Category Archives: Tools and Gadgets

Winter’s coming – are you insulated?

When I kept bees in Florida, I didn’t wrap my hives for winter. In Pennsylvania, where I grew up, we sometimes wrapped hives with thin black building paper. That was supposed to keep wind out of the cracks and heat … Continue reading

Posted in Beekeeping, Hives and Combs, Tools and Gadgets | Tagged , , | 30 Comments

Are you listening to your bees?

Experienced beekeepers approach their hives as one might enter a church or temple. With quiet respect. Once there, we listen. That’s an important part of our role.  The listening beekeeper knows in an instant if the colony is queenless or … Continue reading

Posted in Bee Biology, Beekeeping, Diseases and Pests, Tools and Gadgets | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Comb on demand

Here’s something that I never thought anyone would manufacture. It’s fully-drawn comb, just the way bees would make it, if bees were machines. I’m impressed with the technology, but I’m not sure how marketable these manufactured combs will be. Perhaps … Continue reading

Posted in Beekeeping, Hives and Combs, Strange, Odd Stuff, Tools and Gadgets | Tagged | 8 Comments

Late-winter Feeding

Today is the last day of winter in the northern hemisphere. But the temperature – here in Calgary, at least – feels spring-like. It’s been in the mid-teens (60° F) for a few days. It’s the first chance for many … Continue reading

Posted in Beekeeping, Tools and Gadgets | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Honey for the house

We had a late spring. Our main flow hasn’t quite started. In another week, the bees will be gathering ten pounds of clover and alfalfa honey each day here in Calgary. There’s a nice flight today but five days ago, … Continue reading

Posted in Beekeeping, Honey, Tools and Gadgets | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Smokers, beware: Playing with Fire

Today, I will end this mini-series of blog posts about smokers with some safety tips. Smokers can be dangerous and yada, yada, yada – some readers have already tuned out. But here’s the cost.  I know a South Dakota beekeeper … Continue reading

Posted in Beekeeping, Tools and Gadgets | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Smokers, beware: Bee Smoker 101

If you’re somewhat new at beekeeping, you haven’t been using a smoker for long. You might not know some of the peculiarities of the hot little machine. I’ll give some basics here. Tomorrow, we’ll look at smoker safety, aka, how … Continue reading

Posted in Beekeeping, Tools and Gadgets | Tagged | 3 Comments

Smokers, beware: Stuff I’ve Smoked

Yesterday, I started a discussion about whether beekeepers should use a smoker. (Smoke or no smoke?)  I think you should use one, but you’ve got to be smart about it. I’ll write more about smart smoking tomorrow, in a piece … Continue reading

Posted in Beekeeping, Books, Tools and Gadgets | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Smokers, beware: Smoke or no smoke?

Smoke or no smoke?  Good question. It surprises me that there are beekeepers who have completely forsworn smokers. Such quixotic folks ply their trade without smoke, believing (perhaps correctly) that a bee smoker invalidates the organic status of their honey. … Continue reading

Posted in Beekeeping, Tools and Gadgets | Tagged , | 30 Comments

Welcoming some new friends

The bees arrived. It was getting late. I was getting anxious. But just after the sun settled for the night, my friend Mark arrived with our two packages. He brought us 13,637 worker bees and two queens. We counted them. … Continue reading

Posted in Beekeeping, Tools and Gadgets | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments