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

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Nucs

Here's how the nucs look - double brood boxes on each one. Has not seemed to make much difference in their goings and comings in moving from the little to the big house.

I have saved a whole super full of honey for each of these nucs - Hive #6 and Hive #1 have 3 supers on them and I'll use one from each of these - don't want them to starve this winter.

We had about 1/2 inch of rain Sunday night.

Nuc #2 looks a little lopsided but I think it was the way I took the picture - whoops!

This was taken about 8 o'clock (pm) - still daylight and the bees are just hanging out on the front porch - Hive #1.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Big House

Today I put both nucs in a brood box.

I took the nuc box and put it in the trusty, rusty wheelbarrow and then put a screened bottom board on the cinderblocks where the nuc was sitting and an empty brood box and then started transferring frames from the nuc to their new home. Only took a couple of minutes - didn't want them to get discomboblicated - so I didn't even look for the queen.

Then the inner cover and an empty brood box on top of the regular brood box - I took a quart jar filled with sugar water, turned it upside down on a saucer with a couple of toothpicks under the rim of the jar for a light flow of sugar water and put this inside the empty brood box on top of the inner cover. Then the top on the brood box and we're good to go. Hopefully this will eliminate robbing from the other hives and the girls can get busier. They are bringing in pollen - it's awfully dry and hoping for a thunderstorm this afternoon. We sure need some rain.

My camera is out of commission so no photos today - hopefully tomorrow. Yuk!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Nucs

Friday afternoon (a week ago), I opened the nucs again with the intention of putting them in a big house. Well, they were still not ready.

But this weekend I'm gonna put them in a big box and start feeding. They should have plenty of time to fill the brood box and be ready for cold weather.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Joke of the Day

Who is the bees favorite pop group?

Well, if you answered the Bee Gees you're right!

Not only are they the "bees" favorite - who doesn't remember "Stayin' Alive" from "Saturday Night Fever" and "How Deep is Your Love".

And they wrote "Grease" recorded by Frankie Valli and "Islands in the Stream" by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton and many more.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Beekeeping Gloves

I bought these gloves when I began beekeeping. They have elastic in the arm band and ventilation and the gloves are leather and they're above the elbow length. The downside is they had gotten awfully dirty and when I was working the bees on Saturday, evidently I got stung more than once on my gloves. The bees went nuts - the message was loud and clear - hit those gloves. And they did - many, many times. Thank goodness they can't sting thru leather but I did get a couple of hits on my arms.

So the question was - what now? I threw those bad boys in the washing machine and they came out fine and dandy. You just never know. So I'll head out again and hopefully the message button for the bees is OFF.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Beeyard

From left to right

Hive #6

Hive #4

Nuc #1

Nuc #2

Hive #1

And lots of Queen Anne's Lace blooming.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cleaning Up

So today has been spent cleaning the extractor, putting the empty supers outside for the bees to clean up and trying to get that sticky honey off everything.

The bees are in a feeding frenzy today! They're on honey overload!

Steve came over yesterday afternoon and we got 3 full supers from Hive #4 - they were so full of honey it was dripping from the bottom. This is the largest hive I have with two full brood boxes and now with two supers - one full for the winter and one to fill between now and cold weather. This hive rocks!

So all total I got about 2 5-gallon buckets of honey. More than enough for me. I could have gotten more but our extractor is like a washing machine out of control when you go fast, so I left a lot of honey on the supers.

Forgot to mention my helper - she loves the cappings on the honey (me too).

I don't sell my honey but I do strain it twice to make sure all the dead bees, trash and possibly dog hair are out of there.

I ate a lot of honey comb yesterday - it sure was good and the house still smells like honey today.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Robbing the Bees

Today was the day . . . gotta do it . . . I have to talk myself into it . . . that's right - today was "robbing the bees" day. Need to get that honey.

So Hive #6 and Hive #1 I did by myself. This is how I do it - time consuming and there are better ways I'm sure but this works for me.

The wheelbarrow, the empty super and the sheet - when I open the hive, I take each frame out individually - then shake or knock the bees off at the front of the hive - a little jarring -they could be dizzy or have a slight concussion but they get up and go back in the hive. Then the frame is put in the empty super and covered with a sheet (normally white but today pink was the color but I like pink) to keep the bees out until I head up to the house. This is the only way I can take a complete super or even a partial - they are so heavy when full of honey, I can't pick them up. So when I get to the house, I can take a couple of frames at the time inside. Time consuming but works. And no bees in the house.

Once I've gone thru the super, I do the next one and on and on - for Hive #6 and #1, all the frames were not full so some I left and moved others around a little - I got 17 frames full of honey from both hives. And I left a full super of honey on each hive for the winter.

Our beekeepers group has several extractors the members can use. Thank goodness - for no more honey than I get every year, they are just to expensive to justify my needs. This is a six-frame.

The 5-gallon buckets and paint strainers (from a local home improvement) store and plastic to try and cover everything which is impossible. Honey is really sticky!

This is a full frame of honey ready to be extracted. Just beautiful.

Friday, June 20, 2008

First Day of Summer

Today is the First Day of Summer.

YIPEE - I'm ready for summer. I love hot weather and even though I'll complain about it being hot in late August and September (those dog days of summer), I still love it!

A little puppy visiting Lily.

Playing catch at the river.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Still Hot . . . .

It's still hot - not quite as bad as the 100's from last week, thank goodness. The bees are just hanging out and working hard.

From late winter to early autumn, bees keep the temperature in the hive's nursery between about 91 - 97 degrees F to ensure proper development of the young. They rarely allow the temperature to vary more than 2 degrees in the course of a day. Sometimes foragers bring water rather than nectar. Nurse bees - those tending the brood of unborn workers - will use the water to either dilute honey to feed the brood or, on hot days, to cool the hive through evaporation.

Be sure your bees have plenty of water - just like our four legged friends - they need clean water every day.

There's a real pecking order at our house and sometimes the Little Black Kitty gets in the front of the line.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bluebirds - #2

They're back and nesting in the front yard this time. I put up a new nest thinking I would get another pair - but the pair in my garden moved to the new house in the front yard.
When I go out front to get the paper, her little head pops out of the nest - she's watching. The best I can tell , there's 3 or more eggs. We'll have another set of babies soon.

Monday, June 16, 2008

a little poem

I eat my peas with honey

I've done it all my life

It makes my peas taste funny

but it keeps them on my knife.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

The "Fathers of Beekeeping"

L. L. Langstroth, Revered as the "father of American apiculture", no other individual has influenced modern beekeeping practice more than Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth. His classic book The Hive and Honey-bee was published in 1853.

Moses Quinby, often termed 'the father of commercial beekeeping in the United States', author of Mysteries of Bee-Keeping Explained.

Amos Root, author of the A B C of Bee Culture which has been continuously revised and remains in print to this day. Root pioneered the manufacture of hives and the distribution of bee-packages in the United States.

A.J. Cook, author of The Bee-Keepers' Guide; or Manual of the Apiary, 1876.

Dr. C.C. Miller was one of the first entrepreneurs to actually make a living from apiculture. By 1878 he made beekeeping his sole business activity. His book, Fifty Years Among the Bees, remains a classic and his influence on bee management persists to this day.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Real Yard Art

This is what I call "real yard art" - isn't it just stunning! Friends of mine have this in their yard.

And this is their water garden - I'll show you mine later. They did share some water plants with me - a lily getting ready to bloom and floating water hyancinth.
They have a great yard.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Water for the Bees

This may look nasty but the bees love it - the water gets just dirty enough to suit them. Rock and stick for sitting and sipping.

And on the pretty side, some flowers blooming in my yard right now.

Gardenias - the smell is overwhelming. My Aunt Rena rooted two plants for me several years ago.

Hydrangea - I have rooted several bushes from this plant by putting a brick on a limb. By the next year, it's rooted and ready to be moved.

Bee Balm - the bees love this and I keep splitting and moving so I'll get more and more plants.

And Roxy - resting. It's a hard life at my house.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sticky Mess

Well I did made a sticky mess - with my camera!
Every time I'm in the beeyard now, I take my camera and of course there's honey and of course it's sticky - so you can guess the rest.
This is the message I got when I pushed the on/off button "Lens error, restart camera" - trust me, you don't want to see this message. So off to the camera store and it will cost more to repair than I actually paid for the camera. And the warranty is long gone.
So now I've got to get another camera - it's great fun taking the bee photos and Lily and all the stuff in the yard and the cats and hopefully at some point, my two legged children.
So that's my b'day gift to myself (even though it's months away but wait - maybe I've already given myself something this year). Oh well, off to the camera store.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Compost Bin - Free

I've been planning on making a compost bin for quite some time, years actually. You know how you say you're gonna do something and it never happens. Well, I've done it and the cheapest or I should say the least expensive way possible.

Four pallets from a business down the street from the office - stopped and asked and I got 4 free and help loading them in the Jeep. Now that's nice!

The lattice I already had and didn't have any plans to use so that made the back. Three pieces - one extra large and two short but it worked out just right.

I have a little more to do - stapling wire on the back and sides (I have some left over from something) and a board in the front of each bin - have some of those laying around too. Then I can get started . . . .

Can you see her ball - it got stuck or dropped in between the boards.
Lily was a really big help!

Monday, June 9, 2008


I'm not sure you can see the queen cell but this is Nuc #2 - top left - kinda in the middle.

This is another frame from Nuc #2.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hot and Checking Bees

Hive #6

4 supers

Hive #4

Now with 5 supers and two hive bodies.

Hive #1

4 supers

It's in the high 90's and the heat index has been over 100 for a couple of days. I need to get my honey but now's not the time but I did want to check on the nucs. So early this morning, I got suited up - even then, it was already over 80 degrees.

Nuc #1 - still has one frame to fill out and I did see the queen again. Easier to see in a nuc - not as many places to hide.

Nuc #2 - I didn't see a queen but I did see two queen cells so maybe they'll get it done soon.

Both nucs had lots of bees, brood and pollen. This is my first try at making a queen so I'm pleased with what's happening.
Since I was suited up, I checked on the other hives. Just popped the top and added a super to each hive - just want to be sure they have room till I can take the honey. These supers will be used for winter food - if they're not completely full in the fall, I'll just rearrange some frames. I need to have a super full of honey for each nuc when I put them in a big house.
And I like to have plenty of honey for the winter for all the hives.

Friday, June 6, 2008

3 B's

Bees love all of these.


Batchelor Buttons

Corn Flowers

Bee Balm


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Shelton Herb Farm

Last week I had the pleasure of going to Shelton Herb Farm in Leland (about 8 miles from Wilmington). I had met Meg Shelton at an Herb Society meeting last year when she gave a talk on herbs to our group. The farm specializes in herbs, vegetables, native plants and cut flowers. She's also at the Farmer's Market at Poplar Grove Plantation on Wednesday mornings and the Riverfront Market downtown on Saturday mornings. If you're interested in herbs and vegetables, it's a great place to visit.



Lemon Balm

Oakleaf Hydrangea

These are some of the many plants at Shelton Herb Farm.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Yard Art

The Little Black Kitty

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Full House

It's been hot today and late afternoon the bees were hanging out on the porch.

Hive #4

Hive #1