About Honeybees-by-the-Sea

In 2014, after ten years of beekeeping, I retired.  This was a difficult decision, but my severely compromised vision made it almost imperative.  My Terra Preta. Amazonian Dark Earth gardening continues.  I am thankful for having made the great beekeeping adventure and grateful for what the bees have taught me.  

I dream about honeybees still.

At the request of several beekeepers, I am leaving my beekeeping information on my website...perhaps it will be useful in some way.

Honeybees-by-the-Sea is a micro apiary, or honey bee garden, on the Crystal  Coast of North Carolina.  Our primary goal is the nurturing of honey bees, helping to ensure honey bee survival.  As you can see from the map, Morehead City is surrounded by water, and our area abounds in wetlands. 

  Mandy Farms is less than a mile from the waters of Bogue Sound and within bee distance of the open ocean.  
 Above, our son, Captain Noah Lynk, owner of  Noah's Ark Fishing Charters,  http://www.noahsarkfishingcharters.com/  takes Mom fishing on Mothers Day.  As you can see, I am very happy!  If fishing is your passion, click on his website link for some excellent photos and information.
Above, Capt. Noah photographs us on a kayak fishing adventure in the beautiful coastal waters of Harkers Island.  We had osprey fishing along side of us.  Contact Capt. Noah through his website http://www.noahsarkfishingcharters.com/ if you are coming to Coastal NC and want to go fishing or touring in this beautiful area.

 

Shown at left, three examples of the harvest in 2007.  The April honey, shown at far right, is the   2007 North Carolina State Fair Third Place Ribbon winner in the Senior Honey Competition, Extracted Honey Light.

      We have in our neighborhood many bird sanctuaries and areas that are  undeveloped and will likely remain so.  This means an abundance of trees and shrubs ideal for honey bee foraging from early spring until late fall.  

Our honey bees are gentle Italians with a new addition.  Our experiment for 2011 is genetic diversity.    Having heard Dr. Deborah Delaney lecture at the 2007 NCSBA summer meeting about the lack of Honey bee Queen genetic diversity, I had long considered adding a fresh strain to the apiary. 

  In April of 2011, I purchased a package of West Coast Cordovans with a Carniolan/Italian Queen.  Another consideration was to find an open mated queen from an area free of the Africanized Honey Bee.  Thus I chose an apiary in northern California, despite the cost of overnight shipping.   I am excited about their potential.  As I write, they are building comb and have brood in two of the three medium brood boxes.  I must say a word about the Cordovans...gentle, super golden, I am totally besotted with them and want to add a colony next spring.  The only drawback would be a reputed tendency to robbing, but I would like to chance that.  They are beautiful as they forage!

Our bees are lovely and tireless, worthy of the awe they have inspired over the centuries.  Our colonies are situated in our organic Terra Preta, or Amazonian Dark Earth, garden area, protected from intrusion.  We are utilizing eight frame  medium sized hive bodies for both brood chambers and honey supers.  

I do not practice 'swarm prevention'.  I believe swarming is a natural and necessary function of healthy hives and happier quality queens.  It is also important for species survival and promotes genetic diversity and development of natural resistance to the many pests that now plague the honeybee.  Over the years we have captured over six of our own swarms, and found great homes for them. At least that many got away. This is my contribution to the restoration of a severely depleted feral honey bee population. I also consider swarming an integral part of my Integrated Pest Management Program, brood cycle interruption, therefore Varroa brood cycle interruption. My article on a Swarm Bait Hive appeared in the June 2011 issue of Bee Culture Magazine. See photo page for more photos of the Swarm Trap Hive in action.

We have screened bottom boards for increased ventilation and natural mite reduction.  In spring 2006 we began a transition to 4.9mm small cell foundation, (see photo page for illustration of drawn 4.9mm comb) starting a new colony on that foundation exclusively,  and introducing it to our established colony a little at a time. In spring 2007, we added two additional 'organic' small cell colonies to the apiary, with nucs from The Fatbeeman, Don Kuchenmeister.  By summer of 2008, three of our four colonies are fully regressed small cell honeybees.  There is a great deal of anecdotal 

evidence that this more natural size foundation gives honey bees a shorter reproductive cycle and edge on the Varroa destructor mite and bee diseases. We use no miticides or pesticides in our colonies or our vegetable and herb garden.  Francesca, seen below, June 2010,

is celebrating her sixth summer with no losses!  This is especially important as she has survived with no pesticides or miticides, ever.  She has also had no supplemental feeding since the winter of 2006-2007 when I implemented a management practice of leaving an extra super of honey on all over-wintering colonies.  My goal is to never feed sugar syrup to established colonies, unless absolutely necessary.    Until the drought of 2011, I have never had to supple mentally feed an established colony.  It was the worst season we have had yet.  We grow herbs and flowering shrubs year round to give our colonies a wide variety of pollen and nectar sources, in addition to the many native trees and shrub honey plants in our area.

The Noble Art of Beekeeping has been a romantic ideal held by us for years. That love from afar has now turned into reality.   We extend warm thanks to all those who have encouraged us in this adventure, friends and family.  We specially wish to thank the more experienced beekeepers that so generously share their knowledge and wisdom.