Anne Houck, President

Welcome to our March Member Highlight. Please welcome Mrs. Anne Houck, our President, as we learn more about her interests.

Anne Houck, President 2014

Anne Houck, President 2014

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.

Beekeeping Methods
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.

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7 thoughts on “Anne Houck, President

  1. Hello Ms, Houck,, I hope you are doing well. I was hoping to join you class on Feb first but, my tour out of the country is not up until the second week of Feb. I was wondering if it would be possible for me to join you class on Feb 22th, I am very interested and hope to start a hive, with your help of course, OK, thank you for your time
    take care, alan

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    • Dear Alan:
      This is Pat the Webmaster. I chatted with Anne; she didn’t know but suggested you call Liz at the college 704-991-0279. Even if it is too late to get into the class, please go ahead and get your hives so you can start with bees. We have several members who would be happy to help you get started. Where are you located? More than likely a member lives close enough to come by and help. I’m in the Frog Pond area and would be happy to work with you to get you started. Most any of the beginner beekeeper books are good and building the boxes isn’t as complicated as it looks. The terminolog stumped me in the beginning but once you catch on, it’s easy.

      Hope this helps. Let me know what happens. Pat Allen

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  2. Hello, thank you very much, this is a great help. My wife and I have just moved to Blaine, right up the road from Eldorado. I have almost been interested in keeping bees. Any and ALL help is welcomed. I have a bee house consisting of three boxes, that someone gave me. Is it OK to use used boxes. And when and where do i get the hives. I have been looking online but, it is very difficult, for me, to tell which site is a good site to buy from or not. I will have my wife call the school, i am out of country for another couple of weeks. Thanks again, this is great, i hope i can do the job.
    take care, Alan

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    • Hey Alan: This is Webmaster Pat again. We have several SCBA members who could help you get bees but you to need to get on their waiting list. Spring is whent they’ll avaialble but you do need to let the breeders know whether you want a ‘nuc’ or a ‘package’ of of bees. A nuc is where you get the nucleus of bees which includes a bred queen and thousands of bees — it’s a complete hive. Whereas a ‘package’ of bees is about a thousand bees with a seperate queen who has to be accepted. (I’m guessing on the numbers because some breeders sell bees by the pound.) I don’t remember the prices. Sorry.

      When I began I bought a ‘nuc’ but now if I need bees I buy a package. It depends on how much you want to spend and how much time you have in the beginning.

      About using used equipment: IF you know who had the hives and how well they cared for their bees, you might be OK. There is a deadly disease called American Foulbrood that resides in some hives. IF you know your hives are clean, then they’d probably be OK. However, when in doubt, get new equipment. The only cure for hives with Foulbrood is fire — to burn the hives. It is deadly to the beekeeping community. I knew a beekeeper who was getting out of bees so I bought loads of his equipment because I knew how he cared for his bees.

      Remember: Bees travel in about a six mile radious so if you have sick bees, they’ll infect other pollinators as well.

      I called the school myself and was told it was too late to sign up. Maybe you’ll have better luck. But please don’t let that discourage you from joining the club. You’ll get enough information by attending the meetings to get you started. As I said earier, NOW is the time to get on a list to get your honey bees along with your suits, smoker, frames and such. Hives need to be painted so they’ll be protected from the weather. I paint mine with three coats. Remembber your boots, too. My husband got stung on the ankle before we got his boots. Full dress is required.

      Looking forward to meeting you and your family,

      Pat Allen, Webmaster

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  3. Hello Ms Pat,, thanks ,, do you recommend a place to buy bees and hives, i will not use the used hive i have, i do not want to take the chance of harming other bee hives. Where is a good place to buy hives and bees, I am looking at CAROLINA BEES, do you know of this website, thanks alan and sim

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    • From my house Carolina Bee Company is 3 hours away. Are they close to you? It looks like you’re in Montgomery County. If I were you I’d contact my local bee club and ask them who they recommend. Chances are several local beekeepers raise bees and it’s best to get bees from your local area. Here is the Presidet’s inforation: Frak Kissell, 910-572-3425. The email is: frankorrenee@yhoo.com. They meet the third Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Montgomery County Agriculture Center, 200 Glenn Road, Troy, NC. But I’d call to make sure this information is current.

      You next best friend it Nancy Ruppert. She’s this area’s state inspector and lives in Star. She travels ALL the time. Her contact information: 910-690-9555, Nancy.Ruppert@ncagr.gov. This woman is wonderful; she is knowledgeable, loves bees, has the patience of Job, is an excellent teacher, and has the LATEST information on bees. We are blessed to have her as an inspector and as a friend.

      Hope this helps. If not, we have several members who raise bees. I prefer to support my local club members/friends, especially in the beginning. Having their advice is an A+ when getting started.

      Looking forward to hearing about your progress.
      Pat

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      • Hello,, Thanks for all the advice, my wife and i have decided to wait until next season to attempt starting a hive on our property. We have just moved in and many things we still need to do. Right now we plan to join to a bee club and get everything ready and do more research so that we are better prepared for success. I hope to get into that class, maybe i can maybe not, ha ha,,, i will try anyway. We hope to meet you this year and pick your brain,, see you soon,
        Sim and Alan DeLong

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