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Plain Talk: A Spring Walk in the Bee Yard (177)

Honey Bee Obscura Podcast

Release Date: 05/02/2024

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In this episode, Jim Tew delves into the fascinating world of swarming behavior. Jim shares his experiences with swarms moving into winter-killed colonies, highlighting how these free bees can effectively clean up and rejuvenate old equipment. He discusses his observations on swarm preferences, the unpredictability of swarm arrivals, and the intriguing patterns he has noticed over the years. Jim also touches on the challenges of distinguishing between scout bees and robbers and reflects on the ever-evolving nature of beekeeping. This episode is packed with insights and practical tips for...

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Join Jim Tew as he recounts the captivating story of the “Survivor Hive” — an incredible beehive that endured decades without human intervention. In this episode, Jim shares a remarkable story from his early beekeeping days, illustrating the resilient and adaptive nature of honeybees. Learn how this hive, abandoned in a remote location, used propolis to thrive through years of neglect and natural challenges. Jim reflects on the hive's unique history, the lessons it teaches about beekeeping, and the extraordinary power of propolis. Whether you're a seasoned beekeeper or just curious about...

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In this episode, Jim Tew dives into the humorous and often frustrating situations beekeepers face when neighbors expect them to handle all sorts of "bee" problems. Jim shares personal stories of dealing with carpenter bees, yellowjackets, and hornets—none of which are honey bees. He explains the misconceptions non-beekeepers have and the unexpected responsibilities that come with being the local "bee expert." Jim's anecdotes highlight the challenges and surprising adventures beekeepers encounter while trying to help their communities. Jim also addresses recent listener emails, offering...

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In this episode, Jim Tew shares his tried-and-true methods for lighting and using a smoker, essential tools for any beekeeper. He delves into the evolution of his technique; from the fuel he prefers to the simple but effective system he's developed over the years. Jim discusses the convenience and potential drawbacks of using cedar shavings, the importance of preparing the smoker properly, and his tips for keeping it burning efficiently. Along the way, he provides practical advice on avoiding over-smoking and maintaining safety in the bee yard. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned beekeeper,...

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In this stinging episode, Jim recounts an unexpected encounter with unusually aggressive bees in his apiary. While mowing near his hives, Jim experienced an unprovoked attack from bees that had previously shown no signs of hostility. He delves into potential reasons for this sudden change, exploring factors such as the absence of a nectar flow, vibrations from machinery, and inter-colony dynamics. Jim's firsthand narrative, combined with his decades of beekeeping experience, offers listeners valuable insights into managing and understanding bee behavior during unpredictable episodes. This...

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In this thoughtful episode, Jim dives into the often-overlooked aspects of beekeeping that extend beyond the bees themselves. He reflects on the countless hours spent on tasks that, while essential, don't directly involve handling bees—like managing equipment, mowing grass, and maintaining bee yard cleanliness. This episode offers a holistic view of the beekeeper's world, emphasizing that the work of beekeeping involves much more than just keeping bees. Listeners will find value in Jim's introspective discussion on the balance between beekeeping duties and the environmental management of the...

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In this episode, Jim introduces listeners to the world of beekeeping through the experiences of a new beekeeper, his grandson Will. As a high school junior with a budding interest in bees, Will's initial steps into beekeeping offer a fresh perspective and relatable insights for anyone curious about starting this fulfilling hobby. Throughout the episode, Jim and Will discuss the thrills and challenges of the early days of beekeeping, from handling the first hive and managing initial fears to dealing with unexpected issues like ant invasions. Jim's mentorship provides Will—and the...

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Plain Talk: A Spring Walk in the Bee Yard (177) show art Plain Talk: A Spring Walk in the Bee Yard (177)

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In this episode, Jim takes listeners on an auditory stroll through his bee yard during a recent vibrant spring day. As the bees buzz energetically around him, Jim shares his personal reflections and insights on the bustling life of the hive. With the backdrop of blooming fruit trees and a flurry of bee activity, he paints a vivid picture of a beekeeper's spring routine—from managing swarming colonies to the simple joy of observing bees at work. Jim discusses the challenges and surprises of early spring beekeeping, such as dealing with unexpected swarms and the importance of maintaining the...

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In this enlightening episode, Jim takes listeners on a historical journey through the evolution of beekeeping hives. Delving into the storied past of traditional box hives, Jim reflects on a unique box hive he acquired, which was originally built in 1853—the same year L.L. Langstroth revolutionized beekeeping with his patented removable frame hive. This episode not only explores the construction and historical significance of traditional box hives but also juxtaposes them with the transformative hanging frame designs that followed. Jim discusses how these simple, yet effective hives played a...

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In this episode, Jim explores the practical aspects of dealing with "less-than-pristine" honey, an inevitable challenge for many beekeepers. Throughout the discussion, Jim shares personal anecdotes and insights from his extensive experience, providing a nuanced look at what beekeepers can do with honey that doesn't meet the highest quality standards. Whether it's honey from wax melters, overwintered hives, or colonies affected by varroa, Jim explores the various destinies of these batches. He discusses innovative yet practical solutions like using secondary equipment for processing or...

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More Episodes

Spring in the ApiaryIn this episode, Jim takes listeners on an auditory stroll through his bee yard during a recent vibrant spring day. As the bees buzz energetically around him, Jim shares his personal reflections and insights on the bustling life of the hive. With the backdrop of blooming fruit trees and a flurry of bee activity, he paints a vivid picture of a beekeeper's spring routine—from managing swarming colonies to the simple joy of observing bees at work.

Jim discusses the challenges and surprises of early spring beekeeping, such as dealing with unexpected swarms and the importance of maintaining the apiary landscape to ensure easy access and safety. He also delves into the fascinating behavior of bees during this busy season, exploring how robbers and scouts may simultaneously impact the dynamics of the hive. His narrative is sprinkled with practical tips for managing hives in spring, reflecting on the natural cycle of growth and renewal that defines this time of year.

Listeners will find solace and excitement in Jim's stories, which blend practical beekeeping advice with reflective moments that capture the essence of being a beekeeper in spring. This episode is a perfect mix of education and contemplation, suited for both seasoned beekeepers and those new to the craft.

Listen today!

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Bee Culture Magazine

This episode is brought to you by the support of Bee Culture Magazine: The magazine of American Beekeeping since 1873!  Each month, Bee Culture delivers the best information in an easy to read magazine, full of content from beekeepers, researchers and regular contributors, including Jim Tew and Beekeeping Today Podcast's, Becky Masterman!

Subscribe today at: https://beeculture.com

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Thanks to Betterbee for sponsoring today's episode. Betterbee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customer service, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, Betterbee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at www.betterbee.com

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Honey Bee Obscura is brought to you by Growing Planet Media, LLC, the home of Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Music: Heart & Soul by Gyom, All We Know by Midway Music; Christmas Avenue by Immersive Music; original guitar music by Jeffrey Ott

Cartoons by: John Martin (Beezwax Comics)

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