• 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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Hiatus Over

So school has started back up again and I now find myself with more idle time on my hands.

Which is great because now is the time of the season when my bees will need my help the most. As we start to move closer to spring a queen bee will begin to lay eggs that are to hatch at the beginning of the spring build up and become the bees that will help the colony into the late spring. With all the activity, it goes without saying that the colony will start increasing their consumption of honey, at times tripling their former rate of consumption.

This means that hives will start to get lighter in weight and on warmer days, they will need to be fed in order to make it through the rest of the winter. Since it’s too cold to feed them the sugar syrup, you will need to make fondant. Fondant is sometimes called “bee candy” because it is a near solid food supplement that can be fed to the colony in cold months and help them through the winter.

In a pinch you can even open the hive, place some newspaper on the top bars of the upper deep and put some granulated sugar on top in a pile and on warm days they will use it.

In other news I went to the South Jersey Beekeeping Association’s meeting this past Saturday. The guest speakers were the talented owners of Herbertsville Honey, Alf and Ceil Berg. They gave an amazing hands on demonstration of the making of their award-winning soaps and body creams.

In all it was a good weekend to be a young and excited beekeeper. Let me know how your hives are doing after feeding them some of that fondant.

Happy beekeeping!

Housekeeping

2:1 Sugar Syrup mixSo I cooked up yet another batch of the 2:1 sugar syrup just now, that makes it a month since I started and they are still readily accepting the sweet stuff. I changed it up today and I cooked up a double batch since it’s getting colder each night and soon it’ll be too cold for them to use the sugar syrup.

In other news,  two very nice post were written about my locally harvested honey over at Twenty-Something and Starving. So you should go over there and check it out, if not just for the two posts, but for the other wonderful posts, recipes, and advice my friend Jen has! Tell her beekeeper John sent ya!

Actually if you happen to be a Rowan student reading this post, Jen just had a really informative article about French press coffee, as well as some tasty new recipes, in yesterdays issue of The Whit!

Wintering My Hive: Part 1-Moving Shop

One of my Fall bees inspecting me.

One of my Fall bees inspecting me.

So yesterday evening, when all the girls came home from a hard, cold day of foraging for anything they could use for the coming winter, my father and myself set out to bring about the first step in helping the hive survive this winter.

As suggested by Tim Schuler, I moved the hive from where I had originally placed it, to the front of my house which faces the southern sky. The new position will promise constant sunlight once the last leaves fall off. Which is great because if we have an especially cold winter this season, my bees will need all the help I can give them.

So I made this nice little slide show up. Sorry about the sometimes blurriness of the pictures, just remember that they were taken by my mother who was just a little bit afraid of the girls, seeing as she wasn’t wearing a bee suit!

Part 2 of wintering my hive will be coming sometime in the winter when it gets colder and I need to use some hive wrap.

Enjoy another propolis picture!

Cleaning propolis off the top bars of the upper hive body. It's so much easier in the winter than it is in the summer

Cleaning propolis off the top bars of the upper hive body. It's so much easier in the winter than it is in the summer

Bottles up, Sugar Syrup Down!

Sorry about taking so long to make an official post again, I have been doing both chores and errands all around town before going back to school for a new week. And man, I have been as busy as my bees.

I did two things before I left for school, however. I bottled the honey and I cooked up a 2:1 sugar syrup mix for winter/fall feeding. Since extracting my precious honey, I let it sit for 48 hours in the bottom of my bottling tank, then it was time to have at it and bottle it up. The whole process took about 2 1/2 hours. In all I ended up extracting 15 and 3/4 pounds of hone. Oh boy!

It was pretty straight forward process, I had boiling water on the stove and a some tongs on hand for the process of sterilization of the Mason jars I ended up using. I pulled up the honey gate on the bottling tank and began the process:

The second thing I did was mix up a 2:1 sugar syrup mix for fall feeding. The girls will only accept this thick of a mix in this part of the season. And since I just took their super full of honey off, it’s only fair that I give something back to them. So in mixing up this concoction all one needs to do is mix 2 parts sugar for ever one part of water. So I did it just like Linda Bee explains. And it worked! I put it in my hive top feeder and let the bees find it for themselves:

This coming weekend I’ll giving the girls their fall meds and I’ll be attempting to melt and render the wax supply I have now.

Until next time folks.

Peace!