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Yes Grasshopper there is more to it.........

I think we make our own luck. I think the more prepared we are the more luck we have. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. The 5 P's of any endeavor.
If you are one of the newcomers to beekeeping you probably didn't have a real mentor, if you were lucky you had a club or an association where you could get some information, maybe.  I used to watch in the spring all the same people with the same results year after year.  The results from overwintering were not good. So what do you think happened, I would ask people. I tried to make it a learning experience, it surely is what I do when I look at my dead outs. Figure out a lot of stuff... the cause, the reason, is it a trend in my yard like a virus, was it just a brutal winter or did I fail in some way.

The first few years I had hives I was death on wheels. No questions asked you landed in my back yard you died. It wasn't until my third year I took this all seriously, and evaluated my sources and realized I was better o…
Recent posts

ground hog day

The movie GroundHog day was exceptional. Very Buddhist and a great commentary on life. The essential message was to remind us that it  is through repetetion that we can overcome our defiencies and move along in a more perfect seamless fashion.
I realized how this metaphor reminded me of my journey with the bees. Slowly, over time, with repetetion, I learned what not to do. This is wisdom. Recognizing a situation, and knowing what to do about it. As you see more you and do more, you recognize things faster, even begin to anticipate your colonies. Anticipation is the key, where applicable, it makes for an easier time of it for you and your colonies. You spend less time in the hive, less stress on bees and yourself, and have a healthier herd.
Reaction is what happens in response to your discovery of a situation that has gone unnoticed.  An example is finding swarm cells in May, and knowing full well the die has been cast. So you have choices in this moment as to how to proceeed. Without …

What is Geo Biology and how can it help bees

Geo Biology is a fringe science to academia. However it is one of the oldest known applications to agriculture and wellness in our human history.
The Shamans or Medicine people from days gone bye to currently where able to sense things about the land that were beneficial or detrimental for the tribe or clan or whatever the social organization was at the time. Nomadic or sedintery, small or large, all life, in the end, arises and returns to the Planet, and that has  systems in place, and rules that must be observed, to do otherwise is pure folly.
Gaia, Earth, home planet whatever you call it, is our provider, and if need be our destroyer. The ancient myths, the readers of the akasha, psychics all agree this is not the first go around here for humans. Even the Bible tells us that things got so out of hand at one point the Lord had to wash it clean. Hyperborea, Atlantis, to name two ancient civililaztions, are the focus of much pondering in new age and fringe archeology. The Hindus claim…

The more I see the less I know

What a great cliche, good song too. And applicable to being with bees.
I think one of the greatest things about having bees in your life is there is no end to the mystery, the bucket list of things to try, do, or figure out.
The season is so short, I can understand why operations move to points south to overwinter the herd. You pick up another honey crop and double your herd.

To be in a position where you can have enough background in bee biology, physiology, and practical knowledge is without belaboring most important.
To be able to anticipate trends in the hive, food stores, etc can save you from lots of reaction time consuming fix its. Lord, please give me the eyes to see.
Reading the frames in your colonies is like a box of chocolates ( gumps book of beekeeping) you never know what ya gonna get. Every colony different, source of bees, type of bees, equipment, environment, management. Homogenizing equipment and bees makes things a little bit easier for anticipating their needs.

The…

Products I Use

A few people ask me about the purpose of additives and supplements in the hive, and what I use...........................
Generally speaking, they are to improve conditions in the hive. Remember, I live in a marginal area. Some years things are fine but the last 4 years have been different.

Its like the timings of the rain and the blooms are all off. Unseasonably cool springs, serious gaps in the pollen availability has forced me to reconsider my management.

Just like convincing some to insulate their hives, supplemental feeding is not required but can be of significant help if your watching whats missing in your hive.


Until i find something better I use the following.
Dominos sugar for syrup
SUPER DFM pro-biotic formulation which adds lactic acid to the hive which is key for pollen digestion, bee bread. Additionlly 8 other key bacterias are in the formula. The formula also supresses nosema, dysentary, brood diseases, and lately im thinking it can have an effect on virus loads especia…

Blessed are the Bee Makers

To all of the great and aspiring queen rearers and breeders, past present and future, I humbly submit my thanks and appreciation.
Just one question I have as it pertains to my own quest for the perfect queen. Have you ever felt like you were domesticating a feral life form into something that could not live without man's intervention? I think that we have placed not only our bees but our planet in such great jeopardy through our ignorance and short-sighted gains. The apiary is a microcosm of all that is wrong mixed with all that could be right with our world. This is the rub,  the chasm, the canyon. The discontent of honest effort with shortsighted anticipation, and the results of such efforts. What am I doing I ask myself over and over?  What is our end game and how are we ever going to achieve it.
I would like a bee that lives through the difficulties of my marginal environment. I would like my bees to be vibrant and healthy. Docility is nice but not required, hygienics an absol…

It Finally happened

Well friends, here we are at the dawn of the next episode in beekeeping. It does my heart no good to share this insight, however forewarned forearmed. We have made the turn in our environment thanks to human toxicity were we can no longer keep bees without supplementation.  Of course there are a few locations still somewhat natural and vibrant, but they are not the majority and they certainly on the verge of collapse as well.

Okay, so what. The heck am I talking about? Everywhere you can look at our food supply you will see supplementation. We no longer breed cows naturally, everything is insemination. It is cheaper to buy supplements than to try to grow decent hay and corn for our bovines. Most of what I saw when I was in the business would horrify you. That's another tale for another day. Yet the reality is this is our super incredible latest and greatest vision for agriculture. Beekeepers were the last hold out. farmers are robbers, that's a given, most raise a crop and bar…

Evaluating Beekeeping techniques

With So much new information available you could easily be led into a false sense of informational accomplishment. The utube, websites, online libraries, and countless avenues of blogs and forums can leave you overwhelmed.
A very simple way to navigate through the maze of intel is to ask yourself a few questions.   First off, what and why are you looking for this? Secondly, try to figure out a few things about the author. Tried and true, well versed in beekeeping, and respected by their peers. Perhaps not here.......
Thirdly and most importantly, evaluate the location of the author, type of equipment, and the type of bees he/she is presenting in the material. What works in the South doesn't work up here in the Hudson Valley and vice versa. 
The differences in species of bees is profound and generally not really understood by a lot of folks.  There are many ways to keep bees in a box and many ways to hurt them as a result of misapplied intel gathering.  I enjoy watching the videos,…

Trigger Points

Most of what I had read or been shown in my early years were nothing more than cheap sleight of hand tricks designed to make the bees do something for the beekeepers' benefit. Rotating boxes, feeding supplements, swarm prevention, etc, all seemed like such great ideas as a beginner, a bucket list of manipulations to enhance my control over the wee beasties. Hymph!.
Let's look at classic responses to action initiated by beekeepers.

First food in brood out ..... no brainier, but we can mess this up easily but not recognizing the hive conditions such as population. do you have enough bees to warrant the additional food. A good rule of thumb is do not add pollen unless you have 6 frames of bees in the spring. Summer not as critical, but fall can be tricky as well. I really like free choosing the pollen supplement. Let em take what they need.
In Fall if I donut like what I see from the late start nucs I will brush drawn combs with pollen or substitute to make sure they have at leas…

Hymenoptera of desire

A really great book called the Botany of Desire caused me to think quite a bit about beekeeping. The book was a whimsical hypothesis with surprising clarity and well a well thought out argument supporting the theory that plants have consciousness, and utilized the humans to carry out their plan of migration to new worlds as humans were on the go and settling new areas. The case for four plants was discussed and, in my mind is a valid thesis.

It caused me to wonder about my own journey in beekeeping, and those backyard hobbyists I see at the clubs and conferences. What is this thing that is happening over the last 15 years, the allure of the bees, the desire to help and participate? All the CCD coverage has brought the hobbyist out in droves, even becoming a tres sheik avant-garde endeavor. This has quickly rebounded the number of hives back to 20 million or so nationwide. Not without consequence.
So now we have a crew of new beekeepers who want to rewrite the way we take care of bees …

Winter the end or the beginning?

Solstice time nears, and there is an energy under the din of holidays, where we can gather deep inside us that which we choose to let go and allow that which we have seeded to sprout for the new year. It is a still point in the northern hemisphere. the days bottom out to a mere 9 hours from dawn to gloaming. The winds arrive bring the tails of frozen water from far away, and the air crisp with the reality that for 90 days this is gonna suck lol.
 I enjoy winter, I remind myself, really enjoy loading up my back pack with sugar cakes and my snowshoes going out to the apiaries, and pondering just why I put my bees in these locations. Ever wonder why they made dog sleds, my suspicion is they got tired of having their dogs pounce on the back of their snow shoes. Face plant....thanks Hoot.
     Besides the obvious of checking entrances and counting chickens, feeding if needed, there is an energy in the hives that is fascinating to watch through the winter. I feel that is such a unique …

beginnings

This is my first run in the blogosphere and I am excited to have a home for my more eccentric thoughts on working with honey bees. Much of the posts will be out of the box thinking, a smidge of esoterism, a few rants, and some speculations meant to be shared with those of a like mind and kindred spirit.

I love bees. I struggle to find a balance in many ways of having bees in boxes and letting them be themselves. It is a compromise of sorts, rather an agreement between two sentiencies with a common goal.

If your are a honey pirate, have a vested economic interest in honeybees this is not a blog where you will gather new informational currency to apply to your practices.  We do that elsewhere. This is dedicated to a higher calling where we can examine the other stuff, the unseen, behind the curtain, and the hidden secrets of bees.

 I would like to give credit to my teachers, dear friends, my students,  my beemunching dog Hoot, you make it all worthwhile. To tbe Bees, my greatest teache…