Friday, December 31, 2010


Happy New Year!!!!! Hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season. It seems far off, but spring will be here before we know it and that means opening the hive! There has been VERY little action around the hive, for all are inside staying warm. Hope 2011 is a good year!

Friday, November 26, 2010


This week in Seattle it snowed! Snow does not usually happen this early in winter, so it took everyone by surprise. The bees, of course, are not happy about this. They would rather be in nice, hot weather. The snow was about five inches high on the top of the hive. I brushed it off when I had the chance. Sadly, this week I started noticing more and more dead bees. Then I woke up to see hundreds of them on the ground. I was worried, and so was my mom, so we e-mail Corky Luster from Bh Honey to ask him if this was normal. He e-mailed back saying, "This is the season when you will see dead bees on the ground and all over the bottom of the hive. They are dying at home instead of while they forage". I hope Corky is right about that, for I do not want to open the hive in the spring seeing thousands of little dead bodies.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Good Night Bees

About 3 weeks ago the hive got closed down. I sadly could not be there (too busy with school) so Corky and my mom did it. They put wood chips in the top box to collect moisture. Also a mouse guard got put on the entrance, so the bees look like they are in jail. I have been seeing more dead bees around, so I hope nothing bad is going on inside.

Tonight I watched the movie Colony at the Northwest Film Forum on Capitol Hill. I liked it, though I felt it was a little too long. While I was sitting watching the movie, I was wondering how many people at the movie were also beekeepers, or if I was the only one!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Sorry I have not posted for such a long time. School started, so I have been busy with homework (I have at least one quiz per week), cross country, and in my free time packaging honey jars. So, in this past month lots have happened, but I will try to summarize as short as possible.
Corky (from Bh Honey) had to open the hive with just my mom, as I was busy and so was he. But, the last time I opened the hive with him we saw that a queen cell had hatched! We think the old queen and new queen probably had a fight. The next week when the hive opened Corky saw eggs, so he concluded that a small swarm had happened, leaving the new queen to run the hive. All seems well in the hive, which is good.
Last week Corky and my mom opened the hive to get it ready for the winter. I have started feeding the bees again, but will stop soon. They are drinking a lot of the sugar water. The Volunteer Park Cafe is still selling my honey, so if you have a chance stop on by do.
These past few days there have been many dead bees next to the hive. When I e-mailed Corky he said that was normal. The rain has been bad for the bees, for they like the HOT weather. Well, will most likely open the hive just one more time before winter. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Audrey's Honey on the NEWS

(quick snap shot of store)
I am continuing to bottle and label the honey jars. The manufacturing has been slow. I sold 12 jars to the Volunteer Park Cafe, and they all sold out, so I sold them another 12! Hope I can sell a dozen more there. The King 5 news crew did a special on the cafe, and they showed a picture of my honey, plus talked about it/me for a little bit. I had no idea this was going to happen so it was a nice surprise. I still have to give a lot of my honey away to some of my friends, for they keep asking when their jars are coming. I respond "Hopefully soon!" My list of give-away jars is growing. People tell me they love the clean taste of the honey---I agree! Those bees were fantastic. I'm noticing less activity around the hives. I hope all is well in there.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Honey Jars

I have been working like crazy trying to get all the honey labels on the jars. I love my label, and I hope all of you do too! I picked blue for the ribbon and circle around the bee, for right now blue is my favorite color. I talked to the store by my house, Volunteer Park Cafe and Market Place, and they agreed to sell my honey! So, if any of you want some honey, visit the store on 17th and Galer on Capitol Hill (they also have very good food).


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Honey honey how you thrill me...

Some honey

even Teddy likes it

first jar
Saturday I went over to Corky's house and extracted honey! I left more frames (more then I needed) in the hive just to make sure the bees have enough to eat during the winter, so I only have 40-50 pounds of honey. That is good for one hive on the first year. My mom and I are thinking loosely on having a second hive in the back yard next year. Extracting honey is simpler than I thought. First, I used a large hot knife/blade to cut off the top of the honey, for it had been capped in the frame. I also used a little comb to get some more wax and stuff off the frame. Then I would put the frame into the extractor. It looks like a big tub with six spots for frames. Once I put six frames in I turn the extractor on and the frames start to spin. I let them spin for a while, for the honey is flung to the side of the extractor and then goes down to the bottom. After sometime I turned the extractor off and opened the cap at the bottom. The honey then comes out into a bucket I have waiting. Once I went through all the frames it was time to go. When I was home I let the honey sit till Monday (that's when Corky came again) for all the wax that got in the honey will float to the top, so then I could scoop it off.
When Monday came Corky came to tell us what to do with the honey and to open the hive with us again. We put boxes on the hive that were full of the honey remains from Saturday, so the hive is now seven boxes tall again. The bees seemed nice, for no one got stung. There were queen cells, which should stop soon, as it is so late in the season. I did not see the queen, but there were signs of her, for example eggs and larva.
When we closed the hive Corky showed us how to pour the honey through strainers into another bucket. Mom and I spent the day pouring honey through the strainers. We finished yesterday.
Today I even started filling jars. I will update you either tomorrow or Friday on what has progressed on the honey. I'm meeting with a neighborhood store tomorrow to see if they would like to sell my honey.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Until Saturday.......

Monday was the last day I pulled honey before I extract this Saturday. I am so excited, I have designed my label, but still need to get jars. I better hurry! I will have somewhere around 60 pounds of honey. But, all that honey is not just for me. I am giving away jars to my friends and neighbors (I have a lot who want honey), plus I am going to ask a cafe close to my house if they will sell some! Hope they say yes.
When I opened the hive the bees were relatively nice, though one did somehow get into my veil, and I got stung on the leg. That's what I get for wearing thin sweatpants. There were some swarm cells, which surprises me because it is so late in the swarm season. The hive is getting smaller and smaller now, for I am taking out honey. I will only open the hive a few more times before I say goodnight in the fall and don't open it again till spring. Can't wait till Saturday!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Billions of Bees

Bee on Hat

Swarm Cell
I have been so busy. Last week I went away to California for a big national track meet (in which I placed 7th in the 3000 meters and 3rd in the 1500 meters) and the week before I was at a cross country running camp. Also, Monday was my 14th birthday! So, I really had no time for the bees. While I was away in California with my dad, Corky and my mom ventured into the backyard and opened the hive without me. I heard that they pulled somewhere around 40-60 pounds of honey! Not this week, but sometime next, I will extract the honey! So exciting! Also, the bees were nice last week. Nobody got stung. I was told that when the bees got knocked into the grass they would climb up the long strands single file back to the entrance. Wish I had been there for that. Also, on more of a grim note, there were MANY swarm cells. I don't know why, probably because not enough space.
This week though, there were not as many swarm cells, but still a few. The bees were also nice, but at the very end they turned nasty! Corky got stung around 20 times. Ouch! We did not pull any frames of honey today, but did rearrange the boxes, for the queen was not laying in the first box. This week (Monday-Friday) I will be away again in Ashland, Oregon, so the bees will be on their own. Hope they are good!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It is Almost Honey Time

In the corner is a queen cell

This week I am going to a cross country camp, so last Friday Corky came to check the hive one last time with me before I am gone. Since we needed to move quickly, Corky took charge of the hive, but I still observed and smoked the bees. Luckily, today there weren't that many queen cells, which is good. (These show that the hive could swarm if you don't cut them off.) Corky said that we could have started pulling frames of honey today, but that we should wait till next week just so the frames get a little more honey. He also estimated that the hive has 120 pounds of honey right now! That means I could pull around 60 pounds, and the bees still are not done collecting and making honey. I am going to ask the cafe close to my house if they would be interested in selling my honey. Hope they say yes. I will need to design a label and name for the honey.
We also switched the first box to box number three, so the queen would have more room to lay. The bees were also nice this time. In past openings of the hive the bees have acted mean and stung us. This time though they seemed sweet.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Bees on a Hot Summer Day

For the past two weeks or so the weather has been very nice, 70s, 80s, and even 90s. The bees sure love it. I tried to upload a video showing all the bees outside the hive, and so everyone could here their LOUD buzzing. Sadly, I had computer problems, so I decided to put in this picture instead. Hope everyone is enjoying the nice weather.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer House Cleaning

Last week I opened the hive to add the fifth box and switch the first to the third. The bees seemed very angry and kept slamming into my veil. From what I could see there were eggs in the second box, but I could not see any in the first box. I also did not see the Queen. I decided to switch the first box to box number three. That means the second box would become the first. But, when I tried to lift the first box, the box would not move. Both mom and I tried, but all we managed to do was pick it up with the bottom board connected to it. While we were trying to lift up the bottom box, we ended up shaking the hive/box, which created bee chaos. Finally, we just did not move the first box. I did add a fifth box, and pulled up three frames from the fourth box. By the end our smoker had expired and the bees were furious. One bee even followed us for about five minutes and into the front yard! My mom is still recovering from the experience!

Luckily, today the bees were calm. Corky came and we went through all the boxes. The fifth and fourth boxes looked good, but there were some queen cells (these are bad as they are a sign the hive might swarm) in the third and second boxes! We sliced them off fast. When we got to the first box Corky was able to lift it off of the bottom board, so we switched it to the third box. In the first box the bees seemed confused, and they would pour over the edge of the box. On the side I was standing they would march in a single file line back to the entrance! It was very odd. Two weeks ago I added two drone frames (drones are boy bees) in box four and three. The fourth box drone frame seemed full enough, so I took the frame out to freeze it, hopefully killing mites. The third box drone frame was not full, so I decide to keep it in there for another week. I also added a sixth box today. How tall is this hive going to get?

Yesterday mom was driving me to Seattle Pacific University (SPU) to go running. While standing outside I looked at my mom and sitting on her shoulder grooming itself was a honey bee! I am not sure if one of my bees had hopped on her shoulder and was there the entire time in the car, or if it was on a flower at SPU and just jumped on her. After a little bit the bee finally got off.

For Fourth of July weekend I am going up to Canada. I wish I could bring the bees, for they would love the mountain wild flowers, but I am not going to attempt to move them. Hope everyone has a nice weekend.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ghost Bees

My necklace

I am powdering the bees

I have decided to combine this week and last weeks hive update into one post. Last week I looked down into the second box. Everything looked o.k., but I had to cut some excess honeycomb off. Sometime that week, since I was still in school, my mom went up to Beez Neez to buy drone frames for me to put in to get rid of mites. I have not seen any mites yet, but I am sure they are in there. I put a drone frame in the third and second box. In a few weeks I will take the frames and freeze them, hopefully also freezing mites. Another way to get rid of mites is to powder sugar them. I first watched Corky, then I did it. It is very simple, you sprinkle powder sugar over the top of a box. The powder sugar will fall down, covering the bees in it, making them look like ghosts! I did this to the third and second boxes. THE BEES HATED IT! Thousands of them poured out of the entrance all white. It almost looked like a swarm, but luckily was not. After awhile the bees cleaned themselves, rubbing off the mites. I decided last week to stop feeding the bees too, so my hive shrunk by two boxes. This week though, since it has been so cold and rainy, I decide to feed them again. We need sun! So, because it was drizzling all day today and was cold I only put the feeder back on. The bees seemed different. I am still not sure how, maybe a little bigger or crabbier.

Last week on the 15th I had my Middle School graduation. For a graduation gift my parents gave me a bee necklace from Nordstrom. I love it. I also got a Polaroid camera, so I have been snapping lots of photos of the hive! Well, hope it starts to act like summer soon!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Hive is Getting Taller

Last week I checked only the third and second boxes. I didn't dare look in the first box. The third box was about halfway full, so I decided next time, today, I would add a fourth box. An exciting thing that happened when I was checking the hive last week was that a bee somehow snuck into my veil. I was staring at a frame and just thought the bee was on the outside of it, but soon I noticed I was wrong. I quickly, but quietly, flung the hood of my bee outfit off and my mom tried to shoo the bee away. After a while it buzzed out without stinging me.
Today I added the fourth box, so the hive is taller than me! This is because it is sitting on a ledge about a 1/1.5 feet tall, then there are four boxes, and then two more boxes covering the feeders, and lastly the roof. Today I looked all the way to the first box. The hive is thriving. The queen is laying eggs very well, and I saw her today in the first box. I marked her on the day she arrived, but that green dot is starting to wear off. I am only to feed the bees one of two more weeks, then I am done feeding till the fall. The bees should fill this fourth box fast, so I may be adding a fifth soon.
Corky, my Bee Consultant, has appeared in several magazines about his bees and honey brand Bh. One magazine that he is in is the Seattle Magazine, and his honey is featured in Seattle Child. He is also going to appear in a PBS national show and has been on the radio. Congrats Corky!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Not 1, Not 2, But 3 Hives!

The bees before I got rid of entrance reducer
Look how tall the hive is!

Bee in house #2
Bee in house #1
Bee house #1
Sorry for not posting last week. I have been swamped! For the past few days the weather has been in the high 60s/low 70s. The bees sure love it. Last Wednesday I noticed some bees going into one of the empty birdhouses in the yard. Turns out there is a bumblebee hive there. Then today I saw bumblebees going into another empty birdhouse. Seems like I have two bumblebee hives in my yard, plus the honeybees. I am like a big bee farm. Last week Sunday I checked the hive by myself. I had trouble getting the smoker started, but after a few tries it worked. Unlike today where it worked perfectly in front of Corky. The bees have moved up into the second box, and today I added a third. The hive is getting tall. Bees have hatched, so my population is getting much bigger. Since there was so much commotion at the entrance to the hive, I felt it was time to get rid of the entrance reducer. The bees still only come in on the left side though. I planted lots of flowers on the weekend, so I have been seeing bees flying around them. Well, hope no more new hives come into the yard.