Bee Facts

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Swarm of bees

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’ they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.” – Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

It is that time of year.  Bees will start swarming.  What is a swarm you ask?  Swarming happens when a new queen is born in the hive for whatever reason.  The new queen stays and the old queen leaves with 40 to 60 percent of the bees in the hive.  A scout goes out ahead of time searching for a suitable home for the colony.  When a home is found then the old queen and the bees that are with her move in.

If you see a swarm notify a local beekeeper or local beekeepers club right away.  PLEASE don’t spray and kill them.

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A Few Bee Facts 

1)  Scientists at St. Louis University believe that a toxin in bee stings called Melittin can kill HIV by poking holes into the virus’s  protective envelope.

2)  Bees are not native to the US.

3)  Bees have two stomachs.  One for eating and one for storing nectar or water so they can take it back to the hive.

4)  Bees communicate through pheromones and dance.

5)  A Queen lays around 1,500 eggs in one day.

6)  Drones are the male bees.

7)  Drones are all run off or killed in the fall.

 8)  Drones don’t have stingers.

9 )  Bees can only sting once and once they do they die.

10)  The average worker bee makes around 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.

11)   Honey has natural preservatives and bacteria can’t grow in it.

12)   Bees are the only insect in the world that make food that humans can eat.

13)  Propolis is a sticky substance  collected from the buds of trees, and used to weatherproof and plug holes in the hive, has also been found to have anti-bacterial properties.

14)  People use the bees to sting an area riddled with arthritis in order to combat the effects of the disease.

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I have a lot of people ask me about becoming a beekeeper.  I always tell them to read as much as they can about the subject and to join their local bee club.  Also look for a local beekeeper that would be willing to let you go along with them and teach you.  I also recommend starting with two hives.  One can buy package bees. nucs or whole hives sometimes and if you are lucky maybe catch a swarm.  I usually buy a 3 pound package.

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Three pound package of bees.

I plan to do more in depth stories on beekeeping in the near future.  Thanks for reading my blog.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.  God Bless you one and all.  If you have any beekeeping questions ask away.

What Is Different?

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Bourbeuse River

“I cannot for an instant recognize the political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also.” – Henry David Thoreau “Civil Disobedience”

This blog created a lot of soul searching before I decided to sit down and write it.  I wanted to stay away from politics on my blog.   I guess one could consider this blog an editorial kind of piece and my goal is to do it without offending anyone.  The words that will follow will be what I feel in my heart and my opinion only and please remember that I too am allowed to express my opinion just like you.  The above picture I chose because I thought it was representative of what is going on in the US today.  The river depicts the divide that is rearing its ugly head in the US at this very moment.  The storm clouds are indicative of the approaching storms.  The trees represent the two groups standing tall on each side of the divide, digging in and getting ready to weather the approaching storms.

The thing that bothers me is that this is not the first election that this country has ever had.  We have had some heated races but I can not remember an election dividing the country AND families so much.  I don’t believe I have seen so much hate or so much name calling. What is so different about this election?  I think the misinformation that shows up on social media is at a new time high.  Democrats are screaming foul and the Republicans are doing the same things as the Democrats did but then it was ok because THEY did it so it was allowed.  It doesn’t appear that the Republicans listened very well either or else they just don’t give a rat’s patootie.  For the record I am a NOT a democrat or a republican and I am amazed that there are folks that think they really care about us. Why do I feel this way?  Money that goes into social security is put there by the employee and employer.  Government puts nothing, nada, zip, nil.  However they use it like it is theirs.  Now IF they care about us, why have they not come together and passed legislation preventing the government from taking anything from it.  Stating that the only people that could draw from it are the folks that put the money in there.  I can’t understand why folks get more upset over the cost of presidential vacations than they do about our money being stolen from us and given to people who didn’t put a dime into it.  For instance what would you do if you got a letter from the government telling you they took a thousand dollars out of your bank account to help someone else out?  Same thing.

“There is more power in unity than division” – Emanuel Cleaver

“The point in history at which we stand is full of promise and danger.  The world will either move forward toward unity and widely shared prosperity – or it will move apart.” Franklin D Roosevelt

It is time we put differences behind us and focus on the future of this country.  Your pick didn’t win.   So that gives you the right to go on social media and bash the winner and those who voted for him.  You forgot something.  Some of your friends voted for him so you are bashing them too.  Sorry.  Silly me.  You could be one of those that just unfriends anyone that doesn’t agree with you.  My advice Sunshine, Get Over It!  My picks haven’t always won either but guess what Sunshine, I put on my big boy panties and said, We’ll get him next time.”

For Pete’s sake, they are politicians so there is our first clue that they are going to tell us what we want to hear and do the opposite, if their lips are moving they are lieing and they care more about their campaign donors than they do you.  (Please note, just like everything in life there are exceptions.)  Is it worth breaking your family up over them?

In closing I plead with all of those that let these elections tear apart their families or friendships, PLEASE, if you all ready haven’t patched things up then PLEASE patch things up and move on with your lives and put the past behind you.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.

The Beautiful Big River

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Big River near the Leadwood Access

“The river flows at its own sweet will, but the flood is bound in the two banks.  If it were not thus bound, its freedom would be wasted. “-Vinoba Bhave

One of Missouri’s scenic river ways is located in east-central Missouri.  The French called it Grande Riviere, we call it Big River.  The river is around 145 miles in length.  It begins in Iron County near the summit of Johnson Mountain.  It flows through Washington State Park’ St. Francois State Park and the Lead Belt mining district before flowing into the Meramec River.

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Big River above Washington State Park

Big River has some good fishing and some magnificent scenery.   The river holds largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and rock bass.  Anglers can also find longear sunfish, bluegill,  channel and flathead catfish, redhorse, suckers and drum.

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Largemouth Bass
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Smallmouth Bass
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Channel Catfish

Where the Big River flows through the old Leadbelt mining area there are pipes still visible up and down the river where they were used in the mines.  I am not sure what the pipe was used for but I was told they were put in to take oxygen into the mines but I don’t know for sure.  The DNR claims that there is some lead contamination and to avoid eating certain fish but I have been eating them for years and I am still alive and I don’t glow in the dark.

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Big ‘River above Leadwood access.

I have fished and photographed the Big River on several occasions.  I have had some great success casting, tight line and limb lines.  The water levels get low in the summer months and it has flooded way out of its banks twice in the last 15 months.  It is relatively shallow in most places with some deep holes scattered throughout the river.  I generally fish out of my kayak and pull a lot of all nighters during the summer and the peacefulness on the river at 2 am is to die for.  The nights are filled with the sounds of frogs, crickets and the occasional slap of a beaver’s tail on the water.  The coyotes yip and howl and once in awhile come out onto the gravel bar close enough for you to get a good look at them.  This summer two of my high school buddies and myself plan to put in on the Big River and float for 7 days and see how far we get.

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Big River near Mammoth access.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” –  Heraclitus

 

I hope you found the blog interesting.  Thanks for reading.  Remember to be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.

 

 

 

Humanity RIP?

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Sunset in Bonne Terre, MO

“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals.  To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.” – Marie Curie

Have we built a better world?  Does the present generation value human life as much as we did 50 years ago?   Have we become a society of instant gratification?  Last but not least, are we improving as individuals and what is considered improvement?

A better world?  If we look at it from a technological point I would say that we have somewhat built a better world.  When I was a kid growing up I had the pleasure to be a part of the party line.  You just haven’t lived unless you have partook of the party line.  When the phone rang you had to  count the rings so you knew if it was a call for you or not.  Ours at the time was three ringy dingies.  We have come a long way for sure technically speaking.  There have been a lot of advancements in technology.  Advance in humanity not so much.

“If you truly believe in the value of life, you care about all of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.” – Joni Eareckson Tada

Value of Human Life?  First of all how do you put a value on a life?  I have to admit that I am quite perplexed by the way young people seem to not value life as much as my friends and I did when we were their age.  Now before you call me all those juicy names I am not saying that everyone in that generation is like that.  There are exceptions to every rule.  I can not figure out what happened.  Bad parenting?  Should they have been taught that there are winners and losers and life isn’t always so good to you and…………..and…………….and just maybe they should have been taught what respect is.  Bullying seems to be a bigger problem than ever.  We had our share of bullying however social media has given these folks a heartless. vengeful vehicle of mass bullying and there are those who have even died from the abuse of it.

“Why are young adults so self-centered and always seeking instant gratification?  Because older adults, often positions of power, paint them that way.” – Raymond Arroyo

Instant gratification?  During my years of childhood folks would actually save up and pay cash.  What a novel idea.  My oh my!  Wonder what would  happen to credit card companies today if John Q Public started doing that?   Sad thing is that we stand back and let credit card companies set them up for failure when they are young adults just starting college.  Then our government does nothing to reign these companies in and keep them from preying on them.  They borrow money at 2 to 3 percent then when they get behind they charge late fees and jack the interest rate up to 26 percent.  Where is the humanity in taking advantage of these folks to increase their profits?

I don’t know that we have improved as individuals.  It seems every year that compassion and humanity is pushed to the back burner replaced by greed and personal gratification.  Our own government seems to lack in humanity.  They are fueled by greed which leads to corruption.  At this very moment they are playing with individual’s lives through health care.  Every time they pass one they exempt themselves from it.  They play favorites to their campaign supporters at the expense of the people they are supposed to represent.  They always manage to place the bulk of financial burden for their programs on the backs of the middle class.  They have robbed social security and they didn’t put a dime into it.  At this very moment their are families in my area who are trying to recover from floods 15 months apart.  After they gave the go ahead to build levees that has made the flooding worse their only answer to the problem is a buy out of property.  How do you buyout places like Valley Mount Ranch and Krause Farms that have been in the family since the 30s?  They don’t deserve this.  How about some real humanitarian efforts to help these families out?

Sorry for the rant but it seems that humanity is the thing of the past and has been replaced by greed.  Thanks for reading my blog.  I know it was a little long and I apologize.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Responsible or Not

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“Only by taking responsibility for oneself, to the greatest extent possible, can one ever be free, and only a free person can make responsible choices – between right and wrong, saving and spending, giving or taking.” – Paul Ryan

Responsibility : According to Merriam – Webster; the quality or state of being responsible such as:  moral, legal, or mental accountability.

When I watch the news I become so disenchanted with people who simply won’t take responsibility for their actions or their children’s actions.  My favorite one is where the lady blamed the police for her son crashing a stolen car.  In her words she said the police were picking on him because that was the first car he had stole.  Oh yeah, and he was only fourteen years old.  Really?  They were picking on him?  I guess the police would have been in the right if it were the second car he stole.

Parents seem to want to blame teachers for their children’s bad grades.  They never want to take the blame for any of it.  Some even go as far as to believe they have no responsibility in the education of their children other than financial.  After all isn’t that why the teachers get paid the big bucks?

One of my biggest pet peeves is the pet owner that gets an animal and after the animal has lived with them for five or six years and it is no longer a little one any more they shirk their responsibility and take it to the local pound.  The one that really gets my Scoobies in a knot are the ones that don’t want to take care of their pet of 14 years because they don’t want to deal with it and they take it to the pound.  They don’t want the responsibility of helping it through its bad days and the vet bills or cleaning up after it.  Really?  You OWE that much to that pet!

Use to be if people saw some lady getting raped bystanders would intervene and help her out and take the attacker down.  Now days the bystanders pull out their cellphones and start recording the act.  Ever wonder why the people recording crimes don’t put the cellphone down and help them?  Ain’t their responsibility to help another human being in trouble.  No siree!  That would be the responsibility of the police don’t ya know!

I remember in Missouri food stamp recipients use to get paper food stamp money to buy their groceries with.  They finally had to go to a card system because people couldn’t be responsible enough to use the food stamps correctly.

I apologize for the rant.  I could go on all night.  Why do you suppose their are so many folks now days that just won’t recognize responsibilities?  I have a couple ideas.  You probably won’t agree with me but that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

You think the preferential treatment of athletes might have something to do with it?  One that I am familiar with is the football player Leonard Little.  Little played for the St. Louis Rams.  He got drunk on his birthday and ran a red light and plowed his Navigator into a tiny little car killing the mother inside.  He got 90 days in jail and an 8 game suspension. Then, then 6 years later he gets picked up for drunk driving again and despite failing three field sobriety tests and refusing a breathalyzer test, and killing someone six years before, he was acquitted.  ACQUITTED!  Then he goes on to retire from the Rams.  Yep, let’s teach our kids responsibility.

Last but not least then I will shut up.  Would someone tell me how our welfare system teaches responsibility?  Our own government made people slaves of government handouts without educating them on how to break free of the system.  Our welfare program doesn’t teach people how to be responsible.  Our government has severely failed these people.

Thanks for reading my blog.  I know you may not agree with me but I will still respect your opinion.Be kind to one another, don’t squat with your spurs on and share the love. God Bless you one and all.

“At the end of the day,  you are solely responsible for your success and your failure.  And the sooner you realize that, you accept that, and integrate that into your work ethic, you will start being successful.  As long as you blame others for the reason you aren’t where you want to be, you will always be a failure.” – Erin Cummings

I think this quote can also be used for life in general.

 

 

Anger: the Negative Emotion

“Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended.  But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness.  You can choose to not let little things upset you.” – Joel Osteen

How many times a day do you get angry, stressed or offended?  Three times?  Five times? More than that?  You are running late and aggravated.   You walk into the kitchen for a quick breakfast and find the toast burned, the eggs are cold and the hash browns need the oil changed in them.  You are running late and you have an important meeting first thing.  You finally get in the car and fire it up only to find it a hair above empty.  Your husband took it to the baseball meeting and forgot to put gas in it.  How would you handle it or react to it?  How you handle these moments will pretty much dictate what kind of day you have.

I don’t know if Americans aren’t getting enough R&R or if they are just mad at the world. From public schools to the streets of the big cities it seems that more and more people are turning to fighting at an alarming rate.  Social media is filled with videos of fights between a couple of people to a whole neighborhood.   Is there an imbalance between love and hate or has love left the building completely?  It is something that we really need to look at because it is accelerating at an alarming rate.

A good start is to evaluate ourselves.  Do you get angry over burnt toast or does it take a lot to make you angry?   If it is the first one then perhaps you should seek out a counselor to help you deal with this.  If your anger is that easy to bring about then I just can’t imagine you ever having a good day.  Take that first step and seek out someone to help you tame this anger.  You will be glad you did.

All negative emotions are detrimental to one’s happiness  therefore we have to learn to control them and not let them control us.  Be positive and take control of your life and cleanse yourself of the negative baggage that you carry around with you.  Let us all try to bring some joy and kindness to the world.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my blog and if you have a short temper I hope you seek help and address the problem.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.  Don’t squat with your spurs on.

 

Another Day on the Big River

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Big River just upstream from Leadwood Access

“Now this relaxation of the mind from work consists on playful words or deeds.  Therefore it becomes a wise and virtuous man to have recourse to such things at times.”  – Thomas Aquinas

For me relaxation of the mind from work consists of a visit to your local river.  I know, I know not everyone is a river rat.  Well it works for me and it is so easy to relax on the river.  If you have the opportunity to be on it at night you will experience total relaxation.  You will hear a symphony of frogs and crickets and some nights you can look into the night sky and see the best light show you ever saw.

My story begins on Wednesday the nineteenth of April.  I had kind of a bad day the day before so headed for the river to relax and recharge.  I didn’t get started as early as I wanted to but it was still a good day.  The water level was perfect and the weather was too.  I loaded the yak, pushed off and started making my way up river.

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Leadwood Access

I paddled up stream drinking in the magnificent scenery that laid before me.  Dogwoods and redbuds dotted the hillsides in full bloom.  A hawk soared above me like it was following me.  It was such a splendid day to be alive and take all of my surroundings in and file it away within my mind.

After about an hour I reached a point in the river that I always used to turn around and head back down river.  I got out of the yak and stretched my legs/  I grabbed a pole and began wading the shallows and fishing.  I heard something behind me so I turned around to see approximately 30 head of cows and calves.  All of a sudden one ole cow lunged at me.  All I had in my hand was my rod and reel so i took the rod and slapped her on the nose and she backed up and began bellering which got the attention of the bull on steroids.  Here he came and there I went.  I launched the yak and began my trek back to the boat ramp.

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First fish of the day.

The fish were biting good.  I caught over 30 fish that day.  Somebody did manage to leave the fish basket and stringer at the truck’  A……….that somebody would be me.  On the paddle back I did manage to catch my first Largemouth and Small  mouth.

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First Smallmouth of the 2017 season.
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First Largemouth of the 2017 season.

I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you liked it and enjoyed reading it.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.

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Love and Compassion

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them humanity cannot survive.”  – Dalai Lama

As I lay here listening to the hum of the fan in the window and the little peepers off in the distance serenading the night, my mind wanders back to the teen age years of my life.   It was a simple time.  Life was good.

School was much different because the parents didn’t blame the teacher for little Johnny’s behavior or grades.  The responsibility was placed squarely on the shoulders of little Johnny and he didn’t get a trophy unless he earned it.  “Earned it.”  Isn’t that quite a concept?  When did it all change?  For the life of me I can’t remember.  Why?  I was told one time by a child psychologist that it was done out of compassion for the losers.  Really?

Unlike today, kids could stay out past dark and not have to worry.  They could walk down to the local grocery and buy a gallon of milk and walk home without having to worry about being abducted.  Don’t get me wrong.  It wasn’t a perfect world but there seemed to be a lot less crime then.  The real question is why?  Was it due to the way the news was reported or was there more love and compassion then?

From my personal experience I believe it was the latter.  People had more respect for life then.  Folks helped one another then instead of turning a cold shoulder and walking away.  They shared food, clothes or whatever they could.  Not everybody did but the majority of the people I knew did.

“Being loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

Something that I don’t see too much of these days is respect.  I am blown away by the way children talk to their parents.  They use words that they shouldn’t even have in their vocabulary.  Words that would make a sailor blush I tells ya.  See a lot more tantrums being thrown in the stores when the child doesn’t get what he/she wants.  This usually results in the child getting what he/she wants.  Sooooo is he/she going to throw a tantrum when they don’t get their way in the work force?

“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” – Albert Schweitzer

Compassion according to Merriam Webster: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.  I am of the opinion that “true” compassion is hard to find in today’s society.  What about the donations that went out to the 9/11 victims you say?  Really?  Myself I really don’t think of that as compassion.  I felt it was more people expressing their patriotism than anything else.

Maybe I just expect too much out of people.  Maybe I am still caught up in the simplicity of life in the 60s and 70s.  I still have the vision of our family dinners where we actually talked to one another and asked how our day had been.  Compassion and love were abundant.  The world wasn’t perfect back then but it was far closer to perfection than it is now.  Maybe new technology was the trade off.  “Pappa tell me ’bout the good ole days.

Well thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.   Love one another and remember the feeling of compassion and don’t be afraid to show it.

Don’t squat with your spurs, be kind to one another and share the love.  God bless you one and all.

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What Happened? Who Are We

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“How would your life be different if….You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter?  Let today be the day….You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” – Steve Maraboli Life, the Truth,and Being Free 

I will be 63 years old this year.  I am a farrier and there are those days in which we have a lot of windshield time which leads to too much time to think.  Then it becomes a…………….thinking problem.  That is exactly what happened to me.

As I rolled down the highway listening to the whine of my tires on the highway and Don’t Stop Believing playing on the radio my mind began a journey back to the 70s.  Times were much different then I thought.  Life’s pace seemed slower, neighbors actually knew each other and families actually sat down around the table and ate and interacted with one another about the day’s events.

Yes there was bullying.  Pink bellies were a common occurrence in high school.  Young couples broke up and hearts were broken.  Children said hurtful things to one another. There were different groups of students that were brought together because of their similarities of life’s philosophies.

 

I personally don’t feel people were as vicious toward one another as they are in today’s society.  Social media was nonexistent.  I don’t know if people have too much stress in their lives or if we have just evolved to who we are.  What changed?

“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness.  Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” – George Sand

I feel like everyone’s  “kindness bucket” runneths low or is empty.  Students now days have disagreements and declare war on each other.  After school the war continues through the avenue social media.  These attacks sometimes are so brutal that the victim commits suicide.  All because people seem to have lost compassion, love and plain ole common sense a life was wasted.  Who and what have we become?  I don’t know if it is just me or maybe I am too paranoid.  Is it just me?  Do I expect too much out of people?  There is a possibility I do.

There also seems to be a degree of rudeness that I don’t remember in the 70s.  Maybe I have a bad memory.  It doesn’t seem that young people value a life like we did.

In closing I ask that you work on the kindness and rudeness.  If you have a neighbor you don’t know, go over and introduce yourself.  Control your rudeness.

Thank you for reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Remember to be kind to one another and share the love.

 

 

 

Beekeeping

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Putting a 3 pound package in a hive.

It was 49 degrees when I showed up at the Jefferson County Beekeepers Association’s bee yard.  It was overcast and drizzling somewhat however the beekeepers who had ordered their bees didn’t let the weather dampen their spirits.  A big thank you to Scott Moser and the Jefferson County Bee Association and all their hard work to make this possible.

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Pulling the cork  over the candy in the queen box.

I think the question I get most about beekeeping is “How do I get started?  My suggestion is to find a local beekeeping club and start attending their meetings.  Most of the time there is someone there who can answer your questions and help you get started.  I also suggest getting some books on beekeeping and read as much as you can.  Just keep in mind that sometimes it doesn’t seem the bees read the book.

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Three pound package of bees.

Each beekeeper has their own preference as whether to buy a nuc or a package.  My preference is packages like the one above.  Sometimes your local beekeeper associations order packages.  Both have their pros and cons.  The queen in a nuc is all ready acclimated with the rest of the colony so it can be easier for a beginner to start with.  Packages arrive with the queen in a box separate from the rest of the colony and has to be introduced to the colony slowly.

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Hive with two eight frame brood supers.

Four popular breeds of bees are Italians, Russians, Caucasians and Carniolians.  Again they each have their pros and cons.  Decide what kind of beekeeper you want to be, hobbyist, commercial, small honey production etc., then read about the breeds and talk to local beekeepers then decide which breed will work best for you.

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Package tucked away in the hive.

You also need to decide if you want 10 or 8 frame hives.  The obvious pro to the 8 is when full of honey it is lighter than the 10.  Do your research and talk to experienced beekeepers before you get started and decide what will work for you.

Thanks for reading.  I hope I was of some help and you found the blog informational. Remember to plant bee friendly plants.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.