Welcome to our March Member Highlight. Please welcome Mrs. Anne Houck, our President, as we learn more about her interests.
What made you decide to keep bees? As a teenager, I learned a lot about keeping bees by helping my Father with our beehives. I had a lot of fun and have always been amazed at how the honeybees work together and know what to do. I always planned to keep bees again after I retired, so in the spring of 2011 I joined the SCBA and got started again.
How many hives did you start with? I started with two hives.
How many years have you had bees? I kept bees with my dad for about 5 years, and have had my own hives for three years.
How many hives do you have now? I have three hives now, and plan to add two or three more this year.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in caring for bees? Respect the bees, they know what they are doing better than we do. We can help them by creating an environment that is conducive to their lifestyle. And, be careful, deliberate and gentle when inspecting hives.
What bee products do you make? Honey and hand rolled candles. I want to try the creamed honey too. I just gave Bill some mead making equipment so he can try his hand at making mead this year.
How and where do you sell them? My kids sell a lot of it where they work, and I sell mostly to acquaintances, and some through the internet.
What would you like your fellow beekeepers to know about you? I really enjoy coming to the SCBA meetings and appreciate the advice and experiences that everyone shares.
Do you treat your bees? Natural versus treatment free? Why? I don’t treat my bees. I try to use preventive techniques to help the bees build a resistance to disease and pests and also to help keep them from swarming. Sometimes this takes more time than it would take to treat them. I’m not a ‘purist’ when it comes to natural beekeeping, so I won’t say that I never will use chemicals if I think it absolutely necessary to save my bees.
Do you use queen excluders? Why or why not? I have always used queen excluders in the Spring and Summer, and remove them in the fall.
Do you use screened bottom board or screened top boards?
I have always used screened bottom boards and an IPM board in the winter. I sometimes insert the IPM board for a few days in the Summer just to check the mite population. This year I’m going to also use screened inner covers during the Summer to improve ventilation during the hottest days.
Where do you buy your sugar? I usually by 25 pound bags at SAMs.
Are you interested in advancing to any of the following beekeepers levels:
1, Certified beekeeper, 2. Journeyman beekeeper, or 3. Master beekeeper?
I have passed the Certified beekeeper level and plan to take the Journeyman written test at the NCSBA Spring meeting in Wilmington.
When do you do when you’re not caring for your bees?
I retired once and am still working at B&W, Generation mPower as a Project Manager.
I spend my spare time gardening, scrapbooking, reading, riding my Harley and doing fun things with my family.