Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter's a little chilly today! We've had a few days around 60 degrees and the "Girls" have thoroughly enjoyed themselves. A few were even coming back in with pollen on their legs.
I am just so very excited for this first year of beekeeping. They have taken care of the queen, put pollen away for Winter, made honey, didn't sting me (I'm sure I would have deserved it a couple of times, at least), didn't swarm and didn't die! Thanks, Ladies!
I look forward to the Spring to get ready and do it all again. Maybe I'll even split my hive...I would love to have a second hive now but a little afraid to buy a new package...may not be blessed to get another set of gentle "Girls" like this. ;)
I don't believe I ever talked about the 2009 NC State Fair in October. The Orange County Beekeepers Association that I'm a member of won 1st place and Best in Show for our association display! I won a Blue Ribbon in the Cooking with Honey area for my Banana Bread and 3rd Place for my Applesauce Muffins.
So very excited for the 2010 NC State Fair!
...until next time... Kiss a Beekeeper!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

WOW...Has It Really Been This Long...UPDATE!!!

The Summer has come to an end...and it seems I haven't blogged all season! WOW

Anywho...the last blog entry, I was in the process of getting a new queen...well, let me tell you...

I was able to get a new queen from Busy Bee. I had been in such a hurry…afraid I would lose the entire hive if someone didn’t start laying eggs soon! All they had available was a virgin queen…which meant…she would need to be placed in the hive…leave the hive for her mating flight…and return to begin laying eggs…all without being eaten by a predator…WOW! I had to leave the hive alone for a couple of weeks (approx. 19 days) to allow everything to happen. When I went back into the hive, there was a little bitty bee emerging from a cell… HUH??? How is that possible? It takes 21 days for a worker to be “born”…the new queen wouldn’t have had time to get in there do everything and actually have babies emerging. Something fishy is going on! So, I went thru all of the scenarios and to this day…still can’t come up with a reasonable explanation. I just say, “Thanks, God” for keeping my hive going. It was an amazing sight to see a little bee coming out of that cell!

From that point, the Girls have been working overtime all Summer. They have made sooooo much honey …some from the sugar water but quite a bit from actual nectar…and they are still going…so I may just have a little honey this season for myself. Wouldn’t that be something!

I’m adding a medium super this week with a queen excluder (to keep the queen from laying eggs in my honey). Worst case…even if I don’t get any honey from it before it begins to get cool…they will at least start drawing out the frames with wax for the Spring.

Talk to you soon! BEE happy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

So Much Going on...Just an Update...

So...first of all...the Queen situation...

I called Busy Bees back today to check on the status of a new queen. Because of the weather they queens have been delayed...we've had a lot of rain and today is actually a little chilly.
It was recommended I get a virgin queen. The drones I already have will end up mating with her. WOW, drones will have something to!

Ok...I know this is a large bit of info below...but oh so very interesting!!!

Virgin queen bee
A virgin queen is a queen bee that has not mated with a drone. Virgins are intermediate in size between workers and mated, laying queens, and are much more active than the latter. They are hard to spot while inspecting a frame, because they run across the comb, climbing over worker bees if necessary, and may even take flight if sufficiently disturbed. Virgin queens can often be found clinging to the walls or corners of a hive during inspections.

Virgin queens appear to have little queen pheromone and often do not appear to be recognized as queens by the workers. A virgin queen in her first few hours after emergence can be placed into the entrance of any queenless hive or nuc and acceptance is usually very good, whereas a mated queen is usually recognized as a stranger and runs a high risk of being killed by the older workers.

When a young virgin queen emerges from a queen cell, she will generally seek out her virgin queen rivals and attempt to kill them. Virgin queens will quickly find and kill (by stinging) any other emerged virgin queen (or be dispatched themselves), as well as any unemerged queens. Queen cells that are opened on the side indicate that a virgin queen was likely killed by a rival virgin queen. When a colony remains in swarm mode after the prime swarm has left, the workers may prevent virgins from fighting and one or several virgins may go with after swarms. Other virgins may stay behind with the remnant of the hive. As many as 21 virgin queens have been counted in a single large swarm. When the after swarm settles into a new home, the virgins will then resume normal behavior and fight to the death until only one remains.
If the prime swarm has a virgin queen and the old queen, the old queen will usually be allowed to live. The old queen continues laying. Within a couple of weeks she will disappear and the former virgin, now mated, will take her place.
Unlike the worker bees, the queen's stinger is not barbed. The queen can sting repeatedly without dying.

Piping (we didn't discuss this in class at all...WOW, I wonder if I'll hear my virgin queen do this???)
Piping describes a noise made by virgin and mated queen bees during certain times of the virgin queens development. Fully developed virgin queens communicate through vibratory signals: "quacking" from virgin queens in their queen cells and "tooting" from queens free in the colony, collectively known as piping. A virgin queen may frequently pipe before she emerges from her cell and for a brief time afterwards. Mated queens may briefly pipe after being released in a hive. The piping sound is variously described as a children's trumpet tooting and quacking. It is quite loud and can be clearly heard outside the hive. The piping sound is created by the flight motor without movement of the wings. The vibration energy is resonated by the thorax.
Piping is most common when there is more than one queen in a hive. It is postulated that the piping is a form of battle cry announcing to competing queens and the workers their willingness to fight. It may also be a signal to the worker bees which queen is the most worthwhile to support.

The piping sound is a G♯ or A♮. The adult queen pipes for a two-second pulse followed by a series of quarter-second toots.[2] The queens of Africanized bees produce more vigorous and frequent bouts of piping.

This information can be found at

BY JOHN MCCANN : The Herald-Sun May 11, 2009

Visit the link above to read the story printed in today's Durham newspaper.

Thanks John McCann for a fantastic article!

I received a phone call this afternoon from a man in Oxford
who said he saw me in the newspaper today.
He said there have been honeybees in one of the walls of the church he attends
for almost 15 years! WOW
When it's warm...the honey pours down the walls onto their carpet.
I explained that I'm a brand new beekeeper but would be happy to help in anyway I can.
So I plan on asking my instructors what the best way to help would be.
The NC Master Beekeeper Program
I'm going to Mr. Pipes house on Wednesday to take my practical test!
Once I pass this hands on test, I'll be a certified beekeeper!
I am so very excited!
I'm going to my first association meeting on Thursday.
I am so very greatful for the helpful of Lynette (one of their members).
She came out and helped me figure out what was going on!
Until the next time everyone...
from my favorite poem my father sent to me while I was living in France...
he told me to apply it to my life.
Desiderata... "Strive to BEE Happy"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Guess Who Is Gone...

So...remember all of those pictures with the crazy honeycomb everywhere...
ummm...there may actually be a reasonable explanation.
The Girls are bored!
They don't have any brood to take care of!
They no longer have a queen!!!
WOW! I know...I said the same thing!
A bee mentor named Lynette came over to help me figure out what was going on.
She said...ok...let's just go thru each frame and see what we see.
As we pulled out each frame and checked front and back... larva...hmmm...
Lynette said...sometimes it happens...
the queen may have been weak after the trip.
We were able to scrape off that huge chunk of extra comb.
I must admit...I just met Lynette that day
and had only previously spoken to her on the phone...
I had to drop my a little girl had crawled up...
trying to get up off of the deck...
I stayed still for a second thinking it was my imagination...
then, I said..."ummm, I'm going to have to drop these (pants) for a second."
NO!!! I don't have any pictures of that...(Thank, God) LOL
At least I remained cool...and still didn't get stung...which is really crazy. LOL
Anywho...we called Jack Tapp with Busy Bees...and he'll have some queens ready the middle of next week. The good news is my girls haven't decided they know how to lay eggs...they will make a complete mess by placing multiple eggs in a cell, for example.
So, until next week...I'll sit tight until I can get a new queen.
At least with Lynette coming over...I was sure of what I was/was not seeing...
and this really helped to prepare me for my practical test which I'll take in the next week.
This is second part to becoming a Certified Beekeeper in the State of N.C.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Mess The Girls Made...

Isn't she cute?
This little girl decided to hang out for a second...
Jada snapped this picture twice and she just sat there...
walking around a bit...

BTW, no stings to date... I am...searching for the Queen...
I wish she would just yell..."Hey Lady, here I am!"

Just too many bees to find her!!!! Grrrr...

This is the reason I'm so anxious...
it appears my girls are making a queen...
At field day...they said...
they sometimes do this just to worry you! lol
(the queen cells are shaped like peanuts)

Maybe I'll just get a Nuc box and start a new hive?

Also...if you look at the pic above closely...
you should see bee larva...(top right)

Looking down into the hive at the MESS! lol

So...this is the mess I was talking about...
Great pictures, JadaKaye!

Close up...

But thru it all...I still love them!

Just doing what they do...'LITTLE GIRLS!!!"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

N.C. Master Beekeeper Program

Just an update...

I've passed part 1...
which is the written examination for the
Certified Level of the N.C. Master Beekeeper Program!

WOOHOOOO complete my certification...
I have to complete part 2 which is the practical test.
I just have to manipulate a hive of bees in front of an instructor.

Once I pass the second part, I'll be a Certified Beekeeper!

Can I bring my own girls for the manipulation of a hive?
'Cause I don't know how other people's children will act! LOL

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Working Overtime!

Saturday had been rather warm all day...
I walked up the deck to go in the house...
I could see a shadow at the hive entrance...hmmm...what is that???
I'm used to the Babies being all tucked in when it's dark outside.

Here is the picture I took...
they were so very still...motionless...but alive...kinda...sleeping...
Come to find was just a little too warm inside of the hive...
so they decided to sleep under the stars...
this made me on edge to see what was going on...for fear...
they may be getting a little cramped...
could that be possible? Already?

So ...remember this pic...the empty hive...before installing the Babies...

AND...the brand new foundation...thin sheet of wax which guides them...

WELL...a Bee friend, Christine...
came over to help me put the hive up on pavers...
saw a few picnic ants and didn't want them snooping around the hive.

It has been approximately a week and a half
so I'm "allowed" to finally take a peek!

Took the inner lid off to find the girls have decided to be a little creative
and add some honeycomb on the lid...

" there!"

So...of's gone now...I actually have taken it as a souvenir...
awww, the Babies have made something!!!

So...this is what that little piece of honeycomb was attached too...
See the clump of honeycomb in between these frames?

Look...they are sooooo busy!
(Close Up)
Then...I gave them a small puff of take a closer look...
By the way...I'm still no good at the smoke/fire thing!
Look at the foundation!!! There is honeycomb everwhere!!!

This picture shows a frame full of honeycomb
and with some of the combs full of NECTAR!!!
(yes...look back up top...remember the foundation frame...empty...uh huh!)

I have been reading to find out for sure
when to add the next brood chamber...
I think the answer is NOW!!!

Here are a few pictures of the girls...
playing on the front porch!