How-to Articles

  • A quick way to paint supers and ekes

    If you've got a lot of bee boxes to paint, you can make it easier by stringing them on a board suspended between two saw ...

  • A water feature for the bees

    What every bee needs is a good watering hole, and the bees at the Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture in Corvallis, Oregon have the ...

  • Another rendition of rendering beeswax

    The following description of rendering beeswax, written by Sergey in California, landed in the comments section this morning. It is very similar to something I ...

  • Another take on Taranov

    A beekeeper here in Olympia, Dave Hurd, sent me the following photos of splitting a hive with a Taranov board. His design for the ramp ...

  • Avoid a honey drip free-for-all

    One of the worst parts of honey extraction is the accumulation of sticky, gooey frames that remains after the process. These frames of uncapped comb, ...

  • Converting Langstroth frames to foundationless

    There are several ways to convert your Langstroth frames to foundationless frames. The basic problem with any foundationless system—including top-bar hives—is to get the bees ...

  • Crushing and straining . . . and moaning

    Normally, I do not extract any of my honey. In fact, the reason I keep my own bees is so that I can have a ...

  • Demaree demystified

    The Demaree method of swarm control was first published in the late 1800s and has evolved since. When using the Demaree method, the beekeeper separates ...

  • Doing the Mississippi splits

    I’ve described many types of splits in the past, including: Walkaway splits Swarm control splits Cut-down splits Shook swarm splits But now, of course, someone wants to know about Mississippi ...

  • How and where should I store empty supers?

    Over the years I have developed a specific way to store empties, but a lot will depend on how many supers and how much storage ...

  • How I overwintered ten out of ten

    I have been thinking about this post for about a month, but I didn’t dare write it until spring was here for sure. But on ...

  • How I photograph bees

    People keep asking me how to photograph bees. I think this is funny—a little like asking your 911 operator how to do brain surgery. You ...

  • How many frames should you put in a Langstroth box?

    Recently, my friend Phillip at Mud Songs.org wrote about the pros and cons of using 9 frames in a 10-frame Langstroth. He began by writing ...

  • How to assemble a bee box

    Unless you order your bee boxes assembled, they will arrive at your door in four pre-cut pieces with a bag of nails. They sometimes come ...

  • How to attract bees to your garden

    Here are eight simple ways to attract more bees—both native bees and honey bees—to your garden.[list icon="plus"] Plant species that bloom in sequence. Just like any ...

  • How to attract bumbles to an artificial nest

    If you’ve made or purchased a bumble bee box, you are probably wondering where to put it and how to attract tenants. I’ve scanned dozens ...

  • How to avoid squishing bees

    If you don’t use smoke, how do you avoid squishing bees when replacing supers? I learned this technique from another beekeeper. We worked together teaching beekeeping ...

  • How to build a bee block

    Of all the bees native to North America, about 30% use some kind of tunnel in which to lay their eggs. The diameter of the ...

  • How to checkerboard a hive

    Before I explain how to do it, I want to repeat that checkerboarding is done above the brood nest. You do not disturb the brood ...

  • How to clean up from Nosema apis

    Cleaning up after a Nosema apis outbreak is no easy chore. Your best course of action is to prevent an infection in the first place. ...

  • How to combine colonies using newspaper

    Beekeepers often want to combine two colonies, usually because one is weak or queenless. Because each colony has its own unique odor, combining colonies without ...

  • How to convert sugar syrup to a different ratio

    Someone asked how to convert 2:1 sugar syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) to 1:1 syrup (1 part sugar to one part water). ...

  • How to cut comb honey

    Whenever I bake cinnamon rolls, I always slice the delicate roll of dough with dental floss. I wrap the floss around the dough and pull ...

  • How to determine the purity of honey

    I received the following from a reader. His comments and questions are so relevant to the discussion of pure honey that I decided to expand ...

  • How to do a simple brood nest inspection

    Your very first hive inspection can be scary. Here are a few tips to make easier. To begin: Know why you are opening the hive before you ...

  • How to eat comb honey

    The first time I saw extracted honey in a jar with no comb, I wondered why anyone would do that. Why would someone separate two ...

  • How to feed crystallized honey

    Over the last few years, I’ve learned many interesting tidbits from Phillip over at Mudsongs.org. Several weeks ago he wrote something about feeding crystallized honey ...

  • How to find your queen bee

    Sometimes you need to find your queen, and sometimes you only need to know that she is alive and well. The presence of eggs means ...

  • How to get started in beekeeping

    A reader from Orlando wrote to ask if he really needs ninety-some lessons before he can keep bees. My answer: absolutely not! Don’t even think ...

  • How to get stung 22 times in one place

    Whenever I mention that I got stung 22 times in one place, someone asks, "How did you do it?" as if it were a special ...

  • How to install a package of bees

    For the hobby beekeeper who is managing a small number of hives, installing a package can be quick and easy. I’ve tried different methods and ...

  • How to keep 2:1 syrup from crystallizing

    This question, asked by a reader, perplexes me because I've never had any 2:1 syrup crystallize. In fact, several different times in the past I've ...

  • How to keep queen bees in reserve

    Every spring I re-queen my strongest hives in order to reduce swarming. A colony is less likely to swarm when the queen’s pheromones ...

  • How to kill bees with soapy water

    I want to address this issue because lots of non-beekeepers land on this site looking for ways to kill bees without using pesticides. This is ...

  • How to make a cut-down split

    A cut-down split is a special technique often used by comb honey producers. The purpose of a cut-down split is to maximize the number of ...

  • How to make a moisture quilt for a Langstroth hive

    For years I’ve been trying to reduce moisture accumulation in my wintering hives. Then last summer, after much reading about Warré hives, I decided to ...

  • How to make a screened inner cover

    Screened inner covers can give your hive a lot of good ventilation. They are used in place of regular inner covers and are designed the ...

  • How to make a split

    In simplest terms, a split is made by dividing an existing colony into two or more parts. Many variations exist. In fact, the methods of ...

  • How to make a swarm-control split

    Hives can be split for many reasons. A beekeeper may split a hive in order to increase the number of hives, to raise queens, to ...

  • How to make a vertical split

    This is one of the easiest ways to split a colony and, if things go wrong, it is easy to undo. I call it a ...

  • How to make a walkaway split

    In contrast to a swarm-control split where you need to know the whereabouts of your queen, a walkaway split can be made without having to ...

  • How to make an awesome nesting block

    The conventional wisdom about nesting blocks is that you take a 5/16-inch bit and drill holes that are roughly 5-10 inches long. This will attract ...

  • How to make an overnight split

    The overnight split is a good choice if you are unable to find your queen but you want to know where she is after the ...

  • How to make bees go through a queen excluder

    Beekeepers often call them "honey excluders" for a good reason: worker bees hate to go through them. The theory I hear most frequently is that ...

  • How to make follower boards for a Langstroth hive

    Here is one method of making follower boards for a Langstroth hive (also known as dummy boards). I made these for a deep brood box, ...

  • How to make protein-enriched candy boards

    I just made my first batch of candy cakes enriched with pollen substitute and I am very happy with the result. For years I’ve been messing ...

  • How to make starter strips

    Starter strips can be used in nearly any type of hive. They are used in place of foundation in hives where you do not want ...

  • How to manage bees for section honey

    Managing bees for cut comb or chunk honey is relatively simple, but coaxing them into other containers is a different story. Unless a colony is ...

  • How to mark a queen

    Many experienced beekeepers mark a queen by holding onto her legs with one hand and quickly dabbing the paint with the other hand. It looks ...

  • How to move a bumble bee nest

    The first question to ask yourself is this: Must you actually move the bumble bee nest? Is such a drastic measure really necessary? Consider: [list icon="plus"] Bumble bees ...

  • How to move a hive

    You hear it all the time: you can’t move a hive a short distance because the field force will return to the original location of ...

  • How to move a hive any distance

    It's really odd to find something you wrote being used as the main topic of somebody else's video, especially when you've never met or even ...

  • How to open the brood nest

    Now that I covered checkerboarding as a swarm control strategy, I want to at least mention a practice called “opening the brood nest.” This is ...

  • How to over-winter a nuc

    After my last post, “How to keep queen bees in reserve,” a number of people asked, “Then what? What do you do with them in ...

  • How to prepare your hives for winter: a checklist

    How you prepare your hives for winter depends on where you live, so some of the suggestions below may not apply to you. Nevertheless, the ...

  • How to prevent moldy syrup in bee feeders

    A reader asked this question yesterday and I thought it was worth writing about. Sugar syrup will mold very quickly, especially in the physical conditions ...

  • How to prevent swarming with a Taranov board

    The Taranov board is an ingenious system used to separate bees that are going to swarm from bees that will stay in the parent hive. ...

  • How to remove propolis from your camera

    I hate to spend time re-inventing the wheel, but that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Whenever I take pictures for this blog, I always end up ...

  • How to start a queen in a two-frame nuc

    I had a request to write about how I start queens using a two-frame mating box such as the Brushy Mountain “Queen Castle.” The Queen ...

  • How to start multiple hives from a swarm-control split

    Last time I wrote about a simple way to split a hive to prevent swarming. It is quick and easy and results in two fairly ...

  • How to stop robbing

    No matter how you do it, you must stop robbing or you may lose your colony. Robbing bees will tear open all the honey cells ...

  • How to super for section honey

    ­­­­­­­For many years, Honey in the Comb by Eugene E. Killion was considered the bible of comb honey production. On the flyleaf is a photo ...

  • How to tame a baggie feeder

    Although more art than science is required to use baggie feeders, they are still my favorite bee "service" because they drown so few bees and ...

  • How to use a baggie feeder

    A baggie feeder is nothing more than a 3-inch deep super—a perfect tool for the hobbyist. You can buy them, build them, or slice an ...

  • How to use a double-screen board

    What is it? A double-screen board is about 1-inch deep with an opening in the center. The center opening is covered with screens on both sides ...

  • How to use a quilt with a candy board

    This week I want to share some more variations of the moisture quilt that were sent in by readers. Each of them has been customized ...

  • How to use a slatted rack

    The slatted rack is my all-time favorite piece of bee furniture, and I wouldn’t try to keep bees in a Langstroth-style hive without one. I ...

  • How to use a swarm guard

    A swarm guard is similar to a queen excluder except it is designed to fit over the entrance to a hive. Just like a queen ...

  • How to use an eke

    Okay, I admit it. I’m enthralled with the word “eke.” But even though I called them “spacer rims” until recently, I’ve been a fan of ...

  • How to wrap a hive

    Editor's Note: Today's post is written by Jim Withers, a six-year beekeeper who keeps 140 colonies in and around Genesee County, Michigan. When I began blogging ...

  • Ick! Mold in my hive!

    Mold seems to be the topic of the week, but that is not surprising. This is the time of year when you open a hive ...

  • Managing packages and swarms

    Sometimes little gems of wisdom get hidden within the comments section. In this tip, Jim of Withers Mountain Honey Farm in Flint, Michigan, describes how ...

  • Monitoring mites with a sticky board

    A lot is written about how to monitor mite loads with a sticky board. A sticky board is just a piece of thin wood or ...

  • My bees left! How to prevent absconding

    You are a brand new beekeeper. Three days ago you proudly installed your first package of bees according to directions that you read a dozen ...

  • My design for a bait hive

    I have been using two of the commercially available flower-pot shaped swarm traps for years. Each year I hang them up at the recommended height ...

  • Partially capped frames: what to do?

    It's that time of year when we look at partially filled, partially capped honey frames and say, "Now what?" Here is a question I received ...

  • Pyramiding: getting bees to move up

    I have a few questions about my bee colony. The hive swarmed twice this year and has still grown to a good size colony, which ...

  • Seven types of beekeeping advice to avoid

    [caption id="attachment_7128" align="alignright" width="376"] Hive by Lori Leaumont.[/caption] Having trouble sorting through all the conflicting beekeeping information? Can't tell fact from fiction? If so, you are ...

  • Splitting the top-bar hive with a shook swarm

    Today I split my top-bar hive. It is eleven months to the day since they swarmed down from the sky and took over the abandoned ...

  • The great divide: a Taranov split

    I recognized the cacophony coming from my top-bar hive. The insistent roar told me those bees were ready to swarm. They were milling about, climbing ...

  • The how and why of bee beards

    If you are unfamiliar with such things, a bee beard is a stunt or trick. It is a way to get bees to cluster on ...

  • The minimalist guide to winter feeding

    In the past, I have cooked for my winter bees. I have made fondant, slurry, semi-hard sugar cakes, hard as rock sugar cakes, candy boards, ...

  • The secret to brushing bees

    Beekeepers who do not use fume boards or bee escapes to remove bees from their honey supers often brush the bees from each frame before ...

  • Tips for planting a pollinator garden

    When planting a pollinator garden, keep in mind that pollinators need food during the entire growing season. Although some species live only a few weeks, ...

  • Update on how to eat comb honey

    Since my post on eating comb honey, I’ve been looking for additional suggestions. The following is just a variation on what I already ...

  • Using the Cloake board method to raise queens

    The Cloake board, invented by Harry Cloake of New Zealand, is a piece of beekeeping equipment used to raise queens. The Cloake board method of ...

  • What size hardware cloth is best for beehives?

    If you are building or repairing your own bee “furniture” you will find there are many sizes of hardware cloth available. Usually, the ones you ...

  • “Why did my bees leave?”

    Several people wrote in to say they installed a new package of bees only to have all the bees disappear a few days later. They ...