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

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Thursday, March 28, 2024

Capturing My Own Swarming Bees and Installing them in a Hive

 One of my own hives tried to swarm two days ago. They swirled all over the yard and were landing in all kinds of places. I think the queen didn't go with them. I also wondered if they may have confused a virgin queen leaving for a mating flight with a message about time to swarm. But the queen may also have just not been persuaded to leave the hive. This hive has been wanting to swarm all spring.

I watch the hive for the rest of the day but it never swarmed. Then the next day it poured rain all day and no bees were flying. So on the 27th (the following day), I went to walk my dog and when I returned a swarm had obviously emerged from a hive while I was gone. I assume it was the swarm-defeated hive from a couple of days previous.

I captured the swarm easily (it was just at my right height for a capture) and installed it at the community garden where I have no hives so far this year. 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Painting Hive Boxes Efficiently

 I do this every year so decided to include it in my beekeeping tips on YouTube and to share it here:

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Swarm Lure Attracts HUGE Swarm

 Yesterday I came home from the mountains around 4 PM. I was sitting in my den when I felt bored and thought I'll do this same work out on my deck. I stepped outside into a whirling mass of bees. A swarm was moving into my top bar hive.

Last week, I was sure a swarm had already moved in because there were so many bees flying in and out of the hive. I had actually thought whatever moved in was a secondary swarm because I had not seen any pollen coming into the hive, which would mean there was a laying queen. I even thought they were there overnight, but clearly I was wrong. 

The bees I had been seeing were just hundreds of scout bees, responding to my old equipment and the swarm lure I had rubbed on the upper edge of the entry and on some top bars inside.

The swirling bees yesterday were part of the enormous swarm that had been investigating the hive for a couple of weeks. I taped the whole hour and fifteen minutes that it took for the thousands of bees to move into the hive, but I've shortened it to about ten minutes for you to see how amazing it was.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Beekeeping Tips for Spring: Making and Using Swarm Lure

 We appear to have begun an enthusiastic and intense swarm season in Atlanta. In most of the country, this month or in the next couple of months, swarm season will begin. 

I've been posting some videos on my YouTube channel that might be helpful in getting ready for spring.

One of the best ways to get free bees is to bait an old hive with swarm lure. Every year hives are driven to swarm because it is the evolutionary push for the beehive as an organism to split into two hives. Previous to swarming (when the old queen will leave with about half the hive - taking 75% bees under two weeks old) scout bees look for a new home. 

It's just like when humans move. When I moved during the pandemic, I looked at lots of houses that were for sale before I found the house I moved into in 2021. Bees are just the same. They send out scouts to find the right sized place for the swarm to move into and start a new life. 

Every year, old equipment in my yard is scouted by bees looking for a new home. And almost 100% of the years, bees move into the old equipment. Truly these are free bees. I didn't lift a finger to help. Just provided the empty space. 

I have a large top bar hive that was in my daughter's yard, empty of bees. They swarmed several times last year and failed to make a new queen and dwindled away. I moved it into my yard into a great sunny place and as soon as any semblance of warm weather began in Atlanta, the scouts began to visit. Last Tuesday (March 12) a swarm moved into the top bar with no effort from me. 

If you want to up the chances of a swarm moving into old equipment, then bait your hive with swarm lure. Here is a video I posted on YouTube last week of how to do just that - make your own very effective swarm lure. 

You use the swarm lure by smearing it not too lavishly on your old equipment. I typically put it around the inner cover, on the upper edge of the hive entrance, and on the top of a couple of frames in the top box. Here's a video on how/where to apply the swarm lure:


I've posted on this before but thought it would be a good idea to refresh your knowledge and put this right in front of you.

Good luck and I hope that everyone who reads this gets some free bees! 
Note: If you do, leave me a comment either here on the blog or on YouTube. 

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