Workers, Drones, and Queens

Workers, drones, and queens… this is getting interesting. This beekeeping experience truly is “learning by doing.”  Seeing the hive in action is more educational than reading about it or listening to a speaker.

I went to my first beekeeper’s association meeting this past Thursday and was overwhelmed with how much there is to know. The group was quite welcoming. They answered all my questions. Some of them even graciously gave me their contact information – without my asking- in case I had more questions arise before the next meeting. Everyone there stressed the importance of getting into the hive regularly to see what is going on. (I also bought some handmade soap made by the beekeepers at Landav Soap Company – a great gift idea for upcoming birthdays.)

Yesterday afternoon I decided to take a peek and see what my workers, drones, and queen have been up to.

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In the picture above toward the top right you can see the larvae within the cells of this frame. The bumpy, pebble like tops of these cells indicate that these are drone cells.

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In this picture you can see how the cells near the edge of the frame at the bottom and to the right have a smooth cap. This type of cell is that of a worker bee.

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Lastly, I have this frame that I found. You can see the four places at the bottom that have been built out further from the frame. I am not completely sure… but I think these are queen cells. Either my hive is thinking about swarming or these are simply being built in case the current queen is unable to keep up with the demands of the hive.

When we first started I knew bees had different roles of workers, drones, and queens. I just didn’t realize just how it would look inside the hive.

We still have a wooden entrance reducer in place. We are continuing with two quarts of nectar infused with Honey B Healthy. The bees are still munching on the protein patty that is on the frames of the top deep box within an empty honey super.

Follow this blog to find out what these amazing workers, drones, and queens do next!

A Succulent Cement Block Garden

My daughter is a buckeye transplant living in Florida. She loves all things Disney and recently visited Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. She sent me lots of pictures from the Honey Bee-stro display.

I loved the succulent cement block wall that was part of the display and have decided to create a much smaller version in the small area near my hive. Given my recent history with succulents (most of them died) I am using only seven blocks.

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Building Succulent Cement Block Garden

While I’m in town for church today I think I will make my first visit of the year to my favorite off-the-beaten-track greenhouse and see what I can find to put in the ground around my succulent cement block garden. I have quite a few packs of seeds that I had planned on planting there (before the wall idea).  I’m not planning to keep this area manicured so it may end up looking a little wild and crazy.

I might also browse around the greenhouse for Mother’s Day ideas to see if I can find a gift for my lovely mother.

 

 

Checking the Brood Box

Today was the first day it has been warm and dry enough to get back into the hive and see what is going on in our brood box. Our frames came with a plastic inserts which we have learned may be a little harder for the bees to build on.

For our second brood box we have replaced the plastic with wax inserts. From my novice perspective it looks like the bees have made good progress. They have build on 6 of the 10 frames. Some of their work looks like what might be considered spotty, but since I’ve never examined a bee hive before I’m not sure.

From this visit into the hive I learned that it is important to keep your frames together and not leave spacing. There is a place that was open and the bees build right on into it. I’m not sure how that is going to work out in the long run. I didn’t remove it. I just put the two frames together as best I could there.

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I went ahead and added a second brood box with the wax inserts. We have two feeder quarts of nectar on the front of the hive and we are keeping the entrance reducer in place. I added an empty honey super and left what remained of the protein patty in it for the bees to keep munching on.

I didn’t see the Queen Bee. Judging from the content hum of the hive, she is in the brood box laying eggs as expected. It take 21 days for the eggs to hatch. I’m expecting to see the hive begin growing exponentially around the 15th of this month.

Queen Bee

We have learned what to expect when you buy a pack of bees. Inside the package of bees will be a can of nectar and a small ventilated cage with a queen bee in side. The queen bee is trapped inside the cage by some hardened sugar substance.

When placing the bees in the hive the queen bee is still in her cage when she is placed among the frames in the brood box. Once she is placed, the rest of the bees can be released in the hive.

I went back to the hive today to ensure the queen bee was out of her cage. The sugar blocking the escape hole was gone leaving the hole open. I did not spend time looking through the bees to spot the queen. All the bees seemed busy and happy so I assume the queen bee is alive among them.

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I removed the cage and I put a protein patty on top of the frames and made sure they had plenty of nectar.

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Next warm sunny day I will get in the hive and check the bees’ progress and try to spot the queen bee in action.

Beginning With Bees

Today we started our official beginning with bees!

Well… I guess that’s not quite true.

The real beginning with bees started early last year when I went to Maysville, Kentucky to attend the 8th Annual Farm & Family Night  at Maysville Community and Technical College.  (That was right around the time I started my deep dive into nutrition so not only did I sit in on a lecture about monarchs, but I also sat in on a lecture about honey bee keeping.)

The reason I say today is our beginning with bees is because today is the day we brought a package of bees home and put them in our first hive. I’m not sure exactly where we are heading with this, but I’m thinking at the very least it will lead to having some “bee gifts” available in our shop 🙂 .

I was just simmering with the idea of beekeeping until at Christmas, my husband/family gave me a starter hive.

So in February I signed us all up for the 9th Annual Northeastern Kentucky Beekeeping School. We learned more about beekeeping 101, biter bees, mite sampling, honey harvesting, bee nutrition, and all things bee related.

We bought some protective gear and ordered a pack of bees.

In the next several weeks we painted our hive and selected a location for it.  We put it out a few weeks ago because we were supposed to pick up our bees last week, but because of the crazy weather Ohio has been having this spring the delivery had to be postponed.

Finally, the bees arrived today and we drove down to Morehead, KY to pick them up.

We had a few snags that didn’t go by the book.  First off, the hanger for the queens cage broke off so we had to take some fishing line and create a new hanger.  Secondly, there was not a cap on the candy so just to be sure she could get out we cut a section of the cage where we thought the cap should be to make sure she could get free.  Unfortunately, not all the bees made the trip successfully.  I can see I’m going to have to get used to losing bees.  The life cycle of bees is short so I knew going in that I would have to be ready for that, but actually seeing it was sadder than I expected.

My daughter helped me make up some nectar for them to get them through until spring has completely sprung (it’s supposed to snow again tomorrow! – so to have so much spring snow this year in OH).

After we put in some Honey B Healthy I thought the nectar smelled good enough to drink! Let the stickiness begin!

We have the feeder on the hive and the bees seem to be buzzing happily.

I’m going to patiently wait until weather warms back up on Tuesday before I take a peek inside to see if our queen is out.

In the meantime, we are going to have to perfect our protein patty recipe because our first attempt is not setting up.

So far beginning with bees has been a bit of work, but this project looks like it will be the bee’s knees!

Road Trip to Columbus

The first day of our road trip to Columbus, Ohio for the Buckeye Elite Showcase Tournament was pretty soggy.  Most of the baseball games were canceled as there was an incredible amount of rainfall.  Fields and highways were standing in high water.  I-70 was shut down for an extended period in two different places.  It looked like some of the boys on teams that played should have been wearing swim suits instead of ball uniforms.

We stayed in the Embassy Suites on Corporate Exchange Drive at Cleveland Avenue exit of I-270.  It has lovely, clean, accommodations with efficient service.  Since our games were canceled for the first day we used the Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang button in our cars and ventured out to Roosters for some stress reduction and lunch.

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Our team did not play until late in the day on Friday.  This was my son’s team’s last baseball tournament of the year and our second out-of-towner of the season. Our first out-of-town tournament was in Indianapolis and my daughter and I went to the conservatory there, so this time in lieu of ball games, we decided to check out the conservatory in Columbus, Ohio on this road trip for Plan B (as Suzy Toronto would say).

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Flamingo topiaries

We were lucky to see “Topiaries at the Conservatory, Wild Wonders” as well as “Blooms and Butterflies” plus all the other exhibits for our admission price of only $14 each adult. The topiaries were so fun and playful – I especially liked the expression on the lion and panda.

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Lion Topiary

The Pacific Island Water Garden was loaded with over 2,000 beautiful, colorful, butterflies. In the Rainforest we tried to get the macaws, Mic and Max, to talk us but they weren’t feeling chatty.  Outside the John E. Wolfe Palm House guests were arriving for a ceremony and they were setting up tables inside.

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Elephant topiaries

I don’t want to spoil the exhibit by showing all 13 of the topiaries.  If you want to see them all you won’t find them here until I update in November when the show is over. The butterfly exhibit runs through September 17, 2017 and the topiaries will be displayed until October 29, 2017.  We took about an hour and a half to buzz through the conservatory, but I could easily have spent another hour or so.

Leave it to us to find time for a gift shop! On the way out we stopped in the Botanica Gift Shop & Greenhouse and bought some little pots and a hoe for our fairy garden and a 2″ succulent and a little ceramic pot for it. So far we haven’t killed the succulents we planted in our terrarium earlier this year so we thought we could handle another one.

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We attempted to go to The Thurman Cafe in The German Village on Friday night, but it was packed and we were already running on empty so we decided not to wait.  If you are on a road trip to Columbus I recommend this cafe for a tasty burger.

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We found it once by accident years ago when we were visiting COSI which, by the way, is an excellent place to visit if you are ever on a road trip to Columbus, Ohio.  Give yourself at least 4-6 hours to explore this science and industry museum.


Cincinnati Stix 15U team won all three of our pool play games ranking us fourteen out of over 80 teams so we got a bye and enjoyed a late Saturday lunch at The Winking Lizard.

Unfortunately, we fell hard and fast this morning at 8am losing by too many runs to report 😦 .

So that is the end of the tournament for us, the end of our 2017 baseball season, and the end of our road trip to Columbus, Ohio.


Have you ever been to Columbus? What’s one of your favorite places to eat or visit in Columbus, Ohio?

3 Terrific Gift Ideas

I want to share with you the gifts my children gave me for Mother’s Day because I think they are terrific ideas for birthdays, graduate, anniversary, or even bridal.

My oldest son lives in California and he and his fiance sent me the first two seasons of Pushing Daisies  and  The Big Book of Pies and Tarts.

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Pushing Daisies is new to me.  I’m part way through the first season and so far it’s meeting the description of quirky and fun.  I can’t wait to cook up some of the delicious recipes in the cookbook.

I think this could also make a great birthday, anniversary, or bridal gift.


My oldest daughter and my son-in-law live in Florida and they sent me a terrarium kit.

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My daughter recently joined a garden club and has been learning about succulents.  She knows I am interested in trying my green thumb on them too.

I think a terrarium would make a great gift for a birthday, anniversary, or the graduate going off to college.  A tiny little garden could give a touch of home to a dorm room or to anyone who occupies a small space.  Terrariums are a fun way to bring a little outdoor life to an office cubicle too.


My youngest daughter gave me a beautiful handmade card.  I love orange and pink together so this card is right up my alley.

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“Life comes with a mother, not a manual.  I think you are great at being the manual.”


These ideas can be used for a family member or friend that you know well, but they are also terrific birthday gift ideas for someone you aren’t as close to – like a neighbor or co-worker.

Here’s a picture of my terrarium.  Let me know how you think my terrarium turned out and I’d love for you to give me any tips you may have for keeping my little green friend alive.


Read our blog to find inspiration for gifts and life.

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Why are frogs so happy?

Why are frogs so happy?

Because they eat whatever bugs them!

What is a frog’s favorite flower?

A croak-us!



Save the date and buy tickets now for
April 18th 
Frogs & Sunshine Paint Party
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Weedis Victorious

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Comic Latin Plant Pick

If you live in Ohio I hope it is too early in the season for you to be putting this comic latin weedis victorious plant pick in your flower garden.  Beware.  It won’t be long before the weeds will be victorious if allowed.

Now is a good time to be putting down a pre-emergent in your flower beds. Tweet: Now is a good time to be putting down a pre-emergent in your flower beds. https://ctt.ec/dyeHO+

At our house we use Snapshot which contains the active ingredients isoxaben and trifluralin. Another popular pre-emergent is Preen which contains the active ingredient of trifluralin.

Generally speaking these products do not kill weeds.  They simply keep new weeds from sprouting.  Don’t use these products on areas seeded with flowers that have not yet germinated.  It can be used after flowering plants have germinated and are 2 – 3 inches tall.

Taking the time to put down a pre-emergent now will save you from having to waste time pulling weeds later.  Instead you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying your flowers.  These products are not labeled for use on all vegetables.  Be sure to check the label before applying to a vegetable garden.  Also, be sure to check the label to know when it is time for a reapplication.

When in doubt, check the label.  Check the label.  Check the label.  Chemicals can be a great help, but when used carelessly they don’t work properly, or worse, can be harmful.

If by chance weeds become victorious in your yard or garden you know where to find signage for them.  Or maybe you have something magnificent that this would be appropriate for.

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Comic Latin Outofcontrolus Magnificus

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Comic Latin Bugus Devourous

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Comic Latin Rabbitas Nibbleum

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Comic Latin Plantus Unknownus

Which one is your favorite?


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