Sunday, August 25, 2019

bottling 2019

bee, beekeeping, bottler, ergonomic, honey, pail perch, white foam, honey label,
Here's my over-the-stove ergonomic bottling setup. Not shown is my homemade pail perch which helps exclude white foam.
bee, beekeeping, bottler, ergonomic, honey, pail perch, white foam, honey label,
These yellow caps contain a drip-less valve for upside-down storage.  I attach a upside-down label to my third hand (T-square), then transfer the label to the bottle.   Not perfect, but this process helps appropriately place the label.

Friday, August 16, 2019

wax blocks 2019

bee, beekeeping, crush and strain, slow cooker, wax,

After crush and strain, I rinsed the wax with warm water.   Crushed wax was melted outdoors in a large thrift store slow cooker.  I used one cup of water and cotton fabric to catch wax impurities.   I set the cooker on high for nearly 2 hours and left everything to cool for another 4 hours.  I repeated this cycle 3 times.  Click on the photo and have a look at the tidy elliptical wax blocks.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

SAVE THE HONEY BEE license plate

bee, bee keeping, Save The Honey Bee license plate
Can your read my license plate - you are driving too close, stuck in Friday traffic or waiting for the light to change. Order your SAVE THE HONEY BEE license plate by way of the Georgia Beekeepers Association.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

crush and strain 2019


bee, beekeeping, combcapper, crush and strain, escape, foundationless. walter t kelly, harvesting, honey, slow shutter, Strainer and Bottler, wax,
bee, beekeeping, combcapper, crush and strain, escape, foundationless. walter t kelly, harvesting, honey, slow shutter, Strainer and Bottler, wax,
bee, beekeeping, combcapper, crush and strain, escape, foundationless. walter t kelly, harvesting, honey, slow shutter, Strainer and Bottler, wax,
We worked in the middle of the kitchen floor to contain the sticky clean-up.  Imagine a compact vertical stack - from the bottom up: 
Sagar and Quin (co-workers) cut comb with a paring knife from foundationless frames. Comb was crushed in the bucket using a 2 inch Plastic Joint Knife attached to a pole.

Crushed comb was poured into the strainer bottler and left to sit for a few days so that foam (tiny air bubbles) can rise before bottling.

After cutting away honey comb, frames are returned to the Storage Tote. Over-night, honey dripped into the Tote and were captured too. Sticky frames were stacked outside in a location away from the hives.  Bees assisted with the final honey clean-up of sticky frames - a circle of life scene which reminds me of sky burial.

In the 3rd photo, I used a slow shutter iPhone app.  Crawling bee behavior looks like white dots while flying behavior looks like brown lines (classic multiple exposure).

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

harvest 2019

bee, beekeeping, escape, harvesting, honey, wax, foundationless. walter t kelly,
bee, beekeeping, escape, harvesting, honey, wax, foundationless. walter t kelly,
bee, beekeeping, escape, harvesting, honey, wax, foundationless. walter t kelly,
Click on the first photo and notice the thin stripe above the 3rd box (count up from the botttom), it's the triangular bee escape. 24 hours prior, I added the escape so that I can inspect frames above the escape without disturbing the vast majority of bees. I placed a plastic tub twenty steps away from the hive and a few remaining bees were brushed from the frame halfway between the hive and the plastic tub. Harvesting frames went so smoothly that I began to doubt why did I wear a hoodie.

Click on the second photo, this is a stunning example of comb building using foundation-less frames.  What I found unusual is that all the honey cells are completely capped.

Most likely my honey surplus will be considerably smaller than last year. In the third photo, frames are blue tape sealed inside the plastic tub and ready for the next step which is to cut out the comb.  More about this in the next blog post.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

my book picks

bee, beekeeping, darwinian beekeeping, bumble bee, nature writer, Dave Goulson, Thomas D. Seeley, neonicotinoid, Wendell Berry, butterfly,
In Waterstones (UK bookseller), I discovered a phenomenal nature writer, Dave Goulson.   I read two of his books and recommend to beekeepers Goulson's 2014 book, A Buzz in the Meadow.  Then move onto Goulson's 2013 book, A Sting in the Tale.  In chapters 13 and 14 of A Buzz in the Meadow, Goulson discuses these interesting topics:


bee, beekeeping, darwinian beekeeping, bumble bee, nature writer, Dave Goulson, Thomas D. Seeley, neonicotinoid, Wendell Berry, butterfly,
I'm reading The Lives of Bees by Thomas D Seeley.  If you are interested in honey bees living and evolving in the wild, then I recommend this 2019 book for you. Here's the first quote in the first chapter.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

flowering trees - June '19

bee, beekeeping, bloom, foraging, mimosa, sourwood,
bee, beekeeping, bloom, foraging, mimosa, sourwood,
Mostly bumble bees, but a few honey bees are attracted to a flowering sourwood tree. Not shown, flowering mimosa tree which attract pollinators this time of year too. Mimosa have invasive tendencies.