‘Obsessed’ Apiarist On The Importance Of Hive Observations

A Tennessee-based beekeeper has underlined the importance of watching what the bees are doing.

Carmen Joyce, who runs the Nooga Honey Pot apiary in Chattanooga, argued: “Every time I look out of my kitchen window, I am doing a ‘mini hive inspection.’ Being so close to bees is truly how I’ve learned so much about bees.”

Picture shows Carmen Joyce, undated. She runs the Nooga Honey Pot apiary in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (@noogahoneypot, NewsX/Bee)

Carmen, who also offers swarm removals, argued: “You learn so many things from bees just by watching them.”

Carmen, who got into beekeeping five years ago, explained: “Reflecting on my experience as a beekeeper, the most surprising thing to me has been how much I rely more on hive observation to give me information.

“Inspections are important but not always necessary if you know what to look for at the hive’s entrance. Year after year, I’ve learned a lot from just sitting near my hives and watching.”

Carmen, who has 105,000 followers on Instagram, emphasised: “I am not suggesting we stop conducting hive inspections. I still do those often, depending on the season.

“I am merely suggesting that beekeepers, new and old, consider spending more time watching their bees to learn the ‘state of the hive.'”

Picture shows Carmen’s hives, undated. A Tennessee-based beekeeper has underlined the importance of watching what the bees are doing. (@noogahoneypot, NewsX/Bee)

She admitted: “I’m also a little obsessed. Bees are like my security blanket. Thank you, bees!”

Asked by The Bee News what she would say to someone who considers starting to keep bees, Carmen said: “I’d say go for it! Check out bee clubs in your area, take an introduction to beekeeping class, go to the bookstore and find some books that get you started.”

She added: “I highly recommend Tom Seeley’s ‘Honeybee Democracy.’ This book helps the reader understand more about what bees are like in the wild and can fundamentally shape someone’s beekeeping journey.”

On social media, Carmen has made a name for herself by sharing authentic images and astonishing videos documenting her apiculture experiences but also extraordinary hive removal missions. Hollywood actress Milla Jovovich is among her 105,000 Instagram followers.

The Bee News wanted to know about Carmen’s plans for 2024. She said: “This year, my goal is to expand my apiary to around 50 hives. I currently have 27. If you are a beekeeper with that many hives you, know it’s pretty easy to increase.

Picture shows Carmen Joyce, undated. She is the founder and manager of Nooga Honey Pot in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (@noogahoneypot, NewsX/Bee)

She explained: “I will split some of my hives and collect swarms. Many of my swarms this year, however, will be given to my mentees. It’s my goal to show them how to raise strong, feral, local bees.”

And Carmen revealed: “Just last night I got a swarm call at 9.30 pm. I went with a mentee to get them and got home around midnight. Whether that’s dedication or craziness is up to you to determine.”


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