August 25

Apiary Update and “The Mystery of Blue Honey”

imageErin Denison found this wonderful article on the Mystery of Blue Honey in Our State Magazine.  Thank you Erin and I would encourage others of you to send me interesting articles and videos for our Apiary Blog.

I have been checking our Apiary and as I fed my bees I am noticing some of you are not keeping up.  If you stay on this they will gradually let up some on consumption.  For now it needs to be an every other day check and add.  I am taking care of Sean’s hive as well and these are some hungry bees.  The same is true at my house for two hives.   This is a definite sign of impending starvation…meaning that feeding now is the right call.  I suspect we will continue this through September.  I went to Costco and bought three 50 pound bags of sugar at a great price.  I am sure Sam’s Club or Restaurant Supply has good volume prices as well.

I am wondering how many of you have ordered Honey Bee Healthy at Dadant…(see my last post).  They have it at the Mount Holly Farm Supply at full price.  I do not add the volume they suggest as this stuff is expensive…I had one capful for each 4/5 pounds of sugar to stretch out my use.  Seems to work well.

Jax sold all of our available supply of honey (12.5 gallons) in three days.  The honey we pulled off from our Apiary was much darker and would be classified as “wild flower” honey.  It has a much richer floral taste that the clover honey my bees make here at the house.

Please send me a thumbs up text after you have read this blog.  I would encourage you to check out the link contained on blue honey as well.  So many things to learn….so many possibilities.




August 23

2017 MHFM Smith Educational Apiary Waiting List

Never too Young or Late to Begin Bee KeepingThis is our official waiting list to be approved for our 2017 Smith Educational Apiary.  All current students will automatically be added to this list.  If you know of folks who would like to be a part of our bee keeping hands on instructional program, please send their name,  email, and cell phone number to me so I may add their name to our list.  We hope to have 12 beekeepers in our apiary next year.  The cost of joining our program will be a minimum $100 tax deductible donation to the Mount Holly Farmers Market.  These funds will be used to maintain the property and help defray the cost of insurance.

  1. Garett Joy
  2. Mike Huff
August 17

Erin Moves Forward After Hive Loss

imageUpdate and Lessons Learned

It is official, we lost our first hive and it was declared DOA yesterday afternoon.  Looking back both Erin and I learned some valuable lessons.  Some of these lessons we will discuss when we meet this fall and winter.  However some lessons for sure we must consider now:

  1. Anytime we do a hive inspection, even if you are looking for how the honey storage is coming along…always go deep enough to check and make sure your queen is present or that you have active signs including eggs, capped and uncapped brood.
  2. You need to stop by the Apiary several times a week just to do a visual inspection of your hive….and while you are at it…look at everyone else’s hive as well.  If you see any bees fighting on the outside…this means robbing could be taking place and you need to place your hive restrictor  or on.  Josh is considering putting his hive restrictor on and I would encourage him to do so.  You have a medium and small restriction entrance.  I think the medium restriction would be fine…but you may do either.  I suggest we all place hive restrictions on our hives which will allow our bees to more easily guard their hives.  Airflow will be fine as you have an open screened bottom.
  3. There is no question that all of our hives can now benefit from feeding, and MOST need it to keep bees from eating honey stored.  There were only two hives that have sufficient storage of honey now and that is Erin’s new hive ( she is taking over the instructional hive in the center), and Andy’s hive.  Josh has a very strong hive as far as brood and honey pattern. But lacks the stores of honey for the winter.  I will be doing an inspection of Leigh’s hive.  I have two of my 5 with enough honey, but plan to feed them all.  Even though we have things blooming…the hot weather has taken a toll on available nectar.
  4. I recommend that all of you purchase a bottle of Honey B Healthy.  I have researched and found the best price at Dadant and have provided the link below.  Most places it is$35 to $40.
  5. Link for Honey Bee Healthy at Dadant:

This additive is all natural and really goes a long way to strengthening your hive and reducing stress.  At the price they are offering you may want to purchase two bottles.  We will be feeding again in February as this is the most dangerous time to lose your hive due to starvation.

Please keep me informed of your hive inspections good or bad.  Erin and I used our video cameras for our hive inspections and it was great.  We did not try to film the actual inspection, rather we used it to make voice notes after the fact.  We both were pleased with the results!

August 12

I’m Back…..

Erin also had an opportunity to meet Frances Smith who continues to live on our newly acquired property and for whom our apiary is named. She absolutely fell in love with Frances!

I have done a quick visual inspection of my hives and have determined all is well.  We continue to be on auto pilot, but I suspect most of you have not done a hive inspection since I left.  If this is the case, you need to make a quick inspection this week.  Why quick?  Because we are now in the season of bees robbing each other’s hives.  I suggest that when you make your inspection that you flip your screens over to winter mode and do away with the top emergency exit.  This is where most robbing will occur.  When you make your inspection, look for the usual things:  eggs, uncapped brood, capped brood, be sure you do not have too many bullets (drones).   If you have too many bullets it can be a sign of a lost queen, and you have a worker laying unfertilized drone eggs.  Also check your honey stores.  If the honey seems to be going down you may have to start feeding again.   Lets plan to meet at the Apirary this Saturday for the quick Inspection for all who can and I can help you take a look.

My best,