Beek Tips

  • “The only consistent thing about bees is their inconsistency.” – Dr. C.C. Miller
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  • “If a beekeeper tells you he knows what he’s doing, be wary and keep a keen eye on this fellow, for he has already told one lie, and no doubt will tell you another.” (author unknown)
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  • “Don’t assume that all bees are as calm as yours.  When going to work a strange hive, assume they’ll be aggressive and dress and smoke accordingly.  If they turn out to be calm, you can wear less the next time.  If they’re crazy, you won’t get stung for no good reason.  Like I did yesterday.” – Steve (24/7/2012)
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  • “If you’re not part of the genetic solution to breeding mite-tolerant bees, then you’re part of the problem.” – Randy Oliver
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  • “If the question in your mind starts ‘how do I make the bees …’ then you are already thinking wrongly. If your question is ‘how can I help them with what they are trying to do…’ you are on your way to becoming a beekeeper.” — Michael Bush www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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  • Four Simple Steps to Successful Beekeeping: www.bushfarms.com/beesfoursimplesteps.htm
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  • “There are a few rules of thumb that are useful guides. One is that when you are confronted with some problem in the apiary and you do not know what to do, then do nothing. Matters are seldom made worse by doing nothing and are often made much worse by inept intervention.” — The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, by Richard Taylor
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  • Once you get comfortable, it’s much easier to work the bees without gloves.  But if it takes wearing gloves to make you comfortable working your bees,  by all means, put them on!  But it’s not worth it working your bees without a veil.  A sting to the face is more painful than one on the hand.
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  • broadleaf plantainPlaintain is a weed that grows wild in the Southeast.  You just have to take a few steps to find some growing in our bee yard.  Pull a few leaves and stick them in your pocket before you open your hives.  If you get stung, chew a little piece up and rub it on the spot for quick relief and less side effects.
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  • “Before explaining some other methods of artificial swarming, which I have employed to great advantage, I shall endeavor to impress upon the mind of the bee-keeper, the great importance of thoroughly understanding each season, the precise object at which he is aiming, before he enters on the work of increasing his colonies.” – L.L. Langstroth
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  • If you open a hive and the bees seem way out of sorts, close it up and walk away.  You can inspect them later when it’s more peaceful for both of you.
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  • If you have a bee that JUST WON’T LEAVE YOU ALONE, walk into some low-hanging branches.  They seem to give up quicker when they have to fly around in the branches to get to your face.  A weeping willow works perfectly, if you have one handy.
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  • “Beekeeping with colonies feeble in the Spring, is most emphatically nothing but “folly and vexation of spirit”.  L.L. Langstroth
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  • Take a piece of clean honeycomb to work.  Everyone will really enjoy looking at it.  They will be amazed at how perfect and light it is.  And then they’ll want some honey.
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  • It’s nice to have a camera ready while inspecting your hives, especially if you have an observer to snap some shots for you.  After you close up the hive, you can take your pictures and look at them as long as you want, and see things you might miss with a bee buzzing in your ear.  Sometimes, we set up a video camera on a tripod so we can go back and relive the whole thing!
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  • “Whenever anyone says ‘I can’t,’ it makes me wish he’d get stung to death by about ten thousand bees. When he says ‘I’ll try,’ five thousand bees. ‘I can,’ one bee.” — Jack Handey
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  • “Shall I take brood from strong colonies to give to the weaklings?  Not I.  For the damage to the strong colonies will more than overbalance the benefit to the weaklings.” –  Dr. C.C. Miller, Fifty Years Among the Bees
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  • “No sound tends to indicate no bees.” – Jim Fischer, circa 1980
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  • “There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance.” – Thoreau, Henry David
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  • “I think it safest to base our assumption, that bee culture, in some respects is a hazardous business, even amongst the most thorough and careful.”  – A.I. Root
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  • “I like pulling on a baggy bee suit, forgetting myself and getting as close to the bees’ lives as they will let me, remembering in the process that there is more to life than the merely human.”  – Sue Hubbell
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  • “Most of my hive stands are 6″ off the ground and I catch plenty of bait swarms on the stands. I fill dozens of bait hives a year set at five feet height or less. Bees want a good nest and are not picky at what height it is. There are just more available tree cavities higher up. ” – odfrank (beesource.com)
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  • “Everything works if you let it.” – Rick Nielsen
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  • “Don’t breed from dead hives.” – Crazy Roland (beesource.com)
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  • “Women make the best beekeepers cause they have a special ability built into them to love creatures that sting.” – Sue Monk Kidd
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  • Beeswax is the main ingredient in Preparation H,  proof that beekeeping is good for a pain in the posterior.
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  • Be extra cautious when lighting and using your smoker during dry conditions.  It only takes a spark to start a grass fire during extremely dry weather.
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3 responses to “Beek Tips

  1. Gassaway Charles

    I love it that you have beek tips from odfrank and Crazy Roland

  2. “Everything works if you let it.”, was not Michael Bush. It was the American rock band Cheap Trick.

    • Hi Vivaan. Thanks for your note. I meant to change that a year or more ago, and actually thought I had, but must have changed the source elsewhere. Thanks again for the correction.
      Best, Greg

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