the link, if you are in Georgia. Here is the form - the required responses are starred:
Here are the dead bees on the screened bottom board.
Wednesday, May 05, 2021
I posted this on Next Door in my neighborhood. I don't think it will have impact, but at least I get the opportunity to complain about the people who disregard the importance of pollinators.
Saturday, May 01, 2021
On Saturday, I installed two nucs of bees with Megan McCloskey, the science and nature person at SPARK, on the rooftop garden. We've had bees there for six or so years, but the hives died when we couldn't take care of them during COVID when we weren't allowed in the school. It was great to put bees back there again. They won't produce honey this year but maybe we can get them up and running well enough to make it through the winter.
Sunday, April 25, 2021
Yelp sponsors "Events" on a local and a national level. The events coordinator for Atlanta spoke with the president of my local bee club, Metro Atlanta Beekeepers, and they decided that it would be fun and a good thing for bees and beekeeping to offer an event about beekeeping to help educate the public about the honey bee.
Before I knew it, I had a phone call with Christina Venditti, the events coordinator for the Atlanta Yelp, and we decided I would present an urban beekeeping educational event that she would advertise nationwide on Yelp.
So if you know someone who would like to learn more about the honey bee, here's the link for the virtual event that is happening on April 28 at 6:30 PM. I'll present a talk with slides on the honey bee and it should be both fun and educational.
See you on the 28th!
Monday, April 19, 2021
Thursday, April 15, 2021
This inspection was full of problems (including a bad mic in the first segment resulting in cutting some of the video). Here it is nonetheless, because all beekeepers have not the greatest days sometimes, so I'm glad to share.
Sunday, April 11, 2021
While kids were scampering through yards looking for Easter eggs, I was inspecting the hives at the community garden. I began beekeeping on Easter Sunday in 2006. Seems just right that I am inspecting hives in 2021 on Easter Sunday!
Lots of interesting events during this inspection. We move frames with queen cells to a queen castle and deal with a queenless (apparently) top bar hive at the very end with an interesting solution to the issue. Enjoy!
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
In our second virtual hive inspection this year at the Morningside Community Garden, we saw the queen!!!
Thursday, March 18, 2021
I presented my first virtual hive inspection of the year to the MABA bee registrants last night. While you don't get the benefit of the Q&A or the discussions, here it is, if you would like to watch it.
Friday, March 12, 2021
Yesterday I baited every empty hive I have in hopes that this year bees will find me, as they do most years. Here's the recipe for almost-never-fail swarm lure:
1 square inch cube of beeswas
1/4 cup olive oil
15 - 20 drops of lemongrass oil.
Put the oil in a glass container and drop in the beeswax cube:
Let it cool a bit before adding the lemongrass oil so it doesn't immediately evaporate. I have my container sitting on a piece of marble which cools it off quickly. After 3 - 4 minutes, then I add the lemongrass oil.
Now smear it on the hive at the upper edge of the entrance, around the inner cover, and on the tops of a few frames.
And wait for scout bees to find your hive and entice their sisters to move in!
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
It will be worth getting up on Saturday morning to hear Jack Rowe of Auburn talk about pesticides. Jack is talking about how we as beekeepers deal with the pesticides that come into our beekeeping life from outside our beehives - like our neighbors spraying RoundUp or agricultural farms next door to our apiaries. His talk is engaging and really worth hearing. Later in the day he is speaking on how to Bee a Good Neighbor. Here he is:
Jay Evans from the Beltsville, MD bee lab will speak to us on how to tackle the issue of stress in our bee colonies and later in the day, he'll talk about novel treatments for bee diseases. I've heard him speak on three different topics at EAS a couple of years ago and thought he was such a great and engaging speaker.