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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Dutchess, New York, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default buzzing in Jamaica

    Hello!
    My name is Kaat Byrd and I am currently doing a 3 - 4 month natural, top-bar beekeeping internship in Jamaica and thought I'd drop by to say hello instead of lurking all the time. I'd love to receive some feedback from you guys while I am on this bee tending adventure. You can find the link to my blog on my profile.
    Some background information on me: when I was twelve, I managed to convince my parents to let me get a package of honeybees. I tending my own bees for about three years then I was distracted with teenage life. My fascination for bees stuck through and now I'm getting a full immersion in bee-dom here in Jamaica.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
    Posts
    712

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    Welcome, it will be interesting to here how its going in the tropics.
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,440

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    Welcome Kaat!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Westmoreland, jamaica
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    Quote Originally Posted by footloose View Post
    Hello!
    My name is Kaat Byrd and I am currently doing a 3 - 4 month natural, top-bar beekeeping internship in Jamaica and thought I'd drop by to say hello instead of lurking all the time. I'd love to receive some feedback from you guys while I am on this bee tending adventure. You can find the link to my blog on my profile.
    Some background information on me: when I was twelve, I managed to convince my parents to let me get a package of honeybees. I tending my own bees for about three years then I was distracted with teenage life. My fascination for bees stuck through and now I'm getting a full immersion in bee-dom here in Jamaica.
    Where in Jamaica are you? I have an apiary in Westmoreland but live in New York City. I only have langs but plan to experiment with TBH when next I visit. I have someone that manages the hives in my absence, started with 5 and up to 30 now. Hope you are learning alot. Keep in touch.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Dutchess, New York, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    Thank you for the welcomes! I am now half way through my internship and been learning much! Being Deaf myself, I have become focused on working on a project to make beekeeping more accessible to the deaf here. We are currently in the process of collaborating with a deaf association to provide natural beekeeping trainings and workshops with top-bar hives for deaf adults and children. It would allow them to be independent and provide them a sustainable and economically beneficial livelihood.
    Yerba Buena Farms has been providing top-bar beekeeping trainings and workshops to beekeepers all over the island, and the Westmoreland Bee Farmer's Association is one of them. Here is my blog post about it. We will be going back to them this month for another training. How are yr apiaries doing in Westmoreland?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Westmoreland, jamaica
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    Kaat: Thanks for responding. I just peeked at your blog and it is very interesting and heart warming in these cold days. Of course I wish I was there enjoying the foods and fruits you describe and photgraph. I also wish i was there to be working in my hives but I cannot be in two places at the same time. To respond to your question, the hives are doing well. We have been splitting so as to grow the number of hives, selectively using eggs from the most productive colonies. We are hoping to do another split next week, we tend to rest the hives two to three weeks before disturbing them again to get brood and eggs. One of the officers of the Westmoreland Beekeepers Association is a neighbor of my mom. I was therefore disappointed that you did not show pictures of that training and the participants. I am happy to hear that your project of empowering the hearing impaired through beekeeping is bearing fruit. Do you have bees in New York? What are your plans when you return? How will the work you have started be sustained after you leave? I will read your blog in detail over the weekend and give you more feedback. In the mean time please enjoy my sunny island home for both of us. Keep up the good work.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Dutchess, New York, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    janyfarmer: This island is overflowing with abundance and I am right at home with the easy-going rhythms and vibes here. In St. Mary we are just barely starting to get a honey-flow, first one since the hurricane. Sounds like you guys are much ahead in the season! Honey is so scarce around here that we have to buy it from the market in Kingston. The drones are starting to pop up and we hope to be making splits and rearing queens soon. We just had Melanie Kirby here, a professional queen rearer from NM and I really enjoyed working with her, she has a lot of experience and knowledge. Being active in selecting from the best stock you have is something she strongly reinforces, especially when it comes to pest and disease resistance. Her bees at home are treatment-free because of her breeding program. She will be back to teach queen rearing workshops that includes the technique of grafting. Do you treat your hives?
    I didn't get many pictures of the Westmoreland Association but I will be sure to this month. I do not have my own bees yet, I am focusing on travelling around and working with different beekeepers to gain more experience and a better understanding from many different perspectives before I start my own apiary. I am hoping to make some video tutorials on beekeeping with sign language and continue to work on making beekeeping more accessible to the deaf (long-term I am envisioning workshops and cooperatives geared towards the deaf). I am blessed to be living and learning here. Hope you have a lovely one!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Nashville,"Golden Valley" TN
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    Kaat, I love your blog, awesome candle too, I cracked up when i read Leticia was president of the bee club!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Westmoreland, jamaica
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    Kaat: Thanks for your response. Yes we have not skipped a beat the flow is on. Last year we had less of a flo but got some honey though less than usual, we will see what this year brings. I am glad you are enjoying all that our shores and people have to offer while learning and equipping yourself to make a difference in the world through training specifically for the hearing impaired. My firt year I had alot of swarming because I was not there and monitoring of the hives was sporadic but this year that does not seem to be a problem. We have been doing walk away splits using eggs from the hives whose genetics we want to multiply. I have all the equipment for queen rearing and have done considerable research on it but I have not had a chance to experiment with it as yet. I am hoping to do so this year. Queen rearing by grafting is both a skill and an art so I am hoping I will be good at it to reap the results and thereby by able to reap the results. I am building 2 top bar hives (Tanzanian -straight sides) but will use deep frames in them. This is to alleviate the chronic shortage of wax foundation and wax. I m hoping the bees perfect it to the langs and produce alot of comb. I am continuing to conduct research and modify what I learn to fit where I am in production as well as the Jamaican realities. I started a thread "Jamaican Beekeeping" with the hope of getting Jamaican beekeeper talking about the challenges and sharing experiences. After all for the most part, we all have similar experiences there. Its in the bee forum but also accessible by clicking on my screen name or following this link
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...can-Beekeeping
    Please tell others about it and lets share and learn from each other. Hopefully you will share your thoughts with us.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Dutchess, New York, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    reidflys: thank you! why did you crack up about letica being president?

    janyfarmer: what queen rearing method are you using? we have one tanzanian hive and originally used frames but found ourselves switching back to top-bars because when you open up the hive, the entire length is opened up and it's very disruptive and aggravating for the bees. the top bars create a closed top. if you still want to use frames, maybe consider putting a cloth cover that you can peel back as you work yr way through the hive so the whole length of the hive isnt all exposed at once? have you considered going foundation-less? just a thought. do you use treatments in yr hives?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Westmoreland, jamaica
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    I hope my humor was not offensive. I just thought the chronicle was funny given her role. I apologize if I was offensive in any way. I am doing walk away splits currently but have invested in the JZ-BZ queen rearing system from honeyrunapriaries. I am hoping to try my hand at using it the year. I have never done grafting before so I am nervous as I have read that the eggs are delicate and cannot be damaged. I am sure I will be the laughing stock for a while before i get it right. I like the idea of covering the hives and would use paper to block the light out and lessen the aggravation to the bees. Thanks for the idea. I will try TBHs (foundationless) later primarily for wax production. I have a 20 frame extractor and so the combs have to be able to withstand the rigor of extracting. My goal is to have 120 hives by the end of this calendar year. There is a severe shortage of wax and foundation in the West right now. I am in dire need and have tried sources in Manchester, St Elizabeth and Westmoreland but nobody has any to spare so I will use the TBH to help fill that gap going forward. I have small cell foundation mill and I do not treat with chemicals. I use essential oils and supplemental feeding of pollen substitutes, grease patties, and sugar solution with essential oils and honey-b-healthy to keep the pests in check and diseases at bay.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Bartlett, Illinois
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    I get to Jamaica a couple times a year. A few trips ago I purchased some logwood honey. Very interesting! Is this a common nectar source?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Westmoreland, jamaica
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    yes it is in some parishes. Did you like the taste? There is great demand for it in Europe, i am not sure how it compares with American honey.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: buzzing in Jamaica

    Welcome to the Beesource forum. I hope your stay at Yerba Buena Farm has been good. Kwao and Agape are wonderful people. I had a look at part of your blog. It seems like you’ve been having a really good experience. What a deal to be able to learn from people like Melanie Kirby and Les Crowder. Ive had the pleasure to spend the last two months of July with Agape and Kwao and I hope I will be going back this summer again. Although I have my own particular experiences using top bar hives for the last twenty years here in Honduras, having the chance to sit down and talk with/learn from Melanie and Les would be great. Continue to enjoy yourself.

    --Tom

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