Posts Tagged ‘wax moths’

Today as I pulled into our drive...

Oh beautiful sky with your beautiful clouds, why not darken a bit and drop some raindrops? Couldn’t hurt to ask. During the hottest weeks/months of summer when the sun beats down on your back when you’re working outside, you welcome clouds even when they don’t always or often yield moisture. Mark will sometimes say to me that he appreciates the clouds when he’s working the bees. Clouds soften the brutal sun rays. I snapped this photo with my phone pointed straight up in front of me. The clouds were gorgeous and held such promise for rain here and there around us. The wind picked up and it cooled down quite a bit but hours later, we still did not receive any rain. Oh well. There’s always a little hope. It’s actually not as dry as it has been in the past for this time of year. It’s August in South Texas. It’s pretty hot now! Three-digit heat has finally arrived but most of us say, “If we can just get through August, then there’s light at the end of the tunnel.” haha The heat makes us appreciate the cold later.

Mark and Tang continue to tend to the hives out in different yards. It’s rare to have some of the hives still making a little bit of honey but we won’t complain. What an odd year it is. So far, we have harvested (or extracted) about 6,000 pounds of honey! Great numbers considering how little we got last year. Every drop is appreciated for sure! For hives that are strong and thriving, Tang and Mark are dividing. We’re going through a steady supply of queen bees ordered from outside of Texas, as always. We have another 28 queens coming this Wednesday. There’s also mite treatments to be completed, empty honey supers to treat for wax moths and then stored for winter, pecan trees to be tended to since there’s a second round of caterpillars…the list goes on. There’s never a dull moment but we try to rest when we can. The pace as well as the heat can truly be tiring.

In other news, we are thankful to be covered in a couple of local publications in the San Antonio area! Our first story is out now in Edible San Antonio magazine. You can find a copy by visiting their webpage. I want to give a big shoutout to our friend, Josh Baker of AzulOx Visuals. Josh photographed us at our Bee Ranch last fall and we were happy to have one of the photos we love so much be used in the article. Josh is an amazing photographer and he’s a lot of fun so please do check out his website if you are looking for photographer who will do more than take the usual posed pictures. Okay, the second article? You’ll have to wait! But you won’t have to wait long because we have seen the copy and the print is coming to the Pearl Farmers Market THIS coming Saturday. So excited and thrilled to have people interested in what we do at the Bee Ranch. Yay bees and beekeeper!

Edible San Antonio August-Sept issue

In happy honey-lover news, I’m excited to be able to share that Mark has updated the GBR website with the latest inventory of our local South Texas honey – the Gonzales County Wildflower. I love how light it is, just gorgeous! It tastes very similar to our Guadalupe County Wildflower. Light in color and light in taste. Check our Honey Shop if you would like to try some of this beautiful honey.

Gonzales County Wildflower Honey (2014 harvest)


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The round swingy chair :-)

While I have some quiet time here in Irving (just swinging in the bumblebee-like chair at the hotel), I was thinking how much I miss my beekeeper and my home and our bees and our new Bee Ranch and my friends and my kitty. I think that about covers it. I’m finishing up my second week of travel for my IT training job and while I have enjoyed dipping back into training delivery (really, really miss teaching!), I will be glad to be home again. I need to pack a house, after all!

Earlier during a break between classes, a teammate stopped by to check on me and then our talk turned to bees, which often happens once people get a taste of our beeventures and the honey. He asked great questions – how does the queen mate? How long do they live? What is honey used for in nature if we didn’t extract it? Do other animals bother the bees? Do ants pose a problem? How do you get a bucket of honey? Does it go bad? I loved it. I love talking bees and honey and beeswax. 🙂 And partnerships and sharing and fun friends we make. I also had another conversation with a new friend and vendor at Pearl and we’re going to continue our discussion in future about growing a small business. Mark and I had just talked about the potential of our friends’ venture and what great products they have but noted they had no online presence up to this point. We thought about how much they could grow their sales if only people knew what they had and how they made it. Well, our friend brought it up and wants some insight into the whole social media component of marketing a business. You know me – I love to talk about social media so I can’t wait to give them some information about how it has really helped GBR grow. If utilized properly, then social media need not be a scary, bad thing. Really.

Putting moth crystals on cleaned up empty supers

I have been wanting to share with you all something we are doing – prepping empty supers for storage now that the honey flow is over. That’s a shot of Mark at The Farm bee yard in one of the greenhouses not being used currently. Pedro is nice enough to let us store our supers there – good and dry cover so that is wonderful. As we finish extracting, the empty honey supers are stacked and then taken out to a bee yard so that the bees can go to town cleaning them up – getting all the honey they can off the frames and boxes. They typically do a great job within a few days. Then you must get the cleaned, empty supers and prepare them for storage. The honey the bees make from now through fall will be a darker honey from Broomweed and we’ll leave that for them to eat on during winter and before things bloom in spring. In the shot below Mark is putting plates of moth crystals on top of the stacks of empty supers. The crystals will not damage or contaminate the wax and boxes in any way but it will keep wax moths from eating up our wax. Mark replaces the lids snuggly and makes sure any holes/entrances are plugged. We need to seal them up so that the proper fumigation takes place. These frames will be used again next year.

Moth crystals to fight wax moths

Here’s a shot of what happens if you don’t get the moth crystals on the supers in time or if they are just pesky enough to survive the crystals – yuck!!!!!! No matter how many times I see these types of frames, I am always a little startled by them. It’s not the end of the world, however, and often you can just clean off the frames and they’ll be fine for reuse but me being the girl I am…I am ever thankful that Mark handles all this. He’s a sweetie to not ask me to work the bees and clean up messes like this and I’m super grateful! And sorry I didn’t get a closer shot…I didn’t want to really see it up close but I must note it is rather fascinating that those little devils turn our beautiful honeycomb frame into what looks like ashy webs. 😦

So your beekeeping lesson: Try and take care of your supers as soon after you extract as possible. And at least here in south Texas, prepare the supers for storage by getting a good amount of moth crystals (NOT MOTH BALLS) on the empty boxes.

Bad frame - wax moths

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A tray of moth crystals

Hi everyone. My sister and nephew are now safely back in North Carolina and we are missing them already. We had a super week with them here and my sister Lan in SA came to hang out as well and to help in the honey house with all my chores – what a great family and what a great time we had. We’re just sad Mark had to work all week but we enjoyed our time with him once he got home. After the ride to the SA airport and a nap to make up for just five hours of sleep (that’s what happens when you try and squeeze in just a few more things the night before family leaves), I accompanied Mark out to the Farm yard to place some empty boxes in storage. These were the boxes we pulled from Big Oaks when Thuy and Alec went with us.

He’s placing a plate full of moth crystals on the top of each stack before putting the lids back on in order to prevent wax moths from setting into the honeycomb. We are slowing down on honey production (hopefully Mesquite) and so we don’t need so many of the supers. We’re waiting for the honey to dry a bit more before the next round of extraction, a smaller one though we anticipate perhaps a couple thousand more pounds of honey. What a year!

We went out to a few bee yards with Thuy and Alec and here are just two of my many favorite memories from last week. The first one is me and Alec riding on the truck bed together, trying to stay on while his Uncle Mark drove all crazy from the hives to the gate. Alec loved it and so did I. But I have to admit I was a little nervous I was going to bounce right off that truck.

Me & Alec having a grand time

And here’s one of Alec and Thuy as they prepare to ride out of Big Oaks. Thuy said she hadn’t done that in so long and she had a great time! As did we while they were here. Love our families. 🙂

Alec & Thuy ready to ride

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Mark & David check the wax moth damage

Today was a weird sort of day at work for me so I rushed home afterwards and after about four minutes, decided I just had to get outside. I pinged Mark to see if he and David were done yet at The Farm yard. YAY, they were wrapping up but Mark said for me to come on out so I rushed out the door. The weather had cleared up by afternoon and it was warm enough for Mark and David to check on the new hives we got. Not a cloud was left in the sky by the time I got there at 5:30 p.m.

Good news: The hives are going strong and we have twenty-nine that have a second deep super, or brood box, on them. The queens were enlarging the brood nests already and that was a happy sight for my beekeepers to see. I could tell they were very pleased with their visit today. When they showed me the hives, I was amazed to see how they bees were out and flying like crazy. I don’t blame them, it was a gorgeous day to get out after the rains we’ve been getting. David said they were carrying all sorts of pollen in different colors. I bet that was nice to see!

Bad news: See the pictures? These are (luckily) just a few frames that the wax moths had gotten a hold of while the frames were sitting in storage in one of the vacant greenhouses on the property. YUCK. But still not as bad as I have seen him deal with in the past. Mark’s going to save one or two of these for teaching purposes. The others he will simply toss.

photo 3

I enjoyed my brief visit with the guys as they packed up. I got to breathe fresh air, see beautiful bees in flight, saw some hilarious chickens and a rooster, watch a chicken chase a dog (and he cried!)…got to be with my honey bee and that always takes my stresses away. Here’s one of the things I enjoyed seeing at the Farm yard. (And even though wax worms are not my favorite thing to see, I am still glad I got to learn more about them.)

A rooster & his hens

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