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: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257297540_HISTORY_OF_ARTIFICIAL_INSEMINATION [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).

Source: http://beekeeping.wikia.com/wiki/Albert_J._Cook

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 Amazon.com 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.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/05/AR2007100502370.html

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

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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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galleria_mellonella

And on the Lesser Wax Moth here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesser_wax_moth

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


, , , , ,

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.


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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Swammerdam

Jan Swammerdam website: http://www.janswammerdam.org/


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


, ,

edmund c porter

Edmund C. Porter – Improver of the bee escape?


Exploded view of Porter Bee escape

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

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

Death 1911 (aged 53–54)

Lewistown, Fulton County, Illinois, USA

Plot Section D

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

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

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

(Above edited for clarity – Ed)

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



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



Honey Mustard Chicken by In Dianes Kitchen


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

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


via Honey Mustard Chicken — In Dianes Kitchen

Happy Birthday William Z. Hutchinson


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

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


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

Happy Birthday Nikolai Nasonov


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


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

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

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


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


PORTRAIT Nikolai Victrovich Nasonov
Насонов Николай Викторович

Nasonov, Nikolai Viktorovich

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

Pheromones of the Honeybee Colony

Nasonov, Nikolai Viktorovich (1855-1939)


Miscellaneous References

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


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

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

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

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

Literature (a selection):

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

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

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

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

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


Source: Historical Honey Bee Articles – Beekeeping History

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


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

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

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

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


Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs by Sweet ‘n Savory Therapy


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

Happy Birthday Charles Henry Turner by Ron Miksha


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Prep time – 15 minutes.

Cooking time – 1 hour 15 minutes.


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

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

Happy Birthday George Whitfield Demaree


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

Shelby County, Kentucky, USA

Christianburg, Shelby County, Kentucky, USA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trapping Honey Bee Swarms


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




And multiple videos by outofabluesky:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Winter, a time for beekeepers to read



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Birthday Johann Dzierzon


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

Below Source: Wikipedia Entry

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

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

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

Scientific career

Stack of Dzierzon hives. Illustration from Nordisk familjebok.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

More at: Source: Wikipedia Entry

Current Beekeeping Activities by sassafrasbefarm


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Feeding the bees pollen substitute

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

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

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


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


Making sugar cakes for the tops of the hives.


Adding extra wax to plastic frames.


Collecting and bagging pine straw for my smoker.



Building boxes, bottom boards, and tops.


Adding some color to the entrance reducers.


Painting entrances to the queen mating nucs


This is Advantech – a new material that resists weathering.


Painting everything. Three coats!


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


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


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

1,503 more words

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

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

Honey Custard French Toast by In Dianes Kitchen


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


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

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

Lorenzo Langstroth’s Birthday


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toast to langstroth

A Toast to Langstroth


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

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

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

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







Ebook:  The Hive and the Honey Bee

Audio recording: The Hive and the Honey Bee

Once a Year Opportunity to Save on Varroa Treatment by sassafrasbeefarm


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

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

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

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

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

And here’s a “how to” YouTube video:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Honey Pork Soup by The Honey Cottage


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

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


2 bundles- Organic Fine or Round Udon noodles

3 cups Chicken broth

1 cup of sliced pork

1 shreddedcarrot

¾ cup of peas

¾ cup of corn

1 can of water chestnuts

1 Tablespoon of raw honey

Salt and Pepper to taste

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

Honey Bees and the Winter Solstice by Scott Sailors




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coming Soon, Spring Splits!


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Picture from Coweta Sustainable Beekeeping article.

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

Source: Coweta Sustainable Beekeeping Method by Steven Page

Coweta Sustainable Beekeeping

Click here to download a pdf file of this article.

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

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

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

·         Varroa Mites

·         Numerous diseases

·         Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)

·         Small hive beetle

·         Short lived queens

·         High pesticide use

There has to be a better way.

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

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

Overwinter Nucs

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


To read  the complete article visit: Coweta Sustainable Beekeeping Method

Hive Stands


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


Honey-Pecan Green Beans by Fabulous Fare Sisters


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

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

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



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

The Evolution of Beehive Covers by Jim Thompson



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

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

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

Happy Birthday Emily Dickinson


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Happy Birthday Emily Dickinson – Born Dec. 10, 1830

The Bee
By Emily Dickinson

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

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

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

Archaeology – Remnants of Emily Dickinson’s Gardens Sought

Emily Dickinson


Happy Birthday Amos I. Root


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Online Books by A.I. Root:

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

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


Turkish Honey Baklava by Precious Little Toes


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

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

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

Remembering Amos Root




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

In Remembrance of Amos Root –

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

One Beekeeper, Two Wright Brothers

Source: One Beekeeper, Two Wright Brothers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comb Honey, Cheese, and Berry Platter by sassafrasbeefarm


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

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

It’s Time to Plan for Spring by sassafrasbeefarm


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Red Maple – Harbinger of Spring

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Honey Cucumber and Tomato Salad by Momoe’s Cupboard


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

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