Saturday, December 27, 2014

Musings about Beekeeping Development Projects: Training New Beekeepers



To say what is the best way to train new beekeepers to the point that they are self-sufficient is a complicated subject, just as many of the other poster have mentioned. There are lots of variables with which you need to deal. You need to consider, among other things, the type of beekeeping being taught (Langstroth vs. top bar hives), the background of the trainees, and the funding available (or not available).


Teaching Jamaican beekeepers of the St. Mary Bee Farmers Association how to make simple pollen traps that can be used with top bar hives. Top bar hives are just as good as Langstroth hives for pollen collection but require a trap with a slightly different design and dimensions.


I’ve been keeping bees for just about 25 years now. My experiences have ranged from running my own top bar hive apiaries in Honduras to working with commercial beekeepers doing honey production and almond pollination in the United States. Throughout all of this I have also been involved in beekeeping training, beginning with Peace Corps in Honduras and most recently in Jamaica through Partners of the America’s Farmer to Farmer program.


Based on my experiences, these are some of my thoughts. 


The Trainees


It may be hard to know at the beginning of the project who the really motivated people will be, but you need to try to identify them as well as possible. Good profits can be made from the sale of honey which motivates everyone. After initial first hand experiences, however, not everyone will be willing to actually work with stinging insects and put in the necessary time to manage them correctly. 

Unfortunately you may not even know this until after the project has gone on for a while and considerable money has been spent on giving the persons training, equipment, and hives that they decide they no longer want to deal with bees.


Students in the agricultural section of the local high school during the apiary visit of a workshop on the basics of beekeeping. Beekeeping was just one aspect of a more complete agricultural program. The first day was spent in a classroom talking about the bees themselves, hive products and an overview of what beekeeping involves. All of this was put more into perspective the second day with the apiary visit.


I am not of the belief of just handing out things for free. There needs to be some sort of responsibility on the part of the trainees. They need to put a type of personal investment into the project. Maybe they need to earn the right to the equipment and hives by attending all the training sessions. Maybe they need to put in a certain amount of work days with the training apiary. Maybe they themselves will make all of their equipment.


You also need to consider carefully whether it is better to run the project as a group or as individuals. I’ve heard about and seen projects here in Honduras that eventually failed because of personality problems between members or discontent with unequal workloads. Beekeeping isn´t like planting corn where you can get everyone in there to plant it, than weed it and finally harvest it. There are things to be done but you probably don’t necessarily need all 10 members to do it.


On the other hand, in a group some members will be able to stimulate the others. There are people that need that extra push that comes from being responsible to the other group members. Not everyone is completely self-motivated.


Should it be a very tight group where all work and profits are shared? Or maybe it should be a looser organization where trainings and honey sales are done as a group, but everyone manages their own hives? Or is it a group just for training purposes and that’s it? This will influence what the beekeepers need to learn. Serious thought needs to be put into this including conversations directly with the recipients of the project/training.


The Trainer


Take great care in choosing the trainer. A trainer doesn’t just need to know the material, but also how to teach it.


There are lots of people who know beekeeping but that doesn’t mean they can train others, especially in a group situation. There are also good trainers but they may not have a wide enough beekeeping experience to really teach what is necessary.


The content participants of a workshop in Hanover, Jamaica, on how to build a simple cement mold to make sheets of wax foundation. This is a way for a beekeeper to be self-sufficient and not have to depend on the bigger beekeepers that have foundation mills. This is also a way to make sure your own wax stays in your beekeeping operation and to not have to buy foundation whose wax comes from unknown sources (and possible impregnated with chemical pesticides or miticides).


The trainer needs to be able to relate to the situation of the trainees (culturally and economically) and give them the alternatives necessary. It makes no sense to talk about and promote queen excluders if they aren’t available or the price is beyond the reach of the beekeepers.


The trainer should have an open mind and be able to embrace all types of beekeeping. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. The trainer should be able to give the trainees options during each facet of the training, in both management of bees and equipment. There is no one right way to keep bees. It’s more about what works for each person according to their personal situation.


The Trainings


There needs to be a balance between giving the theory and putting it into practice. I always see training as a mixture of being in a class room and in the field to accomplish this. Both have their places.

Actual hands-on beekeeping is the best way—and this is obtained in the apiary with the bees themselves. This also could mean getting a hammer in your hand and pounding some nails. If you actually do it, you understand it and remember it. 


A training of new beekeepers from several communities in the Intibucá area of Honduras. Their project was financed by a local NGO and I was invited to give them a two-day workshop. It was only an introduction but not enough for them to be called “beekeepers.”


But being suited up and in the sun isn’t always very conducive to learning. If the bees also happen to get ornery it is even harder to concentrate and elaborate on something, especially with new beekeepers. All they or you may be thinking about is getting the hive closed as soon as possible or finding some shade. This is where the classroom with fans or even air conditioning is useful. People can be more comfortable to discuss and toss around ideas. 


But training in a classroom setting also requires the proper technics. You may not be able to have an actual beehive but it can still be hands-on. For example, when I give beekeeping workshops, I will bring an actual hive box but set up with real-sized false combs (photo copies mounted on cardboard) that  cover everything from small new combs to old black combs, from eggs to capped brood, worker cells and drone cells, even queen cells. You can get the participants out of their seats to manipulate things and demonstrate the techniques that were being taught and discussed.


When in a classroom I also like to use Power Point presentations and a projector. Learning is much more effective when you have photos and drawings to illustrate what you are talking about. It is not just hearing it, but also seeing it. But this also means having electricity which is not always possible. If there is time, the same presentations can be set up on large pieces of flip chart paper, even using enlarged photocopies of the pictures one wants to use.


As a trainer, don’t talk down to the people. Don’t demean them. Use what they already may know as a way of easing into the alternatives you want to present. Don’t just talk to them but let them talk to you.


Follow up training/visits


Most of the basics can probably be covered in a workshop anywhere from two to five days. It depends on how intensive you can get with the participants. Just when thinking about the basics you need to cover things like how to set up an apiary, equipment, basic bee biology, getting bees, management techniques (during the buildup, honey flow and dearth), feeding options, honey harvest, honey extraction/processing, and wax rendering. Can they properly absorb and understand everything necessary to begin beekeeping in that amount of time? Maybe, maybe not.


Showing Jamaican beekeepers how simple frames can be used with a top bar hive for easily  transferring comb from a colony cut out.


So follow up is absolutely necessary in my opinion. After the participants start to put into practice the workshop materials and have their own personal experiences with bee hives, lots of questions will probably start to come up. 


One option is to establish a mentor system with an experienced local beekeeper—if there is one who meets the criteria and is willing. If possible, bring the mentors to the training also so everyone is on the same level with what is being taught and goals of the project. No beekeeper knows everything, all need to continually learn. The advantage of the experienced beekeeper is that they can quickly put into context any new technique or information being offered because of their own experiences with bees. 


Another option is for the trainer or other trainers to schedule periodic visits with the beekeeper or the group—ideally maybe every other month at least. One goal would be to elaborate on certain aspects of beekeeping. For example, if harvest season is approaching, the trainer reviews what will need to be done and go more in depth than the initial training.


I would have these follow-up visits for both dealing with the issues that the beekeepers had been seeing or experiencing with their hives and teaching/giving them more knowledge. Beekeeping can be a very in-depth subject. Just think about books like the ABC and XYZ of Beekeeping which runs just about 1000 pages. 


Think also about actual visits to the hives of the participants to do first-hand inspections for giving advice.


Funding


You get what you fund. Time needs to be invested in teaching the new beekeepers properly so the project is successful. Money also can’t be misspent, whether it is government funds or private donations to a NGO. There needs to be results and accountability.


Workshops on how to make top bar hives with beekeepers from the St. Mary and St. Catherine Bee Farmers Associations in Jamaica.


For me the project can’t be underfunded. I’ve seen and heard of projects in Honduras where beekeeping groups were set up that later failed because funding for it didn’t go far enough. Lots of money was spent on the equipment and the hives but not enough on the training to manage them. The training wasn’t extensive enough or what the people actually needed. Follow up wasn’t included. Passing on the knowledge is what makes the project successful. Just giving the bees isn’t. 


Take some of that money and invest it to make sure the new beekeepers learn how to make their own equipment and how to catch swarms or remove wild colonies. In most of these types of projects the persons will have more time than money. You don’t really need to start thinking about buying equipment until you get to the point where the time building the boxes is more valuable for actual hive management because you have that many hives now.


The project also has to think about just how self-sufficient they want the beekeepers to be—buying equipment or building their own equipment. Buying equipment means having the financial resources. I often see development agencies providing the initial equipment but not enough thought is put into what happens when the beekeepers want to expand. Will there be enough earnings to actually buy more equipment or will those earning be needed for basics like better food for the table and education for the children? Just because the hives are producing honey doesn’t mean it is easy to just invest much of that back into the project. 


I’m always of the belief that it’s best to teach the beekeepers how to make their own equipment. It’s a teaching tool in itself because they understand why the measurements of a Langstroth box are such as they are so it works properly. And then if they need to cut costs in order to expand, they can.

----Tom


I recently posted this blog entry on the TECA site of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. TECA is an information platform of technologies and practices for small agricultural producers where there has been a discussion about “how people learn skills to become effective and profitable keepers of bees.” Go to this discussion board: http://teca.fao.org/discussion/training-new-beekeepers-imparting-life-skills-effectively-and-affordably

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Musings About Economical Beekeeping: Inexpensive Alternative Hive Materials



Through the years I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with various materials for building top bar hives (tbhs). The ideal is always some nice boards, such as termite-proof cedar. Unfortunately this is not feasible for everyone. I’ve seen the difficult economic conditions of people (including myself several times) after living in Honduras for more than 20 years. The ideal is only a dream for many. Having an additional income generating activity, however, is a necessity.



After reading this some people may ask why go through all the trouble to make these boxes when something like pine boards should be cheap enough and much easier to work with. The truth is that not everyone has those extra funds on hands for even this. There are too many people in the world living from hand to mouth. Having to buy enough boards means that they may very well sacrifice on something essential, either related to their health, diet, or children’s education.


There are alternatives, however, that can make a top bar hive practically free or at the very least substantially cheaper. All you need is to use your imagination and ingenuity (and have the time to make the boxes).


The Tin Can Hive



Tin cans have been a common material in many of my tbh boxes in Honduras. I happened upon a big source of large vegetable oil cans and have been using them up little by little. This came about with one of my present apiaries that I have with a Honduran friend, Marcos. 


He was working with a development organization at that time and the project had a food-for-work program. One of the food stuffs the people would get were large tins of vegetable oil. It wasn’t the favorite option for cooking and people would often sell them. The development organization didn’t like this so the people had to bring their own containers for the oil. The cans would be emptied into them, making it more difficult to resell the oil.


Marcos and I came across a large pile of these now empty cans. After looking at them for a bit I realized they could be incorporated into a tbh box, cutting costs. When the top and bottom were sliced off you would have a nice piece of tin for the side of the box.


Another advantage of the tin cans is that they keep the box very light. Normally I cannot physically drive right up to the apiary because of the terrain (the nice flat places are usually used for crops or cattle, leaving the out-of-the-way rocky and hilly places for the hives, especially since they are with Africanized bees). If you want the hives in a coffee area, the terrain is even worse—all up and down in the mountains. These boxes are very easy to carry considerable distances.


They also last. Some are now more than eight years old and still in good condition. The slanted sides of a trapezoidal top bar hive help keep rain off of them and stop excessive rusting. It’s the wood that doesn’t last because of termites.


The bees don’t mind a bit of tin in their hives. This one would get filled up year after year—nearly five feet of bees and comb. This box also includes a screen bottom.


The thin metal walls have caused me no problems, even in the heat of Honduras. I do always try to keep them in at least a bit of shade (although that may be more for me so I don’t overheat when working with them.). If there is comb collapse, it’s usually my own mishandling of the combs.


An alternative to the tin cans is the aluminum sheets you can get from a printing plant, such as a newspaper. They are even easier to work with. They aren’t quite as strong as tin so it’s necessary to transport them with care to avoid poking holes through it. They aren’t free, however, but relatively inexpensive. Ideally I keep them for covers rather than cut them apart.


The Bamboo Wattle Hive



The “Rasta Hive” is made of thin bamboo strips that are “woven” together. A filler material such as the ribs of banana leaves or palm fronds are used to seal up any resulting spaces.


This box (and the ones that follow) came about from my experiences in Jamaica through the Farmer to Farmer program. I have been invited several times now to give workshops on top bar hive beekeeping and other aspects of this activity. Many people in this Caribbean country face the same economic challenges as people in Honduras. In some ways it is worse since pine, readily available in Honduran forests, has to be imported.


The inspiration for these hives came from woven bamboo wall partitions of the cabin I stayed in at Yerba Buena Farm, the coordinators of this beekeeping project. Kwao, the owner, likes to keep the cabins and farm eco-friendly and has incorporated natural materials into the buildings.



Bamboo is a resource that is readily available on the island—it’s actually an invasive species. There are programs underway to eliminate it and replant native hardwood species.


Some care needs to be used to completely fill the spaces that result from bending the bamboo around the center bar. The filler material of choice for me is the ribs of banana leaves. Other material can be used such as the fronds from coconut palm or something the Jamaicans call screw pine. The fol
ks at Yerba Buena Farm have seen that the bees will actually seal up any spaces left with propolis during certain times of the year and then later open them up again.


The idea for the wattle of the “Rasta Hive” came from the wall panels of the cabins at Yerba Buena Farm. The banana leaf rib filler material helped eliminate most of the spaces between the bamboo strips. The few that remained were propolized shut by the bees or left open as a secondary entrance.


The wattle hive is not the fastest type to make. The most time consuming part seems to be preparing the materials. The right type/size of bamboo must be found and then washed, split into strips and the edges trimmed. The final product, however, is beautiful. It would be the perfect hive for someone’s flower garden or backyard.


The Banana Leaf Hive





In my readings on beekeeping I have come across straw hives being made in Europe. A jig was used to pack and sew the straw together to form pieces for the sides of the box.


I was thinking that something similar could be done to make top bar hives. Jamaica again gave me the chance to experiment a bit with this alternative. Straw per se isn’t available in Jamaica so I started looking for other alternatives—such as the ribs of banana leaves that I used in the bamboo wattle hives.


You do need to have a lot of them on hand but luckily everyone seems to grow bananas. It is no problem to get the leaves. It is just a matter of putting in the time to strip the ribs out and collect enough. Actually making the hive is fairly simple.

Basically the leaf ribs are packed directly into the sides as tightly as possible and then sewn so they don’t start to bulge outward. I even went as far as making the floor with the leaf ribs.



A temporary strip of wood was added to help pack the banana leaf ribs. After sewing the ribs to the outer strips it was removed, leaving the box ready for bees and their combs.


One of the unknowns is how it will work if there are small hive beetles present. It may give them good hiding places if not packed together tightly enough. The other is how long they will last. They will need a good cover. You could also throw some varnish on the outside but then you are defeating the purpose of keeping them economical.


The Corn Stalk Hive



After making the banana leaf rib hive, my mind started to churn with finding other materials. While taking a break in the hammock one afternoon I saw Kwao and his boys come down to pick some corn they had planted near my cabin. Watching them, I thought why not use the corn stalks. When dry they are very rigid and also thick, making collecting enough fast.


The box in the pictures was made at the end of my last trip to Jamaica. Time was limited so the stalks didn’t dry out as much as I ideally wanted. The first impression is that the box will work just fine for bees.


After attaching the top strip of wood, the excess corn stalks that stuck out were eliminated. The final product can include a bamboo roof.


I think the same can be done using the smaller branches of bamboo as wall and floor material.


The Wicker Hive





Wicker is another material available in Jamaica for hive making. This one was made by Yerba Buena Farm. The process is a bit more complicated but can be learned. The eleven-year-old at Yerba Buena farm did so and has made different projects for the house. Care must be taken to get the weave as tight as possible or lots of spaces result. In a hot tropical climate the extra ventilation may be good. The problem is that it is much more prone to robbing.

But like the bamboo wattle hive, the result is beautiful.

 
The Grass Hive



This is another one made by Yerba Buena Farm. Although it appears a bit rustic, the bees liked it, according to Agape at the farm. Using the same grass but with the frame I made for the banana leaf hive, I think it would come out really nice.


The Burlap Bag and Cloth Hive



These two hives don’t seem to be long term options but can be used in a pinch. One is made using a simple burlap bag while the other is with some sort of heavy cloth. Although the bees seem to like them, the problem is that they eventually start chewing the cloth, creating holes and more entrances.


But at the very least this is a way for a new beekeeper with limited resources to get started. They should probably last one season, hopefully until the beekeeper can get their first harvest and reinvest in some sort of more permanent material.


Although burlap bags can be gotten cheap, or even free, the material doesn’t last long. The bees have other ideas about where they want their entrance.


Does anyone have other ideas for inexpensive bee boxes? Let me know.



---Tom


The box can always be used as a fruit basket while waiting for the bees to put into it!


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Musings About Economical Beekeeping: “Hives for Nothing, Bees for Free”



One of the beauties of top bar hive beekeeping is how cheaply it can be done if necessary—or any beekeeping actually. Many alternative, recyclable materials can be used, especially since a tbh is so simple compared with a framed Langstroth hive. They don’t need top-notch construction or good boards. This became very evident with an apiary I started with my brother several years ago.



Lots of times people want to have pretty bee hives. Some hives even go as far as having fancy copper roofs—something beautiful for the backyard flower garden. This is nice luxury but not necessary—it doesn’t make any difference to the bees (it’s a beekeeper thing). Consider natural hives in hollow trees or colonies that take up residence in the walls of a building. The common Langstroth boxes are built for the convenience of the beekeeper, not for the bees. 


Living in Honduras has caused me to find alternatives to make beekeeping as economical as possible. Money always seems to be in short supply and people have to find ways to stretch it as much as possible. Since top bar hives are so simple, it is easy to find ways to include alternative materials to avoid buying lots of expensive boards. Buying Langstroth equipment is often not a viable option because of the costs. This even holds true for many people in the United States.


I started an apiary with my brother Dave back in 2008. This was the second year that I had returned to Wisconsin to work seasonally with some commercial beekeepers. One aspect that was appealing about this work was being close to my family. The folks I worked with basically lived in the area where I grew up and where my brothers and sister were living. One of their bee yards, in fact, was only about two miles from my childhood home. 

 The line of beehives--a mixture of a couple Langstroth hives, horizontal top bar hives built to accommodate frames, and trapezoidal top bar hives.


I decided at the beginning of this second season that I needed to have at least a couple of my own hives to play around with on the weekends. I proposed this idea to my older brother and he jumped at it. He had his house just outside of town on some 20 acres of property—more than enough room to set up the hives and not worry about them bothering neighbors.


The idea was not to invest a lot of money. We were going to set them up and manage them the same way I did with my bee hives in Honduras. This meant building the boxes ourselves and using alternative or recyclable materials. We planned a mixture of normal trapezoidal top bar hives and rectangular long hives that could hold frames and use top bars.


Building the Boxes for Nothing


Part of this could be considered luck since much of the materials sort of fell into my lap through my family. But at the same time it was a matter of knowing how to make these materials work for building the equipment and what alternatives would make the project possible. 


The first thing I needed to think about was wood for the boxes. This is where my brother-in-law Tom, a dairy farmer, stepped into the picture. He had some boards partially buried under the straw in the hay mow of the barn. They had been there when he bought the farm—just about 20 years before hand. Add on some more years (it looked like they had once been part of an old barn that was torn down at some point) which meant the boards could have been some 40 years old, if not more.


They were in surprisingly good shape. I just took a belt sander to them to strip off the old paint and the make them a bit neater. The boards were still solid and good enough for the bees.

 Free material means economical beekeeping. Heavy-duty pallets from the door factory courtesy of my younger brother, old barn boards in my brother-in-law’s hay mow, and cement blocks from his neighbor.


The floors for the boxes came from some pallets Tom had lying around his machine shop. I tore them apart to piece together the bottoms.


The wood for the bars came courtesy of my younger brother Dennis. He was a supervisor in a door factory at that time. They would get very heavy material shipped in to make the doors, which came on heavy-duty pallets made of two by fours. My brother could get these for free. After tearing them apart, the wood was perfect for cutting out the top bars. All these nails got recycled also.

 Cutting wood for building boxes--part of these were for the permanent bee boxes and the other part for trap hives.


The hive stands were courtesy of my brother-in-law’s neighbor who had a pile of old cement blocks lying near the road by his property. Tom asked about the blocks and we got them for free—enough to set up a good size apiary.


So we were getting close. The last problem was finding a solution for the covers. Ideally a sheet metal lid would have been nice, but that would have involved money. The other alternative was to use aluminum printing plates from a newspaper. These are the covers for my hives in Honduras. I called around to the local printing shops and newspapers but didn’t have any luck finding some.


The solution came from looking at the garbage bin on my brother-in-law’s farms. It was filled with the remnants of the large plastic silage bags he would fill with cow fodder. He had some normal cement silos but also used these silage bags. These would lie on the ground and get filled with chopped corn or hay. Full, the bag could be some five or six feet high and maybe 100 feet long. The plastic was thick, meant to last a couple years. 


Big pieces of this would get dumped into the garbage bin as the silage bag was emptied—large but not quite big enough to cover the top bar hive (but the pieces did work fine to cover the trap hives we later made to catch swarms).


A side business of my brother-in-law’s farm was filling these large bags for other farmers. What would happen is that at the end of the season there might not be enough silage to completely fill that last bag. The end would get cut off and there would be a big piece of plastic left over (think about 20 or so feet). He gave us some of this left-over bag. We cut it into pieces big enough to cover the hives.


Top bar hives don’t actually need a formal cover. The bars themselves close up the hive. Something is needed to just keep the rain off of them. We made some simple bungee cords from bailer twine and a piece of inner tube to help keep the plastic on the boxes.




Our simple trapezoidal-shaped top bar hive— with comb built naturally by the bees.


Add onto all of this the bee veils and gloves made by my wife who is handy with a sewing machine. Many times I just wear two pairs of normal cloth garden gloves to protect my hands, the outer one with a sleeve sewn to it. The veils are made from mosquito netting or fiberglass window screen. Although I did have a normal bee suit, I usually just wore an extra shirt made with a heavier-type cloth. It’s nothing fancy but more than functional.


Getting the Bees


We did invest in some of the initial bees—but at a discount since they came from the folks I was working with. When their bees come back from almond pollination in California, they are normally very strong. The almond nectar helps them to start brooding and building up--too many bees in fact for Wisconsin that early in the Spring. Making packages and splits was necessary. If not, all the hives would be swarming once the blooms began in earnest.


A part of them, however, was free. We managed to catch several swarms with trap hives. These, like the permanent top bar boxes, were also made from recycled material. In this case we had some pieces of chipboard from the door factory and the pieces from the pallets. Some recycled bailing twine was used to hang them.

 Trap hives to catch swarms means free bees. My brother and I managed to get several extra hives started this way.


My brother and I also had the opportunity to remove a wild colony from the wall of a shed that was going to be torn down at one of the local feed mills. We installed this in an old Langstroth box I got from my employers. This was easiest because we could tie the comb we removed into frames. The colony was big, going from the floor to the roof. The top part was full of honey, a nice added bonus.

 An extra hive started courtesy of a colony cut out at a local feed mill. The bees were housed in the wall of a shed that was going to be demolished to make room for another large round feed bin.


That first year we got honey, a nice reward for the work put into building the boxes. My niece and nephew even took some of the honey to the regional state fair as a 4-H project and won blue ribbons for it. 


After three season of working back in Wisconsin with bees, the situation changed with the job I had there. I returned to Honduras full time, going back to my former teaching job with fifth and sixth graders. 


My brother still manages the hives—about 12 of them every year. The honey is sold at the local farmers market, giving him spending money for family trips and archery shoots (a serious hobby for him and his kids). Dave also mentions that he now has one more activity for when he eventually retires.

---Tom


Setting up the bee yard--we began with several five-frame nucs and later got several three-pound packages. 

 Checking out the progress in one of the horizontal long hives. These were a combination of top bars and Langstroth frames. They were started with some five-frame nucs we purchased. The remainder of the box had top bars. The idea was to eventually have the brood area with natural comb on top bars and then frames for honey that could be harvested using an extractor.

 A rectangular top bar hive started with a five-frame nuc installed.


The comings and goings at the hive entrance—in this case a top bar hive made from old barn boards.



My brother Dave and I during the colony removal from the feed mill shed. There was comb from floor to ceiling with an extra bonus of honey.


 Our first honey harvest--we couldn’t resist not going into the hives to get a sample of our (and the bees) efforts in making beautiful Wisconsin clover honey.


 My neice and nephews, active 4-H members, eventually harvested, bottled, and prepared some of the honey on their own to take to the regional fair—with good results.


The fruits of our labor.



My brother Dave and I with trap hives and bee boxes.



Version in Spanish (versión en Español) in my other blog "Reflesiones Sobre Apicultura."