I can’t believe it’s already been a year since we started our business! Our goal at this point was to have 1 bee hive and a few chickens. We now have 7 hives and 50+ birds with more hatching every day. And we have our seasoning. We are so excited to see what this next year holds. Thank you to all our family and friends for your support!
Here are a few pictures of a bee removal from South Lake Charles on November 13, 2017. It was our first removal from under a mobile home. Kenny had to work without his hood because it was too hard for him to see.
We removed a beautiful outdoor hive from the Heinen farm on Friday, September 29th. Everything went smoothly (surprisingly) and we finished up in about an hour. Our only worry was that some of the bees started moving into the tire as we were cutting out the comb. We knew we would have a hard time getting them back out. Luckily, Kenny was able to find the queen and we moved her into the box. We left the box until after dark. We went back and loaded the box and brought it home. We released the queen on Sunday (10-1). We didn’t stay in the hive too long, but everything looked good so far.
*I don’t have as many pictures as I usually do because I had to help attach the pieces of comb to the frames.
We did an interesting swarm removal for the Shreve family in Westlake on September 11, 2017. The bees were in a difficult location. They were in some vines on a fence. We tried to cut out some of the vines, but we still couldn’t get to them. The fence and the vines were sturdy so we couldn’t shake them into the box. Kenny had to reach in and grab handfuls of them. They moved around on us a couple of times. At some point we managed to get the queen in the box and the other bees just marched right in after her. It was a beautiful sight! It was getting dark on us and we were afraid we wouldn’t get everyone. We were very lucky. We checked the hive yesterday and we were happy to see that they are doing very well.
On Sunday, September 10th we attempted our first swarm removal. It was definitely a learning experience! The bees were located in a pine tree on our road in Fields, LA (the REAL Bearhead Creek). The owners of the property, Kristin and Demp Suchanek, gave us permission to remove the bees. The first thing we learned was that it was a little too windy to try to move the bees. We had to wait a while for the wind to die down before we finally got them. The bees also swarmed on us twice. Just when we thought we had them, they would fly out again. We did finally get them and they are home with our other hives. We have so many questions to discuss with our more knowledgeable and experienced beeks. Our Bearhead bees act a little different than our other bees. Hopefully this is not an indication of how Bearhead bees behave. If so, we are going to be in trouble.
Every day I make several trips around our property to check on our animals. You may be wondering how often we check on the bees. I do a visual check of the outside of our hives at least 3 times a day. A lot of our bee friends just commented to themselves that 3 times a day is not necessary. They would be right. Continue reading
We’ve been learning a lot during our Introduction to Beekeeping Class and apiary days. Kenny and I have also been doing research so we can learn as much as we can about our bees. Our interest has grown so much that we decided to purchase another hive and to bring them to our house. We made the arrangements and picked up the hive around 8:00 PM on Tuesday, May 30th.
It was the first time we transported and unloaded bees on our own. We were like first time parents coming home with a newborn. Did we put them in the best location? Did we put them facing the right direction? Would they thrive like they were doing at their original location? It was not only a financial investment, but an emotional one too.
I checked on them (from a distance) several times yesterday. I could easily see them flying in and out of the hive. There was a lot of movement and I was glad we made it through the first 24 hours. Today was a little different. I really couldn’t see much going on. I told myself that it probably had to do with the weather. I was hoping the rain was what was keeping them inside more than yesterday.
This evening we decided to take a closer look. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to see our girls working so hard. There was a lot of movement in the hive. A few of the girls were flying in and out. And the ones flying in were full of pollen! It was such a relief to see that they have started to explore and are doing exactly what they should be doing. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come!
Our main focus for Bearhead Creek Farms this year is bees. Kenny and I are taking a beginning beekeeping class through Lamar (Orange) Leisure Learning. Our class is taught by Brian and Tammy Muldrow of Muldrow Bee Farm. We will have both classroom and apiary instruction. Our class meets once a month in the classroom and once a month in the apiary. It will last an entire year. We purchased a hive from the Muldrows to use during class. At the conclusion of the class we will have experienced beekeeping through all the seasons and transitions of the hive. We will move our hive to our house after the class is over. So far in class we have discussed personal protection equipment, tools for the job, the hive, foundations, frames and bee space, bee biology, description of the bee body, caste system of bees, comparison of bee roles, and the life cycle of honeybees.
On April 15th, we joined our other classmates at Muldrow Bee Farm in Beaumont. We sat around the fire and had an open discussion. The students were able to ask any questions they had about beekeeping. We observed the bees earlier in the evening to get an idea of how active they were at that time of day. Later in the evening we took another look and noticed a significant difference in the bees. Most had returned to the hives. We selected our Nucs and taped up the entrances to the hives. They were then loaded into the back of a truck and moved to our class apiary in Orange.
Once in Orange, we prepped the ground with liquid soap. Then we lined up the nucs. We stood in front of our nuc and waited for the go ahead to remove the tape. Everything was very organized so that we minimized the chance of someone getting stung.
We’ve purchase additional bee boxes and equipment. We are learning how to assemble our boxes, frames, and foundations. Our class is very interesting. We can’t wait to learn more about bees and to work in the class apiary!
Like most couples, Kenny and I often discussed dreams and ideas for our future. Most of our future plans involve our property in Fields. Affectionately known as “Ma’s House” by family and friends, it is our plan to live there one day. We spend as much time as we can there. Our conversations about chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits, cows, deer, turkeys, ponds, gardens, etc. led to the decision to officially start a business. We wanted all of our products and services to be associated with this business. We made an appointment to get our paperwork going.
Then came the fun part…coming up with a name for our business. Sounds like fun, right? I thought so too. It was actually difficult. It was like naming a baby. We wanted something that had meaning. Something that encompassed all of our plans. Something that was easy to say and easy to remember.
We thought about using a family name. Our family had homesteaded the property a long time ago. Did we want to name it after that family? That would have represented the beginning, but did it represent where we were now? We thought about using our last name. That would represent the present, but it didn’t feel like it would show our growth and the future of our business. Going with a family name just wouldn’t work. There are so many families whose hearts have made an imprint on this land. There was no way we could show all that love and history by using one family name.
Some of us also refer to this area as “Bearhead” or “Bearhead Creek”. Bearhead Creek runs near our property. We decided that the creek was a connection from the past to the future. We knew that was the name we should use. So we became “Bearhead Creek Farms”.
Bearhead Creek Farms Family