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THe Bee Journal Blog

Barb after shaking off the bee beard (12 stings)

This blog is about Barb's adventures and misadventures as a hobby beekeeper.   She started with two hives in 2009 and Dad, Lorne, joined to help in the hobby when Barb had a fateful fall and broke her arm two weeks before getting her first hives.


They've experienced both successful years and difficult ones working alongside the hardest working and most amazing insect in the world.  Every visit to the bee yard there's a new lesson to learn.

Barbara Lindberg
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New beekeepers can get a little worried on hot summer days when they see a thick mass of bees that resembles a swarm hanging off the edge of the hive or hive platform. That's not a swarm because when swarming the bees fly out away from the hive and land somewhere else close by and then gather together with the queen in a mass. On hot days when the fanning bees are busy cooling the hive, the other bees that are home and not doing chores stay out of the hive.  Sometimes they hang out on the front porch.  Other times they gather in a mass. Bees create air conditioning by bringing water into the hive.  They coat the water on the combs and then fan it.  You can try this at home by spraying water on concrete and then setting a fan on it at a safe distance. Having the extra bees out of the way gives more room so ventilation is greatly improved. And who doesn't enjoy sitting on the front porch on a nice day? The bees will go back inside when they're ready.  Sometimes they'll stay out all night.
Barbara Lindberg
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I keep any large water bottles and refill them with tap water.  I keep a couple in the bee vehicle and also in each beeyard.  Here's why: in case of a spark or fire from the smoker to poor on myself to cool off to wash hands to wash the bee brush which gets stuck up with honey as I sweep the bees off the combs to rinse off a bee that's covered in too much honey to refill any water dishes set out for the bees to drink in case I don't have anything else with me
Barbara Lindberg
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Here's a really interesting article on how beekeepers in Slovenia keep their bees:  Slovenian Beekeeping The article lists the advantages and disadvantages of keeping bees this way.  Major advantages are that there's no lifting of boxes.  It's designed so that the frames slide out from the back.  That alone makes my knees want to swoon! You work inside the hut and from the backs of the hives.  There's ventilation, bottom screen boards, etc.  And there's no wind or rain inside so you can work any time. A disadvantage could be that the frames aren't Langstroth size... but if you build an outfit like this yourself you could build it to Langstroth size. I'm an older beekeeper with really bad knees and a sometimes bad back.  I must admit that this set up is super appealing.

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