Welcome to our February Member Highlight. Please welcome Mrs. Beth Phillippe, our Treasurer, as we learn more about her interests.
What made you decide to keep bees?
When we moved to NC we started a berry farm. We knew we needed to have honeybees for pollination but knew nothing about them or what they needed. I did a lot of research on the Internet and found a man in Cabarrus County that rented hives for pollination. I sent him and e-mail and he and his daughter came out to look at what we had. He explained about his hives and did end up bringing 6 hives out to the farm. I think we rented hives for 2 years from him.
We saw the notice on beginner beekeeping in the paper so attended the class. We were hooked.
How many hives did you start with? WE started out with 4 hives because we found out that with the number of berries we had we needed a lot of bees to get a really good crop.
How many years have you had bees? We have had our own bees for 6 years.
How many hives do you have now? I currently have 11 hives, lost 2 over the winter. I am planning to expand this spring.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in caring for bees? I think I have learned by making mistakes. If you make mistakes you remember not to do that again.
What bee products do you make? We only package honey at this time.
How and where do you sell them? We sell at the farmers markets mainly and to our repeat customers.
What would you like your fellow beekeepers to know about you? We are hands on and will help anyone with their bees if they need help.
Do you treat your bees? Natural versus treatment free? Why?
I try not to treat the honey bees. We have been starting to use hygienic queens.
We use no pesticides on the farm so I try to stick to natural treatment on the bees.
Do you use queen excluder? Why or why not? I have them but I do not use them. I was told it is a honey excluder. Since we want honey, we don’t use them.
Do you use screened bottom board or screened top boards? We use the screened bottom boards. I don’t use inner covers either. I have found that I don’t need them.
Where do you buy your sugar? Walmart or Sams. Sam’s has the best prices currently.
Are you interested in becoming/or have you passed the following beekeepers levels? Not really, I don’t have time.
When do you do when you’re not caring for your bees? We are picking berries or pulling weeds. Trying to stay ahead of the work if we can.