The Mating Sign?

Let me start this blog with a question: What does the “Mating Sign” look like? All 22 hives at Dr. D’s have bees in them. It has been two weeks since I made my last hive splits. There are lot of good reasons why I was too busy to get out to the apiary sooner…

With my shoes off, I can count to 20

“Oh heart, such disorganization!” Sylvia Plath Well, I have split 6 hives into 22 in just a couple of months. This has been the best year by far. This will be my last splits until after I harvest honey. Though, if the bees continue to do as well as they are doing, I should have…

And the splits just keep on coming

“By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination,” Christopher Columbus … Big talk for a man who thought he was in India. If the following blog goes off the rails, forgive me. I woke up at 3:00am with my “Night Dreads.” If you’re not familiar with my…

2018 The Future Looks Bright

“Never pet a burning dog,” – movie quote from, A Good Year. I do my best to keep this blog purely focused on my beekeeping but something strange happened last week that I don’t want to forget – so indulge me and then I’ll tell about my extraordinary beekeeping year thus far. Or just skip…

Queen Cells: If at first you don’t succeed.

“In our response lies our growth and our freedom,” Victor Frankl Yesterday’s hive inspections couldn’t have been worse (well anything can get worse but it was bad).  The sky was sunny but the temperature was a cool 56F degrees with winds around 20mph. The weekend will been even colder and with lots of rain, so…

Checking the Walk-Away Splits

“Success in not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill Let’s skip the suspense: 13 Healthy Hives but 3 did not make queen cells. All the splits are full of bees. Three made Queen Cells and Three did not. Now last year, I labeled the hives A,B,C,…

2018 First Inspection of Spring

“In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.” – Henry Rollins Is there anything more daunting than the first hive inspections of spring? This was the harshest winter since I started keeping bees. Yet, I am happy to report that I only lost one hive. It was the VSH Hive that was full…

How To Build A Excellent Beehive Using Pallets

“Art is making something out of nothing and selling it,” Frank Zappa I have been making beehives out of old pallets. I’ve built about 14 now. I had planned on building 100 but the process is just too time consuming. However, if you are broke and want to get into beekeeping, then this is a…

Linda Passed Away

“A year from now you may wish you had started today,” Karen Lamb I have been overwhelmed as of late. I can’t put my finger on the exact cause of this feeling but it is there just the same and it has been crushing my productivity. Nonetheless, Monday (12/4/17) I finally managed to winterize my…

Drones at the edge of winter

Link to YouTube Here “Never trust a woman, even though she has given you ten sons,” Chinese Proverb That’s a fitting quote given that my hive is full of sons (drones). This is a heartbreaking event so late in the year. While doing a little winter preparation, I opened up the first hive (Hive-VSH) and…

Failure: My First Hive Removal

He looked so happy… He had no idea ofthe carnage to come. My fortune cookie Saturday night read, “Failure is the chance to do better next time.”  Saturday, Noah and I performed our first hive removal. While this could prove to be a good little side business, we didn’t charge. One reason that we didn’t…

What if my alpacas get flees and other insane thoughts

“It is always darkest just before the day dawneth.” Thomas Fuller, circa 1650 I woke up at 3:30am and my first thought was, “What if my alpacas get flees?” It would be a reasonable question… If I had alpacas! It all started partly because my wife is afraid that opossums will eat our beloved chickens….

The Magnificent Seven

Hive-B.1.1.VSH “Adopt the pace of nature: her secrete is patients.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson I’m down to (8) hives; one at the old farm and seven at Dr. D’s. However, three of those hives are from recent splits. Given my recent loses, I’ve been obsessing over these remaining hives. The thought wakes me up at…

Swarm Prevention – I should have added a super

“Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worse fears to come true.” – Bohdi, Point Break (1991) My five frame nuc (VE) needed room to grow but I hesitated because I was afraid if I put another super on too soon, that it would cause the beetles to take over the hive. However, by…

Facing Reality – The Hive Count

“Most people give up just when they are about to achieve success.” – Ross Perot My heart kept whispering that quote in my ear yesterday to keep my brain from acknowledging my eyes. So what had my eyes seen? Hive-A.1.VSH was empty. The strong, healthy hive that I had harvested from this year and was…

Part 1 of 3 – Beetles, Chickens, and Mead

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein It is never my intention to spin my mistakes into a positive light for the sake of my ego. Nonetheless, Saturday’s splits have taught me a valuable lesson. When performing a walkaway split, with a strong hive, in the same…

Part 2 of 3 – Beetles, Chickens, and Mead

“What is best in life?”  “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” – Conan the Barbarian, 1982 Clockwise: Amelia Egghart, Bernice, Melba, Marsala,and Spot is off camera.  Part-2: The Chickens and the Beetles: I like my chickens and my wife loves them but I have questioned my decision…

Part 3 of 3 – Beetles, Chickens, and Mead

“I have never seen mead enjoyed more in any hall on earth.” Beowulf If you keep bees and have never tried mead then you have missed the point of beekeeping. Mead has as many variations as wine or beer but has it’s own unique identity. Since I live in Mississippi, the only mead that seems…

Walkaway Splits – Right & Wrong

“If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly first.” – Joel Salatin All of my hives at Dr.D’s are spaced 18″ apart in all directions Work and weather have stifled my beekeeping but it hasn’t stopped me completely. Saturday, my wife and I went out to Dr. D’s place and split Hive-B.1 &…

The Queen Is Dead – Long Live The Queen

“Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I’ll be back.” – Vigo the Scourge of Carpathia, Ghost Busters III got up early Saturday morning to find all the caged queens had died – though there is still the sole survivor in Hive-VE that I didn’t cage. Given each queen cost about $30 (if sold), I lost $240 worth…