Poor handling of honey bee colonies results in a beekeeper muddling through despite grumpy bees; in a different set of hands those colonies could be a pleasure to work with. Practical beekeeping skills are learnt mostly from others, yet a lot of what is taught is clumsy or ill-considered, however well-intentioned.
Using pictures and videos we will discuss and demonstrate some of the underlying skills for handling honey bee colonies. Our approach has been honed through many years of managing large numbers of colonies, and we aim to be sympathetic, efficient, and instinctive in our ways. From simple principles of how to move, hold, shake, and replace frames, to effective use of smoker and tools, we will extend into more complex inspections and manipulations, and discuss safe techniques for holding, marking, and caging queens without using gadgets.