It was a perfect day for our annual Ice Cream Social hosted by Don & Shirley Moore at Breezy Acres Apiary under the shade of several large pecan trees. Don welcomed and introduced special guests Jerry & Betty Isley from Randolph County; Nancy Rupert, Bee Inspector, South Central region; Janno Lewis from Montgomery County; Don Hopkins, Bee Inspector, North Central Region; and Dr. Kathleen Kidd NC State Biological Control and Apiary Inspection Programs Administrator.
Don outlined the planned afternoon activities that would start with demonstrations by Nancy Rupert and Don Hopkins. All of Don’s hives were on their second treatment with thymol based Apiguard, so he was particularly interested in checking the current population level of Varroa mites in two hives using the powdered sugar shake method. Don was also hopeful that these two hives were strong enough to split. In the end, no splits occurred after the inspections, but one NUC was created by downsizing a weak hive that was impacted by a low population of bees and hive beetles.
Drone with two Varroa mites attached.
After two hours in the bee yard, ice cream was served! Flavors included homemade banana, cherry, peach, persimmon, blueberry, French vanilla among others. The dessert selections also included pound cakes, blueberry crunch, brownies, orange cake, strawberry cake, apple cobbler, persimmon pudding, and old fashion strawberry among others. Bee yard talk and visiting continued into the late afternoon.
The end to this perfect day came with the discovery of a recently emerged Luna Moth (Actias luna) expanding and drying its wings. The larvae feed on persimmon, sweet gum, walnut, sumacs and hickories. The adult moths do not feed and only live about one week.