First Swarm of 2012


I’ve heard reports of the first swarm of 2012 on Feb 29.  I think our season is 2 week ahead of our normal schedule here in Texas.  So if you are going to be swarm trapping, you should put your traps out 1-2 weeks before your first known swarm. For Texas, that date just got moved up to about Feb 20 for next year.

The bloom is already out in the Texas Hill Country. I saw Henbit, and wild Mustard in late January. Irises blooming in February and mayflies out in late February, so it looks like a weird Spring.  Right now my bees are bringing in plenty of pollen and aren’t eating much pollen patties.  Pollen is yellow and a little bright red. (no idea). Mountain Laurel and dandelion is being worked.

I’ve already seen Bluebonnets out and our major honeyflow plant, Indian Blanket, shows up after Bluebonnets. So that may show early and stay a while.

Swarm Trap Book makes top 100


Maybe not top 100 for all of Amazon, but it really does well under “Insects and Spiders”

A definative guide to swarm traps for the beginner

I’m not sure if I should be proud or just laugh at myself. Still a book over 80,000 is good on Amazon. So I’m happy being at 23,000, It is a vote of confidence by beekeepers that my swarm trap book is useful and worthwhile.

Spring is a comin’ to Texas


Just spent a week out in east Texas, I see several things blooming already, mainly the wild mustard. These early blooms are very important for protein sources for new bees. So I’m getting ready for some spring craziness.

I’d recommend putting on 1/2 lb of pollen patties for those in Texas as the drought really knocked our hives in the teeth last year.  As much as I dislike feeding, last year and this spring will be an exception for me. If the bees don’t eat it within 4 days, don’t give them more — they likely are getting better pollen in the wild.

I do have expectations that this spring will provide a honey crop. The rain has restored soil to normal levels according to NOAA soil moisture maps, which means nectar in flowers. My main problem was that I lost half my hives and am down to 5.  But I expect to split a good bit this spring and make videos of that, too.

Vertical Hives are cool


I’m always hip to seeing new, funky hives, here is a interesting blog on Verticals.

“After reading about David Heaf’s modified Warre’ Hive and Ian Rumsey’s Simple Beehive and Beekeeping, and browsing through the material at Phil Chandler’s Biobees site, I wondered if a vertical tbh might be the ultimate natural comb hive.

It’s shape and orientation are a better approximation to the natural tree cavities bees prefer. And it’s modular design provides much more flexibility than does a fixed sized horizontal tbh…”

Cuba Beeyard Operations


An interesting view on Cuba.

The video is in Spanish, but all can understand the beeyard: Outdoor extraction, bicycle pedaled extractor, using 1 liter feeders, pulling uncured honey, etc.




Video on Getting Started in Beekeeping in 5 steps


I get asked some basic 101 questions all the time. So I’ve finally made a video that outlines my advice in 5 easy steps.



Documentary I made on Bee Smokers with Dr. Paul Jackson


This summer I had time to go visit with the Texas State Entomologist, Dr. Paul Jackson.

He has a phenomenal collection of bee smokers and the lore that surrounds them. I couldn’t help but make a documentary on it. Granted, a bit sloppy on the editing, but effective.

Free Basic Beekeeping Manual for NGOs & Peace Corps Volunteers


This one goes out to my friends in Peace Corps and NGOs.

I’m a really, really big fan of Pam Gregory and her beekeeping work. She has also created the best manual for third world beekeeping out there.  This 71 page manual is not just about how to do beekeeping in the bush, but the basic  life cycle of the bee a beekeeper needs to know, it covers how to harvest, what equipment to build, how to make a bee suit from a rice sack, and how to package honey that will sell in local markets.  The real vertical knowledge base a beekeeper truely needs to know to make it.Basic Beekeeping manual

With foundation grant money from Waterloo, her manual is now released as a free download. Basic Beekeeping manula

You can find it at

I’ve been told it will also be available soon at
The FAO Agricultural Technologies and Practices TECA website

The International Development pages of the National Bee Unit’s BeeBase website

Practical Action

Bees Abroad


The volumes available:


  • The Basic Beekeeping Manual English
  • The Basic Beekeeping Manual French
  • The Basic Beekeeping Manual Kiswahili
  • The Basic Beekeeping Manual Chichewa
  • The Basic Beekeeping Manual Shona
  • The Basic Beekeeping Manual Kinyarwandan
  • The Basic Beekeeping Manual Hausa (from August 2011)
  • The Advanced Beekeeping Manual English
  • The Advanced Beekeeping Manual  Shona (from August 2011)


Video of Beekeeping of Apis Dorsata aka Giant Honeybees


I’ve seen honey hunters cutting down the door sized single combs that Dorsata bees build. Normally the hunters are poor and they cut down the entire comb honey and all. The honey is drained, the brood might be eaten,

and the wax will be sold.  But this video shows honey hunters who are professionals, harvesting holes of honey from the combs in a sustainable way. Quite fascinating.

Great Beekeeping Recordings from American Beekeeping Federation


The ABF did audio recording of it’s sessions the links to the MP3’s are found on their page:

Session Recordings-

Several educational sessions were recorded during the 2011 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Galveston, Texas, and are now available for your review. Download them at your convenience and spend some time revisiting the 2011 conference in your own home. We hope you find these recordings to be a valuable resource for your personal beekeeping education and experience. Click on the links below to access the audio version of these sessions.

Special thanks to American Beekeeping Federation member Tim Tucker for his assistance with this project.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 (Commercial Beekeepers Shared Interest Group)

Charles Wick: Proteomics of Iridescent Virus and Nosema (MP3 file)

Tom Moriarity and Tom Steeger EPA: EPA Actions to Help Pollinators (MP3 file)

Various Speakers: Discussions with the EPA (MP3 file)

Kerry Scott: Update on H2A Procedures for Beekeepers (MP3 file)

Randy Oliver: Latest on Bee Nutrition and Nosema Ceranae (MP3 file)

Steve Coy: Russian Bees: How They Have Helped My Operation (MP3 file)
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 (Honey Producer/Packer Shared Interest Group)

Randy Oliver: Protecing the Image of Honey (MP3 file)

Ray Olivarez and Shannon Wooten: What Queen Breeders are Doing to Ensure Quality Queens for Your Operation (MP3 file)

Tony and Dan LaLonde: Maximizing Profit Through Organic: Pitfalls, Potentials, Possibilities and Profit! (MP3 file)

Dr. Zachary Huang: Optimum Health = Maximum Protection (MP3)
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 (Package Bee & Queen Breeders Shared Interest Group)

David Tarpy: NCSU: Ongoing Issues with Queens (MP3 file)

Marion Ellis and Livette Dahlgren: The Effects of Toxins on Queen Honey Bees (MP3 file)

Randy Oliver: Scientific Beekeeping: Thoughts About Queen Breeding (MP3 file)

Shannon Wooten: Queen Rearing in Northern California: A Family Tradition (MP3 file)
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 (Small Scale/Sideliner Shared Interest Group)

Mark Dykes: Honey Bee Research in Florida (MP3 file)

Paul Jackson: Collection of Smokers and Status of Beekeeping in Texas (MP3 file)

Randy Furbert and Quincy Burgess: Beekeeping in Bermuda (MP3 file)

Roger Hoopingarner: Two Queen System (MP3 file)

Ted Jones: Growing from a Small Scale to a Sideline Beekeeper (MP3 file)
Thursday, January 6, 2011 (General Session)

Albert Robinson: The Saskatraz Honey Bee Breeding Program (MP3 file)

Brandon Hopkins: The Importance of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators to U.S. Agriculture: 1992-2008 (MP3 file)

Bruce Boynton: National Honey Board Marketing and Research Programs (MP3 file)

Christi Heintz: Best Management Practices for Beekeepers Pollinating Ag Crops (MP3 file)

Dr. Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman: The Effects of Fungicides on the Physiology and Health of Honey Bees (MP3 file)

Dr. Jay Evans: Targeting Bee Pests with Genetics (MP3 file)

Dr. Jeff Pettis: Dream Fields (MP3 file)

Dr. Laine Bourgeois: Research in Molecular Biology at the USDA Lab in Baton Rouge (MP3 file)

Dr. Marion Ellis: Honey Bee Pharmacology (MP3 file)

Dr. Medhat Nasr: Honey Bee Health Surveillance: A Successful Program to Restore Bee Health (MP3 file)

Dr. Peter Teal: Development of Attractants and Repellants for Control of Honey Bee Pests (MP3 file)

Dr. Ron Fessenden: Sleeping Your Way to Better Health (with Honey) (MP3 file)

Dr. Stephen Pernal: An Update on Recent Findings on the Biology and Control of Nosema Ceranae (MP3 file)

Joan Gunter: Report from the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees (MP3 file)

Susan Coby: The UCD and WSU Stock Implementation Project (MP3 file)
Thursday, January 6, 2011 (Serious Sideliner Symposium)

Grant Gillard: Options in Comb Honey Production (MP3 file)

Greg Hannaford: Don’t Just Sell Honey, Sell the Beekeeper: Guide to Effective Marketing (MP3 file)

Karen Peteros: Urbanism: Bees in the City (San Francisco, California) (MP3 file)

Brandon and Susan Pollard: Urbanism: Bees in the City (Dallas, Texas) (MP3 file)

Ginger Reuter: Setting Up a Candle Business (MP3 file)

Rich Wieske: Propolis (MP3 file)

Rich Wieske: Urbanism: Bees in the City (Detroit, Michigan) (MP3 file)

Various Speakers: Extraction of Bees (MP3 file)
Friday, January 7, 2011 (General Session)

Various Speakers: Certified True Source Honey Traceability Program (MP3)

Clint Walker: National Honey Bee Advisory Board Update (MP3 file)

Dan Cummings: Almond Industry Perspective (MP3 file)

Various Speakers: Loss of Honey Bee Colonies – Unraveling the Interactions Between Pathogens and Pesticides (MP3 file)

Dr. Mark Carroll: Of Microbes and Molecules – Honey Bee Nutrition Revisited (MP3 file)

Dr. William Meikle: Temperature, Diet and Other Factors on Small Hive Beetle Growth and Reproduction (MP3 file)

Dr. Frank Eischen: Impact of Nutritional Stress, Varroa and Nosema Acting Either Singly or Together on Honey Bee Strength and Survival (MP3 file)

Gordon Marks: World Honey Supply and Demand and How it Relates to the North American Market (MP3 file)
Friday, January 7, 2011 (Serious Sideliner Symposium)

Jennifer Berry: Going Postal and Other Issues (MP3 file)

Jim Haskell and Pam Fisher: Virginia’s Beekeeping Guilds and Nucleus Colony Programs (MP3 file)

David Mendes: Making Nuclei Hives: How We “Rejuvenate” Old Hives into “Beehives of the Future” (MP3 file)

Sheldon Schwitek: To Market to Market: Pricing for and Selling at Farm Markets (MP3 file)

David Tarpy: Advantages of Multiple Mating (MP3 file)

Various Speakers: Discussion: Replacing Packages with Locally Produced Nuclei (MP3 file)
Saturday, January 8, 2011 (Interactive Workshops)

Frederique Keller: Apitherapy (MP3 file)

Dr. Ron Fessenden: The Revolutionary Impact of Honey on Human Health (MP3 file)

Dr. Eric Mussen: Hints for Successful Backyard Beekeeping (MP3 file)

Randy Oliver: General Beekeeping Q&A (MP3 file)