Happy Birthday E.C. Porter


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edmund c porter

Edmund C. Porter – Improver of the bee escape?


Exploded view of Porter Bee escape

The Porter bee escape was first used in the 1890s and was a single ended metal device that would allow bees to go only in one direction. The escape was placed in an oblong hole and had a hole that was approximately 7/8” in diameter on top. The bees would go through the hole and then through a pair of metal springs and find themselves in the super below.

In the text below a friend wrote some last words in his honor in which he states that Edmund was not the original inventor of the bee escape but rather his father. Edmund, supposedly improved upon the design and marketed the escape.

Death 1911 (aged 53–54)

Lewistown, Fulton County, Illinois, USA

Plot Section D

MEMORIAM OF Edmund C. PORTER. The Maker of the Porter Bee-escape; Bee-keeper and Tile-maker. BY A FRIEND. [As there had been no picture taken of Mr. Porterexcept when he was a very young man, his friends did not send any. The following sketch of his life was prepared by a neighbor and friend.—Ed.

“Edmond C. Porter was born June 10,1857,and died August 6, 1911. He was the only child of Rufus and Mary E. Porter. He was a man of excellent character and Stirlingworth. He was honorable, reticent, studious, and industrious, taking the utmost pains to perfect any thing he undertook along any line of work. He possessed a vast fund of knowledge on various topics—very unusual in this day of rush and hustle. Nothing but the best satisfied him.

Any question came up, he did not rest until he had answered it and was sure he was right. He was an ardent lover of nature, and it was his pride to cultivate choice vari-eties of fruit and plants. His father, Rufus Porter, was a raiser of bees, and from his earliest childhood Edmond, too, loved and worked with them. While Mr. Rufus Porter was the original inventor of the Porter bee-escape, the son improved upon it, and it was he who manufactured them and placed them on the market. Just before his death he had been granted a patent on the improvement. He had many bees of his own, and made a specialty of extracted honey. He was a fine financier, and, in addition to the bee industry, he had a large farm, and took charge of the tile-factory which had belonged to his father. He was unmarried, and had always been at home with his mother, to whom he was devoted, especially since the father’s death seven years ago. He has given her the most tender love and care.”

(Above edited for clarity – Ed)

Test above from American Bee Journal and from: Gleanings in Bee Culture 



[© Excerpts translated from Apiterapia 101 para todos by Moisés Asís (Miami: Rodes, 2007, pp.76-80)]: The first time someone used the term “Apitherapy” it was to explain the medical use of bee stings or Apitoxinotherapy. This historical mention doesn’t mean that other apitherapeutical products have not a very ancient background, on the contrary, medicinal uses […]



Honey Mustard Chicken by In Dianes Kitchen


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This Honey Mustard Chicken tasted amazing! I usually don’t like white meat but this was so moist and the flavor….wow! I would eat this again anytime. I had a gigantic chicken breast and cut it up for my husband and myself. If you make this for more than two people just double it, triple it or what ever amount you need. I used my homemade Honey Mustard Sauce (https://indianeskitchen.com/2018/02/07/honey-mustard-sauce) with this, however, you can use any Honey Mustard Sauce you would like.

Click on the link below to view the step by step directions with pictures and a printable recipe card.


via Honey Mustard Chicken — In Dianes Kitchen

Happy Birthday William Z. Hutchinson


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Birth: Feb. 17, 1851
Death: May 30, 1911

William Z. Hutchinson (1851-1911) was a 19th-century Michigan apiarist and author. He founded the Bee-keepers’ Review in 1888, and served as its editor over the remainder of his life. Hutchinson was an enthusiastic proponent of producing comb honey.


Source: http://beekeeping.wikia.com/wiki/William_Z._Hutchinson

Happy Birthday Nikolai Nasonov


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Nikolai Viktorovich Nasonov (Feb. 14 1855 ~ Feb. 11, 1939)


Nikolai Nasonov is best known among beekeepers for the Nasonov gland in honeybees which is named after Nasonov who was first to described it in 1883.

“The scent organ of a worker honeybee lies on the dorsal surface of the abdomen, at the front edge of the last abdominal segment. It consists of several hundred gland cells. The Nasonov gland was named after the Russian scientist who first described it, in 1883. (Honeybee Democracy By Thomas D. Seeley 2010)

Nasonov pheromone are emitted by the worker bees and used for orientation. Known as the “come and join us” scent. Bees use the pheromone to find the entrance to their colony or hive, and they release them on flowers so other bees know which flowers have nectar. Nasonov pheromone in synthetic form should be 2:1 ratio of citral and geraniol. It consists of glandular cells which secrete pheromone through c. 600 ducts into a groove between the 6th and 7th tergite. Honeybees release this pheromone for attracting other bees to join the swarm, to mark the entrance to the hive, to mark a source of water while foraging.


Nikolai Nasonov was a Soviet zoologist. Academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1906; corresponding member, 1897). He was born in Moscow, Feb. 14 1855. In 1879, Nasonov graduated from the University of Moscow. From 1889 to 1906 he was a professor at the University of Warsaw. From 1906 to 1921 he was director of the Zoological Museum, and from 1921 to 1931 he was director of the Laboratory of Experimental Zoology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. His principal works were on the morphology, taxonomy, faunistics, zoogeography, ecology, and embryology of insects, crustaceans, Turbellaria, and some vertebrates, such as mountain sheep and the ostrich. In 1911, Nasonov organized the publication of the comprehensive work Fauna of Russia and the Neighboring Countries, subsequently called Fauna of the USSR. Twenty-five books of this work were published under his editorship. In 1916 on Nasonov’s initiative, a commission was created in the Academy of Sciences of the USSR to study Lake Baikal and to organize the Baikal Biological Station (now the Institute of Limnology of the Siberian Division of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR). Nasonov was a prolific author producing works in four languages but was not a honeybee specialist nor did he have a knowledge about pheromones. Nikolai Nasonov died in Moscow Feb. 11, 1939


PORTRAIT Nikolai Victrovich Nasonov
Насонов Николай Викторович

Nasonov, Nikolai Viktorovich

Honeybee Democracy, by Thomas D. Seeley
circa. 2012 page 185

Pheromones of the Honeybee Colony

Nasonov, Nikolai Viktorovich (1855-1939)


Miscellaneous References

Nasonov, N. V. 1889. Contribution to the natural history of the ants primarily of Russia. 1. Contribution to the ant fauna of Russia. Izv. Imp. Obshch. Lyubit. Estestvozn. Antropol. Etnogr. Imp. Mosk. Univ. 58: 1-78 PDF


N. E. McIndoo, PH.D. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia Vol. 66 No. 2 (Apr. – Aug. 1914), pp. 542-555

“ It is reported that Nassonoff first described the morphology of the scent-producing organ of the honey bee. His original work in Russian cannot be had here , but according to Zoubareff (1883), nassonoff did not describe the structure of this organ as seen by the writer, and he suggested that the gland cells of the organ produce perspiration.
Nasonov pheromone are emitted by the worker bees and used for orientation. Discovered by Nasonov, Nikolai Viktorovich (1883) from Russia. Known as the “come and join us” scent. Nasonov includes a number of different terpenoids including geraniol, nerolic acid, citral and geranic acid. Bees use these to find the entrance to their colony or hive, and they release them on flowers so other bees know which flowers have nectar.Nasonov pheromone in synthetic form should be 2:1 ratio of citral and geraniol (Born Feb. 14 (26), 1855, in Moscow; died there Feb. 11, 1939. Soviet zoologist. Academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1906; corresponding member, 1897). It consists of glandular cells which secrete pheromone through c. 600 ducts into a groove between the 6th and 7th tergite.Honeybees release this pheromone for attracting other bees to join the swarm,to mark the entrance to the hive, to mark a source of water while foraging.
Nikolai Victrovich Nasonov ( N. V. Nassonov) 1855 – 1939

Dr. Nasonov studied taxonomy and distribution of various groups of invertebrates. He was a member of the Academy of Sciences of the URSS. He visited Japan (June-July, 1928) for the study of freshwater microturbellarians. For his scientific activities and the publication list, see the following paper.

Académie des Sciences de l’Union des Républiques Soviétiques Socialistes, 1937. À l’Académicien N. Nassonov pour le Quatrevingtième Anniversaire de sa Naissance et le Soixantième Anniversaire de Son Activité Scientifique. Cover page and prefatory portrait + pp.13-32. http://www.ras.ru/win/db/show_per.asp?P=jd-51438.In-en

Literature (a selection):

Nassonov, N. V., 1924. K faune Turbellaria Rhabdocoelida Kryma. Izves. Akad. Nauk, SSSR, 18: 35-46.

Nassonov, N. V., 1925. Die Turbellarienfauna des Leningrader Gouvernements. 1-2. Izves. Akad. Nauk, 20: 817-836, 869-883.

Nassonov, N. V., 1927. Über eine neue Familie Multipenatidae (Alloeocoela) aus dem Japanischen Meer mit einem aberranten Bau der Fortpflanzungsorgane. Izves. Akad. Nauk, 1927: 865-874.

Nassonov, N. V., 1929. Zur Fauna der Turbellaria Rhabdocoelida der japanischen Susswasserbecken. Doklady Akad. Nauk, SSSR, 1929: 423-428.

Nassonov, N. V., 1932. Zur Morphologie der Turbellaria Rhabdocoelida des Japanischen Meeres. Trudy Laborat. Exper. Zool. Morfol. Zhivotnykh. Akad. Nauk, II: 1-115 + Taf. I-VIII.


Source: Historical Honey Bee Articles – Beekeeping History

Installing Your New Bees by Prime Bees – College Station Bee & Honey Farm


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We’ve got short instructions on installing your Package Bees or Nucleus Colony below – feel free to reach out with questions or clarification!

Package bees are just boxes specially built to carry bees securely and safely. They are sold according to the weight of the bees with maybe 4000 to 5000 per pound. They mostly have the queen bee not unless the buyer has instructed otherwise. They are relatively cheaper compared to nucleus colony.

To install the package bees, you will need to remove the center frames of the colony you’re moving the bees into. Remove the cage containing the queen bee first, then place the container on its side over the place you have removed the frames. Put the queen’s cage on top of a frame and gently turn the package inside out to assist the bees to fall into the hive.  Prepare two frames where you shall place the queen cage and use pressure to hold it in place if you have existing comb – otherwise you can tie the cage with string or tape to secure her – you don’t want her to fall to the bottom of the hive. Once all the bees are out of the package, you can remove the package and set it in front of the hive (or on top).

Read the fully article here:  Installing Your New Bees — Prime Bees – College Station Bee & Honey Farm


Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs by Sweet ‘n Savory Therapy


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The meat was practically falling off the bone, it was so tender ! You take a bite and you can taste a sweet and spicy flavor but you’ll get some smokiness at the end of the bite. A great recipe when you’re hankering some ribs but don’t feel like cooking outdoors.


  • 3 pounds bone-in country-style pork ribs
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (we used reduced-sodium soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke (we used hickory smoke)
  • 1 teaspoons ground black pepper (we used freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced


  1. Take a 6-quart slow cooker out and spray the inside of it with cooking spray. Place the ribs down on the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Take a medium-sized mixing bowl out and add to it the remaining ingredients (tomato paste – minced garlic), stirring to combine. Pour the tomato mixture over the ribs, turning the ribs so they get thoroughly coated in the mixture.
  3. Place a layer of paper towels over the slow cooker, putting the lid on afterwards. Cook on LOW for 5 to 5 ½ hours or until the meat’s tender. Serve the ribs with the sauce and enjoy !

Read full recipe here: Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs — Sweet ‘n Savory Therapy

Chalkbrood: A common spring disease by The Daily Guide to Beekeeping


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Many diseases and pathogens infect honey bee colonies, but chalkbrood is likely the most common among beekeepers. Ascosphaera apis causes chalkbrood, which is a fungal brood disease. Beekeepers commonly detect chalkbrood in the spring because chalkbrood is considered a stress-related disease. However, chalkbrood is observed throughout the year. Many times, chalkbrood becomes established in colonies because of many interacting factors, such as environmental stressors, genetic makeup of colonies and beekeeping practices. Chalkbrood contaminates larvae when nurse bees admix chalkbrood spores with brood food. The fungal spores out-compete larvae for food and eventually, turn larvae into “chalk-like” mummies. Beekeepers can observe chalkbrood in many colors, ranging from white to grey to black. As larvae turn black, the chalkbrood begins producing fruiting bodies, which are highly infectious. Beekeepers can find these mummies at the entrance or bottom boards, especially if chalkbrood is widespread. At this point these mummies can spread spores to other colonies in the area. Chalkbrood often infects 3-4 day larvae, and can be found as uncapped or capped larvae. If the colony shakes a frame with capped chalkbrood, the frame will rattle when shaken.  

Read the fully article here: Chalkbrood: A common spring disease — The Daily Guide to Beekeeping

Happy Birthday Charles Henry Turner by Ron Miksha


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Charles Henry Turner (February 3, 1867 – February 14, 1923)

Here’s an excellent post by Ron Miksha of badbeekeeping blog recognizing a bee scientist who went unrecognized in his own time. Thanks Ron for bringing many of us up to speed.

You probably know that Karl von Frisch figured out how honey bees use their waggle-dance to communicate. He won the Nobel Prize for that and for other studies of bee behaviour. I think it was well-deserved and his experiments withstood criticism and independent confirmation. His discovery was intuitive and required hundreds of replicated experiments conducted over years of work in personally risky circumstances in Nazi Germany. But there is another scientist who came close to figuring out many of the things which brought von Frisch fame. The other scientist did his experiments in America, decades earlier. But he’s mostly unknown, largely forgotten.

Read entire article at: The Man Who Discovered that Bees Can Think — Bad Beekeeping Blog


Roasted Butternut Squash and Honey Soup by A Food and Lifestyle Blog


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It’s DEFINITELY soup season. We were in Paris over the weekend and I had some French onion soup while we were there and wanted to make some soup for lunches this week when we got back. I was going to stick to my usual tomato and basil as it’s my favourite, but thought I should spread my wings a little! Plus, Tesco’s didn’t have any fresh basil when I went so I improvised!

I thought I would go for butternut squash as there’s something about the vibrancy that brings warmth to the dish before you’ve even eaten it. I always make soup on the hob so I thought I would roast the veg for this one then add the stock and blitz it up after. Anyone can make soup and it’s a great way to get your daily veg intake without even realising!

Prep time – 15 minutes.

Cooking time – 1 hour 15 minutes.


  • 1 large butternut squash – remove seeds and skin, cut into large chunks.
  • 2 large carrots diced.
  • 1 sweet potato diced.
  • 2 large brown onions sliced.
  • 4 garlic cloves left whole.
  • Handful of fresh sage leaves.
  • 1 tsp turmeric.
  • 1 tbsp curry powder.
  • 2 tbsp honey.
  • 1 tsp ground ginger.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • A few thyme sprigs – just remove before blitzing.
  • 1 ltr vegetable stock.
  • 100ml single cream.

Read full recipe here: Roasted butternut squash and honey soup. — A food and lifestyle blog.

Happy Birthday George Whitfield Demaree


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Henry County, Kentucky, USA
Death 14 Jan 1915 (aged 82)

Shelby County, Kentucky, USA

Christianburg, Shelby County, Kentucky, USA

George Whitfield Demaree was born January 27th, 1832 in Henry County Kentucky. As a beekeeper he is credited with the development of a method of swarm prevention which retains the total population of bees in their parent colony thus greatly increasing honey production. This can’t be emphasized enough – it takes lots of bees to maximize honey production. Other swarm methods which employ splits will adversely affect honey production.

Demaree, also known as “Mr. D” by his contemporaries – was a lawyer, magistrate, breeder of prize Jersey cattle, and a renowned beekeeper on his farm in Christianburg, Kentucky. He was a pioneer in “swarm control,” and his findings allowed bees to be transported out West for the pollination of crops that helped make permanent settlement possible.

The method was first published by in an article in the American Bee Journal in 1892. Demaree also described another swarm prevention method in 1884, but that was a two-hive system that is unrelated to modern “demareeing”.

As with many swarm prevention methods, demareeing involves separating of the queen and forager bees from the nurse bees. The theory is that forager bees will think that the hive has swarmed if there is a drastic reduction in nurse bees, and that nurse bees will think that the hive has swarmed if the queen appears to be missing and/or there is a drastic reduction in forager bees.

The Demaree method is a frame-exchange method, and as such it is more labor intensive than methods that do not involve rearranging individual frames. It requires no special equipment except for a queen excluder. In this method, the queen is confined to the bottom box below the queen excluder.

The method relies on the principle that nurse bees will prefer to stay with open brood, and that forager bees will move to frames with closed brood or with room for food.

In the modern Demaree method, the queen is placed in the bottom box, along with one or two frames of capped brood (but no open brood), as well as one or two frames of food stores, and empty combs or foundation. A queen excluder is placed above the bottom box, thereby restricting the queen to the bottom box but allowing bees to move freely between the bottom box and the rest of the hive. The original hive, along with all open brood, is placed above the queen excluder. The method works best if the nurse bees are remove far away from the queen. The distance between the queen and nurse bees can be increased by placing the brood nest at the very top of the hive, with honey supers between the upper brood nest and the queen excluder. If any swarm cells are present, these must be destroyed by the beekeeper. The relative absence of queen pheromone in the top box usually prompts the nurse bees to create emergency cells. After 7–10 days, the beekeeper destroys the emergency cells, and then either removes the queen excluder (thereby ending the “demaree”) or repeats the process a second or a third time until the swarming impulse is over. (Note: Developed queen cells in upper box could also be harvested for use after they are fully capped and ripe.)

The Demaree method makes it possible to retain the total colony population, thus maintaining good honey production. The technique has the advantage of allowing a new queen to be raised as well.

Ref: American Bee Journal, Wikipedia, Six Mile Creek History

Trapping Honey Bee Swarms


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Last spring, first swarms came very early to the South Carolina Midlands- around February 15th. That sounds like a long time from now but it will get here sooner than you think and swarms are unforgiving with beekeeper tardiness. Building and getting ready for swarm trapping is something that you should consider doing during these off months of winter. Remember, once swarm season starts you’ll probably be caught up in preparing your own hives for the primary nectar flow and have a limited amount of time to prepare traps. However, for those who are prepared there will be free bees. Here are a few sites I recommend:




And multiple videos by outofabluesky:

I promote swarm traps as another part of good beekeeping. Swarm management starts within your own hives and can go a long way to reducing the number of swarms that issue from your apiary. Intensive management can come close to eliminating swarms. However, life happens and you will experience the occasional swarm. Some thoughts on the matter:

1) The swarms you catch in a trap will typically perform better than the ones you knock out of a tree.

2) You’ll lose a portion of the swarms that issue for various reasons like too high in a tree, etc. It’s really nice when that swarm you had to leave in the tree shows up in your trap the next day.

3) Coupled with good swarm management in the hive, and capture of those swarms easy to gather, adding traps is good stewardship. Dr. Lawrence Connor in his book, Increase Essentials, says only 1 in 6 swarms survive their first winter. By capturing them you’re increasing their chances of survival.

4) Swarm captures makes better neighbors. Some neighbors will be as fascinated as you are at the miracle of swarming; others won’t. Capturing your own swarms may prevent you some heartache.

And finally, here’s an excellent, free, eight page article on the biology on swarming and nest selection with excellent advice on swarm trapping:

Bait Hives for Honey Bees by Thomas D. Seeley, Roger Morse, and Richard Nowogrodzki


Winter, a time for beekeepers to read



Winter really is the only break for beekeepers. Even then, there is preparation for the coming spring. But now and then the beekeeper gets a chance to sit down and read a little. The books described below are readily available at many public libraries. Hopefully you can find one to hunker down with during cold days while the bees are snug in their hives.

The following excerpt was taken from another blog on Word Press, “Friends of Montclair Library. Find the original post in its entirety here: https://montclairfriends.org/2016/07/12/the-buzz-about-bees/

The Beekeeper’s Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America by Hannah Nordhaus (638.13097 NORDHAUS) – Recounts the experiences of John Miller, one of the foremost migratory beekeepers, who, despite mysterious epidemics that threaten American honey populations–and the nation’s agribusiness–forges on and moves ahead in a new natural world.

Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey, the Sweet Liquid Gold That Seduced the World by Holley Bishop (638.16 BISHOP) – A comprehensive exploration of the life of bees and the process by which they make honey follows the daily life of a Florida panhandle beekeeper, traces each step of a bee’s honey-making process and offers insight into the product’s key role in business, food and culture.

Letters From the Hive: An Intimate History of Bees, Honey, and Humankind by Stephen Buchmann with Banning Repplier (638.1 BUCHMANN) – A glimpse inside the world of the honeybee records the traditional practices of beekeeping around the world, the contribution of bees to the pollination of plants and the culinary and medicinal uses of honey.

Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis by Rowan Jacobsen (638.15 JACOBSEN) – Traces the significant 2007 and 2008 reductions in honeybee populations, identifying the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder to explain the link between bee pollination and industrial agriculture and predict dangerous reductions in food output.

A Book of Bees…and How to Keep Them by Sue Hubbell (638.1 HUBBELL) – Chronicles a year in the lives of beekeeper and bees, describing and explaining the activities of both and the rewards of having bees of one’s own.

Honeybee Democracy by Thomas D. Seeley (595.79915 SEELEY) – Honeybees make decisions collectively—and democratically. Every year, faced with the life-or-death problem of choosing and traveling to a new home, honeybees stake everything on a process that includes collective fact-finding, vigorous debate and consensus building. These incredible insects have much to teach us when it comes to collective wisdom and effective decision making.

Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation by Tammy Horn (638.10973 HORN) – Explores the connection between the honeybee and the cultural, national and economic development of the United States. “During every major period in the country’s history, bees and beekeepers have represented order and stability in a country without a national religion, political party or language.” (GoodReads)

Sweetness & Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee by Hattie Ellis (595.799 ELLIS) – Integrating popular science and social history, an intriguing global history of honeybees examines the hive society of the bee, as well as the influence of bees and honey on diverse cultures around the world and throughout history. The story of bees and honey from the Stone Age to the contemporary cutting edge; from Napalese honey hunters to urban hives on the rooftops of New York City.

The Queen Must Die and Other Affairs of Bees and Men by William Longgood (638.1 Longgood) – “Longgood’s quiet little thirty-year-old book…is a kind of meditation on beeness: an exploration of the motivations, desires and attitudes of the simple honeybee as she goes about her business.” – Stephen on GoodReads

Happy Birthday Johann Dzierzon


As many of my beekeeping friends might remember, I started December vowing to answer to, and identify myself as, “Lorenzo” to reservation takers, waitresses, and others. I am pleased to report that this has worked out well, with the exception of that overly serious State Trooper, so I am extending the practice another month. But Lorenzo Langstroth’s birthday month has come and gone and it is time to pick another beekeeper to honor. I encourage anyone so inclined to participate in this exercise of giving and responding to the name of a famous beekeeper for the month. Who knows when a question on the Certified Beekeepers test may become a simple remembrance due to your participation in this venture. So, with no further delay, during the month of January I will give and respond to the name, “Johann” in honor of Johann Dzierzon born January 16th, 1811. Apparently he also went by the name “Jan” so try each out from time to time to see how that flies. Try it out, it’s pronounced exactly as it’s spelled. Hey, I’m not sure it matters.

Below Source: Wikipedia Entry

Johann Dzierzon (16 January 1811 – 26 October 1906), was a pioneering apiarist who discovered the phenomenon of parthenogenesis in bees and designed the first successful movable-frame beehive.

Dzierzon came from a Polish family in Silesia. Trained in theology, he combined his theoretical and practical work in apiculture with his duties as a Roman Catholic priest, before being compulsorily retired by the Church and eventually excommunicated.

His discoveries and innovations made him world-famous in scientific and bee-keeping circles, and he has been described as the “father of modern apiculture”.

Scientific career

Stack of Dzierzon hives. Illustration from Nordisk familjebok.

In his apiary, Dzierzon studied the social life of honeybees and constructed several experimental beehives. In 1838 he devised the first practical movable-comb beehive, which allowed manipulation of individual honeycombs without destroying the structure of the hive. The correct distance between combs had been described as 1½ inches from the center of one top bar to the center of the next one. In 1848 Dzierzon introduced grooves into the hive’s side walls, replacing the strips of wood for moving top bars. The grooves were 8 × 8 mm—the exact average between ¼ and ⅜ inch, which is the range called the “bee space.” His design quickly gained popularity in Europe and North America. On the basis of the aforementioned measurements, August Adolph von Berlepsch (de) (May 1852) in Thuringia and L.L. Langstroth (October 1852) in the United States designed their frame-movable hives.

In 1835 Dzierzon discovered that drones are produced from unfertilized eggs. Dzierzon’s paper, published in 1845, proposed that while queen bees and female worker bees were products of fertilization, drones were not, and that the diets of immature bees contributed to their subsequent roles.[15] His results caused a revolution in bee crossbreeding and may have influenced Gregor Mendel‘s pioneering genetic research.[16] The theory remained controversial until 1906, the year of Dzierzon’s death, when it was finally accepted by scientists at a conference in Marburg.[12] In 1853 he acquired a colony of Italian bees to use as genetic markers in his research, and sent their progeny “to all the countries of Europe, and even to America.”[17] In 1854 he discovered the mechanism of secretion of royal jelly and its role in the development of queen bees.

With his discoveries and innovations, Dzierzon became world-famous in his lifetime.[14] He received some hundred honorary memberships and awards from societies and organizations.[12] In 1872 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Munich.[14] Other honors included the Austrian Order of Franz Joseph, the Bavarian Merit Order of St. Michael, the Hessian Ludwigsorden, the Russian Order of St. Anna, the Swedish Order of Vasa, the Prussian Order of the Crown, 4th Class, on his 90th birthday, and many more. He was an honorary member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. He also received an honorary diploma at Graz, presented by Archduke Johann of Austria. In 1903 Dzierzon was presented to Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria.[14] In 1904 he became an honorary member of the Schlesische Gesellschaft für vaterländische Kultur (“Silesian Society for Fatherland Culture”).

Dzierzon’s discoveries concerning asexual reproduction, as well as his questioning of papal infallibility, were rejected by the Church,[12] which in 1869 retired him from the priesthood.[18] This disagreement, along with his public engagement in local politics, led to his 1873 excommunication.[19] In 1884 he moved back to Lowkowitz, settling in the hamlet An der Grenze,[12] (Granice Łowkowskie).[20] Of his new home, he wrote:

In every direction, one has a broad and pleasant view, and I am pretty happy here, despite the isolation, as I am always close to my beloved bees — which, if one’s soul be receptive to the works of the Almighty and the wonders of nature, can transform even a desert into a paradise.[12]

From 1873 to 1902 Dzierzon was in contact with the Old Catholic Church,[12] but in April 1905 he was reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church.[12]

He died in Lowkowitz on 26 October 1906 and is buried in the local graveyard.[12]



Johann Dzierzon is considered the father of modern apiology and apiculture.[21] Most modern beehives derive from his design. Due to language barriers, Dzierzon was unaware of the achievements of his contemporary, L.L. Langstroth,[21] the American “father of modern beekeeping”,[22] though Langstroth had access to translations of Dzierzon’s works.[23] Dzierzon’s manuscripts, letters, diplomas and original copies of his works were given to a Polish museum by his nephew, Franciszek Dzierżoń.[9]

In 1936 the Germans renamed Dzierzon’s birthplace, Lowkowitz, Bienendorf (“Bee Village”) in recognition of his work with apiculture.[24] At the time, the Nazi government was changing many Slavic-derived place names such as Lowkowitz. After the region came under Polish control following World War II, the village would be renamed Łowkowice.

Following the 1939 German invasion of Poland, many objects connected with Dzierzon were destroyed by German gendarmes on 1 December 1939 in an effort to conceal his Polish roots.[10] The Nazis made strenuous efforts to enforce a view of Dzierżoń as a German.[11]

After World War II, when the Polish government assigned Polish names to most places in former German territories which had become part of Poland, the Silesian town of Reichenbach im Eulengebirge (traditionally known in Polish as Rychbach) was renamed Dzierżoniów in the man’s honor.[25]

In 1962 a Jan Dzierżon Museum of Apiculture was established at Kluczbork.[12] Dzierzon’s house in Granice Łowkowskie(now part of Maciejów village was also turned into a museum chamber, and since 1974 his estates have been used for breeding Krain bees.[12] The museum at Kluczbork houses 5 thousand volumes of works and publications regarding bee keeping, focusing on work by Dzierzon, and presents a permanent exhibition regarding his life presenting pieces from collections from National Ethnographic Museum in Wrocław, and Museum of Silesian Piasts in Brzeg[26]

More at: Source: Wikipedia Entry

Current Beekeeping Activities by sassafrasbefarm


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Feeding the bees pollen substitute

Some things don’t change much year to year in beekeeping. At least not the chores. There is some comfort in the routine. This year is much like last. Building boxes, cleaning frames, painting and maintenance. And building bees for the spring. ~sassafrasbeefarm

This time of year can be as busy for the beekeeper as the spring nectar flow period. But now it’s all about preparation. My experience, since beginning this beekeeping journey, is that there is never enough time during the nectar flow. In fact, time becomes precious even before the nectar flow with the need to rotate hive bodies or employ other swarm reducing measures, placement of swarm traps, movement of hives to out yards, making splits, and lots of last minute surprises.

So, here are few pictures of what I occupy myself with during this so called off season:


Order queen pen and my favorite markers to write on the hives.


Making sugar cakes for the tops of the hives.


Adding extra wax to plastic frames.


Collecting and bagging pine straw for my smoker.



Building boxes, bottom boards, and tops.


Adding some color to the entrance reducers.


Painting entrances to the queen mating nucs


This is Advantech – a new material that resists weathering.


Painting everything. Three coats!


Joy! I found three 50 pound sacks of sugar I had forgotten!


A century old tale of ‘Beekeeping in the South’ by Mary Bammer


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In 1920 the American Bee Journal published a book called “Beekeeping In The South; A Handbook on Seasons, Methods and Honey Flora of the Fifteen Southern States”. Written by Kennith Hawkins, a Beekeeping Specialist and “Former Special Agent in Bee Culture”, this book paints a nostalgic picture of what it took to keep honey bees in the south a century ago. While major players of today’s industry like the infamous Varroa mite are missing from this text, it is surprising to see just how well the author’s advice holds up in today’s beekeeping industry. Below is an excerpt from this book, a chapter entitled “What a Beginner Must Learn”, shared here with permission from the American Bee Journal.

1,503 more words

Book is accessible online at: https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/115789#page/1/mode/1up

Read the complete article here: A century old tale of ‘Beekeeping in the South’ — UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department

Honey Custard French Toast by In Dianes Kitchen


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I have never made French Toast with Honey Custard before and it was delicious! This recipe will feed 6 people or you could freeze any leftovers. I could eat this Honey Custard French Toast for any meal, not just breakfast.


  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 loaf French bread, sliced into 12 pieces 3/4” thick

Read fully recipe here:  Honey Custard French Toast — In Dianes Kitchen

Lorenzo Langstroth’s Birthday


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toast to langstroth

A Toast to Langstroth


This year, beekeepers are celebrating the 208th year anniversary of “the Father of American Beekeeping.” Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth was born Christmas Day, December 25, 1810 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. L. L. Langstroth developed the modern hive after exploring existing hives including the pre-cursor to the top bar hive. Francis Huber invented the Leaf Hive in 1789 in Switzerland. The leaf hive had movable solid frames that touched making the box like top bar hives. The leaf hive was examined like pages in a book.

(photo: In 2010 the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild began a wonderful Christmas tradition. They gather each year at 106 South Front Street, Philadelphia; the birthplace of Lorenzo L. Langstroth on Christmas Day, which is also Langstroth’s birthday, for a Champagne / mead toast to Langstroth.) A Toast to Langstroth)

In the summer of 1851 Langstroth developed the hive that is still used today and the “bee space.” Langstroth patented the first movable frame hive on October 5, 1852. Henry Bourquin, a fellow beekeeper and Philadelphia cabinetmaker, made Langstroth’s first hives. Langstroth hives encourage rapid inspection without enraging the bees. Weak colonies can be strengthened. Strong colonies can increase space. Queens are quickly replaced. Diseases, pests and parasites can be quickly determined and remedied. Inspection by removable frames is now required in the United States. Langstroth also began using queen excluders to confine eggs to the lower boxes. Removable frames encouraged honey extraction without destroying the comb. Honey comb requires 7 to 14 pounds of honey for every pound of beeswax. Besides increased honey production, the beehive no longer had to be killed to remove the honey.

Langstroth published “The Hive and the Honey-Bee” in 1853 still in print today after 40 editions. Langstroth died October 6, 1895 while preaching a sermon on the love of God at the Wayne Avenue Presbyterian church in Dayton. L. L. Langstroth is buried at Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio. Langstroth’s epitaph reads —







Ebook:  The Hive and the Honey Bee

Audio recording: The Hive and the Honey Bee

Once a Year Opportunity to Save on Varroa Treatment by sassafrasbeefarm


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Once a year an opportunity comes along for the beekeeper to treat all of his or her hives for Varroa for less than ten dollars and about five minutes per hive. That’s ten bucks to treat all of your hives. But this opportunity only comes once a year and is only available for a short period of time. In South Carolina, that time is now, or soon, during the broodless period.

I’m reading more and more about hive losses or abscondings. It’s interesting that most posts relating these events place the blame on wax moths, yellow jackets, or robbing. I suggest these invaders are the second or even third string teams coming in after the true villain has struck a weakening or fatal blow. Did the bees abscond? Yes, most likely from the reports I read they did indeed. From reports, one week the bees are there, the next week gone. But I ask you, if your home was overridden with ticks, with the infestation getting worse each day, how long would you stay in your home?

Why now? Varroa levels increase in the fall and having no drone brood and minimal open worker brood means mite density in the brood area increases.

Last year I watched a group of nine untreated hives go into winter and come out as three. Ten dollars total and maybe 45 minutes might very well have saved them if they had been managed differently.

For more information on how to perform an oxalic acid dribble, Rusty lays it all out here on HoneyBeeSuite: https://honeybeesuite.com/how-to-apply-an-oxalic-acid-dribble/

And here’s a “how to” YouTube video:

I’ll close this post with some words from Randy Oliver of Scientific Beekeeping:

“Three strategies I’ve found that always fail when battling varroa are:

1. Denial—“I haven’t seen any mites, so my mite levels must be low.”

2. Wishful thinking—“I haven’t seen very many mites, so I’m hoping and praying that my bees will be OK.”

3. Blind faith—“I used the latest snake oil mite cure, and it’s gotta work!”

Every time I’ve been “blindsided” by the mite, I was in actuality simply being blind.”

Honey Pork Soup by The Honey Cottage


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At The Honey Cottage we believe the benefits of raw honey should bee in every meal. There is no better way to boost your immune system then with soup and raw honey.

Oh man, I am a soup manic during the winter. I don’t know about you, but there is nothing better than having something warm in your belly on a cold day. This was actually a soup that I had made by accident! I was trying to figure out what to do with left overs one day and surprisingly came up with this tasty soup that my family loved. This is one of my favorite recipes because it is a very easy to make and is a very hearty meal. Plus, I like not having to extra things just to make one recipe; these are ingredients that are normally in our house.


2 bundles- Organic Fine or Round Udon noodles

3 cups Chicken broth

1 cup of sliced pork

1 shreddedcarrot

¾ cup of peas

¾ cup of corn

1 can of water chestnuts

1 Tablespoon of raw honey

Salt and Pepper to taste

Read directions for cooking and full recipe at: Honey Pork Soup — The Honey Cottage

Honey Bees and the Winter Solstice by Scott Sailors




In the Northern Hemisphere today is the longest and darkest of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere it is high summer. 

Winter Solstice – A Day for Beekeeper Celebration. Tomorrow we enter the season of growth!

Late dawn. Early sunset. Short day. Long night. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. (On the same date the Southern Hemisphere has its longest day and shortest night.) But tomorrow the days will begin lengthening.

Winter Solstice means something different to beekeepers. It’s typically associated with the beginning of winter for humans. But for the bees it’s the beginning of spring. For beekeepers in the Northern Hemisphere today marks the beginning of growth. ~sassafrasbeefarm

The annual cycle for a honey bee colony is much easier to understand when you look at bees from the standpoint of their over-riding goal: survival of the species.

Throughout the year, honey bees respond to external cues provided by nature – they don’t keep a wall calendar inside their hive – and once you understand how honey bees reproduce, their two-season life cycle begins to make sense.

A year for a honey bee colony can be divided into two halves.  One half is characterized by expansion, and the other by contraction.  The half that is characterized by expansion begins soon after the winter solstice.  Some research seems to indicate that honey bees respond directly to changes in the amount of daylight, while other research says that they don’t.  But regardless of how it works, we know that brood rearing increases soon after the winter solstice, and decreases soon after the summer solstice.

Shortly after the winter solstice, many things happen inside the colony to increase brood production.  For example, the workers begin to raise the temperature of the brood nest.  These warmer temperatures stimulate the queen to lay eggs—just a few at first, but more and more as time goes on.  Of course, keeping the colony warmer requires more honey stores just when those stores begin to be depleted.  So the colony has to manage a very delicate balance of population-to-stores.

Why the expansion?  Why now?  The answer is simple: reproduction.  The colony is preparing to capitalize on the window of opportunity to reproduce that will come in the early spring.  How does a colony reproduce?  By casting a swarm.

Read the full article here: Honey Bees and the Winter Solstice — Host a Honey Bee Hive

Coming Soon, Spring Splits!


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Picture from Coweta Sustainable Beekeeping article.

I have raised 5 frame nucleus hives since 2016 from Spring splits and allowed them to grow out to double boxes (ten frames). Last year, and this coming, I’ll graft queens and be using the Coweta mindset and method (below) to make increase or to sustainably maintain a hive after the sale of a nucleus hive or queen.  I always retain 5 frames with at least one frame of young larvae and notch the cells to raise a new queen as detailed in the following article.

Source: Coweta Sustainable Beekeeping Method by Steven Page

Coweta Sustainable Beekeeping

Click here to download a pdf file of this article.

Most beekeepers are not sustainable; they purchase nucs or packages each spring to replace winter losses.  This is expensive and prevents the creation of local, sustainable honey bee genetics.  The true cost of a package or nuc can escalate when some die during the winter before producing any honey.  If only half of these young colonies survive until next spring the cost per a nuc or package doubles.

A beekeeper with only a few hives may experience the disheartening loss of all their colonies.  No honey will be harvested for a year and they must start over purchasing nucs or packages if they can find them.

The current or traditional methods that the beekeeping books teach do not account for the difficulties we experience.  A book may teach Varroa mite control but not how to thrive in spite of Varroa.  Most are teaching beekeeping from a time before the combined effects of:

·         Varroa Mites

·         Numerous diseases

·         Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)

·         Small hive beetle

·         Short lived queens

·         High pesticide use

There has to be a better way.

If you have bees you can make more bees or more accurately, colonies can be used to make more colonies.  All beekeepers have the resources in their colonies to become sustainable.

In the south, winter losses average one-third.  During the summer make enough splits to begin winter with one and a half times the number of colonies required for honey production in the spring.  If six colonies are required for spring honey production, begin winter with ten.  For example, begin the winter with six production hives and four nucs. After losing two production hives and two nucs during the winter, a 40 percent loss, the two remaining nucs are used to replace the dead colonies restoring production hives to six.  There is no need to buy colonies because of winter losses.  In May, splits can be started to replace the nucs bringing the total number of colonies up to ten again.

Overwinter Nucs

“Almost every emergency of management can be met by putting something into or taking something out of a nucleus, while nuclei themselves seldom present emergencies.” E. B. Wedmore, A Manual of Beekeeping


To read  the complete article visit: Coweta Sustainable Beekeeping Method

Hive Stands


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This time of year beekeepers perform maintenance and build more toys. Here’s a link detailing how to build a nice, portable, sturdy hive stand for under ten dollars: Bee Hive Stand for Cheap!


Honey-Pecan Green Beans by Fabulous Fare Sisters


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These easy Honey-Pecan Green Beans are a welcome addition to any meal…

Honey-Pecan Green Beans
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
½ c. toasted pecans
1 T. butter
2 T. honey
Salt & pepper

In large sauté pan, bring green beans and ½ c. water to boil. Lower heat and simmer until beans are tender-crisp. Drain. To sauté pan, add butter, pecans and drained green beans; cook over medium heat for a few minutes more, adding honey and seasoning and cook until green beans are tender. Serve hot.



Read full article here: Honey-Pecan Green Beans — Fabulous Fare Sisters

The Evolution of Beehive Covers by Jim Thompson



An interesting article on the history and evolution of beehive covers. ~ sassafrasbeefarm

I have found it interesting to look at the types of different beehive covers or tops that have been used over the years. I began my search with the first beehive that was patented in the United States but had a problem because the patent office burned in 1836 and many of the early written patents were destroyed. My records show that there were 1,131 beehives patented up to 2009. Some of these hives were the same hive with improvements to keep the patent in effect. The very first beehive patented was developed by J. Sweet, April 11, 1810, in Bethlehem, MA, but that record was destroyed in the fire. I found patent X 5,872 was granted to Ebenezer Beard in 1830 and most of the written part was recovered from the fire and had a flat attached cover. Sixty eight patented beehives later, in 1853, Lorenzo L. Langstroth was granted a patent for a hive. Reverend Langstroth had actually developed five different models of beehives and most of his hives had flat tops.  However his fifth hive was a glass hive within a hive and the outer top could be tipped forward. So it might be classified as a telescoping cover because it covered an inside hive. During the 23 years in between the Ebenezer Beard hive and the Lorenzo L. Langstroth hive there were 44 flat topped hives that had covers that were hinged, attached or simply rested on the beehive. There were four beehives that had covers sloping in one direction and two telescoping covers. Eleven hives had unusual shaped covers with projections and seven hives had pitched or gable tops. When you stop and think about it, it isn’t really that unusual, as the trend in the early times was to convert a piece of furniture into a beehive and have drawers or a side panel that could be opened.  The lumber in the 1850s was available in wider widths so you could get a single piece that would cover the entire hive. However you would encounter the problem of warping or cupping, allowing the top to have gaps between the bottom side of the cover and the super below. The gaps could be viewed as being good or bad. The gap would provide upper ventilation and an upper entrance to the hive.  However, if you wanted to move the hive there was just another place for the bees to escape from the hive. Thus to eliminate the warping, the boards could be cut in narrower strips, the grain reversed and cross pieces used to hold the boards together. This style of cover is very much like the today’s migratory cover. A problem arose, what do you do with a flat top once it is removed? You can’t just lay it on the ground in the same orientation as it would smash bees.  Your best choice would be to prop it up against something else. Once a bee is smashed, the alarm pheromone is released and the other bees are now on alert. If you reverse the top and lay it on the ground, you can’t use it to stack equipment on it because it may violate bee space and squash bees.

continued… Read the full article with lots more pictures here: The Evolution of Beehive Covers — BEEKeeping: Your First Three Years

Happy Birthday Emily Dickinson


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Happy Birthday Emily Dickinson – Born Dec. 10, 1830

The Bee
By Emily Dickinson

Like trains of cars on tracks of plush
I hear the level bee:
A jar across the flowers goes,
Their velvet masonry
Withstands until the sweet assault
Their chivalry consumes,
While he, victorious, tilts away
To vanquish other blooms.
His feet are shod with gauze,
His helmet is of gold;
His breast, a single onyx
With chrysoprase, inlaid.
His labor is a chant,
His idleness a tune;
Oh, for a bee’s experience
Of clovers and of noon!

A team of archaeologists is rediscovering just how extensive Emily Dickinson’s garden was. Historical evidence shows Emily Dickinson’s Garden contained an abundance of blooming flowers. Archaeologists recently uncovered portions of a pathway leading to nineteenth-century flower and vegetable beds.Emily Dickinson – was an American poet born in Amherst, Massachusetts. (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) ~ during her lifetime she “was known more widely as a gardener, perhaps, than as a poet”. Emily Dickinson’s niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, remembered “carpets of lily-of-the-valley and pansies, platoons of sweetpeas, hyacinths, enough in May to give all the bees of summer dyspepsia. There were ribbons of peony hedges and drifts of daffodils in season, marigolds to distraction—a butterfly utopia” Archaeology – Remnants of Emily Dickinson’s Gardens Sought

AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS—Emily Dickinson is known today as one of the greatest poets of the nineteenth century, but in her lifetime she may have been more renowned for her gardening. At her family estate, she helped to tend an orchard, a greenhouse, and an expanse of flower and vegetable gardens. The size of these gardens was dramatically decreased in the decades after Dickinson died in 1886, but now a team of archaeologists is searching for their remnants. Last summer, they uncovered portions of a pathway leading to nineteenth-century flower and vegetable beds. “If we can follow out the historic path to its end, then theoretically we would find the location of past gardens,” Kerry Lynch of Archaeological Services at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, told the New York Times. If they do locate these gardens, the archaeologists hope to find seeds or other botanical evidence dating back to when Dickinson was alive.

Archaeology – Remnants of Emily Dickinson’s Gardens Sought

Emily Dickinson


Happy Birthday Amos I. Root


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Amos Ives Root – Born December 9, 1839 (1839–1923)

Biography of A. I. Root
Written by E. R. Root

A. I. Root was born in a log house, December 9, 1830, about two miles north of the present manufacturing plant of The A. I. Root Co. He was a frail child, and his parents had little hopes of raising him to manhood, although some of the neighbors said his devoted mother would not let him die. As he grew older his taste for gardening and mechanics became apparent. Among his early hobbies were windmills, clocks, poultry, electricity, and chemistry —anything and everything in the mechanical line that would interest a boy who intensely loved machinery. Later on we find him experimenting in electricity and chemistry; and at 18 he is out on a lecturing-tour with a fully equipped apparatus of his own construction.

We next find Mr. Root learning the jeweler’s trade, and it was not long before he decided to go into business for himself. He accordingly went to an old gentleman who loaned money, and asked him if he would let him have a certain amount of money for a limited time. This friend agreed to lend him the amount, but he urgently advised him to wait a little and earn the money by working for wages. This practical piece of advice, coming as it did at the very beginning of his career, was indeed a God-send, and. unlike most boys, he decided to accept it. Imbued with a love for his work, and having indomitable push, he soon earned enough to make a start in business, without borrowing a dollar. The business prospered till A. I. Root & Co. were the largest manufacturers of real coin-silver jewelry in the country. From $200 to $300 worth of coin was made weekly into rings and chains, and the firm employed something like 15 or 20 men and women.

It was about this time, or in 1865, that a swarm of bees passed over his shop; but as this incident is given so fully in the introduction I omit it here. Not long after he became an A B C scholar himself in bees, he began to write for the American Bee Journal under the nom de plume of “Novice.” In these papers he recounted a few of his successes and many of his failures with bees. His frank confession of his mistakes, his style of writing, so simple, clear, and clean-cut, brought him into prominence at once. So many inquiries came in that he was finally induced to start a journal, entitled Gleanings in Bee Culture of this, now his business grew to such a size that the manufacturing plant alone covered five acres, and employed from 100 to 200 men —all this and more is told in the Introduction by the writer.

As an inventor Mr. Root has occupied quite a unique field. He was the first to introduce the one pound-section honey-box, of which something like 50,000,000 are now made annually. He made the first practical ail-metal honey-extractor. This he very modestly styled the “Novice,” a machine of which thousands have been made and are still made. Among his other inventions may be named the Simplicity hive, the Novice honey-knife, several reversible frames, and the metal-cornered frame. The last named was the only invention he ever patented, and this he subsequently gave to the world long before the patent expired.

In the line of horticultural tools he invented a number of useful little devices which he freely gave to the public. But the two inventions which he considers of the most value is one for storing up heat, like storing electricity in a storage battery, and another for disposing of sewage in rural districts. The first named is a system of storing up the heat from exhaust steam in Mother Earth in such a way that greenhouses and dwelling-houses can be heated, even after the engine has stopped at night, and for several days after. The other invention relates to a method of disposing of the sewage from indoor water-closets so that “Mother Earth,” as he calls it, will take it automatically and convert it into plant life, without the least danger to health or life, and that, too, for a period of years without attention from any one.

Some of the secrets of his success in business may be briefly summed, up by saying that it was always his constant aim to send goods by return train, and to answer letters by return mail, although, of course, as the business continued to grow this became less and less practicable. He believed most emphatically in mixing business and religion—in conducting business on Christian principles; or to adopt a modern phrase, doing business “as Jesus would do it.” As might be expected, such a policy drew an immense clientage, for people far and wide believed in him. But how few, comparatively, in this busy world, go beyond the practice that honesty is the best policy! While A. 1. Root believed in this good rule he did not think it went far enough, and, accordingly, tried to adopt and live the Golden Rule.

The severe strain of long hours of work, together with constantly failing health, compelled Mr. Root to throw some of the responsibilities of the increasing business on his sons and sons-in-law. This was between 1886 and 1890. At no definite time could it be said that there was a formal transfer of the management of the supply business and the management of the bee department of Gleanings to his children; but as time went on they gradually assumed the control, leaving him free to engage in gardening and other rural pursuits, and for the last ten years he has given almost no attention to bees, devoting nearly all his time to travel and to lighter rural Industries. He has written much on horticultural and agricultural subjects; indeed, it is probable that he has done more writing on these subjects than he ever did on bees.

Note: He did not invent a section box for holding honey, but only a box just the right size to put 8 into a Langstroth frame.

For the last twenty-five years he has been writing a series of lay sermons, touching particularly on the subject of mixing business and religion, work and wages, and, in general, the great problem of capital and labor. As an employer of labor he had here a large field for observation, and well has he made use of it. Perhaps no series of articles he ever wrote has elicited a more sympathetic response from his friends all over this wide world than these same talks; and through these he has been the means of bringing many a one into the fold of Christ.

It has been a rather difficult matter to get a picture that was in any way satisfactory to the members of his family. Finally the writer, one day, with a Kodak, took a “time view” of him in his favorite place of resort, the greenhouse, among his “posies,” where he spends hours of his happiest moments. This view shows him just as he appears around home in his everyday work clothes. Ill health, or a sort of malaria that has been hanging about him for years, has forced him. during winter, to wear a fur cap and to keep his overcoat constantly on, indoors and outdoors, with the collar turned up.

Mr. Root, ever since his conversion, in 1875 has been a most active working Christian. No matter what the condition of his health, he is a regular attendant at church and prayer-meeting. He takes great interest in all lines of missionary work, and especially in the subject of temperance. He annually gives considerable sums of money to support the cause of missions, and to the Ohio Antisaloon League; and now that the heavier responsibilities of the business have been lifted from his shoulders he is giving more and more of his time and attention to sociological problems.—E. R. Root.Source:
The ABC of Bee Culture, page 438, 1903

Online Books by A.I. Root:

Root, A. I. (Amos Ives), 1839-1923: The ABC of Bee Culture: A Cyclopaedia of Everything Pertaining to the Care of the Honey-Bee: Bees, Honey, Hives, Implements, Honey-Plants, etc.; Facts Gleaned From the Experiences of Thousands of Bee Keepers All Over Our Land, Afterward Verified by Practice Work in Our Own Apiary (100th thousand; Medina, OH: A. I. Root Co., 1905)

More at: The Online Books Page – A.I. Root


Turkish Honey Baklava by Precious Little Toes


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There are very few sweets as satisfying as a piece of baklava with a steaming cup of coffee. Many groups claim Baklava as their own.  It is widely believed that it is of Assyrian origin. Around approximately the 8th century B.C., Assyrians baked thin layers of dough with nuts, poured honey over it, and enjoyed this sumptuous treat. The history of Baklava changed with the history of the land. The Near and Middle East saw many civilizations come and go. Baklava and the recipe had spread to the Near East, Armenia, and Turkey. With the advent of the Grecian Empire, it spread westward to Greece. (Source)

That is why Baklava has many varieties, the traditional baklava is made with walnuts and in the southern with pecan and in the western with almonds. The Turks are known to famously make it with pistachios. I prefer pistachios and almonds in my Baklava.Today I’m sharing with you all, the easiest and yummiest homemade baklava recipe. The basic ingredients for baklava are nuts, phyllo pastry and syrup or honey. I bought the phyllo pastry from the supermarket. You can find it in the frozen foods aisle. I’ve used a mixture of almonds and pistachios for nuts and made a beautiful rose flavored honey syrup. This is one of those recipes that you cannot fail with and even if you try hard to do, the outcome no matter what is going to be absolutely delicious.

Get the recipe here: Turkish Honey Baklava — Precious Little Toes

Remembering Amos Root




This Sunday will be Amos Root’s birthday. What an interesting man. He was the Elon Musk of his day. ~sasafrasbeefarm

In Remembrance of Amos Root –

  • Birth: 9 DEC 1839 in Medina Township (Medina) State of Ohio
  • Death: 30 APR 1923 in Medina (Medina) State of Ohio
  • Burial: UNKNOWN Spring Grove Cemetery in Medina, Ohio

One Beekeeper, Two Wright Brothers

Source: One Beekeeper, Two Wright Brothers

One Beekeeper, Two Wright Brothers
Posted on September 14, 2016

Leave it to a beekeeper to make aviation history. An Ohio entrepreneur/beekeeper named Amos Root was, according to reports, the only person to actually witness the Wright brothers’ airplane flights in 1904 and 1905. And not just witness them, but write about them in a publication he founded called “Gleanings in Bee Culture.”

Root makes an appearance in David McCullough’s “The Wright Brothers” and also in an article on PBS’s Nova site. As the Nova site says, “almost as astonishing as the fact that a pair of bicycle shop owners invented the airplane” is that the first “accurate reporting on their earliest flights appeared” not in The New York Times or Scientific American, but in “an obscure journal for beekeepers.”

Root, a beekeeping hobbyist from his early twenties on, started a company in Medina, Ohio, that made beehives and beekeeping equipment. One of his best inventions was (improving ed.) removable frames so that a beekeeper could harvest honey without destroying the hive.

Root also started a candle-making company called Root Candles that is still in existence today. According to an article in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the company, which sits next to Amos Root’s old homestead in Medina, makes 20 million home décor candles every year. The company’s president is a great-great grandson of Amos.

Read full article here: Source: One Beekeeper, Two Wright Brothers

Comb Honey, Cheese, and Berry Platter by sassafrasbeefarm


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Last night was our annual Bee Association’s Holiday Potluck dinner. I continued last year’s effort of a bee themed platter. This year I replaced the grapes with strawberries to provide more bee pollinated items on the platter. If you consider the cheese as dependent on bees for the cow’s forage then it was almost a home run.

Pictured above: Honey Goat Cheese with raspberry preserves, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, cream cheese, comb honey.

It’s Time to Plan for Spring by sassafrasbeefarm


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Red Maple – Harbinger of Spring

Sooner or later, if one stays in beekeeping, it becomes apparent that success is directly related to being proactive in one’s management of the bees rather than reactive. After all, this is exactly what the bees are doing. The bees never wait until the last minute to put up stores for winter. Nor do the bees wait until the day before the spring nectar flow to gather a full house of foraging bees to harvest nature’s bounty. Rather, the bees work months ahead to make sure they have everything needed to succeed. You too should follow their lead in preparing now for spring beekeeping if you want to have the best chance of success.

For short term goals I would direct you to the beekeeper’s calendar for your area which will guide you as to the tasks at hand for the immediate future. This article will discuss longer term goals.

Let’s consider some likely beekeeping for colonies here in the Midlands which you can work on during the coming months:

– Establish your goals for 2019
– Inventory your current assets
– Assess your needs (equipment mostly but may include outyards,personnel,etc.
– What knowledge will you need to be successful?
– Lay out your time management plan.


What can you do now to ensure your spring will be the best spring ever? Let’s start with considering your goals. Often, I have heard questions asked at monthly meetings that get the response, “Well, it depends.” Answering the question usually goes into what the beekeeper’s goals are. Are they making bees or honey? Do they want to grow their apiary or just manage a few hives for pollination? Are they hoping to produce enough honey to sell or do they want to make queens or nucleus hives for sale? What our management practices are depends directly on our goals. If you are planning a trip to California for almond pollination, you’ll start feeding pollen substitute in early January, but if you do that with colonies you are leaving here in the Midlands you may end up with your bees in trees before it’s warm enough to manage splits. So, before we begin, take some time to decide now what your beekeeping goals will be for 2019 – everything else hinges on this decision.

This time of year, with the reduction in time spent managing your colonies, is ideal to inventory your assets. Get out and inspect your supers, scrape frames, and make sure you have enough equipment to handle your spring goals. Write down your current inventory on paper or start a planning notebook. Later, as you begin to see the plan come into place, you be able to compare your list of current assets against your list of needed assets to accomplish your goal.


After you inventory your assets, write down your shopping list of equipment for ordering later. In addition to woodenware you may need lumber for hive stands, or other less obvious equipment like a new tire for your trailer. Making a list now will help you stay within budget. What’s important now is to develop the plan and determine what is needed. Wait until the plan firms up before ordering equipment as plans may change based on current assets, or other unexpected events which can come up during this planning stage.

Also included in the planning stage is thoroughly thinking through your plan. If it involves establishing out yards, have you located and secured permission for land use? If not then you may want to use any of several methods including the ‘stop and knock’ method, Google maps, or an ad in the local or state Market Bulletin.

Education may also be needed in the planning stage. If your goal is making increase you may want to order books or attend a local course on making splits and nucleus hives. Queen rearing may become something that you’ll have to consider. And if you are not ready for queen rearing, then making plans for purchasing queens to place in those splits if you hope to have them ready in time for spring sales. Purchasing queens would then become an item on your budget which may cause some changes to the original plans. Be flexible.

The idea here is considering all the implications of your plan. Hammer out the timeline now so that you can adjust early in the process. Once spring comes, you’ll be busy managing your bees, so time spent during these cold days planning is time well spent.


Once you’ve completed the assessment and planning portion of your spring preparations it’s time for implementation. Time to finally start the project. By now you have purchased the needed equipment, read up on aspects of your goals, and laid out a timeline for your tasks which includes consideration of the bees’ and nature’s timeline. Let’s get started!

Over winter, it’s time for equipment maintenance and to build boxes, frames, and other woodenware if needed. Also, you may need to visit potential out yards to determine suitability. If you are planning on renting colonies for pollination a pollination contract with dates and other particulars needs to be written and established with the farmer. Will you need more bees or queens? If so, make sure you get your orders in on time to reserve your bees. Also, make it a point to attend as many educational bee meetings as possible. You never known when someone will offer up that nugget of knowledge you’ve needed to hear that will save you a mistake in the future. The final part of implementation will be the actual harvest of the product, the sales of the honey or bees, or the pollination of the crops. Or perhaps the establishment of an out yard which will serve you in the future. As you work through implementation enjoy the process. It’s great fun to see a project come together step by step.

In closing, now is the time to make those plans for success next spring. Start daydreaming now, develop a viable plan, and implement your plan to ensure success next year no matter what your goals may be.


Honey Cucumber and Tomato Salad by Momoe’s Cupboard


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Just a refreshing anytime salad that is quick and easy to make.  The secret to it is rice vinegar.  The cucumbers I used was end of the season large and full of seeds.  I seeded them and peeled them.  You can slice them the way you want. Add tomatoes cut in wedges and thinly sliced sweet onion.  I like to make the dressing and put my sliced onions in first and let them marinate for an hour.  Add cucumbers, tomatoes and parsley when ready to serve.

Full recipe here: Honey Cucumber and Tomato Salad — Momoe’s Cupboard


The Honeybee and the Maple Tree by Rock Bridges Trees



The Honeybee and the Maple Tree have an interesting relationship. In the very early spring when the perfect combination of freezing nights and warm days allow, the maple tree runs sap. This process is what allowed the ancient Americans to learn to harvest maple sap to create Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar.

All of our North American maples produce a sweet sap in the spring. The Sugar Maple-Acer saccharum is the most famous. Sugar Maple has the highest sugar content and is the most efficient source for sap to make Maple Syrup. Red maples and Silver Maples are the other two large maple species that are most familiar to us and likely to produce sap for the bees.

Read the complete article here: The Honeybee and the Maple Tree — Rock Bridges Trees


Sticking with Propolis by PerfectBee


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Ask a non-beekeeper what bees collect when they forage and you will probably hear of nectar and pollen. But few will mention propolis. Yet propolis is an essential material bees use to maintain and protect the hive.

To be factually accurate, bees don’t collect propolis. Instead, they create it inside the hive from other substances they have foraged.

Read the full article here: Sticking with Propolis — PerfectBee

Honey-walnut-almond cupcakes by The Lowland Homestead


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These cupcakes might look plain, but they’re far from that! Cut up bits of walnut give a warm, earthy flavor and together with the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves it makes a great, wholesomely warm fall/winter dessert. These cupcakes retain a moist texture thanks to these walnuts and lend themselves well to being decorated creatively.

Begin by mixing all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the butter, when the butter is well mixed in, add the eggs and honey. Scoop them in muffin forms and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes. Mine are way too big for this recipe as you can see in the pictures, I used old-fashioned sized ones that weren’t suited to the muffin tin. Decorate as you wish. I mixed almond essence with honey and almonds. You can also decorate with whole walnuts.

Read the full recipe with ingredients here: Honey-walnut-almond cupcakes — The Lowland Homestead


Thank Bees for Your Thanksgiving Dinner by Married with Bees


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Millions of Americans are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the grocery stores are bracing themselves for the onslaught of customers.  The fact that hundreds of millions of people in the US can eat a meal that consists of roughly the same menu on the same day is a miracle of modern agriculture as well as a testament to good supply chain management at that nations’ grocery stores.  Have you ever considered how your Thanksgiving meal is impacted by bees?  Many of your Thanksgiving favorites would not make it to the table without the pollination services provide by bees.

Let’s consider a typical Thanksgiving meal that consists of the following: turkey, stuffing, yeast rolls, green bean casserole, cranberry relish, pumpkin pie and coffee.  How would the menu be impacted if there were no bees?


Read the full article here: Thank Bees for Your Thanksgiving Dinner — Married with Bees

Happy Birthday Karl von Frisch


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By (Figure design: J. Tautz and M. Kleinhenz, Beegroup Würzburg.) – Chittka L: Dances as Windows into Insect Perception. PLoS Biol 2/7/2004: e216. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0020216, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1374858


FrischKarl Ritter von Frisch, (20 November 1886 – 12 June 1982) was an Austrian ethologist who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973, along with Nikolaas Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz.[2][3]

His work centered on investigations of the sensory perceptions of the honey bee and he was one of the first to translate the meaning of the waggle dance. His theory, described in his 1927 book Aus dem Leben der Bienen (translated into English as The Dancing Bees), was disputed by other scientists and greeted with skepticism at the time. Only much later was it shown to be an accurate theoretical analysis.[4]


The “waggle dance” is used to relay information about more distant food sources. In order to do this, the dancing bee moves forward a certain distance on the vertically hanging honeycomb in the hive, then traces a half circle to return to her starting point, whereupon the dance begins again. On the straight stretch, the bee “waggles” with her posterior. The direction of the straight stretch contains the information about the direction of the food source, the angle between the straight stretch and the vertical being precisely the angle which the direction of flight has to the position of the sun. The distance to the food source is relayed by the time taken to traverse the straight stretch, one second indicating a distance of approximately one kilometer (so the speed of the dance is inversely related to the actual distance). The other bees take in the information by keeping in close contact with the dancing bee and reconstructing its movements. They also receive information via their sense of smell about what is to be found at the food source (type of food, pollen, propolis, water) as well as its specific characteristics. The orientation functions so well that the bees can find a food source with the help of the waggle dance even if there are hindrances they must detour around like an intervening mountain.

As to a sense of hearing, Frisch could not identify this perceptive faculty, but it was assumed that vibrations could be sensed and used for communication during the waggle dance. Confirmation was later provided by Dr. Jürgen Tautz, a bee researcher at Würzburg University’s Biocenter.[11]

Source: Wikipedia

Online Book: The Dancing Bees by Karl von Frisch

Chicken Wings Marinated in Cranberry and Honey Sauce by Estonian Cuisine.


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Sounds like a game changer for Saturdays. But only one tablespoon of honey? I don’t think so. ! ~sassafrasbeefarm

Chicken Wings Marinated in Cranberry and Honey Sauce

Delicious sweet and sour marinade from honey and cranberries softening tender poultry.

Horseradish gives a taste and flavour. Wonderful warming dish for autumn dinner.

Get the full recipe here:  Chicken Wings Marinated in Cranberry and Honey Sauce. Kanatiivad jõhvika- ja meemarinaadis — Estonian Cuisine. Eesti Toit.


Why Sherlock Holmes Retired And Became A Beekeeper by Buzz About Bees


You may have heard that Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes became a beekeeper when he retired.  But how do we know he took up beekeeping, and why did Sherlock become a beekeeper?  Below, you’ll find a quote from the book, and possible reasons why Sherlock Holmes decided to take up beekeeping as a hobby.

We are not given the specific reasons why Sherlock Holmes took up beekeeping and what lead him to this hobby, however, beekeeping seems a fitting hobby for the master sleuth!  Here are my suggestions:


Read the full blog article here: Sep 7, Why Sherlock Holmes Retired And Became A Beekeeper — Bees Blog from Buzz About Bees

Happy Birthday Everett Franklin Phillips


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E.F. Phillips


Born November 14th, 1878

Died August 21st, 1951

From The Hive and the Honey Bee Book Collection at Cornell:

In 1925, a Cornell professor of apiculture named Everett Franklin Phillips set out to create a major repository of literature on bees and beekeeping. He envisioned this library as an “accessible storehouse of our knowledge of bees and beekeeping.” By 1926, Phillips had persuaded over 223 people from twenty-nine states and twenty-six foreign countries to donate thousands of books and pamphlets, and the E.F. Phillips Beekeeping Collection at Cornell was born.

Perhaps Phillips’ biggest coup was his ingenious plan for raising the money necessary for creating the library’s endowment: he convinced hundreds of New York state beekeepers to set aside one of their hives for the library. When a hive had raised $50 from honey sales, the beekeeper’s obligation was completed.

Seventy-five years after beekeepers helped Phillips create one of the world’s finest collections of books and journals in beekeeping, a new generation of apiculturalists is leading efforts to digitize major parts of that collection. The idea for The Hive and the Honeybee emerged following the 2002 conference of the Eastern Apiculture Society, which was held on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca . In the years since then, individual beekeepers and beekeeping organizations from around the country have contributed funding to make some of the greatest works from American authors on beekeeping available via the Internet. With this generous support, collaborating staff from the University of Delaware, Mississippi State University, Mary Washington College, the Finger Lakes Beekeeping Association, and Mann Library at Cornell University launched The Hive and the Honeybee site in the spring of 2004, offering to the public the full text of ten rare books from the Phillips Collection, chosen by a team of scholars for their historical importance and usefulness to beekeepers today.

Ongoing giving by American beekeepers has continued to expand the collection, and we are proud to announce that the Hive and the Honeybee today consists of the full text of over thirty books from the Phillips library as well as the first forty volumes of a landmark American publication, the American Bee Journal, an influential English language beekeeping journal read by scholars and practicing beekeepers and still being published today.

We hope that eventually The Hive and the Honeybee will contain every major pre-1925 beekeeping work in the English language. The texts in this digital collection are fully searchable, and will also become part of the Core Historical Literature of Agriculture (CHLA).

How fitting E.F. Phillips would find that beekeepers are again playing a central role in realizing a major new development for the Phillips collection. And how thrilled he and his original beekeeping collaborators would be to see the internet make a storehouse of beekeeping knowledge accessible to the world today.

Mann Library would like to extend special thanks to the Eastern Apiculture Society and Mike Griggs for providing the initial inspiration and funding to create The Hive and the Honeybee online library. We are equally grateful to the many generous beekeeping associations, extension agencies, and individuals across the United States –from Florida to Maine and New York to Washington State –who have provided funding for the continued development of this digital collection.

A downloadable bookmark showing the website address for The Hive and the Honeybee collection is available for desktop printing. To make a gift toward The Hive and the Honeybee please make your check payable to Cornell University and mail to Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University , Ithaca , NY 14850 . To find out more about supporting this growing collection, please contact Eveline Ferretti, Albert R. Mann Library (tel.: (607) 254-4993; email: ef15@cornell.edu).

Digital Books Available at: http://bees.library.cornell.edu/b/bees/browse.html

E,. F. Phillips Obituary: https://academic.oup.com/jee/article-abstract/45/6/1124/2205462/Everett-Franklin-Phillips-1878-1951?redirectedFrom=PDF

Honey Bee Genetics by PerfectBee



Most of us have heard of the importance of genes, how a mother and father each contribute their important element and so on. We accept, without question, that the mother contributes chromosomes from her egg and the father from his sperm. Much of the animal kingdom operates with these principles.

But that is not the case with honey bees.

Read the full article here: Honey Bee Genetics — PerfectBee

Egg-less Honey Cake Recipe by Malini’s Space


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This cake is one of my favorites in school and college days, Most people in my friends circle used to love chocolate flavor, I was the one, who always wanted this flavor. I was that addicted to this so much. Sadly, nowadays when I go to the cake shop, I don’t find this cake, they have 100’s of other flavors, but not this. Fortunately, some small bakery shops still have this cake to save me. 🙂

That’s how, I really wanted to make this myself at home and treat me with strawberry and honey flavor, whenever I get the cravings. This one is very easy, just like other cakes, with simple extra two steps. Check below for detailed explanation with step by step pictures.

Read the full recipe with lots of pictures here: Egg-less Honey Cake Recipe — Malini’s Space

Henry David Thoreau Learns a Lesson From the Bees by New England Historical Society




Sept. 30, 1852, was a fine clear day, and Henry David Thoreau decided to go bee hunting. He ended up feeling richer for the experience, and not just because of the honey.

He was 35 years old, living in Concord, Mass., as the town’s principled eccentric. Two years earlier he had published A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, but it wasn’t a success. He had finished his sojourn in the woods, though he had yet to publish his masterpiece, Walden.

He had already spent a night in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax as a protest against slavery and the Mexican War. He was hiding escaped slaves in his family’s home and taking long walks in the surrounding woods and fields.

He recorded in great detail his observations of nature in his journal. On the day he went bee hunting, he described how he went with three friends in a wagon to Fair Haven Pond. They brought with them their bee-hunting apparatus: a small round tin box and a small wooden box.

At first they had no luck, as they couldn’t find flowers. The goldenrods were dried up and the asters were scarce. They tried the pond, a brook and a tree where Thoreau had found a bees’ nest that summer. No luck. And then,

Read the full article here: New England Historical Society

Beekeeping and Political Elections by sassafrasbeefarm


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It seems a parallel exists between bees, bee yards, and Political Elections. The ebb and flow, rhythm, and normal fluctuations all fall within the big picture.

Beekeepers accept the growth of the bee yard during the spring. Things expand on their own with little or no help from the beekeeper. Most beekeepers assign that expansion a positive value but, in fact it’s neither positive nor negative – it’s just a direction. In the autumn there is a corresponding reduction of colonies and things change, again neither good nor bad – just change. Beekeepers learn over the years that flux is the norm and without the connotations our beliefs wish to assign to individual events. It is what it is, we merge with the changes – or we don’t and become angst ridden. But how do we get to an acceptance of the flux? One way I have learned to adapt to the flux is by taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture.

Some colonies thrive for a season and then unexpectedly go out with a mighty thud. Other never build up. Still others chug along fully average in every way. But regardless, all can expect to come and go with time. Another example is the notes I write on the tops of my hives. After some time passes my notes become meaningless. Sometimes I look at those notes and try to remember the urgency that inspired my note written last season. In the bigger picture of the bee yard, after the bees swarm and the new queen comes in with her genetics it’s only a short time before the bees of the former queen are gone having been replaced by a new queen and her offspring. A new queen brings her genetics yet in the big picture things simply continue. And so it goes on every organizational level. Changes take place in the bee yard with hives being moved, replaced, swarms captured, queens failing. It’s all birth, change, flux, and impermanence. That’s okay, it works out, the bees offer us the opportunity to learn to enjoy the variations within the journey.

Reading the book, The Buzz about Bees – Biology of a Superorganism by Jürgen Tautz, I am reminded that the changes above are both disruptive as well as beneficial to the species. The biological makeup changes and the fate of the species is strengthened by these disruptive events. However to see this as beneficial we must back up and look at what’s happening from a long term point of view. Short term we only see disruption, possible loss of a honey crop, colony, or other inconvenient situation for the bees and beekeeper. Taking the long term view however, we see that flux is key to a balancing taking place in the colony, the bee yard, and even the species itself.

Beekeepers are slow people; I mean that in a good way. We patiently look to spring, then we make plans for summer dearth, then fall nectar flows, and then we prepare for winter. We are both methodical and boring. While mostly dull, we are also reassured that all is as it should be and we remain excited with each predictable change of the season. We learn that change and disruption is normal, even beneficial, and not to be feared. It’s only disruptive in the short term but not if we consider the long term. How could it be otherwise?

So, the colony has been disrupted. The big picture is it’s seeking balance again – be patient! It’s neither good nor bad – it’s just what is. As we often say, “we do our part and the bees will work it out if we let them.” Maybe not today, nor tomorrow; maybe not this week or this month. If we are patient, in time we’ll see change that pleases us the bee yard next year. For now though, maybe we can sit down and think things through and come up with a plan to help things along next season. Regardless, the big picture is so much larger than we are that we struggle to fully see how change is beneficial to seeking balance. As humans in an inpatient world we struggle with concepts of time, change, and balance. Don’t be alarmed; everything in this world is subject to disruptions and change yet always seeks balance.

A Metaphysical Life by Bad Beekeeping Blog


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Happy Birthday Richard Taylor.

Richard Taylor (November 5, 1919 – October 30, 2003), born in Charlotte, Michigan, was an American philosopher renowned for his dry wit and his contributions to metaphysics. He was also an internationally known beekeeper.

Today is the  anniversary of the birth of one of my beekeeper-heroes, Professor Richard Taylor. He was an early champion of the round comb honey system, a commercial beekeeper with just 300 hives, and he was a philosopher who wrote the book on metaphysics. Really, he wrote the book on metaphysics – for decades, his college text Metaphysics introduced first-year philosophy students to the most fundamental aspect of reality – the nature of cosmology and the existence of all things.

Although his sport of philosophy was speculative, unprovable, and abstract to the highest degree, Richard Taylor was as common and down-to-earth as it’s possible to become. I will write about his philosophy and how it shaped his politics, but first, let’s celebrate his beekeeping.

Read the complete article at: A Metaphysical Life — Bad Beekeeping Blog


Honey Garlic Pork Chops by What’s for Dinner Moms?


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This was such a simple dinner to make that it made me very happy. The kids happily ate it and we all sat around the table and talked. It was wonderful! I added buttered egg noodles with garlic and some brown beans to complete the meal. This is a recipe that is going back in our rotation.

Read the full recipe here: Honey Garlic Pork Chops — What’s for Dinner Moms?

Telling the Bees


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Charles Napier Hemy (1841-1917) – Telling the Bees

Telling the Bees

The telling of the bees is a traditional English custom, in which bees would be told of important events in their keeper’s lives, such as births, marriages, or departures and returns in the household. The bees were most commonly told of deaths in their master’s family.

To inform the bees of a death their hive might be hung with a black cloth, while a “doleful tune” is sung. Another method of “telling the bees” would be for their master to approach the hive and knock gently upon it. The house key might also be used to knock on the hive. When the master of the house had the attention of the bees they would tell the bees the name of the person that had died.

Food and drink from a beekeeper’s funeral would also be left by the hive for the bees, including the funeral biscuits and wine. The hive would also be lifted a few inches and put down again at the same time as the coffin. The hive might also be rotated to face the funeral procession, and draped with mourning cloth.

A section from John Greenleaf Whittier‘s poem “Home Ballads” describes the practice:

Before them, under the garden wall,
Forward and back
Went, drearily singing, the chore-girl small,
Draping each hive with a shred of black.

Trembling, I listened; the summer sun
Had the chill of snow;
For I knew she was telling the bees of one
Gone on the journey we all must go!

“Stay at home, pretty bees, fly not hence!
Mistress Mary is dead and gone!”

Source and to read more: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telling_the_bees

Video animation of John Greenleaf Whittier via YouTube posted by poetryreincarnations

Video of Holland beekeeper telling the bees via Youtube posted by Historical Honeybee Articles


What’s the Price of Cheap Honey? by Married with Bees


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People love to ask questions when they find out that we started keeping bees.  One of the most common questions is, “When will you start selling honey?”  That question is usually followed by the comment, “Local honey is really expensive.  You can make a lot of money.”  In our part of the Midwest, local honey sells for anywhere between $8 and $12 for a 1 pound bottle, and those prices are typically set by hobby beekeepers who sell mostly at places like farmers markets.  If you read my previous blog post, you will know that hobby beekeepers aren’t getting rich on their honey.  The question that people should be asking is, “Why is the grocery store honey so cheap?”  The answer to that question will probably shock you.

Read the full article here: What’s the Price of Cheap Honey? — Married with Bees

Pan Fried Honey Bananas by In Dianes Kitchen


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Wait until you taste these all natural Pan Fried Honey Bananas! They are unbelievably easy to make and are sweetened naturally with honey then sprinkled with cinnamon. You could eat this for breakfast but for me it is more of a dessert or great snack.

Get the full recipe with pictures here: Pan Fried Honey Bananas — In Dianes Kitchen