The weather this past weekend was beautiful and I decided to check my hive. The temperature was supposedly around 10 degrees Celsius, but it felt a bit cooler than that. To play it safe, we did not open the hive more than just the outer (AKA telescoping) cover.

The good news is that as of March 30, 2013, I still have bees! (Although I don’t want to speak too soon.) I won’t yet consider this a successful “overwinter” until there is lots of forage available and I’ve seen the next generation of worker born and working.

The bees are still clustered at the top of the hive, and those that are making cleansing flights are doing so from the ventilation that I added in the fall, instead of the lower entrance. I guess that’s OK. I’m willing to bet they’ll return to the proper entrance once things pick up in a few weeks.

Back in the fall, I was interviewed by a group of four 4th-year Systems Design Engineering students from the University of Waterloo. They have spent the last several months researching beekeepers and the problems that they encounter in the apiary.

I went to their final presentation to see what they had come up with. The students designed an innovative system referred to as the Beekeeper Effort Enhancement System (B.E.E.S.) that involves cameras, weight sensors and a unique horizontal layout system using Langstroth hive bodies. Here is a quick interview showing what they created.


Update April 8, 2013:

The team from UW sent me their large poster from the display which I have linked to below. Click the image for the large size.

BEES UW poster


Beekeeping in Ontario - Give-away!

Beekeeping in Ontario has paired up with Bee Outfitters┬áto offer a “Beekeeping Essentials” prize pack. One lucky person will receive:

  1. Brand new “Ventilated” bee jacket (size Large)
  2. Brand new Dadant Smoker with protective cage
  3. Brand new 10″ Hive Tool

You can enter by subscribing to the mailing list, posting on Twitter and on Facebook. Please visit the new Contests Page for more details on the give-away and full contest details.

I recently made some lip balm based on several different recipes I found on the Internet and combining that knowledge with flavours that I enjoy. It turns out that lip balm is ridiculously easy to make. You can make it in your microwave in under 5 minutes by simply estimating measurements.



  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of beeswax
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mint/peppermint extract

Heat up the oil in a pyrex measuring cup until it’s hot enough to melt beeswax. Then add in your beeswax and put it back in the microwave, stirring frequently until everything is melted. Finally, stir in your mint/peppermint extract and pour into a container of your choosing.

Lip balm in Altoids container

Today I help my friend Geoff build his top bar hive. Here are a few quick photos from the build.
Plywood and wood

Top bar hive follower boards

Top Bar Hive