Adventures in Beekeeping: When bees attack

Part of my fascination with honeybees, like many of God’s creatures, is their intelligence…

Sure they’re tireless workers which is evident with the myriad of tasks that go into keeping a hive healthy and functional but they also use a variety of strategies to handle potential robbers. Sometimes they’re effective in keeping out uninvited guests by ruthlessly shutting down these potential thieves and other times they aren’t as fortunate.


Below is an interesting video of how the Asian honeybees tackle a much bigger visitor, the Japanese giant hornet.


And while it might not seem like such a big deal, since it’s only one hornet, you have to remember the hornet is much larger than these honeybees. One hornet can kill forty European honeybees in minutes. If they round up a few other hornets they could easily wipe out an entire honeybee colony

Which is evidenced in the above video, 30 giant hornets took out an entire honeybee hive. If it’s an established hive, that’s about 40,000 honeybees. Yep, hornets are no joke. They are ruthless killers in the insect world.

Above, you can watch the same video of hornets attacking the honeybees — but with “epic music.”

I’ve already known about the potential hive robbing, more than bears will attack a honeybee hive. I’m just sharing here since I find it fascinating.  Having your honeybee hive(s) wiped out is definitely not something you want to experience as a beekeeper. So it’s important to take precautions (although that doesn’t guarantee your hive(s) won’t be destroyed.  Part of my preventative maintenance is installing the  top bar feeders inside the beehive. Additionally entrance reducers have been placed to narrow the opening into the hive. I’m giving my honeybees every chance they can get to ward of potential risks to their hive.

A few years ago, I started seeing Japanese giant hornets in Maryland. No, they aren’t cicada killer wasps, I know exactly what they look like. We have those also. These were different than any hornets I’d seen in these parts and after a lot of research I was able to identify them as Japanese giant hornets. Earlier this week, I was bitten by fire ants in our garden. While I’ve seen (And felt their painful bite) while in South Carolina, I’ve never seen them here until now.

More news on my honeybees

My bee supplier updated their Facebook page, most people should receive their honeybees either today or tomorrow. And a few people will be getting their early next week. Here’s hoping I get them this weekend! I already told my daughter, if I get the call today, she can leave school early to watch me install the honeybees. I already informed her teacher about this and she seems excited for my daughter.

Slightly off topic

My daughter has done very well this semester. It looks like she will receive straight A’s. Which means she’ll have received honor roll every single quarter. She recently turned ten years old, I  can’t always expect her to  to study independently. Which is why I’m there to assist her, if needed, and help her understand difficult concepts.

Adventures in Beekeeping: Sometime this week, I’ll receive my bees

My honeybees arrive sometime this week. It’s a new experience for me and it can be overwhelming since I haven’t managed a beehive before but I do believe I’m prepared. I do have the knowledge about honeybees from the vast amounts of reading/research I’ve done on them over the years but that’s still not the same as having my own honeybees, you know?

The list of things that need to be done before the honeybees arrive is small. One thing I didn’t buy was long gloves, I’ve decided to make my own and will sew them after work today. This past weekend I waterproofed the outside of the hive with a clear oil based paint. Today is supposed to get into the high 80’s F so I’ll be painting the inside of the hive with the organic beeswax that I’d purchased. Of course, I’ll have to melt it first!

Charity knitting and some awesome dancing…

My daughter and I are watching the Hobbit, again.

The Hobbit knitted goodness
The Hobbit, so many knitted items in this movie, I’m undecided what I should knit first!


The Hobbit knitted goodness_2
The Hobbit – More knitted goodness


So much crocheted, knitted, sewing and weaving goodness in one amazing movie! We didn’t watch it when it came out in the movie theater, we saw it for the first time on Saturday. Naturally watching this movie, just added fuel to my want to knit another project dilemma. For the past few weeks I’ve been wanting to knit something big. I’ve vacillated between an sweater or a shawl? I think I’ll compromise and make myself a cardigan. The only thing left to do is to settle on the type I want to make. If you have any suggestions, post them here please! I guess I could knit the Sylvie coat, I purchased the pattern a while ago, but I want to make something a bit shorter.




Earlier today, I stumbled upon this video of Patrick Swayze and his wife, Lisa Niemi dancing at the World Music Awards. I was a big fan of Swayze ever since I saw him in Red Dawn many years ago. I remember hearing he had developed pancreatic cancer and was saddened when I learned that he lost his battle with the disease. The first person I knew that had cancer was a young girl named Sherry. I was about ten years old, she was only five. Even at that age, I can remember the treatments she received, how much thinner she became, the hair loss, weakened condition and eventually her death. I’m guessing that is something I’ll always remember since I remember her being an active “little kid” until her condition became worse.

About eleven years ago, I was engaged. My fiancé, who was divorced, had a daughter who died of cancer at four years old… he never recovered from that and always missed her, which is understandable. He never got to see our daughter since he was killed in a car accident (by a drunk driver) about a three weeks after I was pregnant. I didn’t even know I was pregnant at the time of his death. I’ve had a few relatives that have had cancer and uncle (74 years old) whom we lost last year and a cousin who lost her battle with breast cancer at the age of 24.

Currently, I’m knitting another hat for the NICU and cancer patients. This hat is small and squishably soft so will work perfectly for a young cancer patient. Hats are my favorite items to knit. They’re portable and can be simple or more elaborate like the knitted kitty hat I made for my daughter. It’s up to you. Sometimes people ask me why I create things for people I don’t know. It’s my hope that the items I create brings a little spark of happiness to the recipients. Lots of prayers go into the items I make and although I might know the person I truly hope and pray that they realize that their are strangers who care about them and hope they are healed.


Adventures in Beekeeping: Assembled Warre Hive

Tuesday, I finally put together my Warre hive. It was also my daughter’s birthday we chatted as she rotated between drawing with her new Bamboo Splash tablet and playing with her adorable knitted doll.

Warre Hive construction with Right angle clamps_1

She seemed quite fascinated with the entire Warre hive construction process and for some reason was particularly loved seeing me use the right angle clamps to make the Warre boxes. I can’t say how long it took to finish the hive, perhaps a few hours. It would have gone much faster if I wasn’t socializing with my daughter but I wouldn’t change that aspect since it made a wonderful experience even more enjoyable.

Warre Hive assembled
Assembled Warre bee hive with observation window


This Warre hive has an observation window, once I take it outside, I’ll be sure to post pictures of how that appears. Tomorrow, if the weather is nice, I’ll paint the outside of the hive with some exterior paint. Initially I was leaning towards linseed (aka flaxeed oil) but from my reading that can take months to cure. I don’t have months, the honeybees can arrive as early as next week.

I’m a bit concerned with the lateness of the honeybess arrival, most honeybee packages appear in early April. However, the unseasonably cool weather we’ve been experiencing in Maryland has delayed shipment for many bee package supplies. I’m prepared to feed my honeybees for a while, if necessary, to ensure they do well. Last month, I purchased a top bar feeder for my honeybees and once the bees arrive, I’ll set them up with a 1:1 mixture of raw cane sugar and water. The placement of the Warre hive might change. I’m now thinking of either placing it inside our fenced in garden, it’s about 3/4 of an acre or setting it alongside our grapevine.

One happy girl; knitted amigurumi voodoo doll – complete

Yesterday, after work, I finally attached the limbs to the voodoo doll that I was knitting for my daughter.  It’s about time, right? This project has been sitting around waiting to be assembled for about a week! The free time I had, my daughter was always around. Naturally I didn’t want to complete the almost finished project in front of her since she’d guess that it would be hers. I can’t slip anything past her! 😉




I chose a button eye, sewed the other eye and made a “stitched mouth” with some of my lovely Malabrigo yarn. I knit this doll on my size 3 Hiya Hiya steel sharp needles. I used worsted weight wool yarn. I originally wrote about the amigurumi knitted doll a little over a week ago.

In my earlier posts, I mentioned that I was knitting this amigurumi doll in front of her, but as it started to take shape I had to finish knitting the project when she wasn’t around. The results? My daughter was thrilled when she saw the knitted doll and promptly called her “Izzy”.  She’s already talking about making clothes for this doll, so it looks like we’ll be sewing clothing for her this weekend.

Knitted Voodoo doll; Susan Claudino design
Knitted Voodoo doll; Susan Claudino design


Where to find the knitted voodoo doll

I discovered the pattern when I was searching on Ravelry for a  quick knitted amigurumi doll that I could make in time for my daughter’s tenth birthday. I browsed many knitted amigurumi, but I kept coming back to this one since it was my favorite because it is so freaking cute! I was sold when I saw that it was knit in the round. That’s my favorite way to make amigurumi projects.  I promptly purchased the pattern ($5.00) and casted on. The pattern is called Voodoo you love Me. See… even the name is adorable! It’s designed by Susan Claudino. Susan, thanks so much for creating this awesome pattern. I thought this pattern was easy. If you know how to K, Kfb, k2tog, you too can make this knitted doll. I’m looking forward to knitting more items from this talented designer.


In other news…

Yesterday, my right angle clamps arrived so I assembled my Warre beehive! I’ll write more about that including pictures in a later post.


A very special day; My daughter’s birthday

My how the time has flown by. At times it’s hard to believe that my lovely daughter was born ten years ago. My life has changed so much since she’s been around and I enjoy the time we share together. She’s top priority in my life, which is how it should be since she’s my responsibility.

We don’t have to much planned today. A small dinner at home with all her favorite foods and a trip to her favorite ice cream parlor; Rita’s. Because her school week is so busy I gave her presents to her this past weekend. She loves Deuce Gorgon;  her new Monster High Doll and her new Bamboo Splash drawing tablet.

This morning, I gave her Monster High storage trunk and after school I’ll give her the knitted voodoo doll. I still need to attach the limbs to the body and embroider the face. I’d been hoping to do this already, but the days have been filled with hanging out with work, household chores, and of course hanging out with my lovely daughter. So although I had every intention of finishing the project while she slept that didn’t happen since I was sleeping too! However, once my work is complete today I will finish the limbs so it will be waiting for her once I pick her up from school today.

My daughter with Angel her Guinea Pig

Yesterday I snapped the above photo of my daughter with Angel the guinea pig, aren’t they cute?

Happy Birthday to my lovely daughter!