TLC's Bees

I am a south Texas Beekeeper with a primary goal of educating people about honey bees. I sell honey

Operating as usual

Photos from TLC's Bees's post 07/26/2021

Several weeks ago I went out to my hives in Devine and did a check for Varroa Mites. They are tiny little parasites that can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy hive. I had one hive with levels over the treatment threshold and after a vacation to NM, I finally got to treat the hive this past week. For reference, here’s a picture of a Varroa Mite on the thorax of a worker bee, and a picture of one next to a drone bee pupa. They don’t really look very large but compared to a bee’s body size, they are huge. Hopefully this treatment will knock the levels down to something the bees can manage on their own.

Photos from TLC's Bees's post 05/27/2021

Finally got a dry day when I wasn't working and I got to move the swarm hive to my Boerne apiary (you're welcome neighbors 😉🤣). After getting them opened up at their new location, I inspected the other hives to give the swarm hive some time to calm down. Once I was able to inspect them, I quickly realized that they are one of my favorite hives. The queen laid in both boxes I gave them with a total of 9 brood frames!!! That is absolutely incredible after only a week and a half! And that's without feeding them AT ALL! Here is a photo of the queen and one side of one frame that is almost completely full of capped brood!! I'm so excited to work this hive going forward.

05/15/2021

Crazy bee story for today. THIS JUST HAPPENED! 😳😳 Make sure you have the audio on because that’s where I tell the story. I’ve seen this happen in videos before but never with my own two eyes.
#SwarmSeason #swarm #beekeeperslife #womeninbeekeeping #ZomBees

Photos from TLC's Bees's post 05/08/2021

Today was amazing, as I finally got to meet my Hives For Heroes "NewBee", Maria Soupley! She is amazing and I'm so excited to be working with her this year. She really stepped up and helped out during our 6 hive inspections and mite counts. Also, I got to see a couple new things during our inspection that I'd never seen before including black pollen (probably from poppies) and a bee doing the Waggle Dance (which tells the other bees where to find nectar and pollen).

#savebeessavevets #hivesforheroes #beeahero

05/05/2021

My new license plate. $22 of the specialty plate price goes to fund grants through the Texas Honey Bee Education Association. 🐝♥️

My new license plate. $22 of the specialty plate price goes to fund grants through the Texas Honey Bee Education Association. 🐝♥️

05/01/2021

The rain didn't quite cooperate with my big announcement for today, but I didn't want to wait any longer to post this. I am excited to be partnering with Hives For Heroes to be a beekeeping mentor to a US veteran. Their focus is on honey bee conservation, su***de prevention, and a healthy transition from service. I have been partnered with Maria who will be learning the ropes of beekeeping this next year and then she will be given a split to start her own hive. We were supposed to meet at my new apiary this morning but the rain prevented that, so I wasn't able to get a picture of her. I promise I'll be posting photos of us working bees together in the upcoming year. Here's a pic of my new apiary to tide you over.

#savebeessavevets

The rain didn't quite cooperate with my big announcement for today, but I didn't want to wait any longer to post this. I am excited to be partnering with Hives For Heroes to be a beekeeping mentor to a US veteran. Their focus is on honey bee conservation, su***de prevention, and a healthy transition from service. I have been partnered with Maria who will be learning the ropes of beekeeping this next year and then she will be given a split to start her own hive. We were supposed to meet at my new apiary this morning but the rain prevented that, so I wasn't able to get a picture of her. I promise I'll be posting photos of us working bees together in the upcoming year. Here's a pic of my new apiary to tide you over.

#savebeessavevets

[04/26/21]   Getting ready to do a bee presentation to a group of homeschool kids. It started out with 3 kids and after inviting their co-op, now we’re at 50. 😳 I’m excited and nervous! Hopefully I spark some interest and we get a new generation of beekeepers as a result.

Photos from TLC's Bees's post 04/23/2021

Picking up bees from the Amish in Beeville, Texas (I can’t make this stuff up). I got 6 nucleus hives (aka “nucs”) which are hives of 5 frames of bees with a queen (as opposed to the normal 8 or 10 frames per hive). These will be set up tonight in my new apiary in Boerne and then put into their 10-frame boxes a week from today. Next Friday I’ll be making an exciting announcement, so stay tuned!

Photos from TLC's Bees's post 04/23/2021

Yesterday was a long day full of bees. I initially was going to check and see if my hives had accepted their new queens but it was too cold (below 55 degrees F) so I couldn’t open them up. So then I headed down near Yancey to pick up a feral colony that had inhabited an abandoned bee hive box. I took it back to my apiary and set it up. Then I went to a ranch near D’Hanis to do a bee removal from an old charter bus that is being purchased for scrap metal. My apiary land owners, Colby and Vanessa Krause helped me with the removal. Neither of them had ever done a removal before and they were both rockstars!! We didn’t leave there until around 7:30pm and still had to relocate bees from my vacuum box to a hive box and set them up in the apiary. Then we had to rinse all the equipment because...EVERYTHING IS STICKY! I left the apiary property around 10pm and got home around 10:45. Whew!! I’m still tired.

Photos from TLC's Bees's post 04/20/2021

I got the call last week from the Amish beekeeper south of town telling me my 6 new hives are ready for pickup this upcoming weekend. I knew they were coming soon and have been frantically trying to get all of my equipment ready for their arrival. That means building deep and medium hive boxes; painting the boxes, bases, and lids; assembling 60 deep frames; and assembling 100 medium frames. This past Sunday I went out to the new apiary and installed the hive stands and Friday I will go pick up the bees in Beeville and take them up to the new apiary in Boerne. AND I have a very exciting announcement that I will be making soon regarding this bee yard and my new assistant. Stay tuned!!

Photos from TLC's Bees's post 04/19/2021

I replaced three out of my four queens this last week due to their offspring being angry demons from hell. 🤣 This upcoming week I will be checking to see if they were accepted or not. If so, we should start to see a change in hive temperament in 3-4 weeks. In order to replace the queens I had to cull the old queens. In one hive I spent about an hour searching for her, only to finally find her crawling on the bottom of the hive towards one of the corners of the box. She was quickly dispatched.

Photos from TLC's Bees's post 03/28/2021

During yesterday’s inspection, I discovered that my weak hive had a queen but no brood so I decided to cull the queen and combine the small number of remaining bees with another strong hive. I chose to use the newspaper combine method which adds a sheet of newspaper between the top of the strong hive and the bottom of the weak hive’s box. Tiny holes are punched in the newspaper to allow the pheromones to mix and then the bees will chew through the newspaper to slowly join together (see photos). Although this now puts me down to only 3 hives, one of my hives had 7 frames full of brood, so I will likely be splitting this hive very soon so they don’t swarm. I also included a photo below of reddish-orange pollen on one worker, which I believe to be from the “weed” henbit. That’s the one with the tiny purple flowers.

03/04/2021

Fed the bees today some sugar syrup and checked on them. They were all still active and had brood. Some were even bringing in pollen. My poor, sad hive had a laying queen but no capped brood. I’m hoping that in two weeks when I go back out, they’ll have some capped. This photo is an example of both capped, and uncapped brood from one of my other hives. Worker brood gets capped with wax on day 9 of the life cycle.

Fed the bees today some sugar syrup and checked on them. They were all still active and had brood. Some were even bringing in pollen. My poor, sad hive had a laying queen but no capped brood. I’m hoping that in two weeks when I go back out, they’ll have some capped. This photo is an example of both capped, and uncapped brood from one of my other hives. Worker brood gets capped with wax on day 9 of the life cycle.

02/24/2021

First hive inspection today after last week's freeze. Two hives had a number of dead bees on the ground outside the hive (see photo) but that could just be from the undertaker bees carrying out dead bodies as part of the natural order of things. They just don't take them as far away from the hive when it's cold. 3 of the 4 hives looked great. Spotted the queen and/or eggs in all 4 hives. The one hive that didn't look so hot had about 1/2 the bees die inside the hive. They probably didn't have enough food. I had to clean the dead bees out of the hive so the rest of the bees could still function. Let's just say it was gross. I gave everyone pollen and will likely feed them next week since they won't have any nectar sources for awhile yet.

First hive inspection today after last week's freeze. Two hives had a number of dead bees on the ground outside the hive (see photo) but that could just be from the undertaker bees carrying out dead bodies as part of the natural order of things. They just don't take them as far away from the hive when it's cold. 3 of the 4 hives looked great. Spotted the queen and/or eggs in all 4 hives. The one hive that didn't look so hot had about 1/2 the bees die inside the hive. They probably didn't have enough food. I had to clean the dead bees out of the hive so the rest of the bees could still function. Let's just say it was gross. I gave everyone pollen and will likely feed them next week since they won't have any nectar sources for awhile yet.

02/18/2021

Now that we finally have power again during this snowpacolypse in Texas, I can start on the monumental task of assembling bee equipment in preparation for the spring. I purchased 120 frames this year to accommodate an additional 6 hives that will be coming, plus some extra frames to accommodate any swarms I capture or removals I do. Instead of buying pre-assembled frames, I buy the pieces and assemble them myself. Plus, I have medium hive boxes to assemble and paint, deep hive boxes to sand and paint, and hive stands and other equipment to paint. Some may say that winter is the "slow" time of year for beekeepers, but that's not really the case for those looking to expand their apiaries.
#Snowmageddon2021 #beekeepinglife

Now that we finally have power again during this snowpacolypse in Texas, I can start on the monumental task of assembling bee equipment in preparation for the spring. I purchased 120 frames this year to accommodate an additional 6 hives that will be coming, plus some extra frames to accommodate any swarms I capture or removals I do. Instead of buying pre-assembled frames, I buy the pieces and assemble them myself. Plus, I have medium hive boxes to assemble and paint, deep hive boxes to sand and paint, and hive stands and other equipment to paint. Some may say that winter is the "slow" time of year for beekeepers, but that's not really the case for those looking to expand their apiaries.
#Snowmageddon2021 #beekeepinglife

02/04/2021

Today I made a trip to a ranch near Yancey, TX to pick up some used beekeeping equipment. I was able to get 10 deep hive boxes for a steal! They need a little love but I’m excited to expand my equipment inventory at a fraction of the cost of new equipment.

Today I made a trip to a ranch near Yancey, TX to pick up some used beekeeping equipment. I was able to get 10 deep hive boxes for a steal! They need a little love but I’m excited to expand my equipment inventory at a fraction of the cost of new equipment.

01/06/2021

One of our amazing customers at the Wild Birds Unlimited where I work brought me a little gift this weekend. She even changed the face to make it a female beekeeper. Isn't she cute?

One of our amazing customers at the Wild Birds Unlimited where I work brought me a little gift this weekend. She even changed the face to make it a female beekeeper. Isn't she cute?

12/28/2020

Work in the bee yard slows down this time of year so I don't have as much to post. Now is the time when we Beekeepers start planning for next year. Assembling and painting new boxes, assembling new frames, ordering bees for the spring, etc. Now is also a great time to plant wildflower seeds that will come up in the spring and be a food source for honey bees and native pollinators.

Work in the bee yard slows down this time of year so I don't have as much to post. Now is the time when we Beekeepers start planning for next year. Assembling and painting new boxes, assembling new frames, ordering bees for the spring, etc. Now is also a great time to plant wildflower seeds that will come up in the spring and be a food source for honey bees and native pollinators.

Photos from TLC's Bees's post 12/21/2020

This is why I wear a bee suit. A couple weeks ago I had finished my hive inspections and was getting ready to leave my apiary. I only saw a few bees flying around me and they weren’t acting aggressively so I decided to go ahead and remove my suit before I got in the truck. Gloves came off first. No problems. Then the veil. One landed on my ear and I just thought to myself “stay clam and she’ll fly away.” Apparently she had other thoughts and stung my ear. About that time another one landed on my lip. Again, I thought “stay calm.” Then BLAM!! She stung my lip. I quickly got in the truck and shooed away the couple other bees and drove down the driveway before taking off the rest of my suit. I think this must be the technique the makeup artists used when making the Planet of the Apes movies. Zero Stars, Do Not Recommend

12/07/2020

Did you know today is St Ambrose’s Feast Day? He is the Patron of Bees, Beekeepers, and Candlemakers.
***
St Ambrose, or Ambrose Aurelius, born around 340AD, was one of the four original doctors of the Church. Legend has it that, when St Ambrose was an infant, a swarm of Bees landed on his face leaving behind a drop of honey. This event signified to his father that the baby would eventually grow up with a gift of a “honeyed tongue.”
***
Ultimately, this prediction did, indeed, come true. Ambrose Aurelius studied rhetoric, literature, and law in Rome which afforded him a seat on the Council as the Governor of Liguria and Emilia. With time, he was called on to become the Bishop of Milan (he attempted to run away from this responsibility–literally–but was eventually caught, baptized, and ordained). In this position, he convinced Augustine of Hippo to be baptized as well and then became his adviser. He also became popular with the poor after giving away his land and preaching that they were equal in the eyes of God.
***
The Saint’s Feast Day falls on December 7th. He is the Patron of Bees, Beekeepers, and Candlemakers and is often depicted with Bees or a beehive–a symbol of wisdom. His name is still referenced today as Beekeepers use the term “ambrosia” for the mixture of pollen and nectar that is fed to bee larvae by worker bees.
***
Read about other Saint Patrons of Beekeeping here: https://windbornefarms.com/patron-saints-of-beekeeping/

Image credit: Image found on ip-roco. com; original source or artisit unknown

***
#windbornefarms #StAmbrose #patronofbeekeeping #stambrosefeastday

11/19/2020

For those who wonder if beekeeping is a very profitable business, here's a meme to answer that question. 🤣🤣

For those who wonder if beekeeping is a very profitable business, here's a meme to answer that question. 🤣🤣

09/18/2020

TLC's Bees

09/18/2020

Honey Bottling

At last, we are able to put the liquid gold into bottles. The final step will be labeling, which is required before it can be sold.

09/18/2020

Honey Filtration

Once the honey is pulled out of the beeswax cells it collects at the bottom of the extractor. We tilt the extractor and open up the honey gate to transfer the honey to 5 gallon buckets. We double filter our honey to make sure that wax and bug "parts" don't end up in the final product.

09/18/2020

Honey Extraction

After removing the wax cappings, it's time to extract the honey. This large extractor spins the frames and the centrifugal force causes the honey to be pulled from the comb. This video shows the extractor slowing down after the power has been turned off.

09/18/2020

De-capping the honey

This is the first step after the honey frames are removed from the hive. This machine uses hot blades to slice off the wax cappings, allowing access to the delicious honey beneath.

[09/18/20]   After three weeks away from my hives, I was finally able to do an inspection. My main concern was if my unmated queen had mated and started laying within the last three weeks. Great news - she had and was laying eggs LIKE A BOSS!! Additionally, I was able to finally do a small honey harvest. I collected 17.5 pounds of honey, most of which is already spoken for from pre-sales. If I have any left over, it'll be for sale for $14/lb. I'm working on getting my labels printed and then I'll be contacting folks who had previously requested honey two years ago (since I didn't get a honey harvest last year, I'm a year behind on delivering orders). I will be posting short videos showing my process of honey extraction and bottling. Thanks to my good friends and mentors Otto and Karen Rakowitz with Rakowitz Honey Farm for allowing me to use their honey house to extract and filter my honey.

Videos (show all)

Honey Bottling
Honey Filtration
Honey Extraction
Bee Hive Tours in ASL

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San Antonio, TX
78245
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