All posts by jim

About jim

Academically - (Active) Beekeeping Specialist, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University and (retired) The Ohio State University Industry Involvement - The Alabama Beekeepers' Association Interests - Honey bee biology, behavior, and management One Tew Bee, LLC

If you are primarily a gardener who keeps some bees….

If you are primarily a gardener who keeps some bees, could I ask you opinion?

From a gardener’s perspective, does present-day beekeeping equipment meet your needs?  Is it the right size, the right color, they right style?  Can too many bees be too much of a good thing?  I’ve spoken to many gardening groups and have been told that the common beehive is not always well-suited for the garden environment.  If you agree, what changes do you suggest?

Chicken waterer used to water bee colonies

From GM:  My father made his money with chicken eggs and as such he had automatic poultry waterers. Reading your article it seems to me they would be good for bee waterers as they basically need no attention to the keep water available to the bees. His were about a 6′ trough with a float controlled inlet from a pressure (home well) water source. They come in different sizes. Here is one source

    The only problem I can see is getting the right size for the needs of the hives. I would put sand up to the level of the water. Sand has more pore space  thus more water surface than gravel,( check with the civil engineering department at the college), and no chance for drowning. These waterers would have the same need to be raised above predator available level and covered with 1/2″ hardware cloth to keep out the birds.

It’s true, I have been quiet

For several months, I have been quiet while spending much of my time learning simple video production procedures. I will use this technology to supplement webinars and other such remote seminar productions. Otherwise, my bees are good (not great) and the season is moving along without surprises.




24 degrees F tonight in NE Ohio.

Most of us who have been enjoying the truly strange early spring knew that a late freeze risk was possible.  The hard freeze (24 degrees in NE Ohio) predicted for tonight will stress or even kill lightly-stored bee colonies.  They have brooded up and will use their remaining stores to produce metabolic heat needed to incubate the brood.  There is not much the beekeeper can do at this point.  At least the cold snap is suppose to only last a single night.   We all hoped this return to winter would not happen.  Alas…

My Maple Mystery Part 2

To date, I am in the minority.  For most of you, Maple is an obvious, viable source of early spring pollen.  I certainly don’t doubt your observations.  On my 4 medium-sized Maples, with binoculars, for about 5 observations on 4 different days, I could see may be 10-15 bees per observation.  No clouds of bees.  No hum of bees.  Just the occasional forager.  Certainly, these casual observations are not science.  There are far too many variables not considered.  In Ohio, beekeepers have the same issue with soybeans.  Rarely, rarely a surplus honey crop from soybean – yet in other states, beekeepers routinely get major crops.   I will be watching my maples again next year.