The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

The Virginia State Beekeeper’s Association (VSBA) held its 2017 Fall Meeting on November 4, 2017. This one-day meeting is held each fall at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Virginia. As this is a two hour drive from my house, it makes for a nice day trip. I also received my Apprentice Beekeeper certificate as part of the event. Continue reading

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Endless bees most beautiful and most wonderful

Native bees have piqued my interest this year. There are so many varieties sharing the flowers with our honey bees. We had Sam Droege of the U.S. Geological Survey speak at a recent club meeting, and he advocated the benefits of bee watching as an alternative to butterfly or bird watching. There are more bee species than butterflies and birds combined, and bees are much more stationary than most birds. Perhaps this will become a pastime.

So I have been studying the biological taxonomic hierarchy of bees lately. It is all rather confusing, so this write-up will perhaps clarify this for myself as well as a couple readers.

I gathered much of the material here from Wikipedia, and also verified some information with other sources. You may complain that Wikipedia is not the best original source if you wish.

My honey bees (a hybrid of Apis mellifera carnica) at the entrance to my hive Saturn on October 28, 2017.

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Hives that go bump in the mite

It is the time of year when beekeepers start thinking about winter, and whether the hives are strong enough to make it into spring. One key factor is the number of pesky mites in the hive, something I have been tracking since the end of July. This post chronicles my ongoing efforts to keep the little beasties under control.

We also dropped our youngest daughter at University in Massachusetts recently. I was on the lookout for bees, of course. ©Erik Brown

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I prefer to get fat on honey

Our local beekeeping club maintains a couple extractors for members to borrow. It is a nice service the club provides, and on July 16 I managed to spin my first batch of honey. I appreciated the opportunity to gain some experience using an extractor without actually buying one. The club has a motorized extractor available as well, but I requested the manual one as I thought it might work better for me.

Honey Pot

A glass honey pot filled with my honey, decorated with bee salt and pepper shakers. ©Erik Brown

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The Great Bee Escape

We have escaped our life in Virginia by travelling to Scotland for a bit. Among our many good times was a visit to Stirling Castle a few days ago. It turns out King James V of Scotland added The Royal Palace to the castle in the 1500’s. The statues on the outside were apparently named after my beehives.

On the corner of the Palace is a statue of King James V, after which statues of Ganymede, Venus, and Saturn appear. ©Erik Brown

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