Welcome - Explore my Blog

I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I began my 11th year of beekeeping in April 2016. Now there are about 1275 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. 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.

Need help with an Atlanta area swarm? Visit Found a Swarm? Call a Beekeeper. (678) 597-8443

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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:

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!

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