I think they will get coal this year

Image from Facebook.

Back from the bee yard

I smell of wood smoke and honey. I’m sweaty, tired, and swollen.

Limping a bit from the 8 stings this weekend.

The first 5 yesterday left my heart racing, probably from the adrenaline. The three today just ticked me off.

I’m getting an Epi Penn before we go back out.

Why they like my left thigh, and backside?……Those girls are wicked. I think some of that venom went straight to an artery. Two stings on top of each other. I’m polka dotted with dark pink 5″ diameter swollen marks.

If they hang their stockings out….They are getting coal.

Haven’t they heard “don’t bite the hand that feeds you?”

Or in my case, ‘butt’. They tore me up yesterday and today as we feed them for winter.

It takes the ultimate patience to get over being stung by the bees I strive to keep alive.

Momma might order some new queens for Spring…..time for a regime change in the bee yard.

Santa, Can I get some new Queens for Christmas?

A Day in the Bee yard

It’s been a really dry August, and everything is struggling. We are supplemental feeding and keeping an eye on the stressful hives.

It was a crunchy day in the country. I was concerned on the cracks in the soil and the level of the pond. But we’ve got some rain coming. I hope it soaks in well.

Today I’m grateful for a little rain in Houston. I love the sound of rain.

Let’s hope the rain makes it 100 miles west. We need it there too.

Stings, Stalkers, the bees stung my Bee-hind.

That’s just one of them, within 30 minutes of the sting. I’d show the rest, but they are on my butt, inner thighs, and got dangerously close to a very sensitive area.

Nothing will get you moving faster than a bee sting closing in between your legs.

An hour later the sting is 4 times it’s initial size. And my thighs and backside are burning now, swollen, and did I mention burning? I’m glad I got the baking soda paste on as soon as I did.

9 total this time. The girls were not happy, and I had about 12 following me all around the bee yard. I call it “stalking”. They are put out, and follow us around dive bombing our veils, hitting our jackets, expressing their discontent until they are certain that we understand their distress.

Well, this time I got ticked off, because we hadn’t done anything more than put in beetle traps. We didn’t remove frames, we didn’t steal honey, we didn’t even pull anything apart. Quick in and out to help them keep the other bugs off of them.

What did I do when the bees came after me?

First, I squelched the impulse to panic and burn down the hive.

Second, I kept talking to them, and made sure they knew I was calm.

Third, I got out of the bee yard as soon as possible, followed by the hive ‘stalkers’.

I got to the cabin, took off my jeans, treated my stings with baking soda and water paste and took an antihistamine. I changed my jeans from dark denim (which they don’t like) to white canvas Dickey work pants, and went back out. Those little bees were not having the last word, not by any means. Canvas is harder to sting through than jeans. No doubt.

As soon as I stepped foot back across the pond, the Stalkers decided that I hadn’t learned my lesson, and began harassing me again. They didn’t make it back to the hive. I can put up with a lot, but I’m not putting up with an aggressive hive. That queen will be replaced next week. 9 stings, and two stalking

This was one of the nice hives today. But you can see how active they are early in the morning.

Bee keeping has it’s ups and downs. Today was a bit of a down day, but I couldn’t let those bugs have the last say in how my day went.

Sitting might be an issue for the next couple of days, darn it.

Today I’m grateful that I’m not allergic to bees, and that I went back out into the yard.

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.

img_1652

 

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?