• Beekeeper John

    About the writer: John Kirk is an avid gamer, a writer, a student, and apparently likes writing in third person.

    I’m 22 summers old and a student at Rowan University, studying journalism. I’m from “South Jersey” for those who understand, New Jersey to those that don’t....Read more on the About Page....

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Snow Day!

So it’s the first snow of the season, and my girls are safely tucked away inside their hive!

My girls are safe inside!

The other day I found a few of them clinging to the outside of the hive frozen. Sad..But it happens I suppose. I cleared off the hive the best I could but it still keeps coming down. So here’s to hoping I still have a hive this spring!


New Jersey Beekeeping Law – What You Need To Know

I understand that it has been quite some time since my last lengthy post.

But, fear not! I am back and as you can tell from the title this post is about beekeeping law in New Jersey. I have been wanting to write about this for a while now because amongst all the questions I get when I first tell people that I’m a beekeeper, one of them is surely about where beekeepers stand legally, and actually it was one of my dads first questions when I set up the hive.

So to find out the answers I looked for the most reliable sources I knew, someone who has a lot of experience with these kind of things.

Tim Schuler!

Tim Schuler teaching a beekeeping course

I once again drove out to his house and sat down with him, by a very warm pot-bellied stove not to mention, to learn even more about beekeeping. As always it was a great time, and Tim was very helpful and receptive during the interview. This time however, I was lucky enough to do an audio interview and recorded him as he explained what the State of New Jersey expects in responsible backyard beekeeping and what he personally looks for in the backyard apiaries of New Jersey.

The first question I asked Tim was if there were any general laws in New Jersey that are in regards to beekeeping and where they can be kept, what a beekeeper needs to do for them, and hive maintenance. Here is what he had to say:

I also did a little researching and found some general guidelines laid out by the State of New Jersey (in PDF form)

I asked Tim if there were any pointers or things people in urban areas can do in order to keep a healthy hive, he told me this

The next question I asked Tim was how would the beekeeper be responsible if their neighbor got stung by any of their honeybees, he replied:

Finally Tim gave some good tips on how to be a better neighbor when keeping bees and how to dissolve the fears of non-beekeepers:

New Jersey Beekeeping Law

In the next week or so I will be researching New Jersey beekeeping law. What are the accepted behaviors for those in an area where the law is a bit grey. I will also be speaking to some experts such as Tim Schuler about the conflicts that he personally has experienced.

Keep checking in, I’ll have something up soon and have a good weekend!

Fare Well Post

This post is to say that I am going to be officially out of Online Journalism 1 within the next 2 weeks.

Sad. I know!

But that doesn’t mean the end of Backyard Buzz. I know post updates have been few and far between these days. It’s because it has been really busy around here and at home.

But fear not, I will have more up soon!

New Google Map of Honeybee World Origins!

I made a map via Google Maps and plotted out points of origin for the top five honeybee races that I feel a beekeeper not only needs to know about but the ones a beekeeper will most likely run into while on his beekeeping journey.

I will post the map here and on the new page “Major types of honeybees”

I hope you enjoy!
View Locations of the Five Major Honeybee Races in a larger map

Becoming a Backyard Beekeeper: Part 3

Whew! Busy week/weekend folks. Here is the much-anticipated third part to the becoming a backyard beekeeper series!

Thus far we have discussed how to gain knowledge about beekeeping, where to put our hives, and how a network of support could help keep us on the right beekeeping path in part one of the series, and in part two we saw some of the hives there were to choose from.

In this part of the series I’ll be talking about the all important part of actually getting the honeybees!

Having bees to put in a hive would help, now wouldn’t it?

Obtaining and Installing Your Bees

Hiving your first colony of honeybees is an important part of becoming a beekeeper. Like any an expecting parent (except you have about  11,000 “children”coming) it is OK to be a bit apprehensive. You will only need to hive a colony into a particular hive once since bees are perennial and will live in the hive you provide for them for generation from generation. The exception to this, of course is if the colony dies from disease or starvation.

Obtaining the bees

First things first is to determine what race or honeybee you want. There are four major strains of bees and four hybrid races, each with their own pros and cons and different looks as well. However, I only  outlined five races that are the most prevalent for beekeepers to buy and those most likely to be encountered. They have their own page here. It is essential that you know which race of honeybee will best suit your style, local environment, and level of beekeeping mastery.

Hallo there!

To mail or not to mail

Now that you have had a chance to check out the types of honeybees that are desirable and available, it’s time to choose how to obtain those bees.

There are two ways you can go about buying honeybees: buying them from a commercial supplier, usually from across the country, or find a small deal/supplier around your area (theres usually more beekeepers out there then you know) and buy a Nuc off of them.

A disadvantage to buying bees from a commercial supplier across the country is that the bees need to be shipped across the country in the mail. Believe me the local post office will not like a 3 pound box of buzzing, stressed out bees.

This is why i suggest trying to find a local beekeeper supplier and inquire about their sales of a nuc.

Buying a “Nuc” and installing your girls

Nucleus with a robbing screen on it

Some of you may be asking yourself what a “nuc” is. A nuc, or nucleus is a small wooden or cardboard hive that houses about 3-5 frames of brood and bees, as well as a young queen. All you do to hive in the nuc method is just move the frames of bees and brood into their larger, more permanent home. It’s just that simple. If you use the nuc method of hiving your bees it is a lot less stressful on the bees themselves and is easier than the mail method. Which requires you to shake the box of bees into their new home, all after they have been in the mail for an unspecified amount of time. Personally I bought a nucleus and went to a bee farm to pick it up and they actually switched the frames out for me. I sealed up the exits to my hive and drove the whole thing home. Just like that, nice and easy. When you first install the new colony, you want to leave them alone for about two weeks. Don’t open the hive move the hive bodies around or anything. You could even shove some grass in the entrance to reduce the chance of them coming out prematurely.

I bought my bees from Harvey’s Honey. They have a huge farm in Monroeville, NJ where they sell everything from raw, locally harvested honey, Italian queens, nuc’s, and hive supplies. They are good people and run an honest business, not to mention if you’re almost anywhere in New Jersey and looking for a nuc, then this is the only place to get them!

Here is their phone number (856) 358-1010. And this is their e-mail harvhoney@aol.com.

Well thats it for this edition of “Becoming a Backyard Beekeeper”!

And just a littler reminder, this isn’t an exhaustive list of everything there is to hiving honeybees. Just the methods I know, and have used. As with anything, there is much knowledge to be gained in the pursuit of a hobby or past time. Which is why I always like to stress the importance of taking beekeeping courses from master beekeepers usually at universities and other places of higher knowledge.

So farewell! And keep your ears to the ground for the next post in this series!

Morning Bee Blog Stroll

-Bee News-

Surfing around the Internet has yielded more honeybee news!

  • Häagen-Dazs, Twitter, and Bees [Tech Crunch]
  • Mircobot bees? [DVICE]
  • Surprised ants get blown away by guard bees [BBC-Earth News]
  • Honeybees sterilize their hives [BBC-Earth News]
  • World traveling, ex-San Francisco club owner returns to home, and the Honeybee [The Philadelphia inquirer]
  • Propolis could be used as a natural, non-toxic food preservative [Natural News]