Bee Updates

Yes, I’m a slacker with blogging!

But that doesn’t mean we quit the most expensive hobby. I’ll give a list of updates and then try to remain consistent throughout this season.

1. This has been a very successful year with honey and lip balm sales. We’ve really  gotten to know more of our neighborhood, which is awesome!

2. The lip balm container problem may have been resolved.

3. Mighty Mite Thermal Treatment is our current attempted method for dealing with mites.

4. We went into winter with 6 hives and entered spring with 3.

5. We did another on-site presentation with some of our neighborhood children.

6. We attended the annual Geneva Bee Conference.

7. Two more package bees were purchased and we briefly had 5 hives.

8. One of our hives that swarmed (quite an event that I’ll write about another day) actually absconded.

9. With 4 hives left, another one swarmed- much too high to catch.

10. For the first time, we purchased a queen.

11. With 10 queen cells brewing (as potential replacements for that last swarm) several hive splits were attempted.

12. More than anything, we really want to figure out queen rearing. $$$

13. We’ve decided to enroll in the eCornell Master Beekeeper program.

Here’s a little swarm video:

Interesting Fact: Our hive that absconded? That was the last of the mean-queen descendants, so we are glad they left.

kisspng-desktop-wallpaper-clip-art-5af7052157e4a4.26367967152613814536

 

Lip balm container annoyances

Putting together lip balm has been a frustrating task.

What I’ve tried:

1. Setting up lip tubes from Mann Lake on the counter and pouring the melted concoction in each tube with a beaker. The problems I encountered- a sloppy mess was created, containers were knocked over onto the counter, it took forever, and it created a sunken in look on the lip balm rather than an even pour.

2. Setting up lip tubes from Mann Lake on the counter and pouring in the melted concoction in each tube with a pipette. This resulted in fewer sloppy messes and fewer containers knocked over. The problems I encountered- it still took forever, I had to keep a close eye on the level of melted concoction and continuously squeeze in more to create an even look, pipettes had to be disposed of after only a couple uses due to wax solidifying inside of it.

3. Lip Balm Filling Tray from Bulk Apothecary. This was a genius idea which got me really excited. The problems I encountered- The Mann Lake tubes didn’t fit the tray, therefore I needed to order a new brand of tubes. I was advised to by Milliard brand.

4. Lip Balm Filling Tray from Bulk Apothecary and Milliard brand tubes from Amazon with Onlinelabels.com Lip Balm Labels. 18318771_10212462425292288_290528891_oThese tubes fit the tray perfectly, which had me so excited. I was able to fill 50 tubes at once. You can overfill the tray to prevent the sunken in effect. Once it dries, you can use the scraper to remove excess wax and leave it with a perfect, even top. The labels fit perfectly. The problems I encountered- It left a tiny mess on the counter, the Milliard caps were a little too loose. Loose caps result in the lip balm easily getting a dirty film around the opening of the tube.

5. Milliard brand tubes from Amazon with Milliard brand lip balm blank labels. I purchased these labels because they have a tab that can help keep the cap on (at least before someone decides to use the lip balm). The problem I encountered- the label doesn’t wrap all the way around the lip balm tube. Like…what? I’d understand if they were different brands, but they aren’t. What a waste of money.  Garbage.

6. Milliard brand tubes from Amazon. This batch of Milliard brand tubes had such loose caps, I contacted the company to complain. They sent me a free pack of 50 tubes and an apology. Hooray for nice customer service! The problem I encountered- The caps were still too loose. Even worse than the last batch. If I tipped the lip balm upside down, the caps would fall right off. Time to give up on this brand.

7. California Home Goods Lip Balm Crafting Kit and Onlinelabels.com Tamper Evident Tab Lip Balm Labels. A new pouring tray from Amazon that came with 50 tubes. I read reviews from other people that said that most tubes would fit this tray. The 50 tubes it came with fit perfectly, with only 2 or 3 loose caps. My new tamper evident lip balm labels are also awesome. The problem I encountered- California Home Goods does not sell lip balm containers separate from this kit and they brag that all standard sized tubes should fit. I purchased more from Amazon and hoped for the best.

8. 25 Lip Balm Containers – Empty Tubes sold by Pure Acres Farm on Amazon. I haven’t poured any lip balm into this yet. Why not? The problems I encountered- It does not fit either the California Home Goods tray OR the Bulk Apothecary tray. I will try rubber banding them all together and trying the pipette method again with these, but I won’t be purchasing this brand again.

9. Premium Vials, Empty Lip Balm Containers on Amazon- To be updated upon arrival.

Interesting fact (opinion): I confidently recommend onlinelabels.com for labels.