I guess you know you're a beekeeper when you dream of having all your frames cleaned and organized, and having hung up several bait hives. This past weekend I realized those dreams. Yep, I'm a beekeeper alright. I'd cleaned and organized half of my frames. It's a tedious task. But when Linda Tillman visited our bee club she gave a huge tip, and dang if it didn't work perfectly well: boil off your frames. That way bad stuff is taken care of, along with old comb debris and comb tracks, and the frames end up brightened and coated in an amazing sheen of wax and propolis. From here on out I'm coating all new frames. Linda swears her bees draw off her wax-coated frames like crazy. Having held and smelled them, I know she's right. Thank the Lord I'm finally done with cleaning up my old frames. Hallelujah!
After that, I moved on to tons of yard work, clearing out what used to be a jungle along a fence in our back yard. Once the jungle was cleared ( find out more about that at http://tyveggiepatch.blogspot.com/2015/04/yep-still-green.html ) I realized I had several locations for swarm bait hives. So I quickly installed foundation in 3 of 5 frames, alternating foundationless frames with the wedge inverted (or starter strips) in-between, for 4 bait hives. Fortunately I had lots of nuc boxes ready to go. Perfect use for them. So 20 of my re-conditioned frames were put back into use in the apiary.
I took some 1x4 pieces of lumber I had and cut them down to 15-1/2 inches tall. Then I cut a 1-1/2 inch hole near the top of each. These became the easy install arm for my bait hives. I got this idea from McCartney Taylor.
Then, using 5 deck screws I attached each arm to the sides of each nuc box.
Then it was time to bait the boxes. I dispatched my first queen last year, dropping her into a jar of alcohol. All queens I dispatch will go into this jar. Their pheromones leach into the alcohol, and voila you have swarm lure. I used a cotton ball to soak up a bit of the queen juice, and added about 4 or 5 drops of lemongrass oil to sweeten the deal (lemongrass oil smells a lot like queen pheromone).
Each nuc entrance got dabbed with the swarm lure.
Then I dabbed a bit on 3 interior walls of each box.
Then each cotton ball lure was placed into a partially open Ziplock bag that was put in the bottom of each nuc box. The bag helps delay the evaporation of the lure, is the idea.
Our loyal and always curious dog Honey helped me install the boxes. I placed two of the bait boxes on cedar trees that are along a fence line at the back of our house. Bees use landmarks such as tree lines and fence lines when scouting potential swarm sites, I'd recently heard.
Just a couple of 3-1/2 inch nails in each spot (I used a backup on each for added strength), and the bait hives were ready to hang. The brilliance of the "swinging arm" system is that each box is a pendulum, so if wind or anything disturbs the position of the hive it will correct itself just like a pendulum swings. I am all about doing things "easy" versus "hard" as I wisen with age.
So, what could be easier than a bait hive you can easily take off a tree and put right into your bee yard, ready to go? Apparently, getting hit on the head by a brick. A day after installing the bait hives, I removed all of the bricks and secured the lids with a single deck screw on top that I can easily unscrew without getting brained by a brick in the process of removing a baited swarm.
And before you knew it, up went my bait hives, easy peasy!
Four! So the first two go alone the fence line, the third is at a nearby tree out from the fence line, and the fourth is straight ahead in a line from that near the house. I eagerly await the day I look out the window to see a swarm has moved into one of my bait hives!
After all of that work, it was time to do some inspection. Beekeeping is a lot more than just inspections, but you've got to do those, too. In fact, I knew I needed to see how a queen I'd installed into one of my hives was doing, as well as re-arrange combs in my big hive, consolidating brood combs and putting them lower to the brood chamber and putting honey combs up top. While doing that I checker-boarded drawn honey combs with new frames they'd yet to touch. This should convince the bees to draw out those frames as well now that the tulip poplars are beginning to bloom. The honey flow is majorly ON! Time to get crackin'. Joining me on a chilly Sunday inspection was my 2014 mentee Rod Caverly, who lives just around the corner from me. It was GREAT having a second pair of eyes and hands who knew what they were doing in the bee yard with me. We found that the big hive had put up some beautiful capped honey frames already. Wow, what a greeting!
We each got stung once. It was a chilly, misty Sunday afternoon. My bees decided to sting me on my middle finger, appropriate enough I suppose. They'd made some gorgeous fresh comb on new deep frames I'd given them recently. Here's a great view of them spinning comb, festooning on each other's legs, from a starter strip.
Never hold a foundationless frame horizontally. Always hold it vertically and rotate it along that axis to see each side. That way the fresh comb is being held by something to which it is attached, at all times, vertically as you inspect the frame. First one side, held vertically ...
And then rotate the frame in your fingers to see the other side. Man, look at all those bees in this big hive.
We also found about half a dozen empty queen cups through the hive on the bottoms of frames and on a small bit of cross-comb. Using a bread knife I corrected the cross-comb. Also, while Rod was there I saw fit to bump a frame I was holding so that a bunch of bees fell to the ground around our feet. Now, that's one SMOOTH mentor, I tell you! All I could do was own it. Yep, I do a lot of stupid things. But at least along the way I see a few of my dreams materialize. Fortunately, we shared a good laugh at my expense, and Rod was relieved to know he's NOT the only one in the "why did I do THAT?!" category.
Aside from a couple of stings the big hive had a surprise in store for us: Rod found the queen! She is a BEAUT! I L-O-V-E these bees and this queen. It is the first hive of bees I have fallen head-over-heels in love with. We quickly put her aside for safe keeping, as I wanted to consolidate her in the brood chambers of the one deep box and one shallow on bottom. We put an excluder on top so it'll be easy work for me to find her on my next inspection. Why do I want to find her? Well, for one reason it's because of this ...
Yep, a supercedure cell allright, and a gorgeous one at that. This one had a larvae in it and lots of royal jelly. Workers were busy packing it full as we inspected. For some reason the hive has decided it's time for the old queen to go. SO, to maximize her use I plan on removing her with a couple frames of bees to the top of the hive, excluded from the bottom for safe keeping as a backup plan while the hive raises this, and possibly some other queen cells for me in the meantime. This is a gorgeous supercedure cell. Always trust the bees. But don't let opportunity pass you by. Once this new queen is raised and with luck, successfully mated, the old queen will be executed in a ball of worker bees if I leave her roaming about. If I put her aside for safe keeping she will continue to add to the colony, from which I can make other queens off of, or at the very least I can simply dispatch her and use her body in my queen lure potion. Make the best use of what the Lord has provided, is what I say.
They'd done a great job of drawing out the deep frames, and the queen had been fast and furious in them. Why were they replacing her? Beats me, but the bees know best. It was getting chilly and the bees honery on this misty Sunday with the sun quickly setting.
We moved onto my double-nuc setup. Yes, I am running a 2-queen hive and plan on more. I am now convinced that the way forward for T's Bees for both increase in hives plus increase in honey are double-hive setups. I became convinced after recently reading Frank C. Pellet's "Practical Queen Rearing" (1918). So I began by putting his decades of first-hand experience and research to the test. I bought a new queen from Garry just down the road in Albemarle and installed her, along with several frames of brood and food, on top of my over-wintered nuc. I did this on April 18. On the bottom level is my deep and a half of my over-wintered nuc that is going gang-busters this spring. Next is a queen excluder. Then a honey super with checker-boarded drawn shallow frames and new ones for them to draw during the honey flow. On top is a deep with the new queen. I took 3 deep frames from the bottom deep and gave them replacement frames with starter strips. I added my last two drawn frames I had in reserve to the top box (one broken but rubber-banded back into place). Last on was an inner cover with a entrance notched into it. Just push the telescoping top forward, and the entrance is open. Push it back and it's closed. It's homemade but I picked it up on my one successful swarm call last year. It's brilliant and simple and easy, and the bees love it. I'm going to make some of those myself since it negates the need for a shim by incorporating the inner cover with the entrance. So my one colony now became two, IF the bees released and accepted the new queen. Here's the hive set-up.
And here's the queen I bought from Garry. Now THIS is next to impossible. She's gorgeous, but dang it all to heck she's solid black AND unmarked?!! I am S-C-R-E-W-E-D trying to find this one from here on out. I am doubly convinced I must learn how to catch and mark queens myself, because this, folks, is utterly insane, trying to find one solid unmarked black bug in a sea of tens of thousands. Good luck with that! But, ain't she a beaut (she's the big one on top; the others are attendants)? I wonder if she'll make really dark bees? She's a 5-banded dark one!
The bees were definitely interested in her, but didn't mob the cage like I expected. Here was their greeting. Bear in mind that these bees smell like the queen from the bottom chamber. If successfully introduced, they'll all smell like both queens. This means I can use frames from one with the other to help as needed, plus I have a built-in backup queen system. And two queens laying in one hive configuration means more workers occupying the same space, which will increase honey production. At least, those are my hopes. It's definitely economical: only one bottom board, beetle trap, inner cover and telescoping top required to house 2 colonies. On with the greeting.
I removed the cork on the candy end. In the past I had left that on for a couple days, then removed it to give added insurance the new queen would be accepted. But Pellet says in his book that the 2.5 days it takes for them to eat through the candy to release the queen is more than enough time for an introduction and that he always had success in that. So I did the same. Definitely easier. I simply put the queen cage facing down in the center on the top bars, and added a shim on top, instead of hanging her cage in-between two frames. Why? It's easier! :-)
Fast-forward to one week later when Rod visits to help me on April 26. We opened the bottom deep to find this. Just LOOK at this gorgeous, newly drawn deep frame, in just one week. These bees from my over-wintered nuc on the bottom are wonderful. I do love them and their queen. I do plan to make new queens off of her. They had made great progress on three new frames with starter strips in just a week, and she wasted no time in laying in that fresh comb. Here is a frame still being drawn and you can see the workers have started capping brood off.
The new black queen was off to a slow start but had started laying nontheless as of Sunday. So we gave her a couple more combs of nurse bees and larvae from the bottom box ONCE we found that marked queen. It was WONDERFUL moving bees from a different colony in the same hive configuration up to the top level and not having to do a newspaper combine, which means you must return in a couple of days to remove the paper. No fighting, as the hive shares worker bees between the two colonies.
I also spotted the un-mated queen I THOUGHT I'd dispatched the week prior when I put in my new black queen. Like an idiot, I tried to flick worker bees off the queen catcher she was in once I caught her. All that did was open the catcher so she could fly out and right back into her hive, which was the middle section that's becoming a honey super in-between the two deeps on top and bottom. Thank goodness I found her, because I had to admit to Rod, yep I am kooky. As a kook, I tried to make a 2-queen hive and ended up having a 3-queen one! After a less-than-graceful capture she went into the queen lure jar as well to help save future bees by attracting swarms.
We ended our inspection Sunday with a beautiful sight indeed, another queen I've fallen in love with. This girl from Albemarle in 2014 over-wintered and is filling frames wall-to-wall brood. I have high hopes for this hive and plan to make queens out of her eggs as well. My, oh my, what a beautiful sight.
Thanks to the long spring days, I did an inspection on the top box on Tuesday the 28th to see if the black queen really WAS in there. Would I be able to find her? Nope, not that day. They were still working steadily and had even continued drawing out comb for their new queen, always a good sign.
So I didn't see the queen on my second look in. But I did see THIS, a wonderful sight to behold, and it was all I needed to see: fresh eggs laid in every available cell on freshly drawn comb that's still being worked. (The eggs look like grains of rice, pointing up from the bottom of the cells.) My two-queen hive is working. Another dream realized. Onto the next!
In August of 2014 I received an unusual request. A nearby Ethiopian Orthodox Catholic Church wanted me to remove honey bees that had swarmed into an alcove stereo speaker and install them in a hive for them. I wasn't their first call, but I WAS the only one willing to listen. The church wasn't too far away, and, as a preacher's kid, I felt obliged to go take a look. Yep, they had honey bees alright. Turns out they'd had them for at least 6 months or so when the initial swarm had settled into this covered doorway. Imagine, ducking honey bees flying to and fro as you walk into church on Sunday morning. They needed my help, the bees most of all.
The church elder would not listen to reason, though I tried my darndest: pay me a nominal fee to remove the bees and let me be on my way with them, problem quickly and cheaply solved. But the congregation had fallen in love with these bees. I was going to walk away until they told me that the honey bee is seen as the protector of the church in the Ethiopian Orthodox religion. Well, dang it all to heck. I was not getting out of this easily! Once I told them I was a PK, I guess my fate was sealed. I quoted them a fair price on equipment and the tons of labor it would require for me to remove the bees. They could've bought a complete hive for the price. But they wanted THESE bees, their bees, the ones God had sent to them as a sign. No pressure on this beekeeper. Fortunately, the bees were only in the speaker attached to an alcove wall and had not entered the walls themselves.
After removing the screws, I removed the speaker face. That's when I got my first good look at them. That was a lot of honey bees in a small space! I'd quoted them for 4 hours of work. It ended up taking 6.
Beekeeping is all about patience and discipline. I used my homemade bee vac to gently suck up the bees one at a time. I never saw the queen but did see a little bit of capped brood and a little bit of eggs in there. Hours passed. I learned the hard way that if you're not patient with the bee vac, bees will clog up the hose. Little by little I made progress, cutting out the combs and putting them aside.
When all the comb was removed I realized these honey bees were starving. It was August, so the summer dearth was on. They'd eaten through all of their food. Not one drop of nectar, let alone honey, was in any of the combs. How these bees had survived truly was a miracle. More signs from God. I couldn't wait to give them food!
I patiently rubber banded the combs into frames, making sure honey combs were separate from brood combs.
Here they were, the two large brood combs, nicely intact and ready for their new home. I was ecstatic to be out of the bee suit on this hot and humid 98-degree day.
My bee bucket was HEAVY with bees. My Ethiopian counterpart, who would become the church beekeeper, estimated the bucket weighed at least 6.5 pounds. It was CHOCK FULL of bees! All sounded well and alive. After getting the combs into frames, I quickly arranged the hive. I sold the church the equipment the bees needed, used but clean and sterilized, and smelling of the bees that had come before. I quoted them a fair price for "used" versus "new" (new translates into un-assembled, un-painted and un-smelling like bees). Knowing their time would be severely limited as would be their chances at surviving through the winter, I set the church bees up on narrow frames, fitting 11 into a 10-frame Langstroth box. More bees in a smaller space equals improved chances of survival. Here you can see the setup, including a couple of beetle jails, and the bucket with its screened lid and sides, keeping the bees ventilated during this stressful time. I chose to put the bee hive behind the church fellowship hall which would act as a windbreak, and pointed the entrance Southeast. I put down black plastic to keep small hive beetles from pupating under the hive.
It was getting close to the moment of truth. I shakily poured used cooking oil into the beetle traps.
Then after putting the traps into place I removed several frames from the center so I could pour in the bees.
And, here it is, the moment of truth. My first big use of my homemade bucket bee vac, and WOW, what a success! Look at this ball of bees hanging onto the screened inner lid with handle. This made it super easy to shake most of the bees into the hive on the first go.
After pouring the rest of the bees in from the bucket, I carefully lowered in the rest of the frames. The loud hum was overwhelming. Not a single dead bee, not one, let alone the queen was found in the bottom of the bucket. My homemade vac had done so very well. And yes, eager reader, I will be sharing my bucket vac plans in a separate post in the very near future.
With 1:1 sugar syrup ready to go in a top feeder, the bees were instantly Nasinov fanning and scouring the combs, now placed into removable Langstroth frames. The insert for the screened bottom board would stay off until cold set in .
Gloriously, the bees eagerly went into the frames. I followed up my initial install with a hive inspection a week later. More than half of the rubber bands had been chewed through and the combs affixed and added onto with their frames. But what really got this preacher's kid of a beekeeper was seeing fresh single eggs and larvae in tight patterns on the new comb. The queen had miraculously survived the cut-out, along with the hive.
Not bad for a first-time cut-out. As it turns out, the hive survived the winter and at last reports is booming nicely. In the words of my mamma, "Praise the Lord, Honey!"
It was only a few weeks ago that snow was on the ground, and Olive and Honey were busying enjoying playing in the snow. They made the most of it!
And it was only yesterday, wasn't it, when my two nucs and one hive were running for elected office? I always snag free, used political signs from the roadside after elections. I used them during two Siberian arctic blasts to quickly add additional insulation to the little nucs and my "big" hive (3 shallows of bees). See, elections do matter ... at least to T's bees.
So how did the bales of hay, vertically stacked nucs and additional pieces of correx work for the bees? Pretty darned great. All 3 survived the winter. Here they were when temps warmed up into the '40s after the last Siberian blast plunged high's down to single digits. It was obvious, though, that one nuc was stronger than the other. Amazingly, it, too survived.
I kept feeding the big hive blocks of candy I had stored, along with homemade pollen substitute: a $2.79 bag of soy flour (from a nearby Asian supermarket, Super G on Independence Blvd.) mixed with heavy syrup. I also had my strawberries, ready to plant while spinach, lettuces and kale overwintered in my homemade hoop houses. With persistent cold snaps and even snow, I was determined to give my bees all the protein and carbs they wanted during a long winter, and they gobbled it up, in addition to all the stores they had. Once temps steadily improved to high's in the '50s and lows in the '30s, I started feeding 1:1 syrup. March was already here!!
And before you knew it, April was here and so was Spring 2015! Our sweet knucklehead Honey celebrated on Easter Sunday by stealing one of Yvonne's socks and stashing it on some weeds near a favorite bed of flowering thrift, while Yvonne was busy uncovering our blackberries and raspberries out from that crazy tangle of weeds.
So, how had the big hive done? A couple weeks before Easter I found they'd actually INCREASED during winter. The February and March feeding paid paid off huge dividends. With temps in the mid '50s, I saw the BEST thing a beekeeper could possibly see, all boxes boiling over with bees. SO, my use of 11 narrow frames in a 10-frame box also had paid off. Thank you, Michael Bush! From here on out, brood chambers are 11 frames. More bees in the same space equals a stronger force to overwinter, and a stronger force to keep beetles at bay during spring. The big hive had gobbled up huge amounts of candy and pollen patties, while still finding pollen in the field. Check it!
And what's in those boxes? Here's the top of the first one:
The second shallow of 11 frames, in the middle. Nice cluster!
And the bottom box. Holy moley, I'd better add more space when temps permit. This hive is boiling over! The bottom shallow, which I picked up when I rescued these bees last year from an abandoned hive in Huntersville, NC, had 9 frames in it. Soon, this will become a honey chamber. Just waiting for that cluster to move on up.
So, it was time to get ready some frames, frames and more frames, shallow and deep. I put a fresh box of deep frames with starter strips, 11 in that box, with a couple drawn combs and 9 new frames. This year's queen color is BLUE, so that's the color my 2015 frames get. Last year's color was green.
A few weeks whizzed by, and suddenly it was Good Friday and Easter weekend. I determined to use Good Friday as my yearly hallmark for cleaning up hives from winter, combining or expanding nucs, and reversing hives. I was also D-O-N-E! with my hive stand configuration. I spent 7 times getting stung and chased off by robbing during the summer dearth, and some into the fall. Here's what my hives looked like a LOT last year when I was trying to inspect my hives:
This is how you shut down robbing, by throwing tarps and old fitted sheets over your hives. It also shuts down inspections, and any other work you need to get done! Master beekeeper Billy Davis preaches the importance of keeping your hives low to the ground, inspecting in a sitting posture, and not waving frames about in the air. I am now a believer. I also took a page from Michael Palmer's book, by ditching the concrete blocks, which did nothing but sink, and the row of stands. I decided to go with a simple box stand underneath each hive. I also decided to follow the advice of the "Beekeeper's Handbook" and NOT put my hives in a row, which also encourages robbing, among other things. But I realized I can get more hives in the same space, also, with a horseshoe configuration, which is how I'm rolling. I started by disassembling the stands, cut them down and made some nice 9- and 7-inch box stands for the hives to sit on. I discovered how easy it was to level them out, too. There's magic using a box underneath the hive. Palmer also has a mantra of, "Use what you've got," so I had aggravating row stands. I used 'em to make easy-to-walk-around box stands and even salvaged the nails to make the box stands. Notice, by the way, how horribly the concrete blocks had sunk on one side of my big hive over winter, so much so that I had to resort to throwing more blocks on that side to keep it from falling over. Making a box (or, if you have old supers available, you could just use those) seemed so much smarter. I am looking forward to working the bees and not falling down the slope for a change!
With all that done on Good Friday, it was time to for a first full-out inspection on a gorgeous Easter Sunday. I'd found the smaller nuc, the one on the left, had REQUEENED ITSELF sometime over winter, or very recently. I put a marked queen, with a white dot, in there last fall. That's NOT what I found, when I opened it up to see an amber beauty on broodless frames, waddling about. How this little nuc survived and managed to re-queen was a wonder. But I suspected the queen was unmated, not a virgin awaiting mating flights. I gave that nuc some frames of eggs to see if they'd spin out a queen cell. Yep, they did, but when I pulled the frames to inspect on Easter, the queen cell tore. So I dispatched that queen, and performed a newspaper combine to unite the now queenless nuc and the strong, queen-right nuc. CONFESSION: I goofed when I "dispatched" the unmated queen. I caught her quickly with my queen catcher, but did the same stupid thing I did last year: I flicked off a couple of attendants from the outside into the box from which they'd come. In doing so, the catcher opened up and the queen flew out. I THINK she flew away past my ears, but I couldn't be sure so I put a queen excluder on top of the newspaper just in case. I don't want the dud queen surviving and killing the good queen. I don't know if this is a good idea or bad, but we'll see.
(NOTE: while making the box stands, I also made three-sided one-inch shims for my West beetle traps I bought over Christmas from Dadant, at $11 each ... just make a shim and put it on top of your bottom board and you're ready to go. It's a LOT less expensive than the $35 Freeman bottom board beetle trays, which work wonderfully, but dang, they're expensive. Yes, I'm thrifty. After all, I'm a beekeeper.)
I found the strong nuc still had the 2014 locally raised queen in it I'd bought from G&S Bee Farm, and it was booming. TIGHT brood patterns and tons of pollen. It was a pure joy to expand this nuc into big quarters.
And there she was, with her white dot in tact and laying furiously away. Time to expand this nuc and give her plenty of room to lay and them plenty of frames to draw. The honey flow is starting up!
She's doing a fabulous job! Wall to wall eggs, larvae and brood being capped.
So, how was the big hive doing? I'd given it just two weeks ago eight empty deep frames to draw and one drawn frames in a deep up top. Well, it WORKED. The cluster continued moving up and up and they'd fully drawn out 6 of those frames quickly, even before the honey flow (I was using a frame feeder and 1:1 syrup to get them draw early). What's better is that the queen was somewhere up there, laying away in all that fresh virgin comb. White natural comb filled with those eggs is a beautiful site to behold.
Even this just-started frame had new cells with eggs and royal jelly in them. They love the starter strips of foundation on their otherwise foundation-less frames. Seems a perfect balance for the bees.
They were taking to their new brood chamber wonderfully. Frame after frame of newly drawn deeps, and a tight egg pattern abounded. This thing is going to BOOM in a few weeks. I took out two frames they'd only begun to think about and replaced them with two drawn deep combs from the former weak nuc I'd combined to give this jamming colony an even bigger head start. I had to plane down the frame bars even more, but I got 11 in that box. Took a lot of doing and some bloody knuckles, but it's worth it. Time to reverse!
I found a couple of empty queen cups on the bottom of two frames. Looks like they were staying in practice, just in case they felt like swarming. My goal is to convince them to stay and make lots of honey! I'll keep an eye on these cups to see if they start queen cells (and if they do, I'll harvest them for some new spring nucs). Also notice the abundance of capped worker brood on the combs at right.
Over winter I decided to put oil back in the bottom tray. So glad I did. Look at all the beetles it caught and killed. I stopped counting after 50. Yuck. I gladly gave the big hive a fresh, clean Freeman bottom board while I reversed.
My dear friend and mentor Hernan Atencio informed me that his hives had already filled up two frames with nectar. So the early spring dandelion and holly flow is on strong. It'll only be a few weeks before those tulip poplar blossoms open up in the neighborhood. But I'm making hay while the sun shines. I reversed the boxes, putting the deep with the newly drawn combs on bottom, and a new honey super on top with fresh frames using a 9-frame spacer. While I run 11 combs in my brood chambers, I love fat combs in honey supers. So 9 frames in a honey super makes it easy to harvest, and the bees pack a ton of honey in those fat combs!
I put a queen excluder underneath the honey super. The shallow that had been on the bottom all winter was totally empty. It will become a honey super. So on my next inspection I'll move the excluder down a level, so I'll have the equivalent of two honey supers already on and working, and the queen has the equivalent of two deeps to turn into her booming brood chamber (one deep + two shallows, all 11 frames each). The bees took to their new location just a few feet away from the old stand in no time. Nasinov fanners were on the front porch, fanning away, telling all the incoming foragers that "HERE, HERE, HERE IS YOUR HOME!" After many hours of work I also was gifted with my first sting (actually got it on Good Friday), while I was walking away. I laughed and rejoiced. First sting out of the way. And I felt "BONA-FIDE!" Happy 2015, everybody!! It's going to be a magical year.
Tom Davidson is the owner and beekeeper at T's Bees.
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