Honeybee Pollen Substitute Feeder

This week I made two feeders that provide pollen substitute to the bee-yard.  Total build time for the feeders was about 5-minutes.  Scroll down to view the video that was made for this project.

Pollen Substitute Dispenser on fence - View of opening

Pollen Substitute Dispenser on fence – View of opening

Pollen substitute ( or Pollen Sub ) is fed to the bees in any of several forms.  As a powder that they forage for and bring back into the hive, as a “patty” that is placed into the hive and they move it into cells without having to leave their home.  I am currently using Mann Lake’s BeePro pollen sub.

Pollen Substitute Dispenser on fence

Pollen Substitute Dispenser on fence

Items needed for this project:

4″ PVC Pipe
4″ PVC End Cap
Downspout Adapter
PVC Primer & Glue
Pollen Substitute.

Tools needed:  Saw to cut PVC pipe


Mountain Dulcimer – Love Song – by Rex Smith

Rex Smith plays a personally written song on Mountain Dulcimer.  Dulcimer has a more rich and full sound than indicated in the video.  Dulcimer built by Terry Cannon.  Inspiration to play – by Bing Futch (look up his Dulcimerica videos!).

This was take 1 – and has plenty of mistakes in it – but it’s been a few months since I picked up the instrument.  The next video in my series is the same song – however, played on a different dulcimer.

Preparing for the 2015 Beekeeping Season

Lots of work is in the planning stages for the 2015 beekeeping season. There are boxes to build, frames to assemble, foundation to install – oh – and did I ever mention a barn to build at Wolfsong Farm? This should give me a secure space to keep my beekeeping woodenware and equipment.

Plans are to create splits from the strong hives, and bump-up some of the hives to 10-frame boxes that survive from the 5-frame nuc boxes that some are currently in.

To build:  10-Frame langstroth hives, frames, bottom-boards, inner covers, telescoping covers

Maintenance:  Repaint woodenware with worn paint and exposed bare wood

Rose City Farmer’s Market

Rex selling our honey at the Rose City Farmer’s Market in Tyler, Texas.

This is our “Recycled Sunshine” honey.  This honey is made by our own bees from hives that we manage.

Recycled Sunshine Honey

Recycled Sunshine Honey

Recycled Sunshine Honey

Recycled Sunshine Honey



Brianna’s Bees – Swarm Catch

This swarm arrived today, and settled in Brianna’s Crape Myrtle tree by her driveway. She helped me go through the cluster (YES – No Gloves, and scooped the bees JUST like I do) and put the workers into the hive, whilst watching for the queen. We spotted the queen, put the queen into a clip, and into a hive. The workers came in, then decided they they would roam the neighborhood for a bit. (BTW – this swarm was larger than 1 basketball in size – but smaller than 2 basketballs).

They flew 3-4 house lengths in their swarm flight – looking for their queen – so I used the queen that I had already captured to lure the bees back to the box – and they came in IN FORCE.

I’ll let the bees settle in overnight, and will pick them up and move them to the bee yard in the morning.

Scout Bees

Scout bees. During swarm season, it is common for homeowners to notice more honeybee activity around their homes. Sometimes bees will bump & “explore” openings around your house. These very well could be “scout bees” that are representatives from a swarm – looking for a new home for the whole ball-o-bees to call “home”. If the opening into the walls, joist space, or attic is found to be acceptable by the scout bees, then they could go back to the swarm, and tell them all where to move in.

I highly suggest that you take a looksee around the outside of your house, and do any weatherizing that needs to be done. Openings over 1/4″ can be a wide-open-door for a hive of bees.

Ricky’s Bees

Ricky’s Bees:

These bees were in a house that is slated to be demolished. There’s no electricity on-site, so that means that I had to work slower – without my usual arsenal of tools. After moving the brood to their new hive box (10 full frames of brood!) I hand-scooped the bees to the new box. I did not see the queen, but the bees are fanning at the entrance – so I’m hoping that she made it. I’ll check on them tomorrow, and then move them to the out-yard.

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2014 Bee Removal Season Started

It is still very much winter, however, the bees that have survived the winter are starting to build up their brood.  On warm days, folks are noticing honeybee activity coming to and from their chosen homes.  Unfortunately, sometimes the honeybees have chosen your home to move into.  Usually, they choose to move in under the eve, above the soffit board.

If you have honeybees living in your home, barn, shed, or other outbuilding – They can be humanely removed by a competent beekeeper.  Call Rex Smith of Harmony Hollow Apiary to learn more.  We will need to know:  How long have the bees been there?  How high is the entrance that you see the activity at?  Type of material (brick wall, wood/pressboard siding, hardi-siding, etc), as well as what sort of interaction you have had with them.  (do they bump you or warn you that you are in “their space”?

You later in the spring, you may also notice a “swarm” or “ball of bees” that may be the size of a volleyball or larger (I have caught swarms that are double the size of a basketball before!).

Rex Smith holds a honeybee removal permit from the Texas Apiary Inspection Service (TAIS) and manages his honeybees at various organically run farms outside of the Dallas Metroplex and East Texas.  Call 469-251-2BEE (2233) for information regarding CNG (Certified Naturally Grown) honey or to discuss honeybee removals.

Certified Naturally Grown

This week I have received word that my Apiary has been approved for “Certified Naturally Grown” in 2014.  For those unfamiliar with what that means – it’s an alternative certification – very similar to “Organic” certification.CNGcolorlogo

CNG Standards are very similar to those required for the national “Organic” standards – with the main difference being the inspection portion of the certification.  With CNG – the inspections are performed by local peers in your field.  With CNG – other beekeepers examine my hives and my beekeeping practices – and certify that they feel that my methods comply with natural and sustainable practices.

There are currently about 700 CNG certified farms and apiaries in the United States – and Harmony Hollow Apiaries is (currently) one of only two certified apiaries in Texas.

To find a Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) farm or apiary near you – or to see the standards that a CNG certified farm or apiary must adhere to – see their site at:  http://www.NaturallyGrown.org

This is proving to be an exciting year for us at Harmony Hollow Apiary – and I look forward to seeing where the bees take us in the future.

Another Bee Year

Welcome, and “thank you” to all the new folks who have “Liked” our page for Harmony Hollow Apiaries. With the winter solstice yesterday, and the re-drawing out of the day lengths, our new year begins for our beekeeping world. In a few weeks, if temps are warm enough, and if the bees have enough stores of pollen and open nectar, the queens should start laying eggs again – and a new brood of young bees will welcome in spring and all the new growth, pollen and nectar – and this next year will be a GREAT year of growth for the bee yard!