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

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Not my best day . . . .

So late this afternoon, I noticed a strange wasp entering the 2017 Hive and I thought it was a little out of kilter for that to happen. 
Well, let me back up for a minute - on the 16th of October the bees were flying around like lunatics.  There was a cold front coming through and I thought the weather was the reason.  When I checked late Thursday, dead bees were in front of three of the hives.  It was late and I wasn't sure what was happening so I put sugar syrup on all the hives again thinking mosquito spraying might be the culprit.  I talked to Mr. Ellis and later he called back and said it was probably robber bees.  I just didn't add two and two together at the time. 
Well, it was robber bees and then wax moths got in the hives and three of my hives were destroyed.  They were not strong enough to defend themselves and there was not a doggone thing I could have done to save those hives.   But the 2017 Hive was strong enough to ward off the robbers and they seemed to be doing okay and no sign of wax moths in the hive.  I closed the entrance to about 1" and checked the top super - there were lots of bees in the hive.
Until I looked today after seeing the wasp.  They're gone and what were left were dead on the bottom of the hive.  
Robbing is more common in the fall when the bees, wasps, etc. are looking for that last source of food before cold weather. Worker honey bees are normally law-abiding, industrious creatures, but sometimes they can turn to a life of crime – and it may pay handsome dividends.  Robbing begins when a few bees are able to enter a hive and return home with food.  This excites the other foragers to join the raid.  Before long a frenzy of robbing bees will be present at the front of the target hive.  Robbing will continue until the colony is killed and all the honey inside is gone.
I have made many mistakes in keeping bees but never have I lost all my hives.  To say I'm disappointed and upset about this would be an understatement. 
They have been such an important part of my life - I will wait till spring and then decide if I'm up to trying this again. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hurricanes Florence and Michael

Enough already!
It seems we're having a spell and not a good one!  Hurricane Florence has come and gone but left so much damage behind.  A_+{[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[e34  (the cat just walked on the computer)  I was going to type the damage was terrible in so many places and now Hurricane Michael is wrecking havoc.  I just heard a transformer blow but I still have power - I'm on an "old grid" so we seldom lose power (that said, we'll see what happens).  I live in what they call "Old Town" meaning there are so many new subdivisions and every clod of dirt that can be built on - well, I'm getting off the subject and going on a rant. 
So I'm safe, dry and all my animals are okay.  Not much more you can ask for in the scheme of things.  I just hope the tops don't blow off the beehives.  And yes, they are fine or were today when I checked.  Still feeding but they're not taking much sugar syrup but it's there if they want it.
I remember Hurricane Floyd or one of those F named hurricanes.  I told the girls to do their homework - they'd be going to school - get it done.  A huge oak tree fell during the night but didn't hit the house.  I slept thru the whole thing.  There was no school the next day and for several days after the hurricane.  So that just shows what I know! 
So be safe and hope you didn't have much or any damage. 

Downtown New Bern NC
Hurricane Florence

Downtown New Bern NC
Hurricane Florence
I can tell you there were sailboats in the Trent River stuck in mud in low lying areas, all kinds of debris in the fields of corn, piers gone and water in places nobody had ever seen before. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Magic Lily

Lycoris Squamigera
Common Names: Spider Lily, Resurrection Lily, Surprise Lily, Magic Lily, Naked Ladies
I have just dug a bunch of bulbs and put in pots (in case I should ever decide to move and to share with folks that don't have any).  They are to me an old fashioned plant but they originated in Japan or China and are a member of the Amaryllis family.
The leaves sprout and grow in the spring and look a lot like daffodil foliage, a little wider and thicker, but the foliage dies back during June. Then in late fall the lilies pop up again, this time producing between six and eight flowers on thin, leafless stems that grow up to three feet tall.  It only takes four or five days from first emerging to full bloom and the flowers last for two to three weeks.
The suddenness of the bloom is why they are called Magic Lily, Surprise Lily and Resurrection Lily.  The flowers in my yard are a dark pink.  It is a surprise and almost magic for them to just appear out of no where because I can never remember where they are in the yard.  One of my favorites.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Neighborhood

I got three little chicks back in July - a Bielefelder for Vivian, a Silver Laced Orpington for Knox, and a Salmon Favorelle for Tiny.  They live in the big house now with the twins but still working on the pecking order.  They're now teenagers and have decided to broaden their horizons and have started sitting on the deck.  Little Kitty, bless her heart, has to put up with the new kids on the block and also the two older (not laying) hens and Lily.  They're cute and funny little things and hopefully I'll be getting some eggs in the near future.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Well, it's been a day or two . . .

Yep, it's been awhile and I have no excuse except this is time consuming and I've been piddling around a lot lately.  So, that said, here's some of what I've been doing - went across the pond - yep, a trip to England - 11 (yes, eleven) days away from home.  I went with a group on a garden tour with the J.C. Raulston Arboretum and it was wonderful.  Every day was another garden that was better than the one before - big, little, in between sizes, public and private gardens.  But I was glad to get back to the flat land of eastern North Carolina.  That's the longest I've ever been gone from home. And yes I took lots of photos but who wants to look at somebody else's trip photos - not me!
But I did see bees and beehives and there were bees in the walls of this chapel which is still used for services.  It was lovely.

1700's Chapel

Bees in the wall of the Chapel

Trip to Bald Head Island with the grandkids which is always great.  I love that place - even with bad weather it's a great place to visit.  Lots of trips to the river.
Trying to keep ahead of grass and weeds and I just gave up in the garden.
Beeyard - September 23, 2018
So today I checked the bees.  I didn't take any honey this summer.  Just not enough and I wanted to be sure the bees would have enough for the winter.  I have started feeding again - front feeders on two hives and inside feeders on two.  They don't have enough honey to last the winter and I'll just keep feeding.  Hurricane Florence dropped a lot of rain here and this has been a weird weather year. The Farmer's Almanac is calling for a mild winter but that is neither a good or bad situation.  If they don't have enough honey stored in the hive, they'll starve cold weather or not.

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!