Hive Working Happening At Scatter Joy Acres Teaching Apiary Tomorrow

I’ll bee ready to work on rehabbing hive boxes and putting together new boxes tomorrow at 1 pm.

We have donated hive boxes that need to be cleaned up and made usable for the new bee colonies we will go out and rescue this year.

Interns, here’s a great opportunity to come down, ask questions, find out the answers to What, How, Why, When, and even When.  Learn to identify pieces of hive equipment and much more.  $7.50 for the day.

Apprentices, take in a session of getting hands-on experience while you have someone there who won’t let you break anything (or can fix it if you do).  No stress, all fun and improving your skills.  $15.00  for the day.

After we’re done, you can get a special deal on going through the rest of the farm to see what Joy and the gang’s and visit the special critters living there.

Learn about bee hives, beekeeping equipment and support Bee rescue all at the same time.



OK beehooligans.
I got the most recently updated class schedule for all of the beekeeping classes being offered through Metro Community College at the new North Express location.
The classes are all on Saturdays from 10 am till 1 pm beeginning April 7th, 2018.
The classes are NOT listed in the paper or online Spring catalog for MCC due to timing of class listing. You can still register for the classes listed on the Bee Smart website by calling the phone number(s) listed in the class description.
Please visit the Bee Classes page and go to April and May on the embedded calendar to get the class information for each class being offered.
The Applied Beekeeping class, a hands-on class, will bee the only class NOT at the North Express MCC location. It will take place at the new teaching apiary at Scatter Joy Acres instead.

Spring Beekeeping Classes at MCC

Hello folks.  As promised, I am getting the beekeeping classes to be offered in the Spring quarter at the new MCC location here on the Bee Smart beekeeping project website.

If you go starting at the April 2018 calendar on the Bee Classes page here, you will find the Saturday classes listed which include the class registration number for each class and the phone number to call to register for the classes.

The classes were entered after the listing date for the catalog so unfortunately you won’t bee able to register online or see the classes listed in the Spring catalog.  We expect to have the next series of classes included in the catalogs and able to enroll online for the Summer quarter.

Don’t worry if you only find the April classes listed at first.  As the other beekeeping classes are updated, I will add them to the calendar.

Bees at beekeeping classes

So I have verification that beginning this April I am teaching basic level beekeeping classes at Metro Community College this Spring again.  There’s a full line up of in depth classes that include plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion in each one.

We’ll hold the classes at the new MCC location on North 30th St just somewhat North of Cummings St. If I recall hearing correctly.  I’ll post the specific address when I post the actual class line up in the near future.

While I liked the location at DoSpace, this location will allow me to bring a live observation hive to each class for up close inspection and demonstration of each topic as we’re discussing it.  I wasn’t able to bring the live bees into the building when the classes were at DoSpace due to building management concerns.

So, beekeeping classes, check.  Live bees at classes, check.  Wide variety of topics covered related to apicultural success, check.

I am looking forward to providing information and camaraderie to fellow bee people this coming Spring.  Hope to see you there.

Beekeeping Classes Resume This Spring At MCC

I am kicking off a new basic level series of beekeeping classes at Metro Community College this Spring in April.  Unfortunately, the classes didn’t make the cut for the catalog but they will be available.  I will post all the relevant registration information on this website when the class details are released.

These are not short version classes but are offered in detail with comprehensive information about each subject to help beekeepers to make more informed decisions in their apicultural efforts.

The Rules Of Beekeeping By Big Bear

Beecause I can, that’s why

I refer frequently to “Beekeeping Rule #1” when I teach classes and in various social media.  My rules are something I just came up with one day in a joking reference to the old joke based on an old commercial listing reasons or excuses for using a particular product.

Most recently, I actually compiled a very short list of “Beekeeping Rules”according to how important I see them.  These are “Big Bear’s Rules of Beekeeping”.   In addition to the few rules, I also have tossed in some axioms that are particularly relevant to apiculture as I see it.

On to the list…

Big Bear’s Rules of Beekeeping

Rule #1:  Bees are crazy.

One of the worst things we do when getting into playing with bees is to expect them to do things that make some sort of sense to us.  We expect them to think and behave in accordance to the way humans think.  They don’t.  They don’t “reason” or think the way we do.  compared to us, bees are truly and utterly crazy.  Don’t let yourself bee fooled.

Rule #2: Have a Plan

Originally, and on a recent podcast episode, I said that I put this rule as #3 but I was wrong.  It’s really second in line.  I can’t stress the importance of having a plan for at least the next 12 months if not longer depending on the beekeeping you are involved in.

Axiom to Rule #2: Proper planning prevents poor performance.

The more in-depth your plan is, the better prepared you can be.  It’s a horrible feeling walking up to a hive or multiple hives finding a die-out or major problem and knowing or finding out it was preventable or able to be corrected with basic early intervention.  Planning out ahead of time sets you up for success.  A proper plan includes;

Goals.  What is the purpose or the point, the reason you are doing this?

Objectives.  What specific things do you want to accomplish by the end of the season or time frame?  Set up things that are measurable and trackable so that you can monitor your progress along the way.

Strategies.  What methodologies and processes are you going to follow to achieve those goals an objectives?  For example, will you include an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in your operation?  How specifically will it be tailored to the way you are going to meet your goals and objectives?

Tactics.  What specific techniques and tools, specific equipment and materials will you need to obtain and have ready to use?  The tools and handling methods you use should be chosen to fit into your strategy and help you to meet your goals and objectives.  Too often people choose the tools, equipment and methods they use with very little thought beyond cost or ease of use and end up causing themselves more trouble in the long run.

Rule #3: Bee Prepared

Back to the example of walking into an apiary and finding that there is a particular issue or problem.  Maybe what you find is actually something you planned for.  That’s good.  Did you actually follow through and get all the tools, equipment and materials to do something about it?  If you didn’t, you are probably in trouble.  There are situations in the apiary when by the time you discover the issue, it’s too late.  You might fix it if you deal with it on the spot.  If you don’t have the things you need though, you will just be prolonging the inevitable.

Axiom to Rule #3; It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Your beekeeping is yours and yours alone.  It’s fine to get advice from mentors, coaches, instructors and other beekeepers but always think for your self and specifically to your own goals and objectives.  Those might not be the same as those other people and what those other people suggest may or may not work in your specific, particular situation.  Don’t let yourself be bluffed, bullied or otherwise put in a corner to do “what everyone else does”.  They’re your bees, your hives, your apiary and your goals.  You need to make decisions to meet those, not what someone else is doing.

An axiom without a rule

While all of the above are things I find to be very important, critical actually, to apicultural success, I have a saying that overrules all of them.

Beekeeping should be fun.

By extension, all things related to beekeeping should be fun, bee clubs and associations, running honey booths and information tables.  Whatever.  If beekeeping isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong.

For those involved in professional apiculture, no, it won’t always be fun because it’s business and business means hard work and effort.  Even so, it should be satisfying and fulfill your passion.  If not, you’re in the wrong business.

Apiculture isn’t “just” beekeeping but a trade with adventure

What’s in a word?

Apiculture and beekeeping.  Two words that are synonymous of each other and yet not exactly the same.  Many words often refer to something similar  yet every word also retains it’s own special definition.  Each word isn’t exactly the same as other synonymous words.

Words have meaning.  Apiculture refers to beekeeping, yet it means something more distinct.  Yes, apiculture and beekeeping both refer to the practice of maintaining honey bee hives.  Yet, while one term, “beekeeping”, is obviously more generic, “apiculture” suggests something more refined.

Apiculture as a trade

I know that I am not the only one who looks upon and goes about my efforts with bees as a hobby or even in a “commercial” approach.  Apiculture as a trade exists in a place somewhere in between the two.

One one hand, it is a specialized, professional endeavor.  A process through which a person has undergone formal and informal education.  Apprenticeship and working with and alongside a person who has made a living with bees and all they provide.

It is, in part, setting goals and objectives for productivity and profitability.  We establish and follow objective measures and a course of action to be planned and followed.

As a trade there are technical issues and aspects we must identify and practice.  We develop a mastery of skills and knowledge and never cease to build upon it.

Apiculture is also a passion

This path also requires a philosophical approach, if not an artistic one.   Apiarists are guided by a sense of design and purpose.  There is purpose from the initial stages of preparing the grounds and putting together hives to selecting the type of bees and the management methods to achieve the goals of the apiary.

As an Apiarist (or Apiculturist) there is a connection we feel not just to the bees but to the apiary and to the work as a whole.  It is in it’s own way a Holistic enterprise.  We are always trying to achieve this balance.  We want to work toward a symmetry of sorts between the immediate environment, the bees and our purpose.

Apiculture is equal parts practicality and ideology

If we bring all the parts together, we get a grand purpose.   It’s both a career and a passion.  For so many, it becomes a part of their essential identity.  It’s a part of who and what we are.  The term, “Labor of love” is heard from apiarists fairly often.

This in no way slights either hobbyists or commercial operators.  The interactions they pursue in those avenues are admirable in their own ways as well.  Still, there is indeed a difference.  There is a difference economically and philosophically.

The Bee Smart beekeeping project

Bee Smart beekeeping project is to provide information and insight for anyone and everyone who wants to know more about bees and beekeeping.  You could say it is an enterprise of apiculture passion.  I want to share with people not just knowledge and information about bees.  It’s also about sharing the experience, the enthusiasm, and the opportunity that bees and beekeeping presents.

Everything posted here is an effort to share all of those things and have fun and keep people interested while doing so.  From the puzzles and article posts to the podcasts and occasional videos.  It’s all about sharing the experience of apiculture.

Let me share with you the world of bees and beekeeping that I and other apiarists I am lucky enough to call my friends can show you.  See you in the forums.

New Beeginnings for the Bee Joyful Apiary

We literally break ground this coming weekend to start setting hive stands at the new teaching apiary at Scatter Joy Acres up in Florence.

We are starting off with 2 new interns, 1 full apprentice and 2 volunteer assistants.

We are still encouraging people to donate materials and resources directly to Scatter Joy Acres and if you would like to support the Bee Smart beekeeping project effort to manage the apiary, train new Apiarists, and provide positive interaction opportunities for visitors, please consider supporting us over at my Patreon page for the Bee Smart beekeeping project. Our Patreon supporters will have exclusive access to video updates on the progress of the apiary throughout the year.

Part of the work I do is live bee removals around the Omaha metro area.  As I rescue these bees before they might be killed, I will start them in a process to hopefully end up at the Bee Joyful Teaching Apiary.  Again these live removal efforts are greatly helped by our Patreon supporters whose patronage helps to reduce costs of work for low income people.  Costs can get very high trying to open up and repair an opening where a bee nest is removed.

My goal is to help people bee better beekeepers and keep bee alive and thriving.  My apprentices want to to be that kind of beekeeper as well.  With projects like this that allow us to offer fun, informative and creative content to share with the world, everyone comes out a winner.  Your patronage at the Patreon page help create winners.

Notable and Notorious Beekeepers

The topic for the Bee Smart beekeeping project website this week is learning a bit more about the notable and notorious beekeepers that have moved the world of beekeeping over the years.

Some have given us great innovations in methods and equipment.  Others have increased our understanding immensely.  Still others have given us experience in what not to do rather than do what they actually did.

Let’s chat about some if the great minds and personalities that have helped modern apiculture become what it is today, shall we?