Beekeeping, Gardening and Quilting in Eastern Wake County, North Carolina

Sunday, May 20, 2018

New Bees

Bees May 2018
This photo was taken around the first of May when I was checking the hives.  Lots of new bees - a  beautiful sight.
I checked all the hives on May 5th and saw the queen in three of the hives.  Did not see the queen in 2017 Hive but there was brood.  I quickly checked the hives yesterday and added a super to Hive #2 less two empty frames that I put in 0318 Hive. I took part of the entrance reducers off so the bees could come and go easier. Did not change entrance reducer on 2017 Hive - they are not as strong the other hives but there is brood in the hive.  I'm continuing to feed all the hives even though they are bringing in pollen and we're finally having rain.
I've already had requests for honey and truthfully I don't know if I'll have any to share.  Since three of the hives are new, I have to be sure they have plenty of food to last thru the winter and I don't want to give folks sugar syrup which is what is in the hive now.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Funerals and Manners

Well, it has come to my attention that with the Internet, social media and cell phones attached to your ear that manners and common sense have fallen by the wayside.  Yes, I'm talking about all those folks out there (and there are many) that feel they can't live without their cell phone in their hand. 
I have been to three funerals in the past month - my aunt, a neighbor from home, and a cousin's husband.  At the last funeral during the service a cell phone rang - not once but twice (I do think they were different phones cause you know how everybody has those crazy songs for their ringer).  It was beyond inappropriate!  Now the preacher just kept right on and he didn't stop and ask that person to leave but he should have.  What is wrong with folks? 

My Great, Great Grandfather
Now you know when they had his funeral everybody minded their manners.
So when I go to the great beyond and if you happen to be at my service - leave your cellphone OFF.  If you're so important that you can't turn it off, you surely do not need to be at my funeral.  And for goodness sakes, close that casket!

Saturday, April 21, 2018


April 12, 2018 Update - I checked 2017 Hive and 0318 Hive.  0318 Hive was doing fine but the 2017 Hive did not have brood and did not see a queen.  I called Mr. Ellis and he came by late afternoon with a queen and to help me check both hives.  Neither of us saw a queen in 2017 Hive and he agreed she must be gone.  So we put the new queen in the 2017 Hive.  Sat her on top of the super and put a small frame box (about 1-2") on top and closed the hive.  This will give the bees room to take care of the queen, get the candy from the box and release the queen.
We did see the queen in 0318 Hive - it's always exciting (nerd alert!).  
The weather has been cold and very windy so I have not checked the hive.  Will do tomorrow (the 18th) since the temps will be in the 70's or higher. I'm still continuing to feed all the hives.  They are slowly taking the sugar syrup.
April 20, 2018 Update - On Wednesday, I opened 2017 Hive, the queen was still in her little box so I took the screened top off and she went inside the hive.  I was more careful when opening and releasing since I lost a queen last year - didn't want to make the same mistake again. 
Queen Bee
So all the hives are working, still feeding and hope we have warmer and more consistent weather soon.  I covered my ferns again last night and will tonight since it'll be in the 30's again.  Have a couple of tomato plants but will wait another week or so before putting them out.

2018 Marked Queen
When buying a Queen, they are marked  with a dot of paint on their thorax.  The color code indicates the birth year of the queen  - red is the color for queen bees for 2018.  Makes the Queen a little easier to find in the hive.

These are photos from the internet.  Just wanted to have an example of what the queen cage looks like and also a marked queen. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Two Packages

Packages of bees are measured by the pound.  There are 3-4,000 bees per pound so Monday I got two 3-lb packages of about 10,000 bees in each package and a mated queen. Packages consist of bees who didn't know that they were leaving home when they woke up on the morning they were poured into a box (package) with a bunch of other bees with a queen who wasn't their mother. If they were swarming bees, they would have filled their bellies with honey in preparation for the swarm. So it's like leaving home with no luggage. They have to draw wax and get started the minute they are installed but without honey in their honey stomachs so they have no resources to make wax. Even with the honey flow and stuff out there, they have to be fed and continue feeding until they stop taking the sugar syrup.
The initial worker bees in the package are not offspring of the queen, and may be any breed. They are usually Italian, as Italians are known to build up fast. The bees and queen have to become accustomed to each other and that's why she is separated at the beginning of this journey. The worker bees will eat thru the candy in her little box so she can get out and get busy laying eggs.
The worker bees draw out comb, collect nectar and pollen, and the queen begins laying eggs, and those eggs begin to mature and emerge. It takes about 21 days for the egg to grow into a bee. Meanwhile, the initial work force will slowly die off, hopefully to be replaced by young bees. The emerging bees are offspring of the queen, and will be true to the queen and her mates. 
0418 Hive #1

0418 Hive #2

Bee Yard April 2018
Yesterday I quickly opened each hive and took out the package bee box and put in the remaining 5 frames.  The bees are working and have settled down.
Bees are amazing just like all the insects, birds, animals - we take so much for granted in our little world.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Two for One or One for Two

Well, I'm not sure which is which . . . but last Wednesday I checked Hive #2.  I thought they might need a super and just to see what was going on inside the hive.  This is the first day we've had in a long time that was warm (above 50 degrees).
So there were two supers and a deep.  I took off the two supers and looked in the deep - guess what!  A queen - yes, there she was so I put the frame back in the deep and put the first super on and checked that super.  Everything looked okay and then I put the top super back on the hive and checked the frames on that super.  Well, lo and behold, there was another queen!  

Inside 2017 Hive
I put everything back together and thought about what I needed to do - this gave the bees times to settle down and when I took the super off to move, I didn't smoke the bees.  I wanted as many bees in the top super as possible. I checked to make sure there was a queen in the super after moving and put a jar of sugar water on the hive.  

0318 Hive
Fast forward to today and the bees are doing fine in both hives.  Feeding both hives and they are bringing in pollen - red, orange, yellow.   
The package bees were delayed a couple of weeks.  Should get them around income tax time. I feel very fortunate or lucky that I found both queens.  So with the packages, I'll have four hives.  Good way to start the new beekeeping year.

Monday, March 26, 2018


I'm soon to become a member of the National Society of  Daughters of the American Revolution or DAR.  I started years ago but got sidetracked but just recently got all my paperwork in order with help from the DAR group I'll be joining.  Generation 8 (1700's) on my Mother's side of the family - my GGGGGGrandfather served in the American Revolution and fought at the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, a very early decisive victory for the Patriots.   I hope I have the number of GG's right but you get the general idea. 
It will be several months before I will become "certified" if that's the right term.  The DAR is very particular about their paperwork. Only direct female descendants of Revolutionary soldiers or participants in Revolutionary causes are eligible for membership.
"Thirteen colonies fought to gain independence from the British Empire, resulting in the Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783. The colonies penned the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and the war was finally won after many bloody battles in 1781. Those who fought in the Revolution were known as patriots. For membership purposes, DAR defines “patriot” as “one who provided service or direct assistance in achieving America's independence” [source: DAR].
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My GGGrandfather served in the Civil War and fought at Fort Fisher but that's another story for another day.  I have relatives on my Father's side of the family in both wars but unfortunately the paper trail is incomplete. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

New Bee Packages

The beginning of a new year for beekeeping. 
The weather has been different again this year and continues with the same - last night we had a mix of snow, sleet, and rain.  Cold, damp and wet this morning. The high today will be 52 but it won't feel like that.  I hope this is the last of the cold and we're headed toward warmer and not a blast of hot weather.  Midweek is supposed to be in the 70's. 
Today Mr. Ellis is picking up two packages of bees for me and I'll bring them home late afternoon.  They'll stay in the barn (out of the wind/cold) till it warms up a little - maybe Tuesday.
New Hives March, 25, 2018
Yesterday I made two new hive boxes - one with a nuc box and one regular. I have one hive that overwintered.  I have had to move the hives down in the garden.  I'm running out of sun but I don't want to cut down any trees (they are along the fence and block out the traffic noise) so I'll see how this works.  
Beeyard March 25, 2018