Chainsaws and bees

 

We are always very careful about running loud machinery around the beehives.  Bees are sensitive to loud vibrating sounds, light in their dark hives, scents that they don’t know, and any other thing a female group could be sensitive.  Just saying, this is a whole lot of girls to keep happy.

Imagine the surprise at opening a log with a chainsaw, and not being immediately attacked?  What?

The friendliest bees in S. Texas are were in a log, and now they are getting comfy in a box with all their brood, bees, queen, and some sugar for being so sweet.

What amazing creatures.

I’m so grateful for this experience.  Even when it doesn’t go so well, or when we get together with some Kranky gals, I’m still amazed by how they work, what they do, how they produce, and how sweet they can be when I least deserve it.

Have I been stung, you bet.  Did I deserve it?  Mostly, but sometimes these gals are just horrid, and it takes some management to get the disposition of the hive to turn.  Yep, it’s a Regicide.  The queen is a gonner if the hive gets mean, because she is the driver.

Do I understand, Nope?  I’m just working the best that I can.

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This is a photo I took a few weeks ago when we were feeding.  She smelled the sugar on my hands and stopped  by to see what was left.  No stings, no fuss, just a drop in to see what was up.

I really like my bees.  Isn’t she beautiful?

I’m also very grateful that most of my encounters with bees have been quite pleasant.  They are amazing little creatures.

My little friend

Making new friends on a beautiful day in the bee yard.

I had just put the sugar syrup in the feeder, and had some on my hands.

We hung out while she had a snack.  Isn’t she pretty?

Honey and little Visitors

Last weekend the bees were in a great mood, even though we snagged about 4 frames of honey from them.

Last night, I mashed and smashed the comb and extracted the honey.

It’s some of the darkest and thickest honey we’ve collected yet.  We ended up with 8 pounds total. That’s not too terrible, 2 pounds per frame.  Hopefully we will have some more waiting for us in the next couple of weeks.

I set the empty honey frames outside, as they were a stick mess, along with the rest of the kitchen.

This morning, I had some little visitors cleaning up my frames.  Sorry for those of you who don’t iPhone.  I don’t know if you will be able to see it or not.

It’s our first really cool day in months.  I was a little sad not to be out at the bee yard, and seeing what my girls were up to.  These ladies are local to our neighborhood and were kind enough to come by and clean up for me.

So I got some bee time in, which made me smile.  Sweet little bees.

Today I’m grateful for mellow sunshine, cooler weather, productive bees, and a chance to get some honey.

Beautiful day in the bee yard

The sun was mellow, but the heat was inescapable. 


The girls were really busy bring in the golden rod nectar and pollen.


Then I got a special treat.

I got to see a book from 1901 on bee keeping.  It is so cool!


It is so beautifully written, and the photos and illustrations are magnificent.  

What a great treat to hold this piece of history in my hands.

Our first few frames of honey were plucked up this weekend.  So we will be getting sticky putting that goodness into jars.

Have a great week!

I am a Bee

I am a bee,

Flitting from flower to flower.

Washboarding on the hive;

back and forth

back and forth.

am a bee.

It’s not about me.

It’s about the hive.

Here’s the flowers,

We stay alive.

I am a bee.

I dance and show my sisters

where to find the flowers, and the water.

I am the bee,

We will survive forever after,

We will benefit everything every where we go.

I am a bee.

So, Wendy?  What does this have to do with the interview?

I realized in the middle of the interview, how my job has always been like being a bee.

I go from prospect to prospect, client to client.

I let my staff know where the best opportunities are.

Everything I do is to pollinate my territory with information, solutions to problems, and products they need, so that they can be more productive.

I do no harm to any, but only seek to find ways to help my clients and to bring business into my company.  Like a bee pollinates flowers, and brings the information for the best sources into the hive.

I’m fiercely protective of my hive, my family, and will sting to protect them or myself.

I’m a bee.

I produce sweetly, and sometimes I’m a bit sticky, and painful.

I am a bee.

 

Photo Credit:  Me.  The Green Dot is my All American Queen from Rossman, beautiful brood pattern.  She’s a mighty queen.

The 2nd Photo is outside on the front porch, the fuzzy big bugs in the middle are the Male drones out for the evening air along with their sisters who watch over them.

Apitherapy

The hubs and I attended a summer clinic yesterday put together by our State Bee Keepers Association.  

The big topic was Apitherapy. I’ve kinda joked about my venom therapy whenever I’ve been stung in the bee yard, but it’s a huge thing.  Go figure.  My unintentional venom therapy might have some really useful benefits…. Other than Gwyeth Paltrows beauty regimen.  My stings never made me feel better, but I don’t suffer from chronic pain.

But!  Would you do it?


Palestinian bee keepers in the Gaza Strip. Image credit CBS News.

I don’t see any exposed skin there, do you? 

So I dug in to find out what this trend is about, and there is a National Apitherapy Association. Some Chiropractors use Apitherapy on their clients with spinal arthritis.  Some Acupuncture professionals use Apitherapy for Lyme disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis treatments.  In reading a little of the info, it is even suggested there are benefits to the central nervous system. I really looking forward to learning more.

Sources: What is LymeApitherapyKeeping Bee

One of the attendees at our function, a bee keeper from Marshall, Tx, was so excited over her results kept she showing me her hands. They were straight and strong, no bent fingers, very dexterous.  She’s had rheumatoid arthritis since her early 30’s and had to retire at 40 because she couldn’t perform her job as an electrician anymore.  She took up beekeeping, and found that the more she allowed her hands to be stung, the straighter her fingers became.  Anectodal, I know, but really interesting.  Now she raises bees to sell for Apitherapy, and encourage me to consider the same path.


I guess my question du jour, is could you do it?

Would you do it?  Do you know anyone who has?  

A Nerd is Born


Our last 3 frames of honey this season have been squeezed, and the wax has been rendered.

So what do I do with all that wax?

Lotion anyone?  Solid massage bar anyone?

I got on You Tube and Pinterest.  I watched videos, read recipes.

I had some silicon chocolate molds, and cupcake trays.

And here is batch number 2.

The heart is a skin- tightening, coffee, mocha heart.  It has Beeswax, honey, Shea butter, sweet almond oil, coffee, cocoa powder, and a splash of vitamin E.  It is designed to be used pre-shower, so you can rinse off the caffeine and cocoa powder.  You could eat it, if you didn’t mind the fresh ground coffee beans. 

The Dragon Fly is a Lemon-Rosemary lotion bar with Beeswax, Shea butter, sweet almond oil, Lemon essential oil and Rosemary leaves and flowers.  It is also designed for use pre-shower.

The wax and oils melt with the heat of the skin.  It is an indulgence for relaxation and enjoyment.

They are being testing next week by my focus group (Guinea pig, God Bless them) friends who put up with my shenanigans, and indulge me as I learn.

If someone had told me 2 years ago that I wouldn’t be traveling, employed, or in the mortgage industry anymore….I would have told them they were stupid. 

Now I’m using my good LeCruset to make lotion bars.  I’m considering an etsy shop.  I’m seriously looking to market what I have learned in the last 12 months.  If this just keeps my fingers busy and makes my friends and me happy….I think it would be good.  Who knows.

yellow, blue, and bee sex

Saturday in the bee yard.

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The yellow Mexican hats are a hit with the bees.

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We may have a swarm problem again, but they might be enjoying the evening on the porch.

 

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The big fuzzy dudes in the middle, are drones.  These big boys have outstayed their welcome in the hive, and are being shown the exit.  All they do is eat, and mate….and these dudes didn’t mate, so out they go.

“Put out or Get out”, right ladies?

I can hear you out there…’Wendy, how do you know that they didn’t mate?’  Well, I will tell you.  When a male bee mates with the queen, his penis is left behind in the queen and is ripped from his body; his guts spill out, and he dies.  When the next drone flies up to mate, he has to pull out the previous suiters remains from the queen and discard them so he can mate.  These dudes opted to stay behind and eat honey.  They will still die.  But they are just being kicked to the curb to starve.  Drones have it rough.  Screwed if you do, Starve if you don’t.

You have to give the mating drones credit, and least they go out with a Bang, instead of being dragged out of the house by a bunch of angry women?

Usually when I’ve had a big day with the bees, I feel very satisfied with my efforts.  This day, I came home a bit blue.  I’m not sure why.

This was the first weekend in the last 4 I wasn’t stung at all.  Two weekends ago, was really rough, and a bit scary.

Maybe I’m missing the venom therapy?  Part of me was hoping for a Gwyneth Paltrow miracle transformation, but it’s still me in the mirror.  I mean really, if I’m going to be continually stung on the ass and legs, I’d like some proper results!

I’m digging deep in the gratitude bucket, as I type this at 3 am.  I’m a bit weepy and blue, but I ‘know’, this deep am, that I have so much to be grateful for.  I have fingers and toes that work, strong legs, a capable mind, a family that loves me, time to take photos, time with these little booger bees (that I’ve got so much more to learn about), we have food on the table, a comfortable home, reliable vehicles, and I still have my sense of humor.

How ’bout that Bee sex?  Kinda makes you glad you’re not a bee?

 

 

 

Not to go all James Taylor, Bees do poop, and other odd things

I’ve seen fire,

And I’ve seen rain.

  
It’s hard to see in the picture the slow steady rain.  Best day to burn the fallen trees.  We will put some minerals back into the earth.

We are up to 10 Bee Hives as of today.  I’m gob-smacked to say the least, bee bit (5 stings this weekend, not fun), sore, tired, and very thankful for running water after two days of working in the drizzle.

   
   
Have you ever noticed when you are running on little sleep, how everything is funny…especially crap?

We got up at 3 am on Saturday to travel to pick up our new bees.  We had to be at the yard at 6:30 am.  We got the girls, and headed back to Hootersville ah em…Halletsville.  Being in a Bee yard, there are bees everywhere. We ended up with some stragglers in the cab of the truck.  

One of the stragglers was enjoying hanging out on on my husband’s phone, then made her way onto his hand.  It was a little chilly, so I think she was looking to warm up.  She did a little dance, stuck her fanny up in the air…I held my breath preparing for her to sting….but she was doing her “poop dance”.  She crapped on my husband’s hand.  I almost peed myself laughing.

  

Potty humor, I know. But lack of sleep…it makes body functions funny.

So, in a weekend with little sleep, lots of work, lots of driving, and no running water…I’m getting neck deep in a tub and soaking away the stings of life.

Swarms, Extractions, Sweat

We caught a swarm…. It was about the size of a soccer ball.

My husband and I got on a ladder, I held the box over my head while the husband shook the bees down into the box.  They didn’t seem to mind.

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We got the queen on the first try, gave them some food, and they seemed quite content.

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They liked the box and decided to hang out with us.

The next day, we got to go extract bees from the inside of an run down farm house.  We tore out the wall, and segmented their comb.  We placed their comb into frames, and put them into a box.

The comb looks like 2×4’s between the studs on the wall, but that is beautiful uniform beeswax comb with honey and brood.  About 9 sections total, all about 4.5″ in length.

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It was hot and sweaty work, but very rewarding. They did escaped, and had to be reset into the hive, but they seem to be doing well.  Hot sweaty work in close quarters with lots of smoke.

Bees are really amazing little things.

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This queen has a green dot on her back.  She’s a Red Italian Queen Bee.  The Italians are a very calm, and productive bee.  She’s doing a great job.  She’s in one of our other established hive.  We suspect the swarm we caught is one of her daughters, and some of the bees from this hive.

We got to catch our own bees.  Ironic.  I felt like the momma again.  “You had better get home! It’s past your bedtime, and I’m not chasing you all over this property.  Now, get in that box!”  Thankfully, they didn’t give us any lip back, and seemed happy to have their own room.  Children….

The last few weeks have been a crash course in Swarming, honey flows, Re Queening weak hives, and just how bees are in the Spring.  It’s the busy time, and they have taught us quite a bit.

Next week….it will be time to pull some honey.  I’m pretty pumped about that.  I can only imagine what I will get to learn next!