How I Got Started

I started Butterfly gardening many years ago. My yard has been a progression over the years, and has made many transformations. Twenty years ago I experienced Hurricane Andrew. My yard and house were destroyed. We decided not to replace the pool screening and open up the backyard and put in some landscaping. That was the official beginning of my love for gardening in South Florida. I added a beautiful water garden years ago, and have been adding host and larvae plants for pollinators, mostly for the butterfly, for as many years as I can remember. I had my yard certified as a Natural Habitat, through the National Wildlife Foundation. To have a natural habitat you need to provide and meet certain requirements: 1. Provide a food source, 2. Provide a water source, 3. Cover, 4. A place to raise young. I try not to use any pesticides in my yard. I vermicompost and recycle as many of my food scraps as possible. If I had more land I would have a huge compost bin to recycle all my yard cuttings. Basically, I try to lessen my carbon footprint on this earth. In my own little world or backyard I try to provide an ecosystem in my water garden, provide birdbaths, birdfeeders, hummingbird nectar sources, feeders, puddling areas, host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators. I am hoping to raise everyone’s awareness of the importance of saving our Butterflies, Blooms & Bees. Without them our world and food source will be in trouble. I hope you all enjoy my journey. I am not a Master Gardener, or Master Beekeeper, an Entomologist, or Journalists. I am simply a Backyard Gardener who is trying to lessen her Carbon Footprint of this Earth.

I hope you enjoy my blogs.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Checking on Splits again and again!

I started my original splits on March 14th.  Hive #2 is still not Queen Right.  I am starting to get a little worried.  The last time that I went into the hives was on 4/20.  At that time I did find queen cells on bar #3 and #6.  I added another bar of eggs and brood at that time.  Yesterday when I went in to check, I still didn’t see any signs of a laying queen.  Sometimes I have difficulty as a new beekeeper seeing the eggs.  I don’t know if it is just that I have old eyes, or if it truly can be difficult to see them sometimes.  I haven’t figured out whether I see them better with my contact lenses or glasses.  If I can’t see them I usually can see different stages of brood and larvae.  I do know that there were no signs of any eggs, larvae or brood.  The Queen cells were open on #3 and the bees were busy cleaning them out.  The bar that I put in on 4/20 didn’t have any signs of queen cells. 

 I called a mentor that I discovered on one of the beekeeping forums.  She is out in Santa Fe, NM.  Kate has been a great help to me.  There is a very large TBH beekeeping population in NM.  I wish there was one here in Miami.  Les Crowder is one of the experts in TBH beekeeping.  He is well known in the beekeeping community, especially TBH beekeeping.  He gives many classes, and lectures around TBH beekeeping.  He is in the process of writing a book on the subject.  I cannot wait until it is published to have as a reference.  I am going out to New Mexico on May 18-21st to take one of the certification classes that Les Crowder offers.  His website is  I cannot wait to travel out there.  I have never been to that part of the country.  The pictures on the internet look so beautiful.  I am hoping that I learn a lot. 

 I spoke to Kate after I went into the hives. She helped me understand what might be going on in my hive.  The weather could definitely be a factor in my queen less hive.  It has been raining frequently here in Miami.  In fact, the last two weekends in Miami have been very wet.  Earlier in the week I was worried about my new queen as it was rainy from Saturday through Wednesday.  I was wishing it would stop raining as I knew I had a queen wanting to go on her Virgin flight.  It has been approximately 28-30 days since I added the eggs and brood to the hive.  Maybe with the weather being so rainy it delayed her being able to take her virgin flight.  Kate said it might just be early and hopefully when I go back into the hive next weekend I will find a laying queen.  Another positive sign is that I didn’t see any more queen cells being made and the bees looked good and busy.  She also told me to look for areas that the bees are cleaning out in preparation for the queen to start laying.  I didn’t know to look for that but I did see the bees busy in the old queen cells.  So we will see what happens next.  The rest of the hives looked good.  The growth was slower than normal but the weather has been very rainy.  I was able to harvest a little more honey, which is always a nice bonus.  I did add one more bar of mostly eggs and some capped brood to hive #2.  If there are queen cells next week then I know I am still not Queen Right. 


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