Extracting Honey – Part 1

Today, I started the honey extraction process. There are a few tools and items you want to have on hand when you are doing this process:

  • 8×10 Tarp (Camping Grade)
  • 5 Gallon Bucket (food grade w/ cover)
  • A Capping Knife or Tool
  • A few pairs of Disposable Gloves
  • A Honey Strainer or Mesh Bag
  • A Spatula
  • Newspaper, Plastic containers and other things to mitigate the mess.

Here is a link to a video that explains the steps I took to do this first extraction. I only did a few frames so, I will post additional updates on the process to share the efficiencies that I have found.

Just in case you missed it! Check out the Extraction Video



Fall Feeding and new acquistions


So this week, I made another visit to hives at the Woodland Garden to feed the bees in preparation for the winter.  Until the weather turns, I will be going every 7-10 days to feed them. This time, I was joined by a fellow Urban Gardner Floyd who recently completed the beekeeping class in Baltimore County but, does not have any hives of his own. He was eager to see the bees up close and he was helpful in the quick feeding process. Since, I have extra suits in my car and I am helping others so, I thought it was fun to play teacher a bit.

Good news! the possibly queenless hive that I mentioned in a previous post has recovered and has crowned a queen. Thus, they seem to be building up the second box. Moreover, these bees are no longer directionless which is a good thing.

I still need to decide whether or not to combine the hives. So, I fed both hives some 2:1 feed with essential oils. I know that I going to have to a treatment in the next week so, I will post that information as well.

Below is a hive I recently acquired at the main park heights site so, I started to feed these guys on Wednesday.


While inspecting the hive, I noticed that the hive has wax moths so, I don’t know how long it’s going last.  The wax moth can be highly destructive and it may be affecting the brood box.

But, I got a great deal on the equipment and the hive. I will be online looking at ways to save these bees and helping them through the winter. I will also do some posting on the cleaning and preparation of the hive equipment for next year. There is some debate on whether or not to use old equipment but, these hives were neglected and recently inspected by the state so I think the equipment is worth the time and effort.

There will be posting on the cleaning and preparation of the hive equipment for next year as related to the new acquisitions. There is some debate on whether or not to use old equipment but, these hives were neglected and recently inspected by the state so I think the equipment is worth the time and effort.

Moreover, I will do a deeper dive and share more photos in the next few weeks. As for this post, I thought I would share what I have now to keep the blog up to date on the October actions and to share some new photos.




Feeding in the rain…

Rainy day Beekeeper selfie

Well, we finally got some rain in the Baltimore area over the last few days. The plants have really needed it because it has been very dry and hot over the last month. Today was the first day that almost felt like fall. On the bright side, the rain was more like mist,  so I decided to go out and feed the bees in the mid-afternoon.

As I mentioned before, it’s getting late in the season and the bees are storing up food for the winter.  This post will provide some quick photos on how I make Bee Syrup.  It is not that much different from Mick’s large-scale method except there are no power tools involved.

To make Bee Syrup, I use the following items:

The mixture is quite easy since it is essentially sugar water, and I add 10-15 drops of each essential oil to the mix and then add sugar at 2 to 1 ratio.  I then mixed the sugar with the slightly boiling water and stir for a few minutes. Next, I pour the mix into recycled jars since I have only a few hives and I use a frame feeder which only holds 1 gallon of feed in each hive which requires more frequent feedings.

Since it was raining today, the bees were pretty docile. However, I had one or two guard bees approach me, but no drama (ie no stings). I would like to think they were happy to get the syrup and let me off easy 🙂 Below are some photos of the hives today.

Check in again soon for more updates!


Labor Day Weekend – More Bee time

This past labor day weekend, I got a chance to work with my bee mentor Mick on his hives. We were able to feed the hives that he has at Laraland Farms, in Howard County, MD.

It’s always a good experience to go out early in the morning. Last Sunday, the bees were active because they had been inside the hive after a day and half of rain.

The most dramatic thing that happened that I was bit in the butt by some angry yellow jackets that gathered around and tried to steal the 1:1 feed.  This is one part sugar and one part water. You use regular white refined sugar. Yes, you do have feed bees at different concentrations given the time of year.  Mick adds the Bee Healthy mix to his feed. I have added pages to my Pinterest where other have used essential oils. He does use a pre-made oil mix. The large tubs make it easy because we fed around 20 hives.

I also had a chance to work with Mick on assembling boxes. I recently purchased 72 unassembled boxes from Mann Lake so, below is a photo of the overall assembled box  I will share more photos as I start the box building process and provide step by step details.


Hive Help



Here are some photos of my helpers. This was my first hive!

The good thing about family is that they work for free! Even my husband Warren got into the act. He has proven to be pretty brave and opened the hive to allow me to take the photo above.

Sophie is decked out in her boots and my garden gloves.

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