Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Working With the Bees.....

 I went with Sherry and Dean Saturday evening to check out what we thought would be a swarm of bees up in a pecan tree in Waco.

Turns out, this is an external hive and the very first one we have seen.
It was hard to get a good pic of it but I got this one with someone shining a flashlight up there.
You can see the comb on the bottom and the entire hive is covered in bees.
There was little activity going on as it was nearly dark and all the foragers were back at the hive.

You can see how high up in the tree this is.
This hive has been there since April, they are certain.
The father of Dean's friend passed away this spring and they noticed this ball of bees the day of the funeral. They didn't bother anyone and no telling how long they have been up in that tree.
I'm sure they weren't there during that Arctic cold we had in February!
And we are equally sure they will not survive the winter up there in that tree.

Dean and Sherry are planning on going back with scaffolding later this week and will try and capture this hive and take them to our apiary. They have a plan and it will take some creativity and energy to accomplish it but it is at least worth a try in order to save this hive before winter arrives.

Sunday morning, Sherry and I spent a couple of hours working with our bees.

We are preparing them for winter by treating for Varroa mites and small hive beetles.
I lifted the lid on the pink box (called a super) and Sherry took that off since you cannot fo the mite treatment with a honey super in place because of the chemicals. It doesn't hurt the bees but we don't want any of those chemicals in the wooden ware of the supers that will later hold the honey that we will harvest.

This picture shows the SHB traps where we place a tiny bit of pollen patty and some vegetable oil.
The small hive beetles will crawl into the traps and drown in the oil.
Sherry place the Apivar stips - two to a box - and suspended them on toothpicks.
We will leave them on for 21 days without opening the hives.
Then on October 17th - or thereabouts - we will open the hives, turn the strips around, and leave them for another 21 days.

This particular super was full of bees and honey and even some brood - which means the Queen had been up here. Normally the Queen stays down in the brood box.
Here Sherry is shaking the bees off so we can put the frames in what is called a nuc.
Dean has been making some of these for us to use when we rescue bees - as in the boat bees from the summer and hopefully, the pecan tree bees soon.

We realized there was a small amount of brood on these frames for we were careful to watch for the queen. We shook bees off of five frames - one at a time - putting them in the nuc as I quickly put the lid on. 

Since there were still so many bees in the box - which had been their home hive until that very day,

Sherry decided to shake them off onto a tarp un front of their 'home' hive.

The goal is that they will walk right back into the hive.
There are many stages in a bee's life cycle and there may have been some young bees in that super who could not yet fly. Yes! You can see them all filing into the brood box just like little soldiers.
Reminds me of that song my grandson Levi loved so much when he was little .......
The Ants go Marching One by One....
It appears the bees do, too!

Our work was done and I only got stung once!
It was on my right hand so I was not the least bit concerned as that is my most arthritic one.

I came in and changed out of my bee suit and got dressed for a trip to town to pick up a prescription and have lunch. That's when I noticed a red welt on the inside of my wrist. I put some Aloe Vera on it before we left.

Our lunch spot was The Catch and it was good!
Each table had Halloween decorations on it - but Louis Dean thought they were salt and pepper shakers! It took me a minute to convince him they were not!

By the time we got back to the ranch, my arm had turned red and was swollen and hard.
I took Benadryl and went to bed. Sherry came down later and put a paste of baking soda and vinegar on it.

This morning it was still swollen and so itchy!
More Benadryl and more paste. This time I cut off the top part of one of Louis Dean's socks and kept that on my arm. I was beginning to think I had been bitten by a spider. The swelling had gone down a bit and I could then feel the stinger was still in my wrist. I got that out with tweezers and I'm sure by tomorrow morning it will feel a lot better.

We had breakfast for lunch today!
I made an omelette of fresh eggs and onion and peppers!
That green jelly is jalapeno and it is good!

Our cats are having a ball here at the ranch!
They spend most of the day out in the front room and then come in for a good long nap.
We keep them inside the camper at night just in case they might manage to escape through a screen or something in the front room while we are sleeping.

I would like to share this photo of my first grandchild on his 19th birthday!


What a beautiful family!!
I sent Sam a text this morning and then sang Happy Birthday in a voice message.

And THIS young lady is Rayne......

she's growing up so fast!!

She and Sabrina are coming back to Texas next month for a visit and we are all going to gather at a Dude Ranch in Arkansas!
So many good things to look forward to this fall!!

And I will close tonight's journal entry with this photo.....

The Golden Hour is still my favorite here at the ranch.


Ginny Hartzler said...

Your last photo is country stunning! You are so blessed to have so many beautiful grandchildren. Oh my, I sure hope your arm gets better, it is a good thing you spotted that stinger! This should certainly cure all your arthritis!! This is how our pastor cured his hand arthritis. It was so bad he could not shake hands anymore. But the bee stings cured it.

Hootin' Anni said...

I'd have to have a trip to ER with bee stings. I hope your wrist is healed by now. Beautiful children!! (ps...I'm wearing my Linda T-shirt today!! Of course it has a bee on it with "bee kind" written)

Deb said...

I hope your hand is better soon. That is so interesting to see how you get the bees ready for winter. Hope your week is a good one!

MadSnapper said...

I am so glad there are brave people like you and Sherrie and Dean who take care of our bees, and i do hope they are able to move the hive. That Said! No way would I do what you do and just reading the tale of the bee sting has me cringing while I read... my hand is hurting now. ha ha.. about your grandchildren, every single of of your grand children are beautiful, your gene pool has created beauty for sure. I can't belinve how grown up Rayne love the photo of her with the horse. Happy Birthday to handsome Sam.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

We used to keep bees and I learned about those stingers. Best if you can take the blade of a knife and swipe it out. Sounds odd but it keeps it from breaking off under your skin. Love the family pics this morning! Hope your day is good and pain free! Hugs!

Changes in the wind said...

Wished I could have seen those bees marching back into the hive:) It is a lot of work to have the hives but I know you all enjoy it, would not like to be stung and hope it is better now. Your country picture it a keeper.

Vee said...

Happy Birthday to Sam! He sure is handsome. How could he help but be?

A sting...ouch. The after effects are worse than the bite, but if it helps with the arthritis...

Have a happy week enjoying the golden hours.

Bluebird49 said...

I enjoyed seeing all your family. Sam so grown up, and beautiful Rayne! I can't wait to hear of your dude ranch adventures together. You are fearless! You are one of the toughest while still feminine pretty ladies ever! You and Sherry and Dean working hard to help save the source of our food just makes me so thankful and admiring of all of you beekeepers.
You just have so much of my admiration and love. With all your wonderful paintings, your fierce love of God and your real kindness to family and friends, your fearlessness to roll up your sleeves and don a beesuit, or to garden out on the ranch while beautifying and fluffing whatever home you're in before whipping up up a wonderful dinner for Louis Dean, you are, I think, a true Renaissance woman, Linda! You are always looking ahead to another day and what you can bring to it rather than whatt it might bring to you. You just keep going and always growing!! 💕🙏 I wonder what this new 73rd year will bring to you -- I know you will see wonderful things because of your faith and strength. You are so special!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Happy birthday to your grandson, what a handsome young man. Good to see you are keeping busy and doing what you love.

photowannabe said...

Perfect ending with the Golden Hour.
The bees are such a lot of work but the end product is wonderful.
So sorry about your sting..I sure hope the swelling is all gone now. Ouchy.
The meals sure look delicious too. I don't know why you aren't 300 pounds with what you eat.
Me?? I look at the pictures and gain 3 pounds..
Enjoy your Ranch Time.
Sue photowannabe

Carole said...

You are so brave with the bees! Hope you are not starting to be allergic ... Fingers crossed. Cheers

Judy said...

I have never been fond of bees, after several childhood bee stings. We had one of those 'external hives' in our berry patch one year and called a beekeeper to come and get it. I hope your bee sting is soon a distant memory. Love that 'golden hour' photo!

Deanna Rabe said...

You all are amazing with your bee keeping. I feel as if I’ve learned a bit about it from reading your posts!

I can’t believe how grown up all the grands are getting. Rayne is a young lady now! What fun you’ll all have at the Dude Ranch!

The light this time of year is my favorite. It’s softer and more golden. I love it!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hope that hive can be rescued, Linda, and if anyone can do it you all can because the videos of preparing your bees for the winter were amazing. Hope that you hand is less achy because it sure sounded very uncomfortable (ouch!). Belated birthday wishes to your grandson on his 19th and great to see all the photos of your beautiful family members. You and your family sure have some fun times coming up.