The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – February 2021

- February 1, 2021 - (excerpt)


Dear ABJ (Eugene Makovec),

Greetings, fellow beekeeper! I am penning this letter to share a few things that a person like yourself might appreciate …


  1. ABJ gifted me with a one-year subscription compliments of the Kane Fund for Prison Beekeeping Education. This was after I wrote a brief letter explaining my involvement in a newly established prison beekeeping program. (I requested a copy of your promotional free sample.) This took place mid-summer. Once again — I am forever grateful for this gift. You might not realize the investment you have placed in my life, and the education opportunity you have blessed me with. It’s all about the bees! Right?
  2. The second reason for this letter is to share with you a copy of an article that was compiled by myself and the editing staff of the publication department. I am also highlighted in the article. This is a prison newspaper that is distributed department-wide in the state of which I am a native: Colorado. (This when I’m supposed to say, Go Broncos!) The article was first drafted in late spring after my newfound passion for bees and beekeeping, which has grown exponentially. I don’t foresee that changing either.
  3. The third reason is to inform you that as of 10-29-20 our facility was put on a Phase 3 lockdown due to the pandemic. We had been on a less-restrictive Phase 2 since April. That meant that all programs of a group gathering were cancelled. I believe we are one of if not the only facility in our state that has been virus-free among inmates. What makes this so special is that Administration has declared beekeeping an essential or emergency situation. So I am one of two beekeepers who are allowed out of lockdown. How cool is that?
  4. The fourth reason is to say: Eugene, I enjoyed your November article “How much do I charge for my honey?” This puts my future honey yield into a new and honest perspective. This isn’t an attempt at flattery. I appreciate your articles and your writing style. Very effective. I’m expecting big things from you in the years to come. To all our country’s beekeepers … Godspeed!

Darin Ninneman, Sr.
Ordway, Colorado


Editor’s Response:

Darin, thank you so much for your kind words. One of the great joys of beekeepers everywhere is to share their love of honey bees with others and see the joy that it brings them. Hopefully the Kane fund will be able to continue to bring the wonder of apiculture to prison programs for years to come.


Waxing Woodenware

I read Meghan Milbrath’s article with great interest [Beekeeping Basics, December]. Certainly not the KISS approach, that I prefer.

This has been the norm in South Africa and Australia for many years, where many use a proprietary product called Waksol, that is not available here. My brother, in SA, has boxes over 15 years old, and a prominent, well known Florida old-timer told me he has some over 30.

Guy McGladdery of SA let me in on a secret that many there are hot dipping in pure paraffin wax. So, I built myself a tank by modifying a deep fryer, and hot dip everything now at ~350°F. Paraffin wax costs ~$1/lb. plus shipping, and has been used extensively in the cosmetic industry for decades. Also, beeswax contains about 20% long chain hydrocarbons (aka paraffin wax). I do this all BEFORE assembly, to get deep into the joints. It is always the joints that decay first. Also, this way I can use a much smaller tank, with much less wax.

Note how mine is electrically heated. I have been critical of open flame heating in the past, but one look …