My bee mentor, Medo, told me that in the cold days of April (here in Chicago) to put a layer of newspaper, in between the inner cover and outer cover. The heat rising from the cluster of bees will stay inside instead of dissipating through the outer cover. Now that the temperatures have hit the 70s I have taken out the newspaper. I haven’t seen this tip anywhere else.

Weather turned awful after we installed the bees–cloudy, rainy, cold. The bee books and bee forums say not to go near them when the weather is like this. Naturally, I was reluctant. But Medo encouraged me to go up there. After all, I had to remove the box the bees came in and replace it with frames. Everything turned out fine. The bees were still calm. The weather stayed bad for several days. But I checked their food stores every two days as instructed. I fed with 1:1 sugar water in one hive and 1:1honey in the other. I also (at Medo’s recommdation) put some patty right on top of the frames inside the hive. Each time I checked on the bees I was less fearful. It began to dawn on me: they need me. They have nothing to eat and are totally dependent on me. Why should I be afraid of them?

Tip #1: Find a Mentor

April 16th, 2013

The best single tip I can pass along is to find someone knowledgeable to help you. No matter how much reading you do, when the bees come and you handle them and install them for the first time it helps to have a more experienced person there. I owe a lot to Medo Srndic, who is from Serbia and who brings a lot of Old World beekeeping experience. Medo is into organic and natural beekeeping, without man-made chemicals, which appeals to me. I found Medo and other helpful people at the Chicago Beekeeping Meetup Group/. Join a club and find your mentor! Marina Post at Christy Webber has been generous too. Notice that here we are installing by putting the box of bees in a deep without shaking them in. I will talk about this in the next post.

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Urban Beekeeping

April 16th, 2013

I have started on this new exciting endeavor and am finding beekeeping to be totally fascinating. From time to time I will post my progress and convey a few tips. There are lots and lots of blogs on beekeeping out there, and many are very helpful. I was trying to think what I can convey that new beekeepers can benefit from, and will focus on beekeeping in the city and what I’ve learned that’s helped me.