The Hardest Part of Beekeeping…Made Simple


3 forms of cotton bee smoker fuel. Click image for an enlarged image.

Ask a dozen beekeepers what the hardest part of beekeeping is and you will get 13 different answers. But at least a third or more of those answers will be related to lighting a smoker and keeping it lit.  Pine needles are the smoker fuel of choice in the southeastern US and they have been my preferred smoker fuel because they are effective, plentiful, and cheap (free). But pine needles are not perfect: Continue reading The Hardest Part of Beekeeping…Made Simple

Beekeeping in Ukraine

A conversation between beekeepers

One of the benefits of writing the BeeHacker blog is that I also get to meet interesting people from around the world. I recently started a dialog with Oleg Sadovskij, a Ukrainian beekeeper, a honey exporter, and manager of TORENT-TRADE Ltd. In Ukraine. I was curious about Ukraine because it is in the top five list of page visits by country to my blog (after US, Great Britain, France, & China). oleg

Americans have heard a lot about Ukraine in the news this year yet few realize the long history and loyal compassion Ukrainians have for honey and the honey bee. There are about 400 thousand beekeepers in Ukraine or 1 beekeeper for every 107 Ukrainians. In the US, that ratio is 1 in 1500! Ukraine is the largest producer of honey among European countries and Russia. On average, a Ukrainian consumes 2.6 lbs of honey annually – double what is consumed in the United States. In 1815 the Ukrainian Peter Prokopovich invented the movable-frame beehive though the American Langstroth discovered bee space which made his 1852 patent for movable frames much more practical. If you are a beekeeper or if you just like honey, then you will find Ukraine a very bee friendly place. Continue reading Beekeeping in Ukraine

$22 Bee Vacuum

We were recently gifted a hive from a family whose beekeeper son left for college. Having moved hives before, I figured it would be easy.  This time I was wrong:

Bees bearded up the front and back of the hive – all day long and at 5:30AM in the morning – because the bottom . . . → Read More: $22 Bee Vacuum

Improved Hive Scale

I was pleased to hear recently from Jamie Bucklin of Humboldt, California. Instead of the $16 luggage scale that I used in my hive scale, he built his scale with a $70-100 digital industrial hanging scale from American Weigh Scales.  The TL-330 is accurate to .2 lbs and weighs up to 330 lbs – . . . → Read More: Improved Hive Scale

Barbarians at the Gate


Click for a full size view

It is that time of year when most of the blooms are gone. And with those blooms goes the abundance of food for bees. Being ever ambitious, honey bees are going to find dinner even if it means robbing it from a weak hive. Continue reading Barbarians at the Gate

Bee City 1951

In 1951:

  • Average Cost of new house $9.000.00
  • Average wages per year $3,510.00
  • Cost of a gallon of Gas 19 cents
  • Average Cost of a new car $1,500.00
  • Loaf of Bread 16 cents
  • Direct dial coast-to-coast telephone service begins in the United States.
  • First Color Television Pictures broadcast from Empire State Building
  • 22nd Amendment is ratified which limits US presidential term of office to 8 yrs ( 2 terms )
  • United Nations forces recapture Seoul during the Korean War
  • President Harry S Truman fires General Douglas MacArthur as commander of United Nations Forces
  • The term Rock N Roll is coined by Cleveland Disc Jockey Alan Freed
  • Paul F. Moss & Thelma Schnee produce the movie Bee City (movie after the link): Continue reading Bee City 1951

Beekeeper Rock Star

Who ever thinks that self-gratification is somehow more rewarding than service to others has never taken 20,000 stinging insects into a 7th grade science class.

I recently took my newly built Ulster observation hive (click here for building instructions) with 5 frames of bees into a local elementary school.  I had a PowerPoint presentation called Thank . . . → Read More: Beekeeper Rock Star

Review of ‘The Queen Must Die’

The_Queen_Must_Die by William Longgood

The_Queen_Must_Die by William Longgood

Have you ever read a book, thoroughly enjoyed it, and wondered why everyone didn’t enjoy it as much as you.  Reading a book is a mostly creative process – the dry words of printed books are like mallets on the chimes of our experience.  That is what makes reading such a personal experience. For too many people, all books sound tinny.  For experienced beekeepers, The Queen Must Die resonates long and harmoniously. Continue reading Review of ‘The Queen Must Die’

2011 Beekeeping Mea Culpas

One of the bloggers I admire most is Linda Tilman of  Linda’s Bees – not so much because she is a Master Bee Keeper – which she is – but because she is self-confident enough to share her own failures as well as her successes on her blog pages. That is what makes her . . . → Read More: 2011 Beekeeping Mea Culpas

Harvest Time!

We harvested about 130 lbs of honey two weeks ago.  According to my hive scale, hives #1,2, & 3 contributed 58, 38.5, and 36.5 lbs. Not bad considering that #2 was queenless for several weeks this Spring! Check out the Apiary Timeline and click on the events leading up to the harvest for more . . . → Read More: Harvest Time!