It bee better to give than to receive

160821a Apiary

The yard on August 21, 2016. (c) Erik Brown

As my second beekeeping summer comes to a close, it is the time of year when beekeepers count the many pounds of honey collected from their hives, and answer the age-old question of how to handle the dreaded varroa mite.

This year I gathered my first honey, a grand total of nearly 6 cups worth. As another local beekeeper put it, the price per pound of that honey is pretty steep. Beekeeping equipment is not cheap, bees are not cheap, and our time is somewhat precious. All for a few jars of honey. Perhaps it is more about the love of bees and the joy of a hobby, at least for me. Continue reading

I’ve got my mind on my honey


160806a Strainer

My two bucking crush & strain system

I stole a frame from our hive Mars recently. While I wasn’t exactly sure how much honey one medium Lang frame would produce, I was ready to find out. Also, I really wanted to try the two-bucket straining system I bought from Brushy Mountain earlier this year.

You may recall that I bottled a single jar of honey in the spring. That was a very clear spring honey, tasty and not too sweet. It was good, though I was hoping the summer honey would be a little sweeter. I’d read that honey tends to get darker as the season goes on. Continue reading

To every hive there is a season

160730 Butterfly

A butterfly in the bee yard, with Mars and Jupiter in the background. © Erik Brown

In my second year, I have become a lazy beekeeper. Last year, oh so long ago, I inspected each hive every week or two. I visited the apiary nearly every day to visually check the hives. I kept close tabs on their progress, and worried about the many things that could go wrong.

This year the bees have been fine, doing their bee stuff, and I’ve been working, travelling, and otherwise not looking in on them.

For much of July this bothered me, and I felt guilty that I left the bees to their own designs. It was hot, many days over 100 F (38 C), and I was on the road one way or another for three out of the last four weeks. I just didn’t feel up to checking the hives, so I didn’t. I finally got into my five hives this weekend, and for the most part the bees are fine. Given my lack of blogging lately as well, I figured it was time for an update. Continue reading