Beemused: A Blog

Hobby beekeeping in central Massachusetts

About Us

We are new (in 2007) hobby beekeepers living in central Massachusetts. Besides our bees, we have 3 cats and a dog, and pursue many other interests, such as computer and Internet activity, metalworking (I am a jeweler; please visit my website ), and cooking and sustainable agriculture.

There are currently 5 responses to “About Us”

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  1. 1 On June 27th, 2007, Jason Scott said:

    Hi there. My name’s Jason Scott and I’m a bunch of things myself: unix administrator, historian ( and documentary filmmaker ( I live over in Waltham.

    On an impulse, I thought I’d propose: could I stop by and spend a day shooting you and the bees? I figure some interview time, some shooting time, the “day” being less than 24 hours, of course.

    My cell phone is 617-269-8696 and the e-mail address ( are both good ways to reach me. This weekend is free for me, as is next, and probably others, depending on your mood.

  2. 2 On December 8th, 2007, Zelma Boggess said:

    I am a new hobby bee keeper this year also. Have 3 hives on 2 acres with house, flower gardens, fruit, and nut trees, etc.

    Passions are gardening, birds particularly Purple Martins, butterflies, and now honey bees.

    So far I am still a novice at bee keeping; have a distant mentor who sold me the bees; and was looking for some type of honey bee forum when I found your blog. I live in West Virginia.

    I haven’t found a honey bee forum yet, but your blog is helpful.


  3. 3 On April 6th, 2008, nkybeekeeper said:

    I’m also a first-year beekeeper (2008) and have been reading through your blog this past winter in anticipation of what to expect my first year. I’m starting out this spring with two hives of Italians. I’m fortunate enough to have more than willing farmers to ‘host’ my bees on their property in exchange for pollination of their fruit and vegetable crops.

    I’m curious to know, if you were to summarize, what are the top 10 things that a beginner should know while keeping bees their first year?

    Thanks and all the best for 2008.


  4. 4 On April 6th, 2008, AF said:

    Hi DP, and nice to meet you! And congratulations on your start in beekeeping- I hope you’ll find it as satisfying as we are.

    Some things to consider about having your hives on other people’s land: do the farmers use pesticides or any of the GM crops that contain pesticides? because those are not good for the girls. If they do spray at all, you’d like to have a day’s notice so you can go to the hives in the evening and close the bees in until it’s safe. I think there are also other issues, and I know that I’ve seen at least 1 sample contract online that experienced beekeepers strongly suggest you and the property owner sign, just to make sure everyone is agreed on things. Like, no one goes into the hives without your explicit knowledge and consent. And that the hives belong to YOU. And I[’m sure there are other things, too, to it might be a good idea to goggle for such a contract.

    Apart from that, I don’t know that I can think of 10 things off the top of my head! Hmm. Well, 1 thing: bees appreciate benign neglect. They are not at all fond of having THE HIVE messed with, so doing that as little as possible makes them happier and more productive.

    Also, if you’ve gotten stung or gotten the girls mad, wash your beesuit! By the end of the season, Justin’s was enough to get them mad even before he came close- and now that he’s washed it, they’re mellow again.

    When you are inspecting the hive, as much as possible do it in the middle of the day rather than early or late, and they are happiest in medium temp (70-low 80s F), not very humid, and with a slight breeze. Hot and humid makes them cranky, and early and late in the day more of the workers are “at home” rather than foraging, so there are more bees to deal with! I think the foragers tend to be somewhat more stroppy than the house bees, too.

    Keep an eye on their stores, and I suggest supplementing them if you need to (although some beekeepers do NOT agree!). Each hive should have a minimum of 3 frames each of honey and pollen stores, or they’re not doing well. Also, make sure they have room to work! “Honey-bound” is when the broodnest is crowded with honey stores, so there’s not room to lay. You don’t want that! if the middle 8 frames of a 10-frame hive are starting to look fullish, make VERY sure they’ve got another hive body or super to start to use! While most say Italians aren’t likely to swarm in their first year (that’s something we’re worrying about as our second year starts), but if there’s no room in the hive, they will.

    We’re very happy with our Italians! They are generally pretty mellow, and so attractive too! I love seeing them even at a distance- they’re like tiny golden motes of light.

    I hope this helps some, and I’ll see if I can come up with a full 10 things, and maybe do a post if I can. Thanks for the idea, and your interest in Beemused! And I hope you, too, have a great year with your girls!


  5. 5 On October 25th, 2010, Ben Coffland said:

    Quite a fascinating article and supporting comments here. I would point out that other sites certainly propose a varying case, especially in regards to gardening. Have you run across additional related ideas on the Web, and would you let me know where?

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