Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Getting Tagged By A Rock Star

As many of you who follow this blog know, I am a big fan of Don Kuchenmeister, the FatBeeMan from Lula, Ga.  Not only do we love what he does with his bees, but we also love that he shares his wealth of knowledge on Youtube on his channel.  In what has become an annual tradition, my daughter and I travel to his home every season to buy some of his bees to sell to a very lucky few here in the DC area.  Indeed, we are so enamored with his girls that we were able to get the Smithsonian to restock their hive in the Natural History Museum with his bees.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Commercial Migratory Pallet Design

One pallet design
Given the thin margins, hard work, and expenses associated with beekeeping, especially at a large scale, beekeeper have come up with many ingenious methods to save time and money.

While on my trip with Jerry to move his commercial hives to the orange groves of Florida, I was witness to some of these homemade ideas, some borrowed and some his own.  One of the most successful and one that has become a standard of the industry is the hive pallet.  Loading four hives (know as  four-way pallet) or six hives (a six-way pallet) on an easily movable platform provides a time and money-saving alternative to handling individual hives.  Commercial beekeepers (using a forklift) stack these pallets three-high on a flat-bed trailer to transport hives all over the country for pollination.  Best of all, the pallet when appropriately designed becomes a bottom board for the colony, eliminating that expense.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Queen Rearing Retreat in May

We're going to this.  I've met a couple of folks who attended last year who thought it was an excellent class.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Our Pollination Trip to Florida-VIDEO

A fully loaded 20' trailer.
Jerry of Rock Hill Bee Farms invited me to join him on a four-day expedition to move about 60 of his hives from a location in South Florida to the orange groves near Vero Beach.  So he loaded his Kubota tractor (with pallet forks) and a bunch of equipment and got the trip started from Northern Virginia about 500 pm on Friday, with the intent to drive straight through the night to our destination.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Capital Buzz Showing at DC Shorts-Best Of

Because this film received an award (the Pineapple) at the 2012 film festival, they are showing it again as part of a showcase on January 23rd and 24th at the U.S. Navy Memorial Heritage Center -- Burke Theater, 701 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC.

Here is the link for information:

Here is a link for the trailer of the film:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wanted: Interns

The Spring approaches quicker then I think in most seasons, and it is the busiest part of the year for beekeeping.  Just a few things to do:
  • Install new bees in our dead-outs;
  • Feed sugar syrup to the colonies;
  • Add pollen patties to our colonies;
  • Build, deliver new equipment and set up for clients;
  • Build nuc boxes;
  • Introduce bees to nucs;
  • Feed nucs;
  • Inspect our hives for swarm prevention;
  • Add honey supers;
  • Harvest honey.
We have about 25 hives that we manage across the region, mostly in DC but a few in the hinterlands.  Thus, an intern must have a car.  We will provide all the syrup and other materials, but we need commitment, elbow grease, and wheels.  We will provide all the training.

Please contact me at if you are interested.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Goin' Pollinatin' in Florida

As some of you may remember I have had an excellent working relationship with Jerry Mattiaccio from Rock Hill Bee Farms.  I began buying bees from Jerry in 2010 when he was focused more on nuc production, equipment, and bee sales.  Happily, I am now the recipient of a windfall as Jerry is expanding, significantly, his focus on pollination.  This past summer I got to join him in southern Virginia where he had put about 60 hives on pumpkins.