honey harvesting – mistakes

Yesterday, Sunday, I had my best honey harvest in the two years I have been collecting honey from my bees.  I filled just over 32 pint jars, which equals 4 gallons.  Earlier this year (4/29 and 6/3) I collected 1.2 and 1.4 gallons of honey, so total yield is 6.6 gallons.  If I assume an average weight of 12 lbs per gallon, this is about 80 lbs of honey, which is good going for me.  But my activities were tinged with regrets.  I made some mistakes and regret them. I have two hives.  The one Read more [...]

wanting to trust – concerns about honey

We think of honey as nutritious and pure, but it ain't necessarily so.  Most of us want to trust others, and then we get burned and keep our guards up and become cynical.   Recently my emotions oscillated back and forth and I still don't know where I come out. I produced just under 5 gallons of honey last year, which should have been sufficient to carry me through the winter and spring until my next honey harvesting sessions.  But it tasted so good and so many wanted a bottle that I ran out Read more [...]


This is not about environmental remediation, just correcting a few deficiencies in my nu trac environment. Bees When I split the hive a few weeks ago by taking bees and frames from hive 1 and creating a new hive 2, I noticed that hive 1 had no brood and apparently no queen.  In addition to the new queen I purchased for hive 2, I ordered a second queen for hive 1.  The second queen and several attendants arrived in a queen's cage last Friday from an Alabama beekeeper. After again confirming Read more [...]

bees – a swarm trap

Bees swarm to reproduce the colony and a common cause is population density or, according to an Australian beekeeper, dissatisfaction with current living conditions, which can be the same thing.  A primary swarm is when the existing queen leaves with up to 60% of the population and a secondary swarm is when a virgin queen leaves with a large percentage of the bees.  I reckon in my first year of beekeeping my bees swarmed 4 or 5 times. So one way to prevent swarms is to give them more hive space Read more [...]

splitting the bee hive

I acquired my bees in spring 2010 and am now in my third year with the one hive.  I decided it was time for two hives and there are several ways to go about this.  Rather than buy a "package" or "nuc" I wanted to propagate my existing bees.  After all, they have survived two winters, gave me 4.5 gallons honey last year and appear very healthy and have not needed any medications.  So the genetics are good and, what I should have done, as suggested by a commentator, is used a queen cell in the Read more [...]

bees – “The Lost World of the Kalahari”

I have been spending time with my bees - recently did my first split (split the one hive into two separate hives) and will soon do the first honey harvest of 2012.  So, with bees on my mind, I want to include some excerpts from an engrossing book written in 1958 in South Africa by Laurens Van Der Post titled "The Lost World of the Kalahari" about the Bushmen. The Bushmen loved honey and used a special herbal smoke to drug the bees before he dared reach for the honey because "the wild bees of Read more [...]

the Bees seem ok

The past few days have been warm - at 4pm today (Friday) the temperature is 68 deg F with a slight wind. I have noticed the bees busy at the entrance to the hive and a number of bees helicoptering in front of the hive (i.e going up and down in front of the hive). They do this to memorize the hive so they know where to return. This is good news for me since it means these are new field workers and therefore there is a functioning queen. I am assuming the older bees who overwintered do not need Read more [...]

November tasks

No pics for this post since my camera informed me the battery pack had to be replaced and refused further negotiation. A pleasurable task, this time of year, is collecting the flower seeds. I did my first Cosmos seeding early 2010 and, from the seeds gathered last November and spread this past spring, I enjoyed a whole new expanse of Cosmos. By November 8, as was the case last year, most of the seeds have dried and spread and are easy to grasp in one's hand and release into a shopping bag. Read more [...]

bees to honey

The past few days I've noticed fewer bees at the hive entrance than a couple of weeks ago.  I'm still a rank amateur at beekeeping so the explanations/fears that came to mind were somewhat exaggerated and untempered by experience: a) half the hive had swarmed; b) worse still, the hive had swarmed and the new queen bee had not returned from her mating flight and the hive was queenless; c) my obstinance against using chemicals had caught up with me and the hive was in collapse from disease, mites Read more [...]