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and the new queen comes in with her genetics it’s only a short time before the bees of the former queen are gone having been replaced by a new queen and her offspring.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.

Chipotle Honey Lime Chicken by kevinis cooking


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This easy Chipotle Honey Lime Chicken is a smash hit every time. Whether grilled or sautéed in a pan, the citrus marinade with warm spices, fresh herbs and honey is packed with flavor. Perfect as a main course, sliced over salads, in tacos or in a sandwich, this recipe is so versatile! Well this past…

See full recipe here: Chipotle Honey Lime Chicken —

Chocolate Bakalava by Let’s Taco Bout It Blog


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This recipe first published at: Let’s Taco Bout It Blog. Visit the link below to read entire article. get the recipe, and see some amazing pictures.

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.”

― Leo Tolstoy , Anna Karenina

The Princess Oblonsky, also know as Anna Arkádyevna Karénina or even more familiarly Anna, looked curiously for and back the immense banquet table. Being nobility afforded many luxuries for her and her inquisitive and thoughtful mind enjoyed these luxuries to the fullest. She adored the ability to sit and enjoy a meal with her family and friends, however this grand hall full of people she barely knew was a bit much. The fakery, the frippery of it all insulted her sensibilities to their very core. The grandiose hall was modeled after the glorious summer palace in Versailles, the very height of couture and society. Twinkling tapers softly lit the entire guilted corridor with candelabras, tapestries and chandeliers glittering. All at once it was to much to behold, yet Anna drank it in like champagne.

Even more than the grand room was the grand foods! Each aristocrat had multiple gourmet courses served and each was whisked away by the Tatar attendants in coattails down to the backs of their knees once the dish had been finished. In between, Anna and the other guests had time to discourse on the favorite topics of the evening the food, the military, and their fellow aristocrats. While the nobles around her were distracted by the gossip, she wandered off to examine the sideboards full of stylish desserts. There were all of the nouveau delicacies from Paris, but as Anna continued until she found her absolute favorite, baklava. This decadent, delicate pastry was layered with honey and nuts and to add a bit of the french flair that the Russians adored so much, the whole sweet was studded with bits of melted chocolate.

As Anna finished browsing, she returned to her seat thinking only of how her son would have loved the baklava. Abruptly, she realized she had been staring down and across the table, with a young man smiling back at her. Anna shook her head to clear her thoughts and joined in the conversation with the man to her left but every time she looked up, there was the rakish grin. It’s was as hard to resist smiling back as it was to not have a piece of the baklava!


Read entire article, see some amazing photos and get the recipe at:  Chocolate Baklava – Anna Karenina — Let’s Taco Bout It Blog

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., CC BY 2.5,


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

Honeydew, Aphids, and Yellow Jackets

Honeydew, Aphids, and Yellow Jackets. A couple days ago I noticed hundreds of yellow jackets on the ground under a spruce tree. Oh boy, I thought, I finally found their nest. But I couldn’t find any sort of central gathering. Instead they were all over. Then I noticed they were also in the tree above, on the needles, and walking the branches. Then I saw the aphids and I remembered that honey bees sometimes collect the secretions of aphids which have been processed from the tree saps and sugars. Since there isn’t much protein in the sap, the aphids have to eat lots of it and they excrete the extra sugars. The resulting honey is referred to as honeydew honey. So, the yellow jackets were working in and around the tree collecting the honeydew and most likely picking off some of the aphids for their protein. This is a beneficial behavior of the yellow jackets so I left them to do their job. To read more about honeydew visit HoneyBeeSuite here: 

Reading Materials – Preparations for Winter


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It’s still early and we have lots of time to make preparations to obtain reading matter for the long winter haul. A time when beekeepers spend time wondering what the bees are doing and how they are faring inside their hives. But for those so inclined to prepare ahead of time and capture the best prices, now is the time to search Amazon and Ebay and your favorite used book sellers for good deals. I recently got both of these non US titles for a fraction of their going rate. Just waiting for the cold weather to set in now.

Pictured above:

Beekeeping – A Seasonal Guide by Ron Brown

The Honey Bee – A Guide for Beekeepers by V.R. Vickery


Beekeeping Vocabulary – “W” is for…


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Processed Beeswax

Today’s beekeeping vocabulary word is, “wax.”


From Wikipedia (edited):

Beeswax (cera alba) is a natural wax produced by honey bees of the genus Apis. The wax is formed into “scales” by eight wax-producing glands in the abdominal segments of worker bees, who discard it in or at the hive. The hive workers collect and use it to form cells for honey-storage and larval and pupal protection within the beehive. Chemically, beeswax consists mainly of esters of fatty acids and various long-chain alcohols.

Beeswax has long-standing applications in human food and flavoring. For example, it is used as a glazing agent, a sweetener, or as a light/heat source. It is edible, in the sense of having similar negligible toxicity to plant waxes, and is approved for food use in most countries and the European Union under the E number E901. However, the wax monoesters in beeswax are poorly hydrolysed in the guts of humans and other mammals, so they have insignificant nutritional value.[1] Some birds, such as honeyguides, can digest beeswax. Beeswax is the main diet of Wax moth larvae.

Beeswax has a relatively low melting point range of 62 °C to 64 °C (144 °F to 147 °F). If beeswax is heated above 85 °C (185 °F) discoloration occurs. The flash point of beeswax is 204.4 °C (400 °F).[9] Density at 15 °C is 958 kg/m³ to 970 kg/m³.

When natural beeswax is cold it is brittle, at room temperature it is tenacious, its fracture is dry and granular, it also softens at human body temperature.

Beeswax has many and varied uses. Primarily, it is used by the bees in making their honeycombs. Apart from this use by bees, the use of beeswax has become widespread and varied. Purified and bleached beeswax is used in the production of food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. The three main types of beeswax products are yellow, white, and beeswax absolute. Yellow beeswax is the crude product obtained from the honeycomb, white beeswax is bleached or filtered yellow beeswax,[11] and beeswax absolute is yellow beeswax treated with alcohol.[12] In food preparation, it is used as a coating for cheese; by sealing out the air, protection is given against spoilage (mold growth). Beeswax may also be used as a food additive E901, in small quantities acting as a glazing agent, which serves to prevent water loss, or used to provide surface protection for some fruits. Soft gelatin capsules and tablet coatings may also use E901. Beeswax is also a common ingredient of natural chewing gum.

Use of beeswax in skin care and cosmetics has been increasing. A German study found beeswax to be superior to similar barrier creams (usually mineral oil-based creams such as petroleum jelly), when used according to its protocol.[13] Beeswax is used in lip balm, lip gloss, hand creams, salves, and moisturizers; and in cosmetics such as eye shadow, blush, and eye liner. Beeswax is also an important ingredient in moustache wax and hair pomades, which make hair look sleek and shiny.

Candle-making has long involved the use of beeswax, which is highly flammable, and this material traditionally was prescribed for the making of the Paschal candle or “Easter candle”. This may be because beeswax candles are often purported to be superior to other wax candles, because they are meant to burn brighter and longer, do not bend, and burn “cleaner”. [14]It is further recommended for the making of other candles used in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church.[15] Beeswax is also the candle constituent of choice in the Orthodox Church.[16]

Top five beeswax producers (2012, in tonnes)
 India 23 000
 Ethiopia 5 000
 Argentina 4 700
 Turkey 4 235
 Republic of Korea 3 063
 World total

Beeswax is an ingredient in surgical bone wax, which is used during surgery to control bleeding from bone surfaces; shoe polish and furniture polish can both use beeswax as a component, dissolved in turpentine or sometimes blended with linseed oil or tung oil; modeling waxes can also use beeswax as a component; pure beeswax can also be used as an organic surfboard wax.[19] Beeswax blended with pine rosin, can serve as an adhesive to attach reed plates to the structure inside a squeezebox. It can also be used to make Cutler’s resin, an adhesive used to glue handles onto cutlery knives. It is used in Eastern Europe in egg decoration; it is used for writing, via resist dyeing, on batik eggs (as in pysanky) and for making beaded eggs. Beeswax is used by percussionists to make a surface on tambourines for thumb rolls. It can also be used as a metal injection moulding binder component along with other polymeric binder materials.[20] Beeswax was formerly used in the manufacture of phonograph cylinders. It may still be used to seal formal legal or Royal decree and academic parchments such as placing an awarding stamp imprimatur of the university upon completion of post-graduate degrees.

Source and to read more: Wikipedia

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:

Digital Books Available at:

E,. F. Phillips Obituary:

Beekeeping in Central South Carolina: Mild Winters, Mites, Cotton and Soybeans by David MacFawn


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The following is an article written for Bee Culture by my friend and bee buddy, Master Craftsman Beekeeper, David MacFawn. I think it gives a good analysis of the seasons and beekeeping chores we encounter throughout the year here in the Midlands of South Carolina. SassafrasBeeFarm

By David MacFawn

I had a chance to discuss beekeeping in central South Carolina with Danny Cannon, who runs about 400 colonies and is in the Lexington (Columbia – Midlands) area of South Carolina (

Our Winters are mild and short in central South Carolina.  Colonies typically raise brood year around, even in November and the first part of December. Last Winter (2016-2017) we really did not have any winter, except a cold spell in March. Drones typically start flying end of February to the first of March. It is the middle of August, as I am writing this article for the October magazine, cotton is toward the end of its bloom and has done well so far this year. We are monitoring the colonies for mites in August through the December time frame. If necessary, we will treat for mites as soon as the cotton honey supers are pulled in September. We have had well-spaced rain throughout the Summer. October is the month that we start our bee’s Autumn (first frost).

Winter stores (pollen mainly) need to take us through to the first of February when red maple blooms. We also typically have a pollen dearth and the resulting “dry” brood in the later part of August through the first part of September. This dearth impacts Winter brood production. The honey stores need to take us from the September/October time frame through about the first of April when the nectar flow starts. We need to watch our honey supply very closely in March (the month prior to the nectar flow) to ensure the colonies do not starve when building up for the April through June Spring nectar flow.


Read the full article at: Beekeeping in Central South Carolina: Mild Winters, Mites, Cotton and Soybeans | Bee Culture

Building Inexpensive Nucleus Hive Boxes and Queen Mating Nucs


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medium nuc layout

My plan for this coming year is to do some queen rearing. In preparation I will need mating nucs. I pondered using deep 5 frame nucs, which I have a quantity of already, but for various reasons I have decided to use medium height 5 frame nuc boxes. This plan accommodates nuc hive sales as well as queen rearing. Additionally, the medium boxes are significantly cheaper to build as described below.

Nuc boxes External dimensions:

Deep Boxes: 19 7/8″ Length X 9 5/8″ Width X 9 5/8″ Height (Comment: Different bee supply companies makes these different widths. Some as small as 9″ width. Mann Lake makes them a generous 9 5/8″ which I assume is in order to handle their frame feeder. I use this dimension as I have found that whether with or without the frame feeder it avoids crowding of the frames yet doesn’t seem to cause burr comb against the sides. This may not be true if one used frames from a different manufacturer.

Medium Boxes: 19 7/8″ Length X 9 5/8″ Width X 6 5/8″ Height

The above dimensions, both deep and medium, are different than the actual cutting of the box components due to the corner joints. I use a rabbet joint cut 3/8″ deep on the front and back pieces. Because the front and back then contribute to the side length the board on the side is cut 3/4″” smaller than the external 19 7/8″ (side length is cut is 19 1/8″).

Making Medium Boxes: My initial estimate is that I can make 11 of these boxes from a single sheet of 23/32″ sheathing plywood. at about $23-$24 per sheet of 23/32″ sheathing that comes to about $2.25 per box. Tops and bottoms will add to this cost. Total waste is approximately 9%.

Making Deep Boxes: My estimate is that I can make 6 boxes from a single sheet of 23/32″ sheathing plywood. This results in a price per box of $4. Tops and bottoms will add to this cost. The large reduction in the number of boxes that can be made vs medium boxes is a result of waste which results due to the larger dimensions. Total waste per 4′ x 8′ sheet when deep boxes are constructed from plywood is approximately 28%.

I’m using a computer program called CutList Plus which maximizes layout on the plywood. It’s a fun program and I’d encourage you to give it a spin.

Before someone lectures me on use of plywood and it’s longevity, warping, and delamination characteristics please don’t. I have used this particular sheathing and found that with three proper coats of protection it holds up without delamination or warping quite well.

The Secret to the Modern Beehive is a One Centimeter Air Gap by Jimmy Stamp


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Note: Contrary to the text found in the article below, Berlepsch may have beaten Lorenzo Langstroth to the recognition of bee space as a consideration to be utilized in the construction of bee hives  – by as little as 5 months. Berlepsch was working with Dzierzon on a movable frame hive and is now noted for his perfecting of other’s efforts.

Given that information and publishing was very slow in the mid nineteenth century, it is quite possible that the two men refined the use of bee space as a valuable addition to beekeeping independently and at approximately the same time.

Berlepsch was also, during the same period, working with Dzierzon on a moveable frame hive. However it was the American Langstroth that got it right combining the two features of bee space and removable frame hive which proved to be simple, flexible, and would later go on to dominate managed beekeeping in the United States. <end of note>



In 1851, Reverend Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth invented a better beehive and changed beekeeping forever. The Langstroth Hive didn’t spring fully formed from one man’s imagination, but was built on a foundation of methods and designs developed over millenia.

Beekeeping dates back at least to ancient Egypt, when early apiarists built their hives from straw and clay (if you happen to find a honeypot in a tomb, feel free to stick your hand in it, you rascal, because honey lasts longer than a mummy). In the intervening centuries, various types of artificial hives developed, from straw baskets to wood boxes but they all shared one thing: “fixed combs” that must be physically cut from the hive. These early fixed comb hives made it difficult for beekeepers to inspect their brood for diseases or other problems.

In the 18th century, noted Swiss naturalist François Huber developed a “movable comb” or “movable frame” hive that featured wooded leaves filled with honeycombs that could be flipped like the pages of a book. Despite this innovation, Huber’s hive was not widely adopted and simple box hives remained the popular choice for beekeepers until the 1850s. Enter Lorenzo Langstroth.


Read the full article here: The Secret to the Modern Beehive is a One-Centimeter Air Gap

Bee Hive Stand for Cheap!


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14718765_10208849655053516_6492334303744331809_nMake this permanent/portable hive stand for cheap or free.

For under ten dollars you can build a sturdy hive stand that can be used in either a permanent or portable situation. Since it uses relatively short pieces of lumber, sometimes you can find scraps and make one free. I have made several of these and use them as portable stands moving them around as I perform hive inspections. Along the way… they sometimes get used in a more permanent way when the unexpected happens and a stand is needed for a captured swarm or an unexpected, but necessary, spring split.

5/4″ x 6″ x 12′ treated deck lumber (#2 lowest grade)- qty. 1
2″ x 4″ x 8′ treated lumber – qty. 1
2 1/2″ nails or ~ 2″ screws – about 36

You’re going to make several 18″ cuts so if you have a table or radial arm saw set it for 18 inches first. If you don’t have either then that’s okay too – any saw will work.

Cut the 2”X4″ into 4 leg pieces each measuring 18″ (you’ll have a piece left)

Using the 5/4″ x 6″ lumber cut an additional two 18″ pieces.

Reset your saw to 24″ and cut the remaining 5/4″ lumber into 4 pieces. (you will have a short piece remaining).

The 2″x4″s are your legs. Make a sandwich by nailing two of the 24″ pieces to sandwich two 18″ legs. A carpenter’s square helps keep things perpendicular but not absolutely necessary. (don’t overcomplicate it; do one side, turn it over and repeat.)

Make another sandwich using the remaining 24″ pieces and 18″ leg pieces.

On a flat concrete surface, stand and connect the two sandwiched pieces using the remaining 5/4″ x 6″ x 18″ pieces by nailing them them to the sides joining the sandwiches. Your stand should now be complete and level.


Drawn Comb – Taking Care of your assets



frame with bees

This time of year we often have unexpected colony failures. Too often in reacting to the lost of the bees (and the beekeeper’s hard work) beekeepers walk away from the hive in despair thinking they’ll just have to start over next year. That’s okay, but don’t walk away too fast.

Bees can readily be replaced but comb can’t. Even if a colony fails, a spring package of bees (or a split from another hive) can be placed on last year’s comb and it’s as if the hive hardly skips a beat. If new beekeepers take care of the comb year to year they can grow the number of hives or make honey easily on that asset we call drawn comb.

So if it happens to you don’t despair. Take care of their legacy of comb and the bees will be miles ahead of the game next spring.

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

Midlands Beekeeping Calendar for November


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As always, All beekeeping is local. Here’s my offering for the beekeeping calendar for the South Carolina Midlands for the month of November:

Plan on checks once this month but otherwise do not work unless necessary to prevent the triggering of robbing behavior. Try to not be too disruptive in order to allow them to get their house (brood box) in order for winter.

1) Make sure bees have stores enough for winter and proceed accordingly. Last month we suggested aggressively feeding colonies that were underweight using 2:1 syrup. The goal was to increase their weight to approximately 30 – 35 lbs of stores. This month with the cooler weather we increasingly start to concern ourselves with excessive moisture in the hive. If your colonies are still lagging behind in stored nectar / syrup you may be forced to continue feeding 2:1 syrup. If they have stored enough syrup, later this month you may wish to add some insurance in the way of a candy board or mountain camp style dry sugar feeding.

2) Moisture containment becomes a major management concern this month as we move into cooler weather. Moisture within the hive can not be avoided. The bees breathe and, like humans, express humidity which condensates in the cooler weather. Additionally, the process of eating and metabolizing honey results in the release of water molecules. Important reading: A review of methods to control moisture within the hive can be found here.

3) Further reduce entrances if not yet done. The appropriate amount of reduction is what your bees can guard. Colder weather will result in the bees staying inside more and clustering. Lack of forage will also reduce their need for a larger entrance. You probably won’t see as many guard bees on your landing board. Rather than struggling with removing the current reducer, simply place a small piece of wood across the front of the current reducer to attain a smaller entrance. Addition of an upper entrance such as a notched inner cover is advisable prior to entering colder weather to allow for ventilation and allow moisture to escape. The upper entrance should be small, perhaps one bee width. If the colony is small a piece of screen across the upper entrance will insure no unwanted guests have access.

4) Make repairs on your equipment, assemble new equipment, and make some of those time saver gadgets.  Replace any bad equipment. Get started on that bait hive /swarm trap now for placement in early spring.

5) November is an excellent month for selling honey as customers prepare for the holiday season.

6) If you are considering an out yard for next year, now is the time to start looking for a suitable place. Use Google Maps, place an ad in the Market Bulletin, or cruise the countryside to find a place that has ideal forage.

7) Make plans to attend your association’s monthly Zoom meeting.

8) Start hinting at what books or equipment you’d like this year for holiday gift giving.

9) Start setting your beekeeping goals for next season.

The above are general guidelines for the average bee colony in the Midlands of South Carolina. We all have hives that may be outperforming the average. We also have colonies that underperform the average. Use your judgement in making changes suggested here. Beekeeping is an art as well as a science. Only you know the many, many particulars associated with your physical hives as well as the general health and population of your colonies.

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:

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

Many Uses of Beeswax




For the young lady who came up to me at last night’s farmer’s market and purchased two bars of beeswax. I asked what your plans were and you said you didn’t know yet. We discussed some things that came to the top of my mind but as I drove home I remembered lots more uses which I wish I had shared. I hope you see this post which, actually, is just the beginning. An internet search on any of these items adding in the term “recipe” should get you more detailed information on homemade applications.

To start, a good article titled “25 Uses of Beeswax” by Paleomama can be found here:

and for a quick list of brainstormed uses here are some quick ideas:

101 Uses for Beeswax

Thank you Crafting Montana for coming up with this great list

1) lubricant for very old furniture joints.

2) Smooth movement for doors and windows.

3) Component for mustache creams.

4) Prevents bronze items from tarnishing.

5) Use as a rest prevention.

6) Furniture polish when mixed with linseed oil and mineral spirits in equal parts.

7) covering cheeses and preservatives to protect from spoilage.

8) Conditioner for wood bowls and cutting boards.

9) Coat nails and screws to prevent wood from splintering.

10) Used by NASA with an enzyme to mop up oceanic oil spills.

11) Cake guitar bodies to boost longevity.

12) Coat tambourine surfaces for thumb roll playing technique.

13) Coat reeds for woodwinds to get a tight fit.

14) Egg painting in a Ukraine folk art of Pysanky.

15) An essential ingredient in Indian art of fabric dyeing called Batik printing.

16) Candles that don’t drip and have no smoke.

17) In candy like gummy bears, worms and jelly beans.

18) To water proof leather.

19) Molten beeswax to polish granite counter tops.

20) To make crayons.

21) With palm oil for soap.  The palm oil reduces scars and the wax a natural moisturizer.

22) Mix with palm wax for a natural hair remover.

23) To reduce bow string friction.

24) on whips to water proof.

25) in bullets.

26) With comfery and chick weed powder to alleviate itching.

27) Wire pulling.

28) Sewing to strengthen the thread and prevent snagging.

29) To fill seams between pieces of slate when setting up a pool table.

29) Plucking the feathers from fowl.

30) As a flexible mold for a variety of mediums.

31) Jewelry.

32) Clean your clothes Iron.

33) In glass Etching.

34) Encausting Painting.

35) To make earplugs.

36) Ear Candling.

37) When fashioning Dreadlocks.

38) To make Dental floss.

39) For cracked animal hooves.

40) When making cosmetics.

41) When making chocolates.

42) Copper sinks.

43) Removing previous waxes.

44) In Blacksmithing.

45) Basketry.

46) To coat Baking pans for smooth exit of goods.

47) To coat the hemp strings on Bag Pipes.

48) To make balms.

49) Barbeque preparation.

50) When making healing salves, creams and ointments.

51) Use in pharmaceuticals.

53) In manufacturing of electronic components and CDs.

54) As a polish for shoes and floors.

56) To unsticking drawers.

57) Keep zippers moving smoothly.

58) To water proof boots and saddles.

59) To coat hand tools to prevent rust.

60) To lower cholesterol, ulcers, diarrhea and hiccups.

69) To relief pain, swelling (inflammation)

70) In beverages.

71) In manufacturing as a thickener or emulsifier.

72) In fragrances in perfumes.

73) To seal documents.

74) An ingredient in surgical bone wax.

75) Blended with pine rosin to serve as an adhesive.

77) A metal injection molding binder component.

76) In the embalming process.

78) As a stabilizer in the military explosive Torpex.

79) To coat hemp strends – an alternative use to lighters.

80) A natural Air purifier (when used in candles).

81) Glazing of fruits and vegetables.

82) Chewing beeswax can help quit the habit of smoking.

83) As a hair pomade.

84) Grafting plants.

85) In the restoration of pictures.

86) Wax fly fishing lines so they float.

87) To keep saws sharp.

88) Grinding and polishing of optical lenses.

89) Used in crafting of dentures and other dental equipment.

90) To seal and polish smoke fired pottery.

91) Used on snow skis for a good glide.

92) Used for base ring for toilets (in the past).

93) Use3d to cover a broken wire on braces until you get to your orthodontist.

95) To prevent stretch marks.

96) Saturate cardboard with beeswax and use as a fuel for a backpackers fuel for stove.

97) Beeswax candle as emergency heat when trapped in a car or small space.

98) Temporary filling until you can see your dentist.

99) To seal stick matches to stay dry when boating, fishing or skiing.

100) To prevent slippage for belts in vacuums and sewing machines.

101) As a wood filler

read more Crafting Montana



No-bake Honey and Peanut Butter Mummy Sticks for Halloween by Rowse Honey

This recipe from Rowse Honey is perfect. It doesn’t involve any actual baking, just lots of mixing and hands on fun for the kids.

You’ll need to get your hands on some lollipop sticks to attach them to but you can easily find them online.

The recipe uses white candy melts but white chocolate is a good alternative if you can’t find those.

They take a little work but will keep your children occupied for hours.

  • Ingredients:
  • 150g honey
  • 150g smooth peanut butter
  • 200g puffed rice cereal
  • 2 bags white candy melts
  • 1 box of candy eyes

Method: Pre-line a 9×9 silicone square baking tray with cling film. Warm the honey in a pan until it thins and begins to bubble. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter until thoroughly mixed together. Add the puffed rice cereal and make sure every bit is coated in the mixture. Tumble the mixture out onto the pre-lined baking tray. Wet your hands and press the mixture down really hard to ensure there are no air gaps. This is really important. Allow to set for up to 2 hours in the freezer. Once set remove from freezer and allow to thaw slightly before cutting into 16 equal rectangles, place back in the freezer for a further 30 minutes. Warm the candy melts in the microwave in a mug, one bag at a time. You’ll need to do this in 30-second bursts, stir then repeat until it’s ready to be used. Pre-line a 32cmx22cmx5cm baking tray with baking parchment. Dip the bottom of the lollipop in melted chocolate then insert into the shortest length of the puffed rice cereal, then cover the base with chocolate, repeat this step with all the treats then place in the fridge to set for 10minutes. After the sticks have adhered to the treats, you need to immerse the entire rice krispie treat into the mug of melted candy melt to cover the entire treat, repeat this step with all the treats then place back into the fridge to set. Now with the remaining melted chocolate place this into a piping bag (or you can use a sandwich bag if you don’t have one to hand) and snip the end. Remove the treats from fridge then using the piping bag place 2 dots in the middle in order to stick on the eyes. Then going left to right go back and forth with the piping bag to get the mummy effect on the body of the treats so you end up with layers to represent the mummies bandages. Place back in the fridge to set for a further 10 minutes. Once set, remove from the fridge and place centre stage on your Halloween table for everyone to enjoy!

Shared from Laura Abernethy:

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Happy Birthday Julius Hoffman


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Julius Robert Hoffman was born October 25th, 1838 at Grottkau in Silesia which was then part of Prussia. Today, Grottkau is Grodkow, in Poland. As a boy, he lived near Johannes Dzierzon so was able to learn beekeeping from him. In 1862, 24-year-old Julius emigrated to London and four years later moved to New York where he was employed in the organ and piano business, while still keeping a few hives.

julius hoffman

In 1873 he moved to Fort Plain in upstate New York to become a serious beekeeper, building up his apiary to some 700 colonies in the Canajoharie area of New York, where the dairy farms were plentiful and grew much alfalfa.

Until Hoffman devised his self-spacing frame, frames were spaced by eye, if at all, or by a range of often not very practical systems. This did not matter before motor transport existed as beekeepers did not move their hives. Large-scale beekeepers used a number of permanent apiaries with on-site or horse-drawn extracting equipment.

Julius Hoffman devised a frame side bar that was wider in its upper third to give the correct inter-comb spacing. The width of the side bar is reduced in its lower two thirds to allow bees to circulate round their combs. The end bars of the ‘close end’ Quinby frame were the full depth of the frame so it did not permit bee circulation and could easily be glued firmly in place by propolis.

When Al Root visited the Hoffman apiary in 1890 he saw the advantage of this frame at once and, by 1896, was using the Hoffman frame in all his apiaries.

Julius Hoffman died May 1, 1907 in Montgomery, New York, United States.

Text (edited) from: Bee Craft

The Bee-Boys Song by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

The Bee-Boy’s Song

" 'Dymchurch Flit' " -- Puck of Pook's Hill.

Bees! Bees! Hark to your bees!
"Hide from your neigbours as much as you please,
But all that has happened, to us you must tell,
Or else we will give you no honey to sell!"

            A maiden in her glory,
                Upon her wedding - day,
            Must tell her Bees the story,
               Or else they'll fly away.
                      Fly away -- die away --
                            Dwindle down and leave you!
                      But if you don't deceive your Bees,
                             Your Bees will not deceive you.

             Marriage, birth or buryin',
                 News across the seas,
             All you're sad or merry in,
                 You must tell the Bees.
                       Tell 'em coming in an' out,
                               Where the Fanners fan,
                       'Cause the Bees are just about
                                As curious as a man!

             Don't you wait where the trees are,
                    When the lightnings play,
            Nor don't you hate where Bees are,
                    Or else they'll pine away.
                          Pine away -- dwine away --
                                 Anything to leave you!
                          But if you never grieve your Bees,
                                 Your Bees'll never grieve you.

The Bees do Most of the Work by sassafrasbeefarm


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On presenting honey for judging:

What are we except packers of the bees’ hard work? I don’t select the flowers to visit. Nor do I cure the nectar into honey; nor combat pests or robbers.  I do nothing as a member of their society. Aside from caring for the bees to enable them to do their work as they choose, I am merely the packer of their efforts. And so, I will do it with reverence and effort respectful of the work they gave to me. If that effort results in a ribbon then I’ve done my job to take what they gave and present it to others at its best. Yes, it’s fluff and not reflective of the best beekeeper out there. It’s extra for those that look for yet another activity related to their beekeeping. Hopefully my effort sparks some interest in others to look at the miracle the bees provide.

Miracles by Walt Whitman


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Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so
quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the
ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

Walt Whitman, 1856

Miracles” was first published in Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (Fowler & Wells, 1856) as “Poem of Perfect Miracles.”

Walter “Walt” Whitman, May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.

Born in Huntington on Long Island, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and—in addition to publishing his poetry—was a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War. Early in his career, he also produced a temperance novel, Franklin Evans (1842). Whitman’s major work, Leaves of Grass, was first published in 1855 with his own money. The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892. After a stroke towards the end of his life, he moved to Camden, New Jersey, where his health further declined. When he died at age 72, his funeral became a public spectacle. ~Wikipedia

Video Music Credit: Comfort Zone by General Fuzz


It Always Starts with Assessment by sassafrasbeefarm


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Ever wonder why beekeepers are either reluctant to give advice OR you end up with multiple suggestions in response to the same question?

One reason is because seldom does the beekeeper being asked have a full picture of the issue being discussed. The problem and visual is clear enough in the mind of the person asking the question but usually their assessment isn’t clearly presented to the mentor or bee buddy. So what often happens is the mentor steers clear of guessing to avoid giving bad advice OR they venture a guess based on inadequate data. Since it is inadequate data it isn’t too difficult to wonder why multiple answers are sometimes suggested.

Good assessment data increases the odds of getting accurate suggestions.

So, as above, it always starts with Assessment.

APIE – Assessment, Planning, Implimentation, Evaluation

I worked in a hospital setting much of my work career. When it came to people’s lives I didn’t guess before administering treatments, care, medications, or interventions. I either was assured of my initial assessment or I stopped and re-assessed before proceeding further.

Measure twice; cut once! Well, sort of…

Of course beekeeping doesn’t quite have the same level of accountability and errors are not as devastating as in healthcare. However, the same methods can be applied which, if followed, should result in better outcomes for the bees and beekeeper. Until one Assesses how can they make a suitable Plan? And how do I decide on the proper Implimentation until a Plan is developed? And if I am to learn anything at all in this process I must Evaluate my results. Otherwise I make the same mistakes over and over, year after year, never understanding why.

But, again, it all starts with Assessment.

A Google search will yield many assessment sheets and data collection tools. Use them especially when first starting with bees. At some point it’s likely they will become second nature. And by second nature I mean you’ll do them without the need for prompting with a piece of paper. Let’s look a some things you may want to consider with regard to Assessment:

It’s easy – look, listen, smell! Touch and taste – not so much…

Approaching the hive:
Are they flying? Is the temperature such that they should be flying? Are they guarding the entrance? If not ask yourself, why not? Is the exterior of the hive marked up with bee poop? Are there dead larvae on the landing board? Dead bees? If so, was there a cold snap or is it appropriate cleansing, chilled brood, drone evictions? Are some hives flying and others not? Are there bees circling any hives looking for entrances? Are there bees fighting on the landing board? Are the foraging bees launching themselves into the air on departure? Are bees coming back to the hive heavy or with pollen? Are there yellow jackets, flies, or other pests hanging around the entrance? Do I have an appropriate entrance guard on based on the bees ability to guard? Any signs of dead bees in front of the hive? Any signs of wax cappings under the hive? Any moth or spider webs? Isn’t this easy – you haven’t even suited up yet!

Entering the hive:
What’s your idea on weight when you lift the hive from the rear? Is the number of boxes as expected for the time of year and history of the colony? What is the reaction to a puff of smoke at the entrance? What is the reaction to removing the inner cover? What does the hive smell like? Are there SHB inside the inner cover? Any sign of other pests? Is either the bottom or top box empty of bees? Do the bees run down between the frames when you give them a gentle puff of smoke or fly away? Are they unusually testy? Does what you are seeing, smelling, hearing correspond correctly with the season and temperatures? Does the top bars of the uppermost box have an appropriate amount of bees on them? Is there burr comb on the inner cover?

Frame examination:
Is there a well defined brood area? Where is it located within the hive (upper boxes? bottom boxes? chimney?) Is the capped brood density appropriate or spotty? Any cappings perforated? Appropriate worker brood to drone ratio? Is there a band of pollen over the brood and honey above that? Can you locate the queen either by sight or based on brood area? Is she where you want her? As you work, is the colony tolerating you? Are they giving you a roar to leave? Any signs of pests? If so how bad is the pest level? Any signs of PMS? Is the size of the colony in bee population appropriate for the number of boxes you have? What is your impression of the bee density and the number of frames covered with bees? Can they guard the amount of comb space you have given them to guard? Is there adequate stores? white wax? good brood pattern? Is the open larvae swimming in food? Is the hive functioning as a fine tuned machine?

And always, the follow-up question to the unexpected is, “Why?”

And so it goes with many many more questions that sometimes have different answers based on temperature, weather, seasons, bloom, dearth, and so forth. But it costs you nothing to ask these questions of yourself. Ask away and take note of your answers. And when the answers don’t add up to what you expect, are out of sync with season, or other hives, or just not what you expect look further for more questions to ask. Be the detective. Re-interview the witnesses and suspects. Get to know them well enough to spot the odd response or presentation.

If you think this is going to take years, you may be right. But I do think we get a little better every year. Keep asking questions of yourself and the bees until you see patterns and you know what follows various presentations.


The Fall Four


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I find myself digging ever deeper into the void of my beekeeping knowledge. It seems the more you think you know, the more you realize you don’t know enough. That said, I’m forced into at least assessing the current state of affairs in the bee yard and make decisions based on my ever increasing level of uncertainty about these things.

It seems that I keep reading here and there that the two biggest killers of honey bees are mites and starvation. More recently I saw a third reason suggested, that being winter moisture in the hive. And then let’s not forget about problems resulting from excessive internal hive space. Let’s call these threats to beekeeping the Fall Four. So, with these things in mind, let’s visit the bee yard and see what’s happening.

It’s now October and crunch time for assessing the Fall Four. Hopefully you survived the summer dearth period. Some of my friends fed their bees through the dearth and others allowed their bees to eat their stores – either method works. But now is the time to take on the Fall Four and look at each item and make it right prior to the coming cooler weather. Remember, honey bees are cold blooded animals and anything less than ideal brood nest temperature, in the low nineties, is likely to be stressing. And although the cool weather will soon start, we’ve still got a long way to go as well as times we can’t enter the hives or use certain interventions. So, this time of year we’re all beekeeping preppers.

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Item #1 is Mites. I’ve lost one colony to mites this year. It crashed with a mighty thud. Within three to four weeks it went from absolutely thriving to a handful of struggling bees. The weather was warmer then so I continued to see bees coming and going. If a mite crash was to happen now, with these cooler days, I’d probably see no bee traffic as it would take all of the sickly remaining bees to heat the brood area, queen, and cluster. Luckily I’m currently seeing traffic by late mornings on all my hives. A friend of mine told me the other day that he considers a colony dying by mites to be similar to the flu running through a dormitory – one day all are fine, but within days everyone is bedridden. It’s not the mite itself that kills but the viri it spreads. Just like the flu, when the right virus coincides with the right opportunity it’s off to the races. So, pardon my rambling, but have you checked for mites lately? That doesn’t mean look at your bees and try to find mites. It means place a sticky board underneath, ether roll, or sugar shake and count mites and treat accordingly. Recently I’ve been reading about the need to treat all hives when mites levels are high in any hive in an apiary. It seems a failing colony getting robbed out is itself a vector for transmission of mites within an apiary. Personally, I’ve decided this year to treat using Oxalic Acid. Given it is an organic acid and apparently works by eroding the mites finer anatomical parts, the mites are not able to build a tolerance or immunity over time. With all colonies looking healthy right now, my plan is to wait until the broodless period around Thanksgiving and treat all of my colonies simultaneously.

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Item #2 is Starvation. I placed my colonies on a maintenance level of feeding when dearth started. More recently, I got into my hives and noted it was time to step up my feeding program. My current goal is to get the hives heavy as soon as possible. That’s going to mean switching to a 2:1 sugar syrup, doubling the number of calories per feeding, to encourage storage. This year the late pollen flow of goldenrod has recently increased brood production, so I’m sure the bees will also be using the syrup to rear winter bees. Doesn’t matter what they use the syrup for,  my response is the same – feed ’em up good now. Now is the time to learn to heft your hives from behind to determine their weight. That way, during the dead of winter you can assess stores without opening them.

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Item #3 is Moisture. I’ve heard and read many times that moisture kills bees before cold temperatures kill bees. I’ve watched the YouTube videos showing beekeepers in the mountains of Virginia, upstate New York, and Vermont with snow piled high around their hives – and their bees survive just fine. I think that is proof enough that bees can survive the temperatures of a South Carolina winter. But moisture, that’s a different matter. Almost every winter I see moisture inside the outer covers on chilly days. If not controlled that condensation starts to mold – not good. The old books talk about installing your hives tilted forward so condensation will run forward and not drip down directly onto the bees and chill them. That’s good but I really want to do more. For one, reducing the syrup to a 2:1 mix this time of year also helps to start reducing the amount of moisture within the hive. A little later in the Fall, I’ll remove all liquid feed and place a feeding shim with dry sugar on top. Some people simply pour dry sugar on top of a piece of paper placed on the top bars or on the inner cover (Mountain Camp Feeding). The sugar acts as a desiccant and absorbs the humidity. The bees feed on any sugar that the condensation liquifies. It’s a two birds with one stone situation. But the best method to solving the moisture problem is adequate ventilation. My inner covers have an upper entrance cut into them. If the colony’s population is robust I just leave the upper entrance open as during summer. If the bees have decreased in numbers I may flip the slot so that it is on the top of the inner cover, or screen it, to prevent intruders while still providing ventilation. I don’t worry so much about the low temperatures unless it’s also really windy for extended periods; I do worry about that wet, damp chill that comes with too much moisture in the hive.

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Item #4 is Internal Hive Space. Now is certainly a good time to assess hive (i.e hive bodies) volume. Most colonies grow throughout the nectar flow. If you were lucky you had the pleasure of stacking boxes on top of boxes – the uppermost boxes filled and capped with hoarded stores of honey. After the great flood, I was surprised to see that the bees had eaten a good bit of their stores. Other colonies had decided to eat some frames and leave others capped and untouched. Also, some colonies started their reduction in colony size early and are now down to half of the numbers of bees they had during the flow. Either way, they simply do not need the extra space any longer. My mentors have told me that here in the Midlands a hive with a 10 frame deep and a 10 frame medium, well provisioned, is all that is needed to get through winter until about late February. (two deeps or three mediums are also okay and represent about the same volume.) So, I look to consolidate remaining honey frames into as perfect of a second box as possible giving the bees a well stocked pantry above their brood area. Any extra full frames are placed in the freezer for possible use in late winter/early spring during buildup. I take a similar approach with regard to colonies that have reduced their numbers. I give them just enough room to be cozy and remove extra boxes (remember extra boxes are invitations to pests and require patrolling by your bees). The idea is to turn hives into efficient and compact units going into late fall and winter.

As already stated, I know more and more that I know less and less about bees. I’m sure that the way I am approaching this can be done a thousand different ways. That’s the intrigue of beekeeping. It’s an art and your methods are equally as valid. What works for you may be superior to what works for me. So take my observations and methods as incentive to explore, experiment, and tweak to your own situation. It’s all an adventure.

Let’s Talk about Moisture in the Bee Hive


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Soon we will be heading into cooler weather. The concern here in the South Carolina Midlands isn’t the cold. It doesn’t get too cold here for the bees. They will cluster and as long as they have 1) honey, 2) enough bees, and 3) a dry cavity they are fine. With these three conditions present they will make their own heat and do well. The concern is moisture within the hive. The moisture is deadly as it will drip on the bees and wick away the heat, chill them, and they will die. If you don’t believe in the power of moisture to wick away the heat I encourage you to get out tomorrow morning and wash your car. What seems like a beautiful fall morning will chill you to the bone. If that fails to convince you try it again when the temperature falls to freezing.

I got the following from over on the Bee-L discussion list. It’s something to think about as temperatures drop and moisture in the hive condenses and becomes dangerous. The information below did not come with a named author.

Here’s some math on 100lbs of honey with 20% moisture… nice round numbers to keep the math simple:  20% moisture on 100lbs (45.4kg) of honey is 9.08kg of water which at 1L per kg is 9.08kg of water.
Now for the rest of the honey:
This quantity of honey is 80% (80lbs) of fructose. Molar mass of fructose (C6H12O6) = 180.72g/mol

6 Carbon -> 12.01g/mol x 6 = 72.60g/mol
12 Hydrogen -> 1.01g/mol x 12 = 12.12g/mol
6 Oxygen -> 16.00g/mol x 6 = 96.00g/mol
Total = 72.60g/mol + 12.12g/mol + 96.00g/mol

80lbs of fructose = 36287g
36287g of fructose / 180.72g/mol = 201 mol of fructose.
For future ease, lets round this to 200 mol of fructose.

Fructose is consumed by the bees and burnt with the oxygen they consume to release carbon dioxide and water. Here’s the balanced formula:

C6H12O6 + 6O2 -> 6CO2 +6H2O

Since 80lbs of fructose is roughly 200mol of fructose we need 1200 mol of oxygen to produce 1200mol of carbon dioxide and 1200mol of water.

200[C6H12O6] + 1200[O2] -> 1200[CO2] +1200[H2O]

Water as a molar mass of 18.02g/mol.

So 1200mol of water x 18.02g/mol = 21.6kg of water.
At 1L per kg we get 21.6kg of water released in the consumption of 80lbs of fructose.

So the total water in 100lbs of honey at 20% moisture is 9.08L + 21.6L = 30.68 liters of water.

If getting over 30L of water off of 31.5L (110lbs) of honey still sounds crazy, realize that the bees will have to consume 38.4kg of oxygen to metabolize the honey. So 45.4kg of honey and 38.4kg of oxygen combine – through the wonders of cellular respiration – to release 30.7 liters of water inside the hive.

The best and cheapest method of lowering the moisture problem is 1) providing adequate ventilation. My inner covers have an upper entrance cut into them. If the colony’s population is robust I just leave the upper entrance open as during summer. If the bees have decreased in numbers I may flip the slot so that it is on the top of the inner cover, or screen it, to prevent intruders while still providing ventilation. 2) Reducing the water in syrup to a 2:1 mix this time of year also helps to start reducing the amount of moisture within the hive. 3) As it gets colder, I have also tried removing all liquid feed and place a feeding shim with dry sugar on top Some people simply pour dry sugar on top of a piece of paper placed on the top bars or on the inner cover (Mountain Camp Feeding). The sugar acts as a desiccant and absorbs the humidity. The bees feed on any sugar that the condensation liquifies. It’s a two birds with one stone situation. 4) My first year I placed an extra box on top of the inner cover and inside I placed an old quilt. I was surprised at how damp/wet it got with condensation. 5) I have a friend that has some sort of fiber board that absorbs moisture. He places them over the bees (top box) and it wicks away the moisture keeping it from dripping on the bees. For people with money, they are available precut from the bee supply stores and in building supply stores under the name Homasote.

Start inspecting underneath your inner and outer covers for signs of condensation or mold. If it’s staying wet, dripping, etc increase ventilation or use other means to help them stay dry.

Caramelized Korean Beef with Kimchi Fried Rice by GloryBee


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Buckwheat Honey is our central ingredient for this recipe. While some may question our choice of honey on this recipe, we picked it because Buckwheat Honey is known for its depth of flavor. You can use Buckwheat Honey for all sorts of savory recipes and we think this is a great fit! Enjoy!

Read the full recipe here:  Caramelized Korean Beef with Kimchi Fried Rice — GloryBee

Happy Birthday John S. Harbison, early Californian Beekeeper, Inventor, Author


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John S. Harbison


Today is John S. Harbison’s Birthday.
September 29, 1826.

1857 – Made the first shipment of bees into California, Introducing commercial beekeeping into California, laying the foundation for the industry in that state.

1857 – Invented the section honey box.

1859 – Invented the Harbison, or California hive.

1860 – Authored the book; ‘An Improved System of Propagating the Honey Bee’

1861 – Authored the book; ‘The Beekeeper’s Directory’

1873 – The firm of Clark & Harbison shipped the first car load of honey across the continent from California.

John S. Harbison September 29, 1826

There is no product of San Diego County that has done more to spread abroad her fame, than her honey. It has acquired a reputation in the markets of the world of the highest character. It is well known to the agriculturist that a section capable of producing such honey must possess superior advantages of soil and climate, and, as a result, the attention of a class of people has been directed hither who might have been influenced by the ordinary reports of the wonderful fertility of the country. Certainly, the man who was the pioneer in making known the fact that San Diego County was an apiarian paradise, is entitled to be classed as a public benefactor. It is concerning him that this sketch is written.

John S. Harbison was born in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, September 29, 1826. He comes of a sterling American stock, and can trace his lineage back through several generations. His grandfather, John Harbison, and his grandmother, Massey Harbison, were among the first settlers of Western Pennsylvania, locating near the town of Freeport, twenty-eight miles above Pittsburgh, on the Alleghany River, where the first grist-mill in that region of country was built and operated by his grandfather. In those days that part of the country was subject to many Indian outbreaks, and the Harbisons experienced their full share of the trials and sufferings incident to a life on the frontier. His grandfather acquired fame as an Indian fighter, and participated in numerous engagements in repelling the frequent murderous raids made on the settlers by the treacherous tribes of Indians inhabiting the country from the Alleghany Mountains on the east, Lakes Erie and Michigan on the north and west, and the Ohio River on the south; arid as a volunteer soldier, took part in the several expeditions led by St. Clair and Wayne, which subsequently resulted in quelling all the Indian disturbances. Mr. Harbison’s grandfather on his mother’s side, William Curry, was a chief armorer in the Continental service, and was one of the memorable minute men of the Revolution, who were a picked body of men that could be relied upon under any circumstances and were detailed to execute the most hazardous and important undertakings. He fought in eight battles in that memorable struggle, and was with Washington when he crossed the Delaware on that stormy Christmas night and defeated the astonished Hessians encamped at Trenton.

The youth and early manhood of John S. Harbison were passed upon a farm, but in 1854, having an attack of the gold fever, he made up his mind to come to California. In October of that year he sailed from New York on the steamship Northern Light, via Nicaraugua, connecting on this side with the Sierra Nevada, which had taken the place of the Yankee Blade, the latter having been wrecked just after leaving San Francisco. He arrived in San Francisco November 20, and immediately started for the mining camp known as Campo Seco, in Amador County. Here he found that gold mining was not all his imagination had pictured, he worked hard and received very meager returns. Considerably discouraged he left the mines in a few weeks, and went down to Sacramento. Glad to turn his hand to anything, he secured work in the Sutterville saw-mill, where he stayed several months. In the meantime Harbison h id made up his mind he would give-up the avocations for which he had little taste, and devote himself to something with which he was acquainted. He sent home to Pennsylvania for a general assortment of seeds, and a small invoice of fruit trees. He received the first consignment in February, and secured ground in the town of Sutterville, near Sacramento City, where he started the first nursery of fruit and shade trees in the Sacramento Valley. During the fall and winter of 1855, and again in the fall of 1856, he made large importations of the choicest fruit trees from the most celebrated nurseries in the East. From these importations was started that great series of orchards which line the banks of the Sacramento River and adjacent country.

In May, 1857, he returned to his Eastern home, and began preparations for shipping a quantity of bees to California. He finally started from New York with sixty-seven colonies, and landed them safely Sacramento, after a journey of about four weeks. This venture was so popular that he went East again the next fill, and obtained a second supply of bees, which also were safely brought to this State. He continued the business of nurseryman and apiarist near Sacramento until February, 1874, when he removed with his family to San Diego, where he has resided ever since.

Mr. H. has had some trouble with fruit-raisers, and the result was a conflagration of a whole apiary. Apiaries are usually burned by saturating each hive with kerosene, and then applying the torch; but in the case above, the hives were placed together and burned.

In the fall of 1869, Mr. Harbison formed a partnership with Mr. R. G. Clark, for the purpose of introducing and keeping bees in San Diego County. They prepared a choice selection of one hundred and ten hives of bees from Mr. Harbison’s apiaries at Sacramento, and shipped them by the steamer Orizaba, which landed in San Diego on the morning of November 28, 1869. Mr. Clark remained in charge of the bees, making all the explorations for the most suitable ranges for the location of apiaries and production of honey. Other importations were made by the firm, and the partnership was continued for the period of four years, at the end of which time a division of the apiaries and effects was made. Mr. Clark soon after disposed of his apiaries, purchasing land in the El Cajon Valley, where he established the first raisin vineyard in the county.

The great success attending the enterprise of Messrs. Clark and Harbison, and the world-wide fame of their San Diego County honey, very soon attracted the notice of bee-keepers and farmers of all parts of the States, and as a result, many were induced to come here, who took up public lands, established homes, and commenced the business of beekeeping and tilling of the soil.

In December, 1857, Mr. Harbison invented the section honey box, an invention which has done more for the advancement of honey production than any other discovery in bee-keeping. For this he was granted a patent, January 4, 1859. At the California State Fair, held at Marysville, in September, 1858, Mr. Harbison exhibited the first section box honey.

In 1873 the firm of Clark & Harbison shipped the first car load of honey across the continent from California. Mr. Harbison was awarded a medal and diploma for his exhibit of San Diego County honey at the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia, in 1876. Besides his labors as a practical horticulturist, a farmer and apiarist, Mr. Harbison has found time to contribute occasionally to current literature on those subjects with which he is familiar, and is the author of a book of four hundred and forty pages, entitled, “Bee Keepers’ Directory,” it treats of bee culture in all its departments and is a recognized authority on the subject of which it treats. Although it was published in 1861, it is still considered the most practical work of the kind ever issued.

Mr. Harbison was married to Mary J. White, of New Castle, Pennsylvania, in 1865. The result of the union is one son, who died in infancy, and two daughters, both 6f whom are living.

Image The City and County of San Diego: Illustrated and Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Pioneers, Page 157, 1888
The ABC of Bee Culture, A. I. Root, 1903 page 415

Additional information here:

Happy Birthday William Longgood



Born September 12, 1917. William Frank Longgood was a Pulitzer Prize winning author, reporter, and teacher. Born in St. Louis, he lived much of his life in New York. More here

He came relatively late to beekeeping but shared a nicely written book titled, The Queen Must Die, and other affairs of bee and men. Not quite bee biology but a wonderful presentation of bee behavior and philosophical thoughts on same.

Here’s a nice review found here on WordPress by Bees with ebb:



Happy Birthday Lloyd Raymond Watson


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Cuba, Allegany County, New York, USA
Death 24 Feb 1948 (aged 66)

North Hornell, Steuben County, New York, USA

Alfred, Allegany County, New York, USA

Dr. Lloyd Raymond Watson was the first to demonstrate a method to instrumentally inseminate a queen honey bee.

It wasn’t until the 1920’s that Lloyd Watson was able to demonstrate to the beekeeping community that instrumental insemination was possible. Watson used a stereomicroscope, a light source, and hand-held forceps to open a queen’s sting chamber. He was then able to inseminate her with capillary syringe filled with drone semen. Although not always reliable, his refined technique had some success, which was a vast improvement over previous attempts.

(PDF) HISTORY OF ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION. Available from: [accessed Jul 25 2018].

Extension Article by Sue Cobey:  Instrumental Insemination of Honey Bee Queens

Happy Birthday Albert J. Cook




Birth: Aug. 30, 1842
Michigan, USA
Death: Sep. 29, 1916
Shiawassee County
Michigan, USA

Albert J. Cook (1842-1916) was a 19th century educator and writer who influenced an entire generation of American beekeepers. He served as an instructor at Michigan Agricultural College (Michigan Agricultural University) in 1866 (Michigan State University later) where he offered one of the first collegiate courses in beekeeping culture.

Cook published the first textbook on American beekeeping, The Manual of the Apiary, in 1876 based upon his lecture series. The book was an instant success. Beginning as a mere brochure, this textbook expanded through ten editions in less than a decade, growing with each edition.

Albert J. Cook, professor of zoology and entomology, established the insect collection at Michigan Agricultural College (Agricultural University of Michigan) in 1867. By 1878, the collection consisted of nearly 1,200 local specimens collected primarily used for demonstration classrooms, for comparison, and to aid in species identification for farmers Michigan.

External links


  • Manual of the apiary. Chicago: Newman & Son (1880).
  • Wintering bees. Lansing: Agricultural College of Michigan (1885).
  • Report of apicultural experiments in 1891. (1892).
  • The Bee-Keeper’s Guide; or Manual of the Apiary pp. 543. (17th ed.) Chicago: Newman & Son (1902).


Happy Birthday Maurice Maeterlinck


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Tucker Collection – New York Public Library Archives

From Wikipedia:

Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck[1] (also called Comte (Count) Maeterlinck from 1932;[2] [mo.ʁis ma.tɛʁ.lɛ̃ːk] in Belgium, [mɛ.teʁ.lɛ̃ːk] in France;[3] 29 August 1862 – 6 May 1949) was a Belgian playwright, poet, and essayist who was a Fleming, but wrote in French. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911 “in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers’ own feelings and stimulate their imaginations”. The main themes in his work are death and the meaning of life. His plays form an important part of the Symbolist movement.


From on his book titled, The Life of the Bee.

In an exuberantly poetic work that is less about bees and more about life, Maurice Maeterlinck expresses his philosophy of the human condition. The renowned Belgian poet and dramatist offers brilliant proof in this, his most popular work, that “no living creature, not even man, has achieved in the center of his sphere, what the bee has achieved.” From their amazingly intricate feats of architecture to their intrinsic sense of self-sacrifice, Maeterlinck takes a “bee’s-eye view” of the most orderly society on Earth.
An enthusiastic and expert beekeeper, Maeterlinck did not intend to write a scientific treatise, even though he details such topics as the mathematically accurate construction of the hive, the division of labor among community members, the life of the young queen and her miraculous nuptial flight, and the movement and meaning of the swarm.
An enchanting classic by one of the most important figures of world literature in the twentieth century and winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Literature, this fascinating study is a magnificent tribute to one of the most orderly communities in the world. It is also filled with humble lessons for the human race.


Happy Birthday George W. Imirie, Jr.



Birth: Aug. 27, 1923
Death: Aug. 6, 2007

imirie1By Patricia Sullivan

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 6, 2007

George Wady Imirie Jr., 84, a master beekeeper who tirelessly promoted the value of bees and beehives, died of congestive heart failure Sept. 6 at the Casey House in Rockville.

As a beekeeper since 1933, Mr. Imirie knew enough about the stinging insects to brave the swarms at his Rockville home without the usual head-to-toe beekeeping garb.

“Bees don’t like socks, especially woolly ones,” he told a reporter in 1997. “A hat is a good idea, because if a bee gets tangled up in your hair, it’ll sting you. I don’t wear a shirt, because that way, if a bee is on me, I can feel it and brush it away.”

Far more than stings, Mr. Imirie worried about the decline in bee colonies over the past several decades, infestation of the wild bee population by mites, and the level of knowledge and skill of those who keep apiaries.

“He definitely was someone who didn’t feel it necessary to tolerate any ignorance around him,” said Marc Hoffman, a member of the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association, which Mr. Imirie founded. “He would interrupt someone to ask, ‘How many hours is it before the larva emerges from the egg?’ and you’d better know the answer.”

But he also shared his knowledge, writing an opinionated and blunt newsletter called the “Pink Pages,” which addressed how to prevent swarming, how to prepare in fall so bees would overwinter well and how to deal with pests. The newsletter was read by beekeepers around the world. He coined a phrase now popular in bee circles, “Be a bee-keeper, not a bee-haver.”

In addition, Mr. Imirie and his sons thrilled Montgomery County Fair visitors and schoolchildren with demonstrations with a live hive of honeybees.

A Bethesda native born to a family that has been in the area for 298 years, Mr. Imirie started tending hives at age 9, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He dropped the hobby when he went to the University of Michigan for his undergraduate degree.

He was studying for a graduate degree in atomic engineering when World War II broke out. He was briefly in the Army, then joined the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Los Alamos, N.M., working on the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After the war, he studied engineering at Washington University in St. Louis and American University, one of his sons said. Mr. Imirie returned to Bethesda and helped run the family auto parts business for most of his working life until it was sold 18 years ago.

Mr. Imirie resumed beekeeping on his six-acre property in Rockville. He set up the hives in a square around a gnarly old apple tree. A hedge trimmed to a height just taller than Mr. Imirie surrounded the yard so that when bees emerged from the hives in search of nectar they would fly high enough to clear the bushes and avoid bystanders.

He founded the beekeepers association in the 1980s and for many years ran it almost single-handedly. After five strokes in 1990, Mr. Imirie began using a scooter. Throat cancer further slowed him in the late 1990s.

When Maryland agreed to produce auto license plates with a beekeeping insignia, Mr. Imirie was given the prototype, BEE 001, which he affixed to his scooter.

The association named its annual award for education after him.


Birth: Aug. 27, 1923
Death: Aug. 6, 2007

Happy Birthday Walt Wright


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walt-wrightWalt Wright was born and raised in Burtonsville, MD, then a barefoot country boy area, and now suburbia of a sprawling Washington, DC. He enlisted in the Air Force to get electronics training, and served as a radar repairman. After service time he joined General Electric in maintaining overseas sites of the Security Service (spell that SPY).

Still with GE, in 1960 he relocated to Huntsville, Ala./Redstone Arsenal to make his contribution on the nation’s quest to put a man on the moon. Development of the propulsive stages of the Saturn V moon rocket was accomplished by NASA on Redstone Arsenal. His responsibility on that program was electronic compatibility of subsystems within stages and compatibility between propulsive stages and the electronics of the instrument ring. No interaction (interference/noise) was permitted between systems on the man-rated launch vehicle.

For the Shuttle program, an added responsibility was systems engineer for on-board Range Safety components. The Air Force has autonomous authority to destroy any launch from the Cape area that poses a threat to populated areas of eastern Florida. Astronauts on board is no exception. If the launch strays from the predicted trajectory, the Air Force can destroy the vehicle by radio command. On-board equipment to implement destruct includes the command receiving and processing electronics and pyrotechnics to disperse propellants.

Walt is aware that the above work history provides very weak credentials to be considered as a honey bee “expert.” He took up beekeeping in his late fifties to supplement retirement income. Confident in his trouble shooting skills, he accepted the challenge “very early” to get to the bottom of the swarming problem. He credits observation skills, sharpened by years of electronics trouble-shooting, for solving the riddle. He was surprised that it was as easy as it was. When his hypothesis was in place in three years, he thought at first it must be in error. Surely, thousands of beekeepers, looking into millions of hives, could not possibly have missed the obvious. His conclusion: beekeepers see, but do not observe, or ask themselves why the bees do what they do.

Honey bees are motivated by survival of the colony. Survival of the existing colony is priority one. In the spring, priority two is the generation of the reproductive swarm. Not even that much is described in the popular literature. Walt concentrated his investigation of swarming in terms of colony activities that support those survival objectives. His findings are a radical departure from literature conventional wisdom. As an example, he claims that all the elements of “congestion”, such as bee crowding and nectar in the brood nest, are deliberate steps to implementing the reproductive swarm process, and not the other way around. The literature has congestion as the “cause” and that’s backwards.

Getting his observations published has been slow moving. Editors of the magazines have an obligation to their subscribers to weed out the chaff from crackpots. Natural skepticism creates mostly rejections of submitted articles. For the year 06 he resorted to writing articles on general beekeeping techniques to build a base of credibility.

He looks forward to presenting his observations through Beesource. It should not be necessary via this medium to appease editors or their advisors. As a start in telling it like it is, he announces point blank: The mystery of reproductive swarming has been solved.

Walter William Wright
August 24, 1932 – February 6, 2016


Title Publication Date
*Spring Reversal Not Good Management for All Areas? American Bee Journal Jan-96
*Spring Management is Mandatory With Tracheal Mites American Bee Journal Feb-96
*A Different Twist on Swarm Prevention, Part 1 American Bee Journal Mar-96
*A Different Twist on Swarm Prevention, Part 2 American Bee Journal Apr-96
*Checkerboarding – A Preliminary Update on My Swarm Control Method American Bee Journal Jun-96
*Checkerboarding Works American Bee Journal Jul-96
*Swarm Prevention Alternative – Checkerboarding Results and Conclusions American Bee Journal Nov-96
*Tennessee Early Spring Management Bee Culture Dec-96
*Playing It Safe Bee Culture Feb-97
*Swarm Prevention in Tennessee Bee Culture Mar-97
*Apply Survival Traits of Honey Bees for Swarm Prevention and Increased Honey Production, Part 1 American Bee Journal Feb-02
*Apply Survival Traits of Honey Bees for Swarm Prevention and Increased Honey Production, Part 2 American Bee Journal Mar-02
*Nectar Management 101 Bee Culture Feb-02
*Is It Congestion? Bee Culture Feb-03
*Survival Traits of the European Honey Bee Bee Culture Mar-03
*Seasonal Colony Survival Traits Bee Culture Apr-03
*Swarm Preperation Bee Culture May-03
*Colony Spring Operation Bee Culture Jun-03
*Colony Decision Making – And a Look at Observation Hive *Behavior Bee Culture Oct-03
*Evils of the Double Deep Bee Culture Nov-03
*Survival Traits #6 – Operational Effects on Nectar Accumulation Bee Culture Apr-04
Pollen Box Overwintering Bee Culture Sep-04
Do You Get Black Locust in the Supers? Bee Culture Jan-05
Are They Supersedure or Swarm Cells? Bee Culture Jul-05
Fall Feeding Bee Culture Nov-05
Nine Frame Brood Chamber? Never! Bee Culture Jan-06
Drone Management Bee Culture Mar-06
Deficiencies in Design of the Queen Excluder Bee Culture Apr-06
Advantages/Disadvantages of Swarm Prevention By Checkerboarding/Nectar Management Bee Culture May-06
The Reasons Why the Queen Excluder Limits Honey Production Bee Culture Jun-06
“Attic” Ventilation Bee Culture Jul-06
Yarn # 1 – Little Momma Bee Culture Aug-06
*Backfilling – What’s That? Bee Culture Sep-06
Freebees Bee Culture Oct-06
Nest Scouts and the Dance Language Bee Culture Nov-06
Boardman Feeder/Stimulative Feeding Bee Culture Feb-07
Splits Are a Sound Investment Bee Culture Mar-07
*The Capped Honey Reserve Bee Culture Apr-07
Art of Beekeeping Bee Culture Sep-07
CCD – Another Opinion Bee Culture Sep-08
How Many Eggs CAN a Queen Lay? Bee Culture Nov-08
More on the Pollen Reserve BeeSource POV Mar-09
Adverse Effects of the “Patty” Bee Culture Apr-09
Propolis – Another 5 Percenter Bee Culture May-09
Objections To The Double Deep Bee Culture Dec-09
Colony Age Effects Bee Culture Feb-10
Small Hive Beetle – My Perspective Bee Culture Jul-10
*Prevent Swarming – Before The Bees Even Think About It Bee Culture Feb-11
*Increased Honey Production of Checkerboarded Colonies Bee Culture Apr-11
*CB Saves Work, Time, And Expenses Bee Culture Jun-11
*Nectar Storage Before The Main Flow BeeSource POV
Nectar Management Works! – by Rob Koss BeeSource POV
Management For Honey Production BeeSource POV
Supplement To Management For Honey Production Handout BeeSource POV
Note: Title with an asterisk (*) in front are pertinent to Nectar Management.

It’s Time We Talked About Feeding

IMAG1302 - Copy

Master Craftsman Beekeeper David MacFawn feeding his bees using a bucket feeder.

It’s time we had a heart to heart talk about feeding.

It can be a touchy topic and there are lots of opinions on feeding bees but the bottom line for many first year beekeepers is that there may be no other option.

Lately I have been getting lots of email and telephone calls from people regarding bees on their property, at hummingbird feeders, fig trees, or trash cans causing some concern. And then there is the snow cone business owner with bees harassing his customers and covering his garbage bins. And the call from Krispy Kreme Donuts describing large numbers of bees around their dumpsters and trying to enter the building. All of this is symptomatic of the problem in the bee yard – hungry, irritable bees!

My concern at this time is not so much ensuring the bees have enough stores for winter because there is still time enough for that (if they have built enough comb to store winter stores). Instead I am worried that the little scamps may not have enough NOW. Even with honey stores honey bees prefer nectar to carry out day to day operations and without incoming nectar (or syrup) they will become increasingly irritable and will mob otherwise unlikely sugar sources.

So why am I worried about day to day operations? Soon the bees that will be overwintering will be produced. These bees will have to be “fat bees” to get through the winter. Sooner than that though will be the bees that raise and feed the “fat bees” using the secretions from their glands to produce the jelly the larvae will eat. Those bees will, likewise, have to be strong and healthy. So, we have to raise healthy bees now to ensure our winter bees will get the best possible care and nutrition before they undertake the task of surviving winter.

My first real summer of beekeeping I had a series of events that took me away from the house (and bee yard) for a few weeks. It was around this time of year and basically I had been gone for about three weeks (off and on). When, after three weeks, I returned my bees were looking bad and I couldn’t put my finger on it. They had some honey stored and I was feeding as much as I thought they might need. Some anyway. When I was home. Well…

One of our own MSBA Master beekeepers came by (name withheld to protect the innocent) and helped me as I went through a few hives. Diplomatically I was told the larvae looked dry. Not enough jelly in the cells. Probably not enough feed. I got serious and a started feeding in earnest (and stayed home the rest of the summer). It turned them around and within a month things were ticking along just fine again.

I know, it’s expensive. But it’s probably cheaper than feeding the dog and when has the dog made honey for you anyway? Plus, it’s paying it forward – get this hive through winter and a simple split will double your hives for cheap next spring.

A final comment on bees harassing non-beekeepers: If you think it is their problem, certainly not yours, you’re not looking far enough ahead. In reality, that neighbor or business owner has every right to take action to eliminate a pest that is threating his/her business or the enjoyment of their property. And even if local ordinances allow beekeeping, nuisance laws still exist. And bees making a pest of themselves may get sprayed by others. Occasionally I get calls to come help but there isn’t much that can be done if bees have identified a food source. I suspect most people and business owners simply eliminate the problem and don’t tell. Do the right thing and keep your bees satisfied and busy at home.

Drawn Comb, Wax Moths, and Fish Bait by sassafrasbeefarm


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wax moth destruction

You can always buy more bees, catch a swarm, make a split, or otherwise replace bees. But drawn comb can not be purchased. Having drawn comb in early spring exponentially increases a colony’s productivity versus starting on foundation. A spring package placed on drawn comb typically makes surplus honey the same year.

After the nectar flow, beekeepers must protect their drawn comb from wax moths which will take every opportunity to destroy your bee’s legacy.  You may have to store drawn comb after pulling honey supers, extracting, removing dead outs or removing excess hive bodies as the bee colony population reduces. Always remember, drawn comb is beekeepers’ gold and should be saved and preserved until placed back into use the following spring.

Here are a few excerpts from emails discussing protecting drawn comb from wax moths during storage:

Wax moths are attracted to older brood comb. The residual proteins found in brood comb are their attractant. Typically they will not show any interest (or minimal) in the clean white wax found in honey supers. If any of the comb on a frame has been used at any time in the past for brood rearing it is subject to wax moth infestation.

Be thankful they are on plastic foundation. Otherwise you often have to replace the foundation. And if they are in wooden frames wax moths will actually bore holes in the wood as well. On plastic you can scrape it off and re-coat with wax for next year.

On placing frames in the freezer to kill the wax moth eggs: You can google wax moth, life cycle, etc and find some research. The success of killing the larvae and eggs is dependent on temperature and length of time of exposure. Two days may be sufficient IF your freezer is at 0 degrees F. If your freezer is kept at 20 degrees F it may take 6 days. And if at 32 degrees F it may take longer. (These are just guesses but perhaps you get the idea that an overnight in the freezer may not do the job.) Some people with a limited number of frames can store them in the freezer until outdoor temperatures are colder.

In the bee yard, there is a temperature range for wax moth reproduction. When the outdoor temperatures get cool enough (typically after first freeze) they are typically no longer a threat.

Every year we get posts on the Mid-State Beekeepers discussion board with pictures saying they froze the comb for X number of days then placed it in a Tupperware or other container and stored under the house or some similar dark place only to find the comb destroyed by spring. Last year in bee school a member of the class asked me about this specifically and said if he placed the frames in the freezer for X number of days and then immediately placed it in lawn trash bags and sealed them completely shouldn’t that work? I told him that “in theory” his plan would work but my experience is some eggs will hatch, a mouse will chew a hole, etc., and if conditions are right they will destroy his comb.

On Paramoth (paradichlorobenzene) crystals: The approved product for use with stored comb, and properly labeled, is Paramoth. Moth balls and crystals found in dollar stores, Walmart, and elsewhere may not be pure paradichlorobenzene or worse yet, may be another chemical, naphthalate a known carcinogenic.

Paramoth works well but it is not a one and done application. Use them according to the label and do not under-dose. The crystals “melt” as they release their gas into the supers. Periodically check them throughout the storage period (or until the weather turns cold) and replenish them as needed. I’ve seen some people tape the edges of the hive bodies to make a gas seal. Unfortunately this dark, sealed environment is also ideal for the moths when the para-moth dissolves and no longer provides protection. A period of airing out is necessary before placing the comb back into use.

Storing drawn comb using open air, light, and breeze: I did this one year with good success by placing the hive bodies on their sides under a covered overhang. The light, air, and breeze is an uninviting environment for the moths. This takes a bit of work to lay out the area such that all of the needed components are present AND the frames are protected from the elements. But if you only have a few hive bodies it’s possible. Also, be aware that anything placed outside is subject to squirrels, mice, and other hungry travelers who like the comb, pollen, and honey residuals.

Bacillus thuringiensis aizawa returns! BT (bacillus thuringiensis aizawa): BT is a gram-positive, soil-dwelling bacterium, commonly used as a biological pesticide. This works well and in past years was recommended by the Xerces Society as an approved organic control. Some years ago BT was on the market for use by beekeepers as a product to control wax moths in stored frames until its registration expired and was not renewed by the manufacturer. It has again been registered for use and should start showing up at your favorite beekeeping supply house soon. I have not yet seen it on websites nor in the catalogs. (Word in the bee yard says call Dadant by phone and they’ll hook you up.)  A June 2020 article titled: Valent BioSciences Partners with Vita Bee Health to Develop New Biological Wax Moth Control That Safeguards Health of Honeybees indicates it’s returning to the market. I have a friend that uses BT and sprays the comb as it is coming out of the extractor. Care must be taken to protect the BT sprayed comb from temperatures above 86F degrees  as the bacterium can not survive at higher temperatures. More information can be found in this January release by ABJ here.

Final notes on BT: 1) Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki readily available in garden centers is not the same as bacillus thuringiensis aizawa. 2) There is a product called XenTari for use as non chemical, organic bio control method and approved for use on organic crops is also Bacillus thuringiensis, aizawai. However it is not approved for use as a control for wax moths on comb nor labeled as such. Remember, use of non approved chemicals without proper labelling places the beekeeper at risk should someone claim harm after eating honey from hives where pesticides were not used in accordance with the law.

In closing, for those who protect their drawn comb now, next spring will pay huge dividends in the way of easy splits and surplus honey. And for those who choose to not protect their drawn comb from wax moths don’t despair, I understand the larvae are great as fishing bait.

You can read more about the Greater Wax Moth here:

And on the Lesser Wax Moth here:

Happy Birthday Brother Adam


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From Wikipedia:

Karl Kehrle OBE (3 August 1898, Mittelbiberach, Germany – 1 September 1996, Buckfast, Devonshire, England, UK), known as Brother Adam, was a Benedictine monk, beekeeper, and an authority on bee breeding, developer of the Buckfast bee.

“He was unsurpassed as a breeder of bees. He talked to them, he stroked them. He brought to the hives a calmness that, according to those who saw him at work, the sensitive bees responded to.” – The Economist, 14 September 1996


Due to health problems Kehrle was sent by his mother at age 11 from Germany to Buckfast Abbey, where he joined the order (becoming Brother Adam) and in 1915 started his beekeeping activity. Two years before, a parasite, Acarapis woodi that originated on the Isle of Wight had started to extend over the country, devastating all the native bees, and in 1916 it reached the abbey, killing 30 of the 46 bee colonies. Only the Apis mellifera carnica and Apis mellifera ligustica colonies survived.

He travelled to Turkey to find substitutes for the native bees. In 1917 he created the first Buckfast strain, a very productive bee resistant to the parasite. On 1 September 1919 Adam was put in charge of the abbey’s apiary, after the retirement of Brother Columban. In 1925 and after some studies on the disposition of the beehives he installed his famous breeding station in Dartmoor, an isolated model to obtain selected crossings, which still works today. From 1950 and for more than a decade Adam continued his gradual improvement of the Buckfast bee by analysing and crossing bees from places all over Europe, the Near East and North Africa.

In 1964 he was elected member of the Board of the Bee Research Association, which later became the International Bee Research Association. He continued his studies of the Buckfast bee and his travels during the 1970s and received several awards, including appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (1973)] and the German Bundesverdienstkreuz (1974).

On 2 October 1987 he was appointed Honorary doctor by the Faculty of Agriculture of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences  while in search of a bee on the Kilimanjaro mountains in Tanzania and Kenya, which deeply moved him and he saw as the official recognition of the scientific nature of his research. Two years later he was appointed Honorary doctor by the Exeter University in England.

On 2 February 1992, aged 93, he resigned his post as beekeeper at the Abbey and was permitted to spend some months in his home town Mittelbiberach with his niece, Maria Kehrle. From 1993 onwards, he lived a retired life back at Buckfast Abbey, and became the oldest monk of the English Benedictine Congregation. In 1995, at age 97, he moved to a nearby nursing home where he died on 1 September 1996.

Video series on Brother Adam: The Monk and the Honey Bee Parts 1 – 5


Midlands Beekeeping Calendar for August


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As always, all beekeeping is local. Here’s my offering for the beekeeping calendar for the South Carolina Midlands for the month of August:

Plan on checks twice this month but be brief when opening hive to prevent triggering robbing. This month you should focus on mite control, other pest control such as Small Hive Beetles and yellow jackets, and feeding as needed. Unfortunately, controlling pests is not a great deal of fun.

Monitor and control pestsVarroa, Small Hive Beetles, Yellow Jackets.

It is now critical that the beekeeper assess varroa levels (sugar roll method or alcohol wash) and treat this month as needed. (If you have not treated yet, most likely you will need to treat.) Varroa mites are now outbreeding your bees. Fewer drone cells means the mites will start entering more worker cells. Additionally, while your bees are reducing their populations as a result of a decrease in their food supply, the mites are continuing to multiple exponentially. It is critical that you determine the effectiveness of your treatments by measuring varroa levels post treatment. Do not assume that a treatment was effective. Establishing a healthy population of bees now will be reflected in your fall bees and ultimately in your winter bees. Allowing your bees to maintain a high mite load now will result in weak fall bees and sickly winter bees later. Depending on your current mite level your bees may not get to winter if this is left unaddressed. If you are seeing deformed wing virus you likely have a serious case of mites, a high virus load, and need to take immediate action.

Dearth continues this month. Even if you left the bees plenty of honey consider feeding a thin 1:1 syrup to provide hydration and calories. Syrup is quick and ready for the bees to utilize helping them keep the brood fed, cool the hive, and keep the hive at 50% – 60% humidity. Additionally, if the population is dropping or brood is looking poorly fed, i.e. no brood food in larval cells, offering syrup will increase the population. You’ll also notice an increase in colony activity (who doesn’t enjoy a refreshing drink in this heat?). It’s also a good time to start monitoring honey stores by hefting the back of the hive, comparing the felt weight to the stores found inside on inspection. The bees are not bringing in much nectar now (if any) and will consume what is currently stored as we continue through dearth.

August will be your last opportunity to obtain local Midland’s queens. Early contact with your local supplier is suggested.

1) Treatment options for varroa control are now limited due to the extreme Midlands heat in August. Options for August include oxalic acid vaporization, Hopguard III, Apivar, and other hard chemicals. If using oxalic acid vaporization, a series of treatments is suggested (Rusty  Burlew covers various treatment schedules here as does Randy Oliver here.)

2) Implement pest control measures to contain Small Hive Beetles and Yellow Jackets.

3) Monitor and reduce entrances to assist the bees with guarding. This can be helpful to avoid robbing from other colonies as well as pests. Spilled syrup or honey can start a robbing frenzy. Be exceptionally careful when working your colonies to not spill syrup or drip honey when working colonies.

4) Re-queen as necessary – a weak or failing queen will not improve over the fall. The stressors of winter will need a healthy colony – now is the time to strengthen weak colonies if you suspect a failing queen.

5) Unite weak (but otherwise healthy) colonies with stronger colonies if no disease is present.  If a colony is weak and not showing promise of strengthening, rather than allowing it to dwindle and fail, combine it with a strong colony. Consider that combining two weak colonies does not improve either and results in a colony that continues to weaken.

6) A small upper entrance may be beneficial with venting excess heat. Depending on your colony strength, staple a screen to prevent unwanted visitors yet allow ventilation. Or another idea is to use popsicle sticks, or pennies, between the inner and telescoping covers to allow heat to escape.

7) Remove colonies from mountains and extract Sourwood honey.

8) Cotton bloom has typically already started but you still have time to place colonies on upcoming soybeans.

9) If not already accomplished, continue to reduce hive size (internal volume). If you have not been feeding syrup, and still have honey on any remaining colonies you may harvest for human consumption. If you have been feeding some beekeepers place excess frames of stores in the freezer for feeding, if needed, during winter. Always leave at least one hive body, often referred to as the feed chamber, of honey for bees.

10) Monitor pollen supply coming into hive. We occasionally see a late summer pollen dearth that lasts a couple weeks depending on weather. Some locations produce more pollen than others. Bees must have pollen just as they must have nectar or syrup in order to create brood food and to maintain a healthy immune system. Monitor pollen stores by observing the presence of pollen on brood frames especially the frames on the edges of the brood nest. If your colony needs supplemental pollen consider feeding dry pollen or substitute in open pollen feeders. Do not use pollen patties inside the hive as they create Small Hive Beetle problems here in the Midlands. More information here: Pros and Cons of Feeding Dry Pollen Substitute.

11) Starting the last week of August begin to increase your syrup feeding using a 1:1 mix and provide enough to stimulate brood production. Monitor stores as well. The goal is to start raising the nurses that will raise the nurses that will ultimately raise your winter bees. It is important that you begin to raise well fed, healthy bees free of mite loads, and viri in late summer. Do not let sick or compromised bees do the job of raising your fall nurse bees or winter bees.

12) It’s also time to start monitoring stores to ensure you will reach the goal of one full super for winter.

13) Keep water available at all times for your bees. If you don’t provide water they will gather water elsewhere such as your neighbor’s swimming pool.

14) The South Carolina State Fair will not be hosting competitive events this year. There will not be any booth or honey show. There is still time to enter the Georgia Beekeepers 2020 National Black Jar Contest by mail for just $5.00 per entry! Why not take a chance at the title of best honey in the Nation! Contest rules here.

15) Attend your local monthly meeting via Zoom this month. Volunteer to educate the public on the importance of honey bees.

The above are general guidelines for the average bee colony in the Midlands of South Carolina. We all have hives that may be outperforming the average. We also have colonies that underperform the average. Use your judgement in making changes suggested here. Beekeeping is an art as well as a science. Only you know the many, many particulars associated with your physical hives as well as the general health and population of your colonies.


Happy Birthday Dr. Elton James Dyce


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elton james dyce

July 15, 1900 — February 23, 1976

Dyce was best known for his process for controlling the crystallization and fermentation of honey leading to the popular creamed honey. His process is used throughout the world in all major honey-producing countries.

Professor Emeritus E. J. Dyce served as assistant professor, associate professor, and professor of apiculture in the University’s Department of Entomology for twenty-three years. He had retired on December 31, 1965. A native of Ontario, Dyce served as demonstrator, lecturer, and professor of apiculture at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph, now Guelph University, from 1924 to 1940. He was the first manager of the Finger Lakes Honey Producers Cooperative in Groton, New York, between 1940 and 1942; in that position he worked to develop a wide market for New York State honey.

Dr. Dyce was born and raised in Meaford, Ontario. He obtained his B.S.A. from Ontario Agricultural College in 1923. He earned his M.S. degree at McGill University where he was a Macdonald scholar. He obtained his Ph.D. degree at Cornell under the direction of Professor E.F. Phillips.

The Dyce Process

Dr. E. J. Dyce, then professor of Apiculture at Guelph University and later Professor of Apiculture at Cornell University, developed the first practical process for making a granulated honey in 1928. Dyce later patented the process and in Canada gave the patent rights to the Province of Ontario. In the United States the rights were given to Cornell University. Much of the money earned in the United States was invested and the income is still used to support research on bees and honey at Cornell. The patent has now expired and anyone may manufacture and market the product.

Some Facts About Granulation And Fermentation

When Dyce began his studies there was little known about honey granulation and fermentation. He was aware that all natural honeys contain yeast. When the moisture content of the honey is somewhat above 19 percent, these yeast cells grow, producing carbon dioxide and alcohol. The yeasts found in honey are not the same as those used to make alcoholic beverages or bread but belong to the genus zygosaccharomyces. However, carbon dioxide may be produced in such quantity in fermenting honey as to burst the drums or containers in which the honey is packed. The foul odor produced by fermentation makes the honey unmarketable. If it is not damaged too badly it may be used as bee food.

When honey granulates a small amount of the water in honey is taken into the sugar crystals. However, the quantity of water so contained is not proportional to the amount of water in the honey. Thus one may have a jar, drum or container of partially crystallized honey in which the liquid fraction has a moisture content higher than that of the original honey. When this occurs the honey may ferment. Dyce recognized that if he was to control the granulation of honey he must first pasteurize the product. Any seed crystals he added must also be made from honey, which had been pasteurized.

Dyce found that the optimum temperature for honey granulation is 57’ F. There has been much conflict about this question in the literature. Many people were of the opinion that a fluctuating temperature speeded up granulation; Dyce showed this was not true. Most granulated honeys will have a firm texture six to 14 days after the introduction of seed crystals if held at the proper temperature. In commercial practice rooms used for holding honey the process of crystallizing are held within 10’F. of the optimum temperature.

Pasteurization of honey destroys the nuclei on which crystals might grow. Dyce found he could introduce previously granulated honey, that which had been ground and the crystals broken, into honey to be crystallized.

These crystals are called starters. When five percent of a ground, finely granulated honey was introduced into newly pasteurized honey there is a sufficient quantity of seed to produce a high quality, finely crystallized honey. In commercial practice most firms use eight to ten percent starter; under ideal conditions less may be used. An important factor is that the seed crystals must not be warmed too long and thereby caused to melt partially.

Dyce processed honey

Dark, strong flavored honeys have a lighter color and milder flavor when made into a finely granulated honey; this fact has led some packers to use less than desirable honey in making granulated honey. Honeys used to make granulated honey should be of table quality. The optimum moisture content is 17 ½ to 18 percent; in the northern states 18 percent in winter and 17 ½ percent in summer; in the southern states 17 ½ percent is used throughout the year. The moisture content of a crystallized honey has a great effect on its hardness and therefore its spreadability. Honeys which have a higher or lower moisture content will be too hard or too soft and will not spread properly when spread at room temperature. The first step then is the selection and blending of honeys of proper color and moisture contents.

Honeys to be processed by the Dyce process need not be filtered. In fact, filtering removes certain of the natural elements present in honey, especially pollen. The honey should be heated to about 125’F at which temperature it should be carefully strained. Dyce recommended the honey next be rapidly heated to 150’F and then cooled rapidly. This temperature is sufficiently high to kill the yeast present. Prof. G.F. Townsend of Guelph University showed that yeasts in honey were killed if it was held at 160’F for one minute or 140’F for 30 minutes or some equivalent combination of time and temperature between these two extremes. In commercial practice e there is time involved between heating and cooling the honey, which also has an effect on yeasts. If the honey in a bulk tank is heated to 150’F and then cooled, even under optimum conditions, it will have heated enough to kill any yeast cells present.

The Starter Crystals

For a starter one uses granulated honey, which has been previously made by the Dyce process. It is not satisfactory to take previously granulated honey from the grocer’s shelf to be used as seed since the high Temperature at which this honey is held in a store will have started to melt the crystal nuclei present. One method of obtaining a yeast-free, finely granulated honey to use as a starter is to grind with a mortar and pestle a small amount of coarsely crystallized honey that had been heated (pasteurized) previously. The honey must be ground very finely and preferably at a temperature in the vicinity of 57’F as the crystals may melt at higher temperatures. The honey into which the crystal nuclei are introduced must also be cooled before the starter is added. Most of the grinders used for starter for Dyce crystallized honey are homemade or modifications of meat or food grinders on the market.

Air and Crystallized Honey

Honey which is in the process of granulating and which is held at lower than room temperatures is viscous. Often a number of air bubbles are incorporated into it in the process of cooling and/or adding the seed. These small air bubbles may rise to the surface of the product and give it a white frothy appearance. This white froth may be avoided by allowing the honey to settle a few hours before it is packed, or packing and cooling the honey rapidly so the air bubbles are incorporated into the final product. The air has no objectionable effect on the flavor.

Granulated honey in glass may pull away from the glass. The honey may assume a white froth-like appearance between the honey and the inside of the glass. Customers usually do not realize what has happened and may think the honey has spoiled or become moldy. (Mold cannot grow on or in honey.) It is for this reason that granulated honey is usually packed in tubs or glass jars with labels that wrap completely around the container.

Stack Heat

The seed crystals are usually added to the cooling honey when the temperature has reached about 75’F. It is very difficult to force honey to flow at lower temperatures. This temperature is higher than desired but if it is not held too long little damage is done. However, when cases of newly packed, crystallized honey are placed on pallets or trucks the cases must be carefully spaced so that air can flow between and around the cases. If this is not done the stack of newly packed jars will retain heat. This heat could have an adverse effect on seed crystals and cause them to be less effective as crystal nuclei.

Shelf Life

Properly made granulated honey has a long shelf life, longer than most liquid honey. Honey packers have observed that they may make and hold granulated honey for long periods of time, much longer than they would have stored packed, liquid honey. Granulated honey made and held under controlled conditions retains its fine texture, color, appearance and taste. There is probably a wider market for honey in this form than is now being exploited.


Crystallized Honey By Roger A. Morse

Cornell University Memorial Statement

Patent Application and Description of Creamed Honey Process

Books by Elton J Dyce:

Dyce, E. J.

Dyce, Elton J.

I Lost a Customer Today


Years ago I got a call from an elderly lady asking for local honey. I really don’t know how or where she got my number but she only lived a few miles from me so I told her I would bring honey to her.

When I arrived I met her elderly husband. He was in his 80’s and didn’t get around too well. But he was quick-witted and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with him. He talked about the things I enjoy the most like hard times and how to make-do.

The honey was for him. He had a belief that a tablespoon of honey with apple cider vinegar was the best tonic anyone could take for their health. He had worked in the cotton mills as a young man and had been in poor health in his youth. He described a time when his doctor had him on a “handful” of pills a day. He told me his story of starting some holistic methods, the honey, the vinegar, and said he was able to come off all of the medicines over time. He was now in his declining years and saw a need to return to his tonic using raw local honey.

For several years I would get a call about every two to three months and a request for a honey delivery. They never ordered much which necessitated frequent deliveries but since I enjoyed the visits I didn’t really mind. The lady would save the jars for me to refill. Later she started saving me her jelly jars as well. I didn’t mind too much since mostly they were canning jars and after a thorough washing on the sanitize setting, I’d fill them and place new lids. I didn’t particularly like this arrangement as I never seemed to get the jars in time for normal bottling. I bottle in June after the nectar flow ends and she’d give me jars for refilling all throughout the year. Often she’d give me her preferred half pint jars which wasn’t my norm. But I’d take them and tell her I’d use them the next time I bottled – and I would.

Over the years, I never increased my price to them. If anything I under charged them as she liked the half pint jars whenever I could fill them and they supplied the jars. Often I’d bring a free jar of something special like chunk honey or maybe some comb honey for them. I knew I wasn’t breaking even but what the heck, it was my good deed for the day and I liked them – especially the old man as he was such a character.

I think the first sign that things were going off-track was when she asked me for a discount for reusing her jars. In fact, she pointed out that she was giving me more jars than she got back with honey. This caught me off guard but I replied that I had considered that and not raised my prices for them because they gave me jars for refill. She commented back but ultimately dropped the issue. A month or two later she called for honey, asked how much it was, and if I had small jars to use. Now, my price for them hadn’t changed in years; I told her the usual price – $6.00 a pint. Then I dropped the bomb shell – I told her I couldn’t use her jars. The last jars were such a mismatched set of used store bought jelly jars and I couldn’t find lids to match. I told her that I was suppose to use an approved label and the used jars didn’t match my labels. I added that the Dept. of Ag. would have a fit if they knew I was reusing jars. As a concession, I told her I would not charge her for new jars. She was happy with this although I think she would have rather continued to believe she was earning a jar discount.

Things went on like this for awhile until one day she called me and told me her husband had died. I probably talked and consoled her for a hour or more. I brought some honey by and left it on her doorstep as a small gift. A couple of months later she called and asked me to bring her some honey – if I had her favorite – the light, spring honey – and BTW, how much was it? I took her two pints and charged her $6.00 a pint as usual. And as usual, when I got there she asked me again how much it was and I told her. She rummaged around in her purse for 15 minutes before finally pulling out a $50 bill. I told her I couldn’t make change and that we’d square up next visit.

Six months went by before I heard from her again but she called and asked if I had spring honey and I said, “No, only the darker honey.” She said she’d call again in June. She added that she remembered that she still owed me for the last visit and not to worry. I wasn’t.

On schedule, she called in June and I headed over with her two jars of light honey. We talked for awhile and she rummaged around in her purse and paid me in full. She mentioned having jars and I said I wished I could use them but I couldn’t. We talked awhile and passed some time. All was well. Every two months throughout the year she’d call me long after I had sold out of light honey. We’d always end the conversation with her saying, “I’ll call in June.”

This year I got a call in March and she asked if I had spring honey and I told her not until June. She talked awhile and, as always, I filled the time and her ear with what was happening in the bee yards. She mentioned that she had moved into an assisted living apartment. She was now on the other side of the County. I told her I rarely got over that way but I would call her when I did – after the June harvest.

Yesterday morning the phone rang while I was pulling out of the driveway with my son in the truck. She was calling to find out if I had honey. I told her yes but not the light spring honey she liked. She said she had a friend in the building who ate a lot of honey and wanted some too. She put him on the phone and I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was much younger than she – a fast talker too. I told him what I had and he seemed pleased. In fact he had already, on her recommendation, gathered a several orders from the residents. I asked him if he could come by tomorrow since I was on the way out. He was even fine with picking up the honey. Concluding the call, he asked how much it was going to be. I told him it was $10 a pint and $18 a quart. Since I only had pints remaining I’d give them 2 pints for every quart ordered. Or, if they ordered a gallon’s worth (12 lbs) it was $72. “Oh,” he said. It was then that I remembered how much I had been charging the lady and realized that, although over the 7 or 8 years I had known her she had never been able to remember the price, apparently she had told him $6.00 a pint. Maybe he knew that $6 a pint didn’t sound right; I don’t know. Or maybe he just thought it was his lucky day.

But then he said the words that will set any hard working beekeeper’s teeth on edge. “I can get it for $14 a quart in Leesville-Batesville.” I’m ashamed of the response I gave him. Not because I said it to him but because my son heard me get upset. In short, I told him that if he was happy with the honey from Leesville-Bateburg then he should drive there. He replied that he was hoping I could match the price. I told him I could but that would mean I’d have to buy a 55 gallon drum of honey from a distributor in Georgia at $3.50 a lb. and re-bottle it as local honey. I added that I wasn’t going to do that. Then he asked if maybe with a large enough order I could give an additional discount. Thoroughly upset, I told him I sell out every year, was down to my last 12 pint jars of 2019 honey and asked him, “Why I would discount a product that sells out at my normal pricing?”

He was going to call me this morning. It’s afternoon now and the phone hasn’t rung.

Happy Birthday Charles F. Muth

Charles F. Muth

Charles F. Muth was born in Germany, April 23, 1834 to Charles F. and Carolina (Schmith) Muth.  He had a brother August and a sister Carolina. August passed away in 1890 and by 1894 Carolina had married Ernest Oberheu of the Eagle Insurance Company in Cincinnati.

Charles was educated in Germany and at the age of nineteen (1853) he arrived in Cincinnati. There he clerked for three years in the grocery of S.H. Frank at the corner of Vine and Canal streets. He spent a few years in Minnesota and Kansas, engaged principally in land speculation.  Upon his return to Cincinnati (1860), he established a grocery until 1883. The grocery store changed and carried the name Charles F. Muth & Sons, dealers in seeds, honey, beeswax and apiarian supplies.

Muth Jars

Muth Honey Jars – Since square jars were listed in the Root catalog in 1879 and the name of the grocery store changed in 1883, the earliest muth jars were made between 1879 to 1883. There were only a few glass companies at this time that made the square “pickle and horseradish” jars. They were Illinois Glass of Alton, Illinois, K.G.B. in Steubenville, Ohio, Whitall Tatum & Co. of Millville, N.J., and a couple of unlisted manufacturers such as” Z” and “C.C.S.”

Source and for full article including other Muth inventions: Bee Culture Magazine, July 2017


Racist by naturebees

Beekeepers are racists. Not about humans I hope; but about bees they keep.  If you ask a beekeeper in Finland what kind of bees they have, the answer comes right away.

“I have Italian bees!”

“I have Carnica bees!”

“I have Nordic black bees!”  etc

The answer comes with no hesitation even if the bees have been free mated ever since they were bought, sometimes many decades earlier.

In the world of any other domestic animal you would be listed as a lunatic in no time if you insisted your animals to be of any particular race after several free matings […]

To reads the entire text please visit: Racist — naturebees

Swarm Prevention – It’s all about your Goals

Swarm Prevention. It’s all about your goals.
If your goal is to make more colonies and grow your apiary then split away. It’s quick and easy, increases your number of colonies, and can deter swarming.
But if your goal is making a crop of honey this year, splitting may not be your best first option. If you want to make a crop of honey save the splitting for Swarm Control rather than Swarm Prevention.
Swarm Prevention is about taking action before the colony develops queen cells and makes plans to reproduce. Swarm Control is what the beekeeper does to save the day AFTER the colony has started producing queen cells and has decided to go forward with colony reproduction.
So, as relates to swarming, the beekeeper has two opportunities to make splits – before or after the colony starts queen cells. Logically, if the beekeeper wants to make more colonies it doesn’t matter if they split prior to queen cell creation or after cells are started. However, if the beekeeper wishes to make a crop of honey, splitting will always greatly impact their honey crop. For the beekeeper wishing to make honey, splitting is probably left to situations where they have no choice such as after cells have started and the beekeeper finds themselves in corner to prevent colony loss due to impending swarming.
So, what’s the beekeeper wishing to produce a crop of honey to do to prevent swarming? There are multiple methods which may be used to discourage the bees from leaving. All must be started prior to the nectar flow and before the bees have decided to go forward with colony reproduction. Remember, the bees are doing what they do to reproduce NOT to make you a crop of honey.
Swarm prevention has been written about for as long as man has managed bees and more so after the Golden Age of Beekeeping as man developed methods of increasing the yield from bees. Even prior to this, swarming was capitalized on by beekeepers who developed methods of capturing swarms as a method of making increase. A few of the many methods of Swarm Prevention which might be used to retain the bees rather than splitting are: Demaree method, Walt Wright’s Checkerboarding, hive body rotation, shook swarm method, opening up the brood nest, supering early with multiple supers, use of a Snelgrove board, and other colony manipulations.
I’ll leave it to the reader to use Google to find reputable materials online to read if they wish to explore these methods. Most of these methods, and you can use more than one, disrupt the bees’ plans in one way or another. They add stress to the colony which interrupts their lengthy list of checkoffs towards swarming. Bees will not typically reproductively swarm if it jeopardizes the parent colony. The beekeeper, by making smart manipulations, timed appropriately to the colony’s buildup, and with an eye to seasonal cues such as temperatures and blooms, creates a disruption which discourages the colony from swarming or causes them to postpone the event until matters are right again within the parent hive. The beekeeper continues these interventions until the swarm urge lessens – usually within a few weeks after the nectar flow begins.
Swarm Prevention and Control is a fascinating subject to explore. One which beekeepers have been struggling to perfect for hundreds of years. That the bees still sometimes win makes it all the more interesting. But that’s okay too. If they swarm it’s good to know nature is still at the helm and the beekeeper is still left with the possibility of capturing the swarm and making splits with the frames of cells from the parent colony. Everyone wins.

Happy Birthday Jan Swammerdam

Jan Swammerdam (February 12, 1637 – February 17, 1680) was a Dutch biologist and microscopist. His work on insects demonstrated that the various phases during the life of an insect—egg, larva, pupa, and adult—are different forms of the same animal. As part of his anatomical research, he carried out experiments on muscle contraction. In 1658, he was the first to observe and describe red blood cells. He was one of the first people to use the microscope in dissections, and his techniques remained useful for hundreds of years.

While studying medicine Swammerdam had started to dissect insects and after qualifying as a doctor, Swammerdam focused on insects. His father pressured him to earn a living, but Swammerdam persevered and in late 1669 published Historia insectorum generalis ofte Algemeene verhandeling van de bloedeloose dierkens (The General History of Insects, or General Treatise on little Bloodless Animals). The treatise summarised his study of insects he had collected in France and around Amsterdam. He countered the prevailing Aristotelian notion that insects were imperfect animals that lacked internal anatomy.[1] Following the publication his father withdrew all financial support.[2] As a result, Swammerdam was forced, at least occasionally, to practice medicine in order to finance his own research. He obtained leave at Amsterdam to dissect the bodies of those who died in the hospital.[3]


The most striking features of Swammerdam’s work are his drawings of his dissections. One of his most famous figures was his illustration of the queen’s ovaries. This extraordinarily detailed drawing, accompanied by three pages of description and a 1000-word long legend, was backed up by an attempt to count the number of eggs present in the ovary — he calculated that there were around 5,100 eggs in the ovaries.


At university Swammerdam engaged deeply in the religious and philosophical ideas of his time. He categorically opposed the ideas behind spontaneous generation, which held that God had created some creatures, but not insects. Swammerdam argued that this would blasphemously imply that parts of the universe were excluded from God’s will. In his scientific study Swammerdam tried to prove that God’s creation happened time after time, and that it was uniform and stable. Swammerdam was much influenced by René Descartes, whose natural philosophy had been widely adopted by Dutch intellectuals. In Discours de la methode Descartes had argued that nature was orderly and obeyed fixed laws, thus nature could be explained rationally.[4]

Swammerdam was convinced that the creation, or generation, of all creatures obeyed the same laws. Having studied the reproductive organs of men and women at university he set out to study the generation of insects. He had devoted himself to studying insects after discovering that the king bee was indeed a queen bee. Swammerdam knew this because he had found eggs inside the creature. But he did not publish this finding. In 1669 Swammerdam was visited by Cosimo II de’ Medici and showed him another revolutionary discovery. Inside a caterpillar the limbs and wings of the butterfly could be seen (now called the imaginal discs). When Swammerdam published The General History of Insects, or General Treatise on little Bloodless Animals later that year he not only did away with the idea that insects lacked internal anatomy, but also attacked the Christian notion that insects originated from spontaneous generation and that their life cycle was a metamorphosis.[5] Swammerdam maintained that all insects originated from eggs and their limbs grew and developed slowly. Thus there was no distinction between insects and so called higher animals. Swammerdam declared war on “vulgar errors” and the symbolic interpretation of insects was, in his mind, incompatible with the power of God, the almighty architect.[6] Swammerdam therefore dispelled the seventeenth-century notion of metamorphosis —the idea that different life stages of an insect (e.g. caterpillar and butterfly) represent different individuals[7] or a sudden change from one type of animal to another.[8]



Swammerdam equally made the first precise descriptions of the bees’ mouthparts and of the sting and poison gland. In both respects his description was correct and highly detailed.







Wikipedia at:

Jan Swammerdam website:


Build Your Bees



The saying is, “build your bees before the flow not during the flow.” But when, exactly? Well, the answer is based on your location, your current assessment of your colonies, and what you anticipate the weather and bloom times will be providing. In the Midlands we often hear beekeepers speak of the start of the buildup corresponding to the bloom of Red Maple. And, notwithstanding a surprise freeze, that is a good indicator as to where nature is currently and when the bees will put all else aside and dedicate all efforts to their buildup.

Using bee math we can add a little more to try to nail down when WE need to support or add to the bees efforts. To make a foraging bee, and let’s face it that’s what we need to make honey, a little simple arithmetic is needed. Add together: 3 days as an egg, 6 as a larva, and 12 as a pupa = 21. Then add that to approximately three weeks the adult bee will spend as a house bee before graduating to foraging bee. Oh wow, three weeks to make an adult bee and 3 weeks until forager – 6 weeks total.

Now let’s make our best guess as to when the nectar flow will begin. That’s our target date to unleash our foraging bees to collect nectar. Historically, in the Midlands that date is April 1st. But some years it comes a couple weeks early and sometimes it comes late. This is why beekeepers are also obsessed with watching the blooms and temperatures; trying to predict if we will have an early bloom or a late bloom. Adjust this to your prediction but for illustration, I’ll use April 1st..

Taking our knowledge of bee biology and that we have figured out it will take 6 weeks to make a foraging bee, and estimating that we need that bee ready to work on April 1st, we can guesstimate when the queen needs to lay that egg. That date this year, aside from any surprises nature may hand us, is February 19th.

But wait. I don’t just need the all the foraging bees resulting from the eggs laid by the queen on February 19th. No, I need a true foraging force to start the gathering of nectar from the many trees and blooms that will begin Around April 1st. So, knowing that the queen can lay about 1,200 to 2,000 eggs a day I need to begin a tad before February 19th to get a truly large and efficient foraging force.

Assuming I’d like to begin the nectar flow event with all hands on deck and a fully functioning colony (after all the magic in honey bee eusocial efficiency is in their numbers), I need to start at least a week or two prior.

Won’t that early stimulation cause them to swarm? Won’t they become congested at exactly the wrong time of year? Shouldn’t I split them instead to keep them from swarming? All good questions. Beekeeping isn’t always about easy answers. Yes, stimulation will result in the bees satisfying all of the items needed to lead them to believe they have the perfect situation to do what they want to do – reproduce. On splits, David MacFawn gives a good lecture on the economics of the colony in which he calculates the cost of moving frames during the build up by making splits. A deep frame of brood with clinging bees is approximately 9,000 bees (2,000 adults and potentially 7,000 immatures). Doing the math David calculates that to result in a loss of ~ $75 of honey. (and this does not calculate the stress and loss of efficiently within the superorganism).

When I started beekeeping I was taught to hope for a colony to make 40 pounds of honey per season here in the Midlands. (I suspect many make less than this as on average.) I accepted that. I even met beekeepers that had moved here from the Midwest that quit beekeeping after a few years of our less than ideal honey crops. Then after a few years I started seeing over performers. Colonies that made 80 pounds or more. One year I captured an early super swarm that filled two 10 frame Langstroth hive bodies (deep and shallow). They made 99 3/4 pounds of honey that same year. A light bulb came on for me somewhere along the way. It wasn’t the Midlands to blame. It was my management. Within two years I was averaging 60 lbs per hive and that was counting the ones that failed to make a drop over colony needs.

If you want to produce a large honey crop, it involves management of large colonies. One must simply accept that it takes two things to make honey: 1) a large force of foraging bees that start on day one of the nectar flow and 2) a lot of work using swarm management techniques to prevent the bees from swarming. One must accept that it is work getting into the hives to prevent them from swarming.

I suggest to those wishing to make a crop of honey the free online books and articles available on Swarm Prevention and Control. There are online resources from many, many sources. The older books are also of great value. These resources speak to the management techniques that result in a large population while keeping the bees at home. Hope this is of some help to those that wish to make honey this year.

Exponential my dear Watson


Exponential, my dear Watson.

Pardon the paraphrase. But for the bees right now it’s “exponential.”

They take every food morsel inside the hive and everything they can gather from outside and bet it all. Nothing to be saved this time of year. Spendthrifts and gamblers. Betting the house on the upcoming nectar flow. Right now the nurse bees are eating as much as they can hold in an effort to maximize production of brood food. The queen is laying as much as she can and together a symphony is playing at breakneck speed.

If their timing is right they’ll reach a large population at the exact moment or just prior to the beginning of the nectar flow. Their goal – reproduction – swarming. Hopefully. Because if a freeze or extended stay inside occurs their exponentially large population can easily deplete their food supply since the nectar flow has not yet started. Interestingly, bees will share the food until it’s gone. But when it’s gone it’s gone and for the bees it’s not only their food but also the means by which they heat themselves and young. If the bees don’t time their buildup correctly, they risk en masse starvation.

Now, you’d think I’d be trying to discourage them from building up so fast. In some ways maybe I can and in other ways I can’t deter them from their program. But one thing I do regardless is keep supplying open comb to the queen. In turn she lays in it and makes more bees. Wait, wasn’t I suppose to be discouraging more hungry mouths?

Therein lies a management paradox for the beekeeper. We need more bees to make a large honey crop but more bees means more mouths to feed and the chance of starvation before the nectar flow begins. And more bees can also increase the likelihood of swarming – sorta. But by opening up the brood area and letting the queen lay they are less likely to swarm. So the dilemma is solving both issues by opening up her brood area AND keeping a close eye on the colony’s food stores. In essence, you, the beekeeper,  get to act like a bee and join the symphony too, playing as loud as you want.

Keep a close eye on them.

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 ( 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.



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,+Nikolai+Viktorovich

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

Pheromones of the Honeybee Colony

Nasonov, Nikolai Viktorovich (1855-1939),_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.

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