Category Archives: Uncategorized

Creamed Honey

Fifteen tubs of creamed honey.

Fifteen tubs of creamed honey.

Natural honey granulates; it gets hard over time. It’s a fact of real honey. There are some honeys that take more time, but it all granulates. Honey that has been pasteurized and high pressure filtered won’t granulate, but of course by then it contains no healthy enzymes (the reason we eat honey). It’s just liquid sugar. Creamed, or whipped, honey is made by controlling the size of the crystals in naturally granulating honey, the smaller and more oval the crystals, the creamier the honey.

Cotton honey granulates very quickly, within days of bottling. So it is a good choice for making creamed honey. I had almost 90 lbs. of cotton honey. Here are 15 of the 88 tubs we made this weekend. Two of the tubs are turned on their sides to show the creamed honey (semi-solid and not pouring on the counter).

Notice how it doesn't drip when laid on its side.

Notice how it doesn’t drip when laid on its side.

If you drag a spoon across creamed honey, it liquifies a little. Creamed honey is way less messy than the liquid honey and is great for spreading on biscuits and bread. In fact, it can be used for all the same things for which you use liquid honey, but it’s less messy and is still 100% pure honey.

 

 

 

 

 

Killing v/s Removing Honey Bees

Tish and Jeff Anderson had a problem last year. They did the right thing in contacting a beekeeper to remove the bees, but they did not contact the right one. Here’s the situation: The bees were first noticed when the cable guy got stung hooking up their cable lines last year. They were entering between mortar slots in bricks, going up under the siding of the second floor. The ceiling joists betweent he first and second floors are located in this area. No one knew how long the bees had been in the house. The beekeeper assumed that the colony was a recent swarm and did a simple trap removal. No siding was removed and no visual of the hive was conducted. He then sprayed a pesticide in the entry way and stuffed the entrance with No Pest Strips. Everything appeared to work and the Andersons were satisfied.

Shortly after the removal, the Andersons started having issues with ants and small white maggot-like lavae on that end of the house. A little more time passed and rats moved in. Pest and animal control companies were called. Finally, this Spring Wax Moths started coming into the upstair bedroom.

The Andersons were told that small hive beetles and wax moths were eating the honey combs that were left unattended in the corner of their house when their honey bees werre killed last year. Then a week ago, honey started dripping into their front room!!!

Honey dripping from the window trim

Honey dripping from the window trim

Honey dripping from the crown molding

Honey dripping from the crown molding

Honey pooling on the windowsill

Honey pooling on the windowsill

 

 

 

 

 

Tish pulled back the carpet because it was getting wet from the drippings. That’s when she realized the honey was dripping behind the wall also.

Honey pooling on the concrete behind the sheetrock wall.

Honey pooling on the concrete behind the sheetrock wall.

More honey pooling, this time below the window.

More honey pooling, this time below the window. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wall had to be opened to remove the honey soaked insulation batting, and the ceiling had to be removed to cut out all wax and the honeycomb. Extra sheetrock was removed because of the honey that had pooled on top of it.

Window trim removed, honey drenched window header exposed

Window trim removed, honey drenched window header exposed

Sheetrock ceiling weighed down with honey and fallen comb

Sheetrock ceiling weighed down with honey and fallen comb

Exposed dead hive

Exposed dead hive

The rest of the hive exposed

The rest of the hive exposed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once everything was exposed, it was a matter of scraping out the dead comb and dropping it into the trash. Kitty litter applied to the leaks on the concrete made for easier clean up later.

Just about done...

Just about done…

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom line: If a honey bee colony is killed in the ceiling or in the walls of a home, there will be an expensive mess to clean up later. It is almost always better to remove the comb with the bees, to prevent problems in the future.

Honey Bees in Chickasaw Gardens District, Memphis, TN

Chickasaw Gardens is a nice older part of Memphis with a lot of really cool homes. This home was in process of being sold when the honey bees were discovered. The plaster walls and ceiling made it a little difficult to locate the colony, but they were located in the dormer void above the window. They were removed and relocated to Germantown Farm Park.

Plaster walls and ceiling!!!

Plaster walls and ceiling!!!

Plaster removed, lath and bees exposed.

Plaster removed, lath and bees exposed.

Bees!

Bees!

Two queen cells

Two queen cells

Lots of angled wood filled with bees and comb.

Lots of angled wood filled with bees and comb.

Comb removed.

Comb removed.

Almost done.

Almost done.

 

Mid-town Memphis Bee Removal

Today starts the official removal season in the Memphis area. I’ll be in Mid-town removing honey bees from an attic. The homeowner noticed them around Christmas when he was in his attic and we were able to put the removal off until the weather got nicer. The high today should be around 75 F. and it’s already 50. Should be a good day. Photos to follow.

Well, it took a while but here are the photos:

Looking at the entrance.

Looking at the entrance.

Breaking into the honey bee colony.

Breaking into the honey bee colony.

Empty comb.

Empty comb.

I see bees.

I see bees.

I see more bees.

I see more bees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comb being framed to be added to the brood box.

Comb being framed to be added to the brood box.

Cutting to fit the frame.

Cutting to fit the frame.

More brood comb

More brood comb

Queen cups.

Queen cups.

Honey

Honey

 

A very long honey comb.

A very long honey comb.

 

Bees on the brood comb frames.

Bees on the brood comb frames.

 

Bucket full of bees. There were 4 from this house.

Bucket full of bees. There were 4 from this house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey Bees in Millington, TN

Metro Builders, Memphis, TN called with a request to remove honey bees from a house in Millington. The homeowner is having the house remodeled and there were bees in the soffit over the garage.

The bees are entering in the gaps of the shingles and caulk.

The bees are entering in the gaps of the shingles and caulk.

A peek inside after removing the trim and frieze boards.

A peek inside after removing the trim and frieze boards.

The soffitt has been dropped and the full hive exposed.

The soffitt has been dropped and the full hive exposed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The white capped honey and raw uncapped nectar.

The white capped honey and raw uncapped nectar.

Job done! Bees cacuumed up and combs framed and boxed,

Job done! Bees vacuumed up and combs framed and boxed,

Tunica County Soil and Water Conservation District

A couple of weeks ago, The Bartlett Bee Whisperer  got a call from Bobbie Wilkerson, another beekeeper, with an invite to help the Tunica County Soil and Water Conservation District with a Continuing Education seminar they were putting on for some of North Mississippi’s teachers. The obligation, put together 4 hours of intelligent material about honey bees! Oh yeah! This was an exciting, but also intimidating opportunity.  

Oh! There's the queen!

Oh! There’s the queen!

Display hive. Yes those are honeybees.

Display hive. Yes those are honeybees.

Although we have spoken in classroom setting with students, this was totally different. Teaching teachers! Need it be said again??? 4 hours! We already have a lot of photos of bees and shots of the amazing stuff we do with honey bee rescue and relocation services in the Mid-South. But… It was time to hit the books and type up a logical, non-kid presentation that would keep adults, not only awake, but interested, and asking questions. So we hit the books to gather “teacher-worthy” information about these marvelous creatures. It was also time to visit the bee yard and picked up 5 frames of brood, a marked queen and load them up into the display hive, making sure the queen was in the upper slot between the plexiglass. 

Almost done.

Almost done.

Class time with The Bartlett Bee Whisperer.

Class time with The Bartlett Bee Whisperer.

To the elementary and high school students in North Mississippi, your teachers have to continue going to class just like you do! The more they learn, the better they can help you learn about the world around you.  Oh, and by the way, no one fell asleep in my class. They laughed at the right time and went “Ugh!” at the right time. They listened. We hope you listen also and do well in this upcoming school year. The world is open with wonders for you to learn about, new things to do and see. Pay attention, listen and continue learning.

Thanks go out to the TCSWD District Administrator, JoAnn Ware, and to all those who helped bring in equipment, set up the projector and put together the whole CEU program at the Tunica Museum.We had a BLAST!

Honey tasting time!

Honey tasting time!

 

 

Rubber Bands and Bee Comb from a Memphis Removal

I’ve had a few requests to explain how I put cut comb into frames to save brood when I remove bees from homes. So here are a few photos.

First, we take an empty brood frame and crisscross 2 rubber bands from corner to corner, on the same side of the frame. (Yes rubber bands bring out the kid in me. It’s a little hard to use them with gloves, but you can still pop your helper when he’s not looking.)

Empty frame with 2 rubber bands crisscrossed,

Empty frame with 2 rubber bands crisscrossed.

Second, the frame is laid on top of a piece (or a couple of pieces) of foundation, rubber band side down. This will act as a base for the cut brood comb to lay on while a second set of rubber bands are crisscrossed over the top of the comb. Most of the time the comb has to be cut to fit into the frame. Be sure to lay the comb in vertically as it was hanging in house or tree. Honey bees won’t work comb that is upside down, while eggs, larva and honey will fall out. Additional bands can be used to hold the comb in place. Try not to pop the comb or bees. They don’t like it and will tell your helper all about it, by crawling into his veil and whispering with their stingers near his ears…

Comb being laid into the frame.

Comb being laid into the frame.

The final framed comb looks kinda like this. The additional bands can be added across the top of the comb or vertically as needed. By the time the rubber bands break down, the bees will have added enough of their own wax to secure the combs in place.

Finished product with comb secured.

Finished product with comb secured.

 

 

Honey Bees on a tree in Cordova, TN

Honey bees rarely build comb on the outside of a trees in Tennessee. That’s why these photos are pretty cool.

Bees ON a tree instead of in one.

Bees ON a tree instead of in one.

Because there were so many observers, I smoked the bees a little to make them easier to work and less apt to fly out at everyone. We ended up with 3 households and 4 dedicated kids anxiously watching the whole event. I pondered if I should start charging admission fees at colony removals. Did Steven Spielberg start this way???

A little smoke to calm them.

A little smoke to calm them.

Because these bees had built comb, they were no longer a swarm, but were now a colony. Their benign attitude as a swarm changes to defense mode as a colony; they have honey and brood to protect. NO ONE GOT STUNG. But I donned the suit anyway.

Cutting the comb flat to fit in a brood frame.

Cutting the comb flat to fit in a brood frame.

The comb was cut from the tree and added to a nuc (nucleus) box. Then we waited for the stragglers to find the box and move in.

Bees crawling up the side to get into their new home.

Bees crawling up the side to get into their new home.

 

 

KILLER BEES

Monday, the Commercial Appeal ran an article about KILLER BEES  in Tennessee as a follow-up to a farmer getting killed in Moody, TX. It’s a shame that the term KILLER BEES was ever used to describe the Africanized honey bee. All bees sting in defense of their hives. This breed is just faster to sting and does so with more bees.

What most people fail to realize is that just about every hives south of the border is Africanized, yet people still go to Cozumel and Rio for vacation and come back without being killed by KILLER BEES… The beekeepers down there manage KILLER BEES as their honey producers and pollinators.

Yes, that breed of bees is more aggressive, but the take away on this article should be, if you have bees on your property, in your house or in a tree, call someone who is trained to remove them (like me). Don’t try to kill them yourself (unless you really do know what you’re doing) and don’t flip out running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Running around willy nilly never really helped anyone.

Whether the bees are Africanized, Russian or whatever, beekeepers everywhere are dealing with aggressive hives the way they always have. When a hive is overly aggressive, it can be fixed by replacing the aggressive traited queen with a queen with milder behavioral traits. That’s really what we do.We re-queen the hive with a more docile queen. Within 6 weeks, all the mean bees die out and the hatching brood from the new queen are more mellow. It’s the Zen of beekeeping, and it really works.