Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ga-Bee Balm Available Now!

Ga-Bee Apiary is proud to announce the launch of our Ga-Bee Balm! 


For years I have been making a medicinal balm for friends and family that rapidly speeds healing of any injury, be it a cut, scratch, sting, insect bite or whatever. I make it from all natural ingredients, beeswax and honey.  It takes away any itch and soothes soreness. It even makes your skin softer! The skin absorbs the GA-BEE BALM like magic!  Wanting to expand my apiary and being short on spending money, after years of prodding by my family and friends I have been persuaded to offer it for sale to everyone.

If you like Neosporin you will LOVE Ga-Bee Balm. It heals faster and better than Neosporin guaranteed! And it is made from  ALL NATURAL and ORGANIC ingredients! Some of the ingredients are Tee Tree Oil, Chamomile and Aloe. I can't list all of the ingredients here but with every jar the list of ingredients are included. GA-BEE BALM is NOT for use as a lip balm! You can apply it anywhere else on your body safely.

You won't believe how fast Ga-Bee Balm heals! It is truly incredible! I got the idea from reading a series of books by D.C. Jarvis M.D. on Folk Medicine and Natural Cures. His research on how valuable natural home remedies are and how much better they are is great. Combining that with my being a beekeeper and it all came together. GA-BEE BALM IS FANTASTIC!

One of the reasons I am offering Ga-Bee Balm for sale is I would like to expand my apiary with more hives. I work a 2nd shift job that doesn't pay very much and I thought this would be a good way to generate the extra money needed in order to buy more bees and beekeeping equipment. I hope you can help me in this endeavor. GA-BEE BALM REALLY WORKS!

I offer three sizes - a one ounce tin, a 4 oz. jar and a 6 ounce jar. The more you buy the more you save.

If you would like to help, please click below. THANK YOU!!!


Sizes
Sizes


 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beekeeping Anyone?

When was the last time you saw a honeybee? Not a Yellow Jacket, wasp or bumblebee, but a regular honeybee? Unless you are a beekeeper or know one the answer is probably that you can't remember when that last time you saw a honeybee. The worlds population of honeybees is on the decline and most of the blame can be put on companies like Bayer, Monsanto and other massive chemical producing corporations that spew out tons and tons of chemicals that are proven killers of honey bees. Remember - when the bees are gone, so will be most of the food we eat. About the only crops left to eat will be corn, rice and wheat. NO fruits, NO vegetables.



SO - Who wants to be a beekeeper? Getting most people interested in becoming a beekeeper is like trying to convince someone that a bee-sting won't hurt. They do hurt and I'm not ashamed to say it. I have been stung so many times and they hurt EVERY time. Over time, you do stop having that knee-jerk reaction to jump when you get stung, but it still hurts. You can minimize the pain by scraping the stinger out with a fingernail asap after being stung and that lessens the venom that is being steadily pumped into you. But it still hurts. The sting is the reason most people are afraid of becoming beekeepers.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE BEEKEEPERS! The younger the better. We need somehow to get younger people interested in this world saving hobby, but how? That is the problem. The world today revolves around technology. Most unaware people when asked about beekeeping talk about 'the old days' or "my granddad did it", etc. Beekeeping is MORE important today that it ever was before. It doesn't employ the latest technology. There are no big screens, or flashing lights or whiz bang gizmos involved. Just a few pieces of wood, some door screen and honeybees. The bees take care of the rest.

It is hard to convince a 10 or 11 year old that being a beekeeper is more fun than playing Skyrim. It's hard to convince an adult that you get used to the stings, which you do, but they still hurt when you do get stung. Wearing the proper beekeeping suit and learning how to handle bees is how you minimize bee stings. Yes you will get stung on occasion and yes it will hurt, but that is all part of it. A fireman gets burnt, a policeman gets shot. It comes with the territory and we accept that as part of being who we are and doing whatever it is that we choose do.

It is hard for me to put into words how fascinating they are, how perfect they are, how needed they are.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Honey, Honey Sweet Honey

Down in the beeyard I call it, the girls are busy bringing in that sweet nectar.
I made and put together some more medium supers with frames in order to give them more room to put all that honey. As I went through the hives I only go down to to top of the brood nest. I always pull any full supers of honey and put the empty super just above the brood box. Then I'll put the full supers back on top of the empty one. This allows the girls to finish filling any edges left in the full supers and also allows the full supers of honey to 'ripen'. I will not and never have pulled a super of honey BEFORE it is ready, and I will not pull any uncapped honey for extracting. I want honey you can set on a shelf for years and it not crystallize.

All of the hives were in top shape. I put on two supers on two hives and checked each one. I estimate there is about 300 lbs of honey already in just two hives! It looks like its is shaping up to bee a good year for honey. Last year was GREAT and I hope this year will bee also. After taking care of the girls I cut the grass and made sure there was plenty of fresh water available.

Just next to and north of the beeyard is a spot of land about 40 feet by 90 feet that we try to have a garden each year. Unfortunately for the past two years, because of my schedule, we haven't been able to. So this year,  with my new schedule, we plan to plant the garden again. I and (i believe) the girls like having the garden so close to the beeyard. At first we thought it may be a problem with the girls when we fired up the gas tiller and starting vibrating the ground so, but there has only been one instance where they were upset. And even then all they did was headbutt be a couple of times and so I turned off the tiller and waited about 30 minutes and went right back to it with no more than a passing glance from the girls on their way to and fro.

This year though, after letting my tiller sit for two years, needless to say it would not start. THANK YOU ETHANOL. They ought to ban that crap but that is a whole new blog for later. Try after try, I could not get the tiller to start and with time passing we decided to buy a new smaller one while I tinkered with the old one. We decided to get an electric tiller instead of the gasoline version. No more ethanol gunk. I had quite a few reservations at first about electric. Could an electric tiller actually do as good a job as electric? After reading tons of info on the net we decided to try the Earthwise brand tiller. THIS IS NOT A PAID PLUG! I don't do that. If I tell you something about any product, it is because I use it and have first hand experience with it and I will say exactly what the truth is, good or bad.

Well anyway, we received the tiller in three days and it took me about 15 minutes to have it together and ready. You can imagine how hard the ground had become in the garden plot after neglect for two years. It wasn't as hard as I though it would be but it wasn't loam either. I can only say that I will never own another gas tiller again! That electric tiller worked fantastic! Because of it's small size ( I wish I had gotten the larger one), it took a while to do the garden but it tore up that ground! Hard clay spots made it bounce a bit, but it chewed it up and spit it out like nothing. Great machine.

We have tomatoes, 4 different varieties, peppers, okra, corn, beans, cucumbers and squash. There is nothing better than fixing and eating a meal you raised with your own two hands. I love it!

TTFN

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bee Hive Management Calendar


Here is a short list of things to to each month to best manage your hives.

January

Build your own, or assemble bought equipment.
Make repairs to existing equipment.
Paint your hive boxes.
Check current hives for honey stores.

Feburary

Red Maple Blooms - Here in Georgia, this is the sign I look for each year that tells me it's BUSY BEE TIME!
Brood rearing begins.
Do FIRST FULL inspection as mentioned in prior post. Remember to fully open the hives only when the temperature is at least in the high 50's. This way you won't chill your brood and open the door for worse diseases.

March

Get all of your honey supers ready. Install foundation, repair and paint as needed,
If you will be doing splits, this is the month do to do them.
If you are buying more bees, this it the time to order them and the time also to order your queens if you wish.

April

The busy month.
Honey flow begins
Add supers ad needed, one at a time. Remember to rotate them as you put them on. Only add a super when the one on the hive has at least 7 frames of capped honey.
Swarm prevention
Good time to also do splits. You have to be more careful doing splits this month because you usually can have honey or splits. Split hives will produce less honey if any the first year. If you don't do any splits, then gear up for honey production.
Time to catch swarms (other) and do most of your bee removals, if you wish to pursue that aspect of bee keeping. I can say from personal experience that removing swarms from other peoples homes etc. is very rewarding financially but can also be very demanding and complicated. I will be speaking on doing bee removals in a future blog.
Time to re-queen hives if need be.

May

Honey flow very strong.
Keep a check on full supers and add more as needed.
Ask your doctor for some good back exercises.

June

Honey Flow slowing
Start removing honey supers and extracting your honey!

July

Major honey flow over.
Make sure plenty of water is available for the bees.
Remove full, capped supers. Extract your honey and start selling!

August

Remove all supers with honey.
This is the time to do Fall re-queening.

September

Start winter prep.
Do no splits. Some beekeepers split in the fall. You can only split in the Fall if you plan to feed your bees. Remember my motto - NO WELFARE BEES.
Depending on how far south you live you may have a fall honey flow to start.

October

Winter prep.
Reduce entrance

November

Relax and put your feet up. 
Read read read about beekeeping.
Make beeswax candles. 
Plan on how to improve on last year.

December

Read some more.
Enjoy the holidays!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!


I apologize but in my first post I meant to state that I will be writing about beekeeping for people that are just getting into the hobby. Beginners and novices will probably find more use of these notes but experienced beekeepers may find some helpful advice as well. Its all about sharing information.

This is the time of year for beekeepers to start doing some 'spring cleaning' on their hives and equipment. I have been counting the days until the weather conditions were right and I had the day off of work to be able to get into my hives for the first time and see how the girls fared over the winter. There is a routine that I usually follow in the spring and I have tweaked it over the years to make it easier on me and the girls when I take the first look in the spring. I try to make the process as stress free for the girls a possible. Here is a list of things I do and maybe you will see some benefit for you and adopt some for yourself.
First off, everyone should know that there are two things I firmly believe in when it comes to keeping bees -
1. There are no chemicals of any kind used in my hives. Speaking just for me, I have read the labels on the chemicals used by other beekeepers and that stuff is deadly! Some of the chemicals are so deadly you have to bee sure to wear gloves so you won't get the stuff on your skin. Any type of chemical you put in your hive eventually will wind up in YOU! I firmly believe this is the root cause of CCD.
2. A fellow beekeeper one said about his hives - "No welfare bees." By this he was saying that he doesn't feed his bees and I agree. I believe that feeding your bees is a bad habit that leads to the bees being dependent on you for their sustenance.


Anyway, back to the chores -
When I first open a hive in the spring the first thing I look for is Where Are The Bees? Where Is The Brood? I try to set my hives up with two deeps for brood boxes and the rest medium supers. Usually I keep at least four boxes on each hive - two deeps and two medium supers. I look to see where they have moved the brood. The queen bee in the hive ALWAYS move the brood UP in a hive. She will never go downward to a box lower than where she is at to lay brood. So I know where they were at in the fall when I closed them up for winter and now the first thing I need to know is where the main brood frames are at.
If the brood is anywhere other than in the bottom deep box, the first thing to do is get her (the queen) back in the bottom box. Doing this serves two purposes -
1. It puts a crimp in any swarming plans they may have and,
2. It opens up the rest of the boxes for this years expansion.
The easiest way  to do this is to take each box off of the hive and stack them on the inner cover that you took off and have laid on the ground. Stacking them crosswise from each other as you do so they are in reverse order.
The box that currently has the brood in it, HINT - It will be the heaviest, set it separate from the others for now.
As you are taking the boxes off and sitting them aside, just notice a few things - what do the bees look like? Is there any K-wing, do you see any mites on any of the bees? Are there allot of bees with their pollen sacs full? Notice the general activity of the hive - are they very active or are they milling around slowly? You don't have to do a detailed inspection but just notice what you can as you go. With time you will get to where with a few glaces you can gain a wealth of information about the health of your hive.
OK. When you just have the bottom deep left sitting on the bottom board, pull out either one of the outside frames and notice what is on the frame. Is it empty? Is there brood? Is there honey? Sit this frame aside and the inspect each frame left in the box one at a time noting what is on the frame and the putting the frame BACK IN the box. Some beekeepers take all the frames out. This causes too much stress in my opinion and disorientates the girls more than need bee. So I put each frame back in the box after I examine it. Once you go through all of the frames and there is NO or very little BROOD, take that box off of the bottom board. Then I will take the bottom board and clean it off.
Now take the box with the brood and sit it on the bottom board FIRST. Take out a frame on the outside edge of the box and start looking at each frame on both sides. When you do this, hold the frame OVER the box so that if the queen were to be on the frame and see falls of, she will land back in the box, not on the ground for you to step on by accident. Now is the perfect time to learn how to find the queen. This time of year the hive isn't packed with bees and you will have an easier time locating her. One hint to finding her - look for a circle of bees facing inward, like folks sitting around a campfire, except the fire will be the queen.
Close to, if not in the center of the box, you should find the main brood frames. They will have empty cells where bees have hatched in the center, surrounded by cells capped over and full of brood. This should fill most of the frame.Around the edges of the frame there should be cells with pollen, nectar and then maybe empty cells depending on how prolific your queen is.
There should be 10 frames in the box and you should have at least five frames with brood. If you are thinking about splitting the hive ( more on this subject in future blog), you MUST have at least five good frames filled with brood. If not, no not even think about splitting. You will kill the split and possibly the main hive.
Now what I do, and I have found that this is the best way to control swarming, is to take every OTHER frame out and put in a new empty frame of wax. What you want to wind up doing is to separate each brood frame by putting in new empty frames and removing the frames close to the edges. This keeps the girls so busy they don't have time to think about swarming! One you have the box with 10 frames. New, brood, new, brood, etc.you can now start with the other deep box and sit it on top of the one you just finished with. Go through this box the same way and if there is allot of brood in this box, do it the same way. Separate the brood frames and remove the empty ones. If there isn't allot of brood just tidy things up and the go to your next box, rinse and repeat!
If you follow this procedure I guarantee you that you will have no swarms! Do this on each hive you have and when you are through you will know several things, the main thing being that your queen has plenty of room for laying brood and that she is in the bottom box. She will eventually work her way up into the other deep box. Check once a week to keep tabs on her and when you notice the main brood frames are in the upper deep box, just switch them, put that box on the bottom and the deep she was in onto the top.With my hives I have found that I only have to switch the boxes only once before the main honey flow starts and after that you don't have to swap them any more.
That's It! I do this every spring the first time I get into my hives and it is the only time I have to really get into the hives until fall. The rest of the year, simple inspections every week suffice.

I hope this helps someone and if there is any particular aspect of beekeeping you would like for me to talk about, please let me know and I will be glad to do so.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hello all. Thought I would give this a try, see what happens.

Just a little about me so you will know who's running off at the keyboard. I'm 57 years old and among other things I am a hobby beekeeper, bass fisherman, amateur astronomer and woodworker. Here's my picture -

Enough about that. I LOVE BEEKEEPING! I wanted to start this to help other beekeepers with tips, suggestions and sharing ideas and what works and what doesn't. I also wanted a place where I may talk about other subjects that may be on my mind from time to time.

So, if you would like to contribute or share your knowledge or just want to vent, feel free to do so. I will be updating as often as possible but I check daily and hopefully will be able to post as well.

Good to meet you. Welcome and enjoy!