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Beekeeper at Work

Read & Know! 

Click on the PDF graphic below to review the Beekeeping Glossary (from Betterbee).

Articles by David MacFawn
MSBA Member

Keeping New Swarms (January 2024)

If you are interested in increasing your colony numbers, there are four ways to accomplish the task. Buy a three-pound package of bees from a bee supplier, purchase an NUC or a split, purchase an established colony, or capture a swarm. A swarm can be captured by placing a hive along a tree line or close to a beeyard. A frame of dark comb and a drop of lemongrass or anise oil are typically placed in the hive. The swarming season follows the nectar flows with swarming being the most intense at the flow beginning. In South Carolina, the spring nectar flow is end of March through the first of June in most of the state. Usually, only healthy colonies that are well-provisioned with honey and pollen swarm. The swarm should typically be moved two to three miles away from the original location so the field bees are retained in the hive and do not go back to the original location.

To Read the Entire Article, Click HERE.

Establishing a New Bee Yard (December 2023)

At some point, beekeepers will need to establish a new beeyard. This new beeyard may be at your house or in a different location. Close-to-home beeyards are the most effective and least expensive to service.

A beeyard at your house is the most efficient. There is minimal travel cost and you can service the colonies easily. If you live in a subdivision with Homeowners Association covenants and neighbors, they need to be considered. Three things to think about with hives in urban areas. The hive should be in an isolated location, away from travel paths with a wall or hedge in front of the hive so the bees fly out above head height, and a water source closer than your neighbor’s bird bath or swimming pool.

To Read the Entire Article, Click HERE.

Best Practices: Safety in the Bee Yard (January 2024)

Safety is considered the most important best practice.


1. When approaching your bee yard, put your veil on. Stings to the eye may cause blindness. Protect your eyes. Keep bees out of your hair. Pull your hair back in a rubber band if you have long hair. The looser your hair, the easier it is to get a bee entangled in it if you take off your veil or it gets inside. If a bee does get in your veil, walk away from the bee yard before removing your veil.

2. Light your smoker. Smoke is what helps to control and calm your bees. There are two theories as to why smoke works. It interferes with the bees’ sense of smell, and shifts their behavior from colony defense to “gorge and retreat.” Don’t over-smoke, but apply smoke any time that you see bees looking at you. If they are looking at you, they are aware of you! You want plentiful cool white smoke—gray smoke does not have the same effect on the bees. Hot smoke will burn the bees’ wings. Always check the temperature of the smoke -- NEVER let the flame rise higher than the top of the smoker.

To Read the Entire Article, Click HERE.

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