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The Carolina Bee Company
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Tree fell right next to the shed during the latest storms. Magically hit nothing. Zero damage. Lucky.
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Just a few photos of our time in Pennsylvania while attending the #MotherEarthNews  Fair in Seven Springs, PA (we stayed in Somerset, by the way). Most of these are landscape / farm photos because the Laurel Highlands are simply stunning. Just... look. Wow.

We tried to capture the beauty, but the camera (especially our camera) can only give you a hint. Folks, someday try to visit this lovely place just to tour the spectacular farmsteads. Some are very old multi-generational. A significant number are also Amish.

The Carolina Bee Company may or may not be back to the #MotherEarthNews  Fair next year. If not, we will sorely miss this countryside.
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Want to solve the honey bee problem? Remove the chemical crutches we are using to prop up honey bee populations. Walk away for some period of time (a decade?) and then come back to honey bees that have adapted to life with the varroa mite.

Want to take a more measured approach that achieves the same ends? A compromise that balances the needs of agriculture (we need beehives) with the needs of honey bees? Adopt artificial selection programs like discussed in this media segment about Michigan breeders.

What crutches are we talking about? In-hive pesticides, of course. Treating honey bees for the varroa mite sweeps the most significant problem that honey bees face right under the rug. It kicks the can down the road. The bees never adapt, because the treatments we use suppress a need to adapt. Therefore, treating beehives delays progress indefinitely.

"Just let them adapt" is an ideal. The ideal would involve ending artificial selection as well. I.e., Beekeepers would just have to walk away for some time. Alas, we can't just do that very easily. We need honey bees to pollinate, and therefore we need a significant number of honey bee hives every year to grow our foods.

So, a slower approach, but one that incorporates a level of adaption is the approach that these Michigan beekeepers are taking. There are similar programs throughout the USA. These Michigan beekeepers are selecting for a trait called hygienic behavior. It may not be the precise "silver bullet" trait that allows honey bees to find a perfect equilibrium with varroa mites, but it does give honey bees an edge. And an edge will be something that allows honey bees to take it the rest of the way to full adaption. We think. It's one approach, and it is promising.

The Carolina Bee Company is taking a less refined route. We breed based on survivability. That's it. We don't look for any other trait. Regardless of the criteria, as soon as a human breeds a colony, we probably delay the resolution of the challenges honey bees have with varroa mites by a bit. That being said, in contrast the chemical route guarantees zero progress.

We once had a speaker visit our local bee club mention "please keep your untreated honey bees away from my 'healthy' [treated] bees!" This is the logic of industrial-scale agriculturalists (and even some smaller beekeepers). Their logic is utterly in reverse. Their treated honey bees (not healthier) breed with our adapting honey bees and therefore slow down progress for a better future. Until everyone pulls the needle out of their arm... I.e., until everyone removes the chemical crutches, the honey bees will struggle to recover.

There are a host of problems in the world of agriculture. As for honey bees, the number one problem is the varroa mite and the diseases it carries. Honey bees also struggle to find adequate forage due to humanity's love affair with a flowerless world. Monocultural crops are also a significant problem for honey bees. And, of course, chemicals applied both internal to the hive and externally pose all kinds of issues.

All of these problems need to be addressed. But allowing honey bees to adapt to varroa mites would be a huge boost to the ability of honey bees to shrug off other problems. Current practice (treating) is delaying the ability for honey bees to adapt, but programs like this one described in Michigan gives us hope for a stronger bee.
Honey bee die-offs are so common now that beekeepers generally just order more bees when they lose a hive. But this has put a lot of pressure on bee
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Discovered! A specific phytochemical in beebread is what makes a worker bee a worker bee and not a queen

There are two genders of honey bees in a hive, but 3 distinct castes: male bees (drones) and female bees (workers and queens). The difference between workers and queens are physiological. You can think of queens as "fully realized" female honey bees. They have functioning ovaries, for example, whereas workers do not. Honey bee workers are sterile. They have hormonal differences and pheromonal differences.

Male bees are produced from unfertilized eggs. An unfertilized egg will always produce a drone.

Female bees, both workers and queens, all start off the same. Female bees are born of fertilized eggs. And for 3 days after that egg hatches, the life of that female bee-to-be ... is indeterminate. That larva can become a worker, or that larva can become a queen.

After day 3... the worker bees within the hive who are on rotation serving as caretakers of the brood (nurse bees) make a determination[1] whether that female larva will become a worker or a queen. After the determination is made, the nurse bees control the process with the diet of baby food supplied to the larva.

We have known for a very long time that queen bees are fed royal jelly (a glandularly produced food) for largely their whole lives and that worker bees are at first fed royal jelly (those first 3 days) and then a mix of royal jelly and "bee bread" (a processed pollen mixture) for the remainder of that young bee's larval stage. But we didn't know what the factor in stunting the larva's growth was. We didn't know until ... just now.

Check out the summary article, "Beyond royal jelly: Study identifies plant chemical that determines a honey bee's caste". [2] What the study illustrates[3] is that beebread contains an organic plant compound called p-coumaric acid that comes from the pollen in the diet. This compound when ingested causes certain genes to be expressed and other genes to be suppressed. Feed female larvae beebread from day 4 onward and you get a worker honey bee as a result.

Fascinating. We have known for some time what was going on at a fairly high level (which is a feat in itself) but now we can see how the symbiotic relationship of honey bees with the world of plants has an effect at the genetic level that the honey bees "know" how to leverage to maintain the structure and order of their hives. Just amazing. Kudos to the University of Illinois-based researchers.

[1] There is much speculation about how this happens.
[2] Article:
[3] Research paper:
A closer look at how honey bee colonies determine which larvae will serve as workers and which will become queens reveals that a plant chemical, p-coumaric acid, plays a key role in the bees' developmental fate.
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Nice story about a local-ish beekeeper.
Indeed, a lot of work goes into a single jar of honey. :)
May Markoff of Clayton has been keeping bees since spring, and it all started with a taste of honey.
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She just started this spring. :-)
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Anyone else getting a lot of comment spam?
We left Google some feedback, but we wanted to ask the community what they are seeing. Maybe this is a sign of growth of our page, but no one wants spam.

Anyone else have these issues? Follow link to see what we mean.
Wendell Berry is a national treasure. Linked to this post is a great rambling narrative and interview with him. The article starts with a 1-on-1 interview… - The Carolina Bee Company - Google+
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I think that many of us are all too familiar with comment spam. Even if it is not on our own posts, it's often clearly evident on other profiles' and pages' posts that show up in our streams.
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FYI! :)
UPDATE!!!! We are very happy to inform you all that the NC Senate Bill sponsoring the "Save the Honey Bee" license plate was included in the budget and has passed!

If you were one of the initial 300 that helped us get to this point, thank you! They should be in production soon. If you were not one of the initial 300, you just have to wait a little bit longer. Once the plate is being processed, you will be able to go to the DMV to get yours.

Please see the webpage for further information.
Welcome! We are a small association of peers dedicated to furthering the knowledge of and interest in beekeeping in Franklin County, North Carolina. We meet on the last Wednesday of every month at the Franklin County Cooperative Extention, in Louisburg, North Carolina.
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If you happen to be floating around southwestern PA, come visit us at the fabulous #MotherEarthNews Fair at #SevenSpringsResort near Somerset in the spectacular #LaurelHighlands.

Where else can you check out the latest innovations in #rocketMassHeaters and sit in on an  #aquaculture workshop while crocheting a new pair of #alpaca wool socks while also having a conversation with both a #prepper and an #Amish gal about the nuances of food fermentation and storage?

This is one of our most favorite festivals. Nothin' else like it. :)

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Note, this is the only event where the first two questions are...

"So, do you have any royal jelly?"
"Do you ship 3lb packages of bees?

Love this event. Heh.
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Fellow "retailers". You have got to get on top of credit card chip technology right now. Why? Because starting on Oct 1st, 2015, swiping a CC transfers liability to you the retailer instead of the CC company.

This is a big deal.

If you know anything about CC transactions, roughly 10% of all transactions are fraudulent. Chip technology is expected to eliminate most in-person fraud.

So, if you you have not done so already, update your processing hardware now. Pronto! And, if you are like us and using Squareup, order one here:

Be advised, we have been waiting for our device update since around July.

Finally, if your own credit/debit cards are not chipped... call your CC company now and get that rectified. I suspect it will not take long for retailers to start denying customers who can only swipe the card.

While you are at it, look at figuring out how to accept something truly secure, like ... Bitcoin:

#business   #creditcard   #bitcoin  
After years of use in other countries around the world, chip-enabled credit cards are coming to the USA. Credit cards with only magnetic strips are being phased out ahead of an October 1, 2015 deadline.
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Duck drive!

Attempt #2 at getting the ducks to live next to the pond. We built an above ground shelter, had it sit outside their home base for a month. We fenced in an area next to the pond (will hold the boys, but not the flying girls).

Today we moved that shelter to the pond, moved their supplemental food down, then finally, marched the ducks to the pond and penned them in.

We sat with them for some time. They are settling down, but they don't know what to make of the pond itself. We figure thirst will eventually drive them to the pond.

We'll see. We have a feeling that we'll be walking them down to the pond several times.
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Good news! The ducks seem to have finally adopted the pond area as their new home. We don't have to march them down there all the time now.

They still have not gotten into the water, however. Silly ducks!
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We just reported a bunch of folks for spam comments. We have been getting an increase of them lately. If in this process you got swept up by mistake, we are sorry. We tried to be careful.
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The Carolina Bee Company's Collections
Contact Information
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3630 Charlie Grissom Rd Kittrell, NC 27544
3630 Charlie Grissom RoadUSNorth CarolinaKittrell27544
FarmToday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Monday 8:00 am – 5:00 pmTuesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pmWednesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pmThursday 8:00 am – 5:00 pmFriday 8:00 am – 5:00 pmSaturday 8:00 am – 12:00 pmSunday 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
At The Carolina Bee Company, we are All Things Bees:
  • Bees: Queens, Packages, Nucleus Colonies
  • Services: Education, Speaking and Pollination Services
  • Chandlery: Soap, Bath & Body Products, Candles and More!
  • Honey! Of course.
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Review Summary
2 reviews
"The lip balm is fabulous too!"
"...great suggestions that set my journey of beekeeping on the path to success."
"The soaps are especially nice for anyone with troubled skin..."
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In their circles
215 people
Have them in circles
551 people
Paul MacDonald's profile photo
Michael Moran's profile photo
‫عماد الحربي‬‎'s profile photo
Linda Kutzer's profile photo
Moss Greene's profile photo
Brushy Mountain Bee Farm's profile photo
Andres González constanzo's profile photo
Adil Nayab's profile photo
Carey Gregg's profile photo
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Joel B
3 months ago
I got my 1st package of bees and marked queen from The Carolina Bee Company this May and they[the bees] have been doing pretty awesome so far! Monica and her husband(I think he is her husband?) are super nice and helpful. Not just when I picked up my bees but Monica has also responded to all my newbee questions on the FCBA page in great deal as well as offered lots of great suggestions that set my journey of beekeeping on the path to success. I highly recommend The Carolina Bee Company and wish them the best of luck with all their business ventures!
• • •
Response from the owner - 3 months ago
Thank you! That is very kind. -thebees :)
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Teresa R
3 years ago
I've purchased many products from The Carolina Bee Company and have never been disappointed! The soaps are especially nice for anyone with troubled skin because they are all natural. The lip balm is fabulous too!