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Tips, Tricks, and Common Mistakes In Beekeeping For Beginners ft Jeff Ott & Kim Flottum

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Show Notes

Join Nicole, Jeff Ott and Kim Flottum as they talk about tips, tricks and common mistakes in beekeeping for beginners.

Our GuestS

Kim Flottum was the Editor of Bee Culture Magazine for 30+ years, and is the author of multiple books on beekeeping, including the forthcoming “2020 Edition of ABC-XYZ of Beekeeping”. Additionally, Kim has been involved with USDA Research for 5 years, is a Chairman of the Board EAS, and the President of the Ohio State Beekeepers

Jeff Ott has been a hobbyist beekeeper off and on since 6th grade. He is also a columnist for Bee Culture, with his first article appearing in the February 1991 edition.

Kim and Jeff are hosts of the Beekeeping Today Podcast.

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    Announcer: 0:01

    Welcome to the Backyard Bounty podcast from when we talk about all things backyard poultry, beekeeping, gardening, sustainable living, and more. And now here's your host, Nicole.

    Nicole: 0:18

    Hello, everybody. And thank you for joining us for another episode of Backyard Bounty. Today, I'm joined by Kim and Jeff from the Beekeeping Today Podcast. And we're going to talk about some things that maybe we shouldn't do as new beekeepers, common mistakes and mistakes that we've made. So, Jeff and Kim, thank you so much for joining me today.

    Jeff: 0:39

    Thanks for asking us to be here.

    Kim: 0:41

    It's nice to be here. Nicole. Thank you.

    Nicole: 0:43

    Absolutely. So you guys have a really great podcast. The Backyard Bounty Podcast kind of covers a lot of different things. chickens and goats and gardening, as well as beekeeping. But you guys have a podcast that is purely focused on beekeeping and you haven't some really great guests. So not only is that a really great resource for people that are interested in beekeeping, but you to also have quite the background in beekeeping. Would you mind sharing with us a little bit about that?

    Jeff: 1:12

    Well, I'll let you go first Kim.

    Kim: 1:15


    Jeff: 1:17

    Well, before we get started, I was going to say thank you for inviting us. And also, in your intro, you said things that you shouldn't do while beekeeping and the first thing came to mind is to make sure you don't tell your spouse it won't cost much money. And it's just probably don't don't start off on the wrong foot. I had great parents and in sixth grade, I, for some reason decided I wanted to have honeybees. And we went down to a local beekeeper found in a telephone book and got an AI root observation hive and my dad helped me build it. And then a couple weeks later, we went down and got a frame of bees and a queen and I put that observation hive in my bedroom in sixth grade, and, you know, it lasted, maybe what, four weeks before it swarmed?

    Nicole: 2:07

    Oh, no!

    Jeff: 2:08

    But it was, you know, that was my start in beekeeping. Then after college I got serious again and started getting on colonies and that's pretty much off and on since then that's also how I met Kim. I started writing for Bee Culture magazine, right at the time is was called Gleanings and Bee Culture in 91 or 93. Or I can't remember when...

    Kim: 2:29

    It was a while ago.

    Jeff: 2:30

    It was a bit.

    Kim: 2:31

    Yeah, well, Nicole, I got my start, I worked my way through University Wisconsin in Madison working for an entomologist doing greenhouse and field work testing pesticides, controlling pests on all manner of crops. As a result, I had to grow the crops and then I had to grow the bugs to put on them and so that I spent a bunch of time doing that. Part of the time that I spent growing the crops outside. It was at the Research Farm here in Madison and our research farm show space with the USDA Honey Bee Research Lab that was there on campus. So I got to know all of those people pretty well. When I graduated, my job went away. But at the almost exactly the same time, the guy who's running the research lab back there, Eric Erickson by grants to study soybean pollination, and he needed somebody to grow soybeans and I needed a job. So we put our heads together and I ended up growing a lot of soybeans and a lot of other things for him. But that's how it started. But one of the requirements to get the job is I had to learn how to keep bees because when you're not growing soybeans, and they need a strong back, I was the guy that they called. So I went out with Dr. Erickson and one of his grad students one day shortly after I started and he opened up a beehive and I looked in and I never looked out. I've been with bees ever since. So I got my start that way. And I think I just was talking about how to get started, and in my experience, I've been doing this for almost 40 years. In my experience, people who say have the best luck or end up doing the best, almost always start with a mentor. And if I can take that a step further before you ever start keeping bees yourself, we'll work with a mentor, go work for free, either be the muscle but be the be the errand person, do all the stuff that that needs to be done, so that person can keep bees, but watch and learn and ask and ask and ask and ask. Because before you spend a lot of time and money and energy and resources into doing something that in four months, you're going to say this is the dumbest thing I've ever done. Or this was the neatest thing I've ever done, but you'll know for sure because you've been doing it for a while without investing anything but time. And so if you're looking to get started, find a mentor now. It's January when we're doing this for almost January, January in about two hours. When we're doing this, and by come spring, you'll help put bees in you'll help pull colonies you'll help harvest honey and next year a year from now, be ready. I don't know what do you think Jeff ever worked with a mentor?

    Jeff: 5:07

    I mean, I'd go and help other people and and so there were a couple people stick on my mind. And then probably when I was growing my business there in Ohio in Hinkley, your good friend Buzz and I worked together and I helped him quite a bit. So I was providing another back and an extra set of eyes to help him. And so I did learn a lot from a Buzz or Ellie and a couple other people along the way. But yeah, I think a mentor, I think your advice and mentorship is in finding someone to mentor and apprentice with or spend a summer with is is a great advice.

    Nicole: 5:42

    I would have to say that that sounds really good for people as well. I did not have that luxury. And I just jumped in on my own and had to start from scratch and I made lots of mistakes and I spent lots of money and so like you mentioned Jeff with "Don't tell your spouse is going to be cheap!" you know it's better to to decide if it's something that you want to do before investing the money because it's definitely not my most frugal passion that's for sure!

    Jeff: 6:15

    My goal in Hinckley was to get it to be a hobby that paid for itself and I was able to do that but is and that was that was in the pre-Varroa days and it was I think I hate to be an old timer but going back and saying you know it was easier without Varroa it nowadays managing Varroa it takes a lot of time and it can be an additional cost to keeping bees.

    Kim: 6:42

    You bring up a good point, Jeff. A couple of things a half a step past getting a mentor is maybe finding two or three people that you know, not necessarily that you work with a lot. But at least there's a lot of different kinds of equipment out there, and and you can decide if you want to work with a mentor who's working with one kind of equipment. And you don't like that it may be the equipment and not bees that are, you know, causing the issue. So find two or three people if you can, that's a luxury I know, time and resources but but that way you've got experience with all different kinds of equipment, all different management styles. From very, very hands off to very, very case management. If you can find somebody on both ends those extremes. And you mentioned, one of the things that you mentioned was that when you were working with people using and it was your back that you were they were using, one of the things that you'll learn real fast is there's a better way to do this than breaking my back. So you'll begin to see very fast that there's better ways to carry 100 pound box than you know by those little wooden handles.

    Jeff: 7:50

    That's when you decided you want to go with eight frames instead of 10 frame times.

    Kim: 7:53

    That's exactly right.

    Jeff: 7:54

    What were your your big mistakes, Nicole?

    Nicole: 7:59

    Well gosh, I have several. I tried to do some brainstorming and make a little list before this, but I'm sure I'll think of things as as we chat. But I would say, especially not having a mentor and doing most of my learning from reading stuff online and in social media. I didn't until actually recently do mite counts. And I know that there's a hot debate on treatment versus not treating. But being a student in the Cornell Master Beekeeper Program was really eye opening and talked about a lot that I think that whether or not you decide that you want to treat mites or not, I think it's important to see both sides of the story to make an educated decision and not just jump on the bandwagon and go with what people say. But also even if you choose not to treat, I think it's important to be educated in what your mite counts are in thats an area I didn't do for a while. Jjust take the sample and do a powdered sugar roll, it doesn't kill any bees, and you can get a mite count. And then you just at least have a number. And then you can make educated decisions going forward.

    Jeff: 9:14

    It's all about informed decisions. It's really informed. Yes. Mm hmm. As opposed to going in blindly. And Kim was talking about equipment. And I couldn't believe I shouldn't say I couldn't believe but I look at some of the stuff that's available. In fact, I know a couple summers ago, I was in Costco of all places, and they had a hive kit instead of supers they had and maybe there's a formal name for this, but they had what would essentially look like an inner cover with a bunch of holes on the top with quart jars over it.

    Nicole: 9:47

    And all that...

    Jeff: 9:48

    And I'm thinking, holy cow, if I was Joe or Sally public and I went in there and said, "Let's get bees, they're free, you can get a swarm and we're just keep them in here." I think that's so not dangerous in terms of safety, but just you're going to lose potential beekeepers who might otherwise enjoy the enjoy the hobby as opposed to, you know, getting frustrated and just burning everything up or just becoming a source of disease and pestilence.

    Nicole: 10:19

    Yeah, I saw that too. And I think that that was a byproduct of social media, because that concept was really popular on Pinterest, and then all of a sudden, somebody produced something that can can have the honeycomb that's just magically built into the quart jars.

    Jeff: 10:40

    I had to take pictures of it.

    Kim: 10:43

    When it works, it's a wonderful product, but you got to know what you're doing. No doubt about it.

    Jeff: 10:49

    So, yeah, and the important thing is, is and Kim and I... Well, the important thing is if you're getting started in beekeeping, start with the basics and don't do something specialty. And producing honey in quart jars or chunk honey or comb honey. That's all a specialty and an art in beekeeping. Don't start your first year even second year thinking you're going to keep bees and produce quart jar honey. Start with the basics ten frame hive honey, supers and learn the biology, learn about bees. And before get started going gonzo with other things.

    Kim: 11:25

    A good point of that is even if you decide you're going to go in another direction down the road a little bit. There is so much good information with practical, correct information available on standard equipment so that you can when you're looking at how to find a queen, those sorts of things. Most of the information is written for standard eight or 10 frame equipment. So you learn with the basics. It's like riding a bike you start with training wheels, and then you might get rid of the training wheels man up on a unicycle but good information is available on a an eight or 10 frame box starting here. And that's why you may do that with a mentor and then be able to move on after that, and not have to get the basic equipment. But yeah, you're right, exactly where the biology or the equipment and the seasons in your location.

    Nicole: 12:16

    Yeah, I think people get really overwhelmed when they want to get into beekeeping. And so they get their little magazine or they go online and they see all those different hive styles and then they go, "Oh, my goodness, I don't, I don't know what to do. And then I don't know what's best" or this, that or the other. But yeah, I think that just pick something and start out and you can always change it or, you know, mix it up after you get a rough idea of what you're doing.

    Kim: 12:42

    That's probably the soundest advice. a beginner can get started with the basics and experiment after that, but you'll make a lot fewer mistakes. You're grounded in the basics, read a couple of good books. And Nicole you mentioned information on the internet and there too is s ome discussion on what you listen to on the internet. What information is that in terms of being sound practical advice, as opposed to, "This is the way I do it." And my advice is when you're beginning, if you're going to listen to things on the internet, choose a university, or somebody that's got good practical information. From YouTube, you mentioned the Cornell program, "perfect!" There's a million YouTube videos out there and half of them are really good and the other half I don't know because I don't have time to watch them all but choose your sources of information carefully and ask people who are using it as a source of information that they know about it and if they do, they find it practical.

    Jeff: 13:45

    I would say the there's going to be a caveat to that is if your mentor has an apiary has 40 hives and they're all flow hives, then it's probably safe to get a flow hive and start with that or I'm gonna get a flow hive because it's a so unique hive. But, you know, deal with what your mentors working with and where you can have the help and pointing out but I, again start we start with the basics and then proceed.

    Nicole: 14:08

    Well, I think you could also even use that as advice and picking a mentor too, that maybe if you have options in picking a mentor, pick one that has been successful and and one that has a little bit more experienced than, you know, somebody that might be a little bit new as well.

    Kim: 14:29

    For somebody that has that has bees that are putting food on their table,then they're doing it right.

    Nicole: 14:35

    Sure. So what are some common mistakes that are maybe not common, but what are some mistakes that you guys have made in your beekeeping experience?

    Kim: 14:45

    Do we have enough time?

    Jeff: 14:48

    Yeah, how much time do you have for this podcast?

    Kim: 14:53

    I'm gonna guess that anybody's been doing these for more than five or six years has made most of the mistakes at least once and some of them them repeatedly. And I'll go back to one of the mistakes a lot of people make is not keeping good records. Day one, you start keeping good records. And there's a million ways to keep good records in a notebook and a pencil in the apiary is the easiest and most practical for keeping good records. So when you do something and you write it down, and you come back and you say, "Well, that was stupid," or "that was wrong," or "that was really good," you've got a record of it so that you remember it the same time next year. So that's one of the things that I am amazed at how many people don't keep records, and I don't keep records on my cat either. So maybe it works out the same. Okay, Jeff, I'll ask you the obvious question: How do you keep records?

    Jeff: 15:41

    Well, I started out when I got back into beekeeping a couple years ago, and before we talked to the folks that Hive Tracks, I started using Hive Tracks, and I really liked that because it was real handy. I could be out in the yard with my iPhone and I could make records right there. Then I stopped using Hive Tracks not because of the product, but just because I didn't think I had enough colonies to make it worthwhile to make the most use of it. So I went back to the notepad and a journal and which I really enjoy using because I do so much other computer work. It was nice to be looking at paper instead of a computer screen. And so I'm keeping records both on written records and a journal book. And also, as you know, I have a breed minder and I keep some notes on brood minder as well. Like when I do equipment ads or something that makes note of the weight changes.

    Kim: 16:33

    So you're four times better than almost everybody else.

    Jeff: 16:38

    I like data.

    Kim: 16:40

    Yeah, I guess. I've played with all of those and I'm guilty as guilty as everybody else in terms of I got 10 minutes, and I go out there and I get it done and you know, get rid of my veil and my hive tool, wash off my hands and stuff in the car because I got to go someplace. Maybe now that'll get better, I think a s a better practice, better record keeping. But I'll tell you what, the records that I do have are invaluable in terms of what blooms when. When did I do this? And what happened because of it? What did I do and what happened because of it, even you know, I go back eight or nine years when Goldenrod bloomed here and you know, I can still look on yep, it's, you know, within two or three days every year. So I think the other value of good records is come October, November next year when you've got time, and you can go back and look at what you've done, reflect on what I did and the results of and then when you get three or four years, you can kind of look over. That's the value of records to me is looking at three, four or five years worth of data and seeing are they all tending towards the same? Are they all different? Why are they different?

    Jeff: 17:55

    Yeah. Nicole, do you keep records?

    Nicole: 17:57

    Yeah, I do. I'll admit this. I don't do as well as I should, but...

    Jeff: 18:04

    Confessions of a beekeeper podcast today.

    Nicole: 18:07

    Absolutely, but I definitely agree with both what both of you have said and I also prefer to use Hive Tracks when I am keeping records because I really like the convenience of it you know when you're on the field and you can just punch things in real quick. And I also like data, I like to be able to run the charts and run the numbers and see you know, different things But part of the reason that I haven't been doing the best with with record keeping is that this last year, I had some some issues and I had to have shoulder surgery so I wasn't really involved as much just because I couldn't and I have a notoriously limited memory. Her husband tells me I remember who he is some days. I really like to be able to have it on my phone. I can look at it anywhere and especially like with this last year when I wasn't able to do as much with the bees, trying to remember something that I've done two, three, four years ago, it's not the easiest for me. So I can just go in and, you know, look, oh, you know, this hive is this and then with the technological front, I like to be able to add reminders. So I don't forget, hey, in three weeks, I need to do this so I could put it in my phone and then it just pops up. Hey, dummy, don't forget to go do this.

    Jeff: 18:29

    Yeah, that's what I enjoy. I mean, things get so busy sometimes that having those automatic reminders come up, helps a lot.

    Kim: 19:31

    Well, since both of you have used Hive Tracks, I guess I recommend that you keep in tune with them because they're developing what they're calling the Genius Hive and they're close to doing a book on it. So pretty soon, you know, we may not have to keep bees anymore. They'll be keeping themselves just fine, thank you, with the with the equipment and the technology that they're letting loose.

    Jeff: 19:54

    I don't know if I like that. I mean, pretty soon if all this automation happens, and I won't have to drive. I won't have to cook, I won't have to keep bees, I don't know, get water out of the refrigerator. Well, I mean, that's cool. I think that's again, I'm not. I'm just making fun. I'm not making fun of Hive Tracks. I think that's really cool. But I've read their articles and Bee Culture and I think what they're working on is really fascinating.

    Nicole: 20:19

    So with the technological stuff, I know that at least being one of those people that absolutely loves data I'm I'm envious of you, Jeff with having a Brood Minder and maybe you know, the Genius Hive, this is the first I've heard of it. But if it compiles data, then my inner nerd would be super excited to see what becomes of that.

    Kim: 20:39

    It not only handles your data, it uses data from a lot of people around you or almost from anywhere if you sharing your data so you can find out what other people near and far are doing. Is it working for them? Should you be doing it should you not be doing what you're doing those sorts of things. So it gets to be almost data overload, but sure since you guys like data...

    Jeff: 21:01

    I revel and data, that is fun and record keeping is important, whether you keep it in a with a pencil and paper or you go geek out on some computer app. There's options available for everyone. But it's highly recommended.

    Kim: 21:22

    Not only that, but if you're working with a mentor, the person you worked with last year before you started, now, this year, you started and you've got your own bees and you're doing what you're doing, and something's going wrong. You can take that to your mentor if you're, you know, getting people to come to your beeyard and help is often less possible than going to their place as long as you're asking them for information. So you can take your records, whatever they are data or notebooks and say this is what I did. This is when I did it, and this is what happened, why did this go wrong? And they'll have something to look at Nicole, how many times somebody asks you Why did my bees die?

    Nicole: 22:01

    Oh, I can't even count...

    Kim: 22:03

    And with a record book at least you could look at this and say, well, it's obvious you didn't feed them in October or whatever, whatever the reason, you know, you at least have something tangible to put your finger on to help somebody that's getting started. And if you're the person getting started, at least you can show somebody what dumb thing you just did.

    Jeff: 22:22

    I don't know if I tell them it was a dumb thing, I might say something. I would say something. Well, you next time, you might consider doing it this way.

    Kim: 22:31

    Yeah, you're more diplomatic than I am, Jeff.

    Jeff: 22:35

    Yeah, that's right. How many how many mentors have you had?

    Kim: 22:40

    One on one? Hardly any. Because of my well... because of my time.

    Kim: 22:49

    I've taught 100 beginners classes, but a one on one mentor, not very many. And it's it's a function of time. Maybe this year. I'll try that just to see if I can Not alienate half the beekeepers in Medina County. So Nicole, how many bees do you have?

    Nicole: 23:07

    Um, so right now I don't, I don't have a whole lot given the shoulder stuff that I was dealing with. So I unfortunately lost some hives. So I only have about five right now I was running 10 to 15 but it's been about 18 months of my shoulder recovery. So I'm hoping for a better 2020 and getting caught up and and correcting some of the things that I've had to let go over the last year and a half but...

    Kim: 23:38

    15 is is almost a full time job.

    Nicole: 23:41

    Yeah, it's a challenge.

    Kim: 23:43

    What do you do with all that honey?

    Nicole: 23:45

    Well, you know, I actually haven't had too much of a honey harvest because I've usually split most of my hives just to try to grow my apiary so because I split them, I don't split them too heavily, just to make sure that they are are able to make enough for winter but, uh, generally don't get too much of a harvest and then being in a semi desert area too, that creates challenges and in producing honey.

    Kim: 24:14

    Well, that's one of the one of the other things that when you're talking with somebody just getting started out is before you get those bees and invest a lot of money is is there enough good food around to support a couple three colonies. And if you're surrounded by soybeans, you're gonna you may struggle if you're surrounded by forests, or you may struggle and one of the things to do is certainly take a look at go to Google Earth and find out where you're going to put your bees or pull back five miles, what's around you, you know, how much agriculture is there? How many pesticides you're going to run into? Is it all forests at all fields at all parking lot, because you may decide that your backyard isn't the best place to have bees just because of how hard they're going to have to work to even stay alive, let alone thrive.

    Nicole: 24:59

    Yeah. I learned that I can have one, maybe two hives on my property but free and above there's just not enough resources for them.

    Kim: 25:08

    Then they'll starve before you realize that if you don't know it going in.

    Jeff: 25:13

    Before you spend a lot of money and 5-10 pound bags of sugar.

    Nicole: 25:19

    Thank goodness for Sam's membership.

    Jeff: 25:23

    The beginning beekeeping, talked about location, we talked about equipment, mentorship. I think those are all very important. And just having a good source for joining a club. I think a club is an important thing if there's one in your location, to be able to go meet other people hear the troubles other folks are having or other successes. Some of the homemade equipment. Some of the beekeepers love making their own equipment, and they're a great source of information and go to a meeting and see the things that they're making is pretty exciting.

    Kim: 25:56

    You're exactly right. join a club and take the beginners course and then a second year, take it again, because you missed half of it the first time because you didn't know what was important. And, the second time we're going to go, Oh yeah, I remember that. And the second year, the second year you'll, you'll be a lot better prepared just because you've heard it twice instead of just once.

    Jeff: 26:19

    I would agree with that.

    Nicole: 26:20

    And then there's the things that they don't teach in the beginner class. Like, don't go mess with your hives at night with a flashlight.

    Kim: 26:28

    Most people don't do that more than once.

    Nicole: 26:31


    Jeff: 26:34

    That does remind me of when when I was living there in Hinkley, Ohio. I bought three hives, established hives in July, and it was the first or second summer, it must been the first summer, and I really had someone to help me, but we went out at night. Screened them off, used hive staples. So we're pounding on the hives at night in the summer and they're the big beard of bees on the hives. To begin with, each hive had two or three supers fall. So, so they're gonna, you know, it was not a happy experience.

    Nicole: 27:18


    Jeff: 27:19

    I just leave it at that. And it was it was not a happy experience for us or the bees, but we survived. Most the bees did, but yeah, don't. Yeah, avoid that, if you can.

    Kim: 27:31

    Yeah, moving bees at night, can get exciting, can get very exciting. The other thing about being a beginner that if you can work with a mentor, the first year is seeing the difference, is learning the difference in what a colony will do if you establish it with a package or with a nuc. I like to have people start with packages because you have to learn everything. When you start with a nuc two thirds of it's already done by the time you get it, you know, you've got to establish laying Queen, you've got brood, you've got drones, you've got all of the things that you need for hive, it's just small. For the package, everything starts from scratch. The good side of that is you have to learn everything from scratch, the bad side is, from scratch, there's a whole bunch of things that can always go wrong. But if you know going in what to look for when you're dealing with a package, you can be prepared for that and that goes back to your mentor going back to your beginners classes, goes back to reading a couple three good books, those sorts of things so you know what to look for, how to prepare for it and what to do when it goes wrong. With a nuc, you hit the ground running, which is okay.

    Jeff: 28:44

    I agree with you, I would look at it. If you want to learn about bee biology and learn about bees from ground zero packages are a great place to start. Because you'll see him draw the foundation. You'll see you'll be able to see when the eggs just start getting laid and the hive you can see all of that without being distracted by a lot of different things. But if you're wanting to like you said hit the ground running and get into honey production your first year or you know get a crop of honey the first year, then perhaps the nucs way to go. And of course, that all depends on your location too. If you're in a great floral source area, then a package colony is going to go to produce onto your first summer. Around Olympia, Washington, it might take a couple summers before they start producing.

    Kim: 29:32

    To change the subject completely, Nicole.

    Nicole: 29:34

    Mmm hmm...

    Kim: 29:34

    When I'm teaching a beginners class, the one thing that I'll spend an hour we usually run five or six weeks, you know, three or four hours one night a week for five or six weeks and one of the one of the nights we spend: How do you light a smoker? And how do you keep it lit?

    Nicole: 29:49


    Kim: 29:50

    Before you ever open a hive, if you can't light a smoker, get it lit get going set it down and come back in an hour. It's still lit. If you can't do that, then you shouldn't be in In your hive yet, because your smoker will go out.

    Nicole: 30:04

    And it'll go out at the worst possible time.

    Kim: 30:06

    Absolutely. There's a rule. So you were talking about making mistakes. That's one that a lot of people make is because while he showed me how I can do that, I go out to the backyard and I light it and I set it down and I'm looking at a frame when I pick it up and it's gone. And you go, Oh, well, you can imagine the things that are running through your head when you don't have smoke and a lot of bees in the air. So and you can do that at night. You don't have to you don't have to crash. You can practice that at night, light it, have enough fuel in it and have it lit well enough that you can set it down and come back in an hour and it should still be going.

    Jeff: 30:43

    What's your favorite smoker fuel?

    Kim: 30:44

    Pine needles?

    Jeff: 30:45

    Pine needles. Yeah. Nicole?

    Nicole: 30:47

    Well, we don't have pine trees in the desert. So I just use whatever I can scrape up from the weeds, you know, dried up weeds and and whatnot.

    Jeff: 30:56

    Yeah. And in Ohio, I really liked the sumac antlers were always good and handy. And around here I use a lot of burlap and wood chips, stuff like that... everybody has their own.

    Kim: 31:11

    Yeah, commercial guys like burlap because I can buy it by, you know the thousand foot roll. And then and I spent all winter cutting it into smoker size cylinders, but I have like six or seven pine trees in my yard that I planted with the intent and purpose of producing smoker fuel. And I have enough I've got enough burlap bags full of smoke and fuel to last me another 20 years. There's no doubt about it. But for me that works well.

    Nicole: 31:38

    Yeah, I've found that. For us. There's no shortage of dry vegetation. So I'll I'll use that and then if I can find some green stuff to put on top. I kind of layer it.

    Jeff: 31:50

    I will admit, I thought I'd try to use some high school history and I tried to use a cow a cow pie once. Like buffalo chips I thought well buffalo chips were why wouldn't dried up cow patty? Anyways, I'll stick with burlap. You know i'm glad we're having this discussion about beginning beekeeping because it gives us an opportunity to talk about we just kind of mentioned in February on our podcast, Beekeeping Today Podcast, we will have a month long series of beginning beekeeping. So our topic here is very timely. And we're basically starting out with someone who has the wild hair idea maybe this year, I'll keep bees and so we're going from a green field, well, what will someone have to consider: location, the equipment involved, getting the bees and installing the bees. And then the first couple weeks of that and of course we're going to mention a big part of it is mentorship and finding that social community nearby to help you. We're looking forward to where we're working on it. And it'll be a good a good series of podcasts for the month of February.

    Nicole: 33:11

    And how many episodes do you think will be in that series?

    Jeff: 33:14

    We're you planning on one a week for the month, so there'll be four or five.

    Kim: 33:18

    Of course, will be six hours long.

    Jeff: 33:22

    Wait, we will do some trimming on some parts.

    Kim: 33:26

    The challenge that Nicole and you're sitting in the perfect place, is to explain something so well, that you don't need to show it.

    Nicole: 33:35

    Yeah. It's a challenge.

    Kim: 33:37

    And I'm interested in how to make that work. So I don't know, have we explained anything here well enough that we didn't have to show it?

    Nicole: 33:47

    I mean, I think it it all made sense to me, but it's hard to look at it from the eyes of because it hasn't experienced you know how to light a smoker and whatnot.

    Jeff: 33:59

    There'll be some limitations but it'll be a fun entry point.

    Nicole: 34:03

    Yeah, I think that that'll definitely be a resource you know a lot of people that are just have this inkling that maybe they'd like to keep bees of course have lots of questions. And so that will all be on the Beekeeping Today Podcast.

    Jeff: 34:17

    Yeah, starting in February.

    Nicole: 34:22

    Great! Well, on that note, I really think that this has been a lot of fun and covered a ton of information and people that are looking to get you know more detailed information on beekeeping whether or not you're interested in starting to bee keep or you already have bees. Definitely check out the Beekeeping Today Podcast, great information. And Kim and Jeff, of course, you have lots of knowledge between you and you always have great guests on there and I really appreciate your guys's time today to talk bees with me.

    Kim: 34:55

    Always fun to talk to bees, there's just no doubt about that.

    Jeff: 34:59

    It is It's a good topic and one I always enjoy. Well, thanks, Nicole for inviting us.

    Kim: 35:05

    Yes. Thank you, Nicole,

    Nicole: 35:07

    Of course, and thanks for joining me. And for those of you listening at home, thank you so much for joining us for another episode and we'll see you again next week.

    Announcer: 35:17

    Thank you for listening to Backyard Bounty, a podcast by Don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review. If you have a question you'd like us to answer on the show. please email us at ask at Also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube at Heritage Acres Market. All the links mentioned in this podcast will be included in the description. See you again next week!

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