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A New Beekeeper's Journal

What is it about beekeeping that draws us in? Why do so many of us wonder from afar for years, but eventually find ourselves installing our first hive?

What concerns do we have before we start down the path towards becoming a beekeeper and what holds us back? And when we do answer the call, what challenges face us as we install our first bees...and beyond?

This column is the story of one man - Keith Stiles - as he considers beekeeping and eventually makes the decision to jump into this wonderful hobby.

Keith documents his concerns and excitement as he investigates beekeeping initially and then his decision-making as he purchases his equipment, tools, protecting clothing - and his bees.

Then we share in Keith's progress as he starts out learning about bees.

Keith Stiles

Why this column?

This column is largely for the benefit of fellow new beekeepers.

There is, of course, a huge amount of information about beekeeping available on the Internet, books and other outlets.

And while PerfectBee strongly recommends that new beekeepers find a mentor and perhaps join a beekeeping club, there's also an educational and fascinating element to looking over the metaphorical shoulder of someone else, going through the same challenges and with the same concerns.

So this column is largely about empathy - following another beekeeper, like you, just starting out, with bright hopes and high ambitions for his beekeeping exploits.

About Keith

Keith Stiles is a native of North Carolina who travels the country working with colleges and universities implementing event scheduling software.

When he's not on the computer and working with his clients, you will find him either in his flower gardens, singing with the First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir and the Haywood County Community chorus, beekeeping or practicing and playing the organ.

Growing up in the country, he was exposed to all kinds of livestock including his grandfather's pet bull, Patrick. Keith has two fur babies, two cats named Aragorn and Arwen.  Yes, he is a Tolkien fan.

Keith holds both an MBA and an MA in English Literature.  His Master's thesis was written on tales in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales that had elements of what would have been known as "medieval magic". Not only a music lover, he also is a voracious reader and is never anywhere without a book nearby.

Interesting Developments with Queens and Swarms

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Buckfast bees, more splits and the wonder of VSH bees

As spring settles in here in western North Carolina, there are clear signs of rapid growth in my apiary.  In my last blog post, I noted that the new colony of Buckfast bees was scheduled to arrive and discussed the installation of two new queens.  This week we'll be learning what a VSH queen provides […]

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A Buckfast Experiment Goes Bust - Aggressive Bees and Honey Supers

Bee season is in full swing in western North Carolina with all the interesting developments that brings.  Local beekeepers have reported swarms, including one my own bee mentor experienced.  Luckily, our regional state bee inspector had been invited to his apiary to check things out and saved the day by collecting the swarm. Since my […]

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Honey in the Hive and a Rainy Summer

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Installing a New Hive In Fall

I trust everyone is well into their winter preparations as we are now moving into September.  Before we know it, frosts will arrive and the bees will begin their own preparations to move into the winter cluster.  They are feverishly raising winter bees as they ready for the cold days of December, January and February […]

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Hive Inspections and Recordkeeping

Last week, we resolved a number of mysteries that had developed in my bee yard.  It is hard to believe that I have been beekeeping now for over two months.  Where has the time gone? I am truly enjoying the time spent with my tens of thousands of working ladies.  With that said, I can […]

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Approaching Fall and Changes in the Apiary

Last week, we talked about the preparations we should be taking as we move towards winter.  As fall approaches, we start to see changes in our apiaries.  As we approach the Fall Equinox, interesting changes start showing up in our apiaries. This week, I want to continue our discussion of winter preparations with a few […]

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Monitoring Varroa Mite Levels

The views, opinions and recommendations expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PerfectBee. Happenings in the Bee Yard This week I want to talk about Varroa Mite monitoring, specifically as it applies to my colonies.  But before we discuss the dreaded Varroa Mite and monitoring Varroa […]

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Spring Approaches and An Apiary Springs Into Life

Many things have happened since my last posts.  You are due lots of updates about what's happened over the winter months in Beorn's Apiary.  Winter seemed to last forever and we are still having off-and-on cold snaps here in western North Carolina. During December, the apiary was visited with a pretty significant snowstorm.  And, for the […]

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Mite Treatments and Winter Hive Activity

Winter Updates from the Hive What a year it has been in Beorn's Apiary! 2018 went out with relatively warm weather. In December, we had a combination of weird weather events. In the early part of the month, we experienced a snow storm that had me out in my apiary sweeping off the entrance reducers […]

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