Harmony Hollow – Grilled Portobello Mushroom Salad with Greens, Honey Vinaigrette and Roquefort

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Salad with Greens, Honey Vinaigrette and Roquefort


  • 1/3 cup – Harmony Hollow Honey
  • 1/4 cup – balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons – soy sauce
  • 2 cloves – garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup – olive oil
  • 4 (3 to 4-inch) – portobello mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed
  • 1/4 cup – bacon, chopped (or 1 ounce cooked bacon bits)
  • 8 cups – mixed baby greens
  • Honey Vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup – crumbled Roquefort or blue cheese
  • Snipped chives, for garnish


Make marinade: In container of electric blender, blend honey, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and 1/4 cup oil until smooth; set aside. Brush mushrooms on both sides with 1-1/2 Tablespoons oil; place on indoor grill or in preheated nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, just until tender. Transfer to non-reactive container, gill sides up. Pour marinade over mushrooms; cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours, basting with marinade occasionally. If using raw bacon, sauté bacon until lightly browned. Remove to paper towels to drain; set aside. Drain, then reheat mushrooms 1 to 2 minutes on indoor or outdoor grill, turning once. In large bowl, toss greens with 1/3 cup (or to taste) Honey Vinaigrette. Divide greens equally among four individual serving plates. Halve mushrooms. Prop one half on the other on each salad. Divide cheese and cooked bacon bits among the salads. Sprinkle with chives.

Yield: 4 servings

from:  http://www.honey.com/recipes/detail/13/grilled-portobello-mushroom-salad-with-greens-honey-vinaigrette-and-roquefo

Harmony Hollow – Honey-Quinoa Breakfast Bake

Honey-Quinoa Breakfast Bake


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 cup – quinoa , (uncooked)
  • 1 tablespoon – cinnamon
  • 2 cups – mixed frozen berries
  • ½ cup – coarsely chopped nuts
  • 2 – organic eggs
  • 2 cups – 1% organic milk
  • ¼ cup – Harmony Hollow Honey


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. In a small bowl, stir together uncooked quinoa with cinnamon, making sure it is coated completely. Pour quinoa over bottom of prepared dish. Scatter the berries and nuts on top of quinoa, making sure to spread evenly. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the milk and honey and whisk together. Pour egg mixture on top of quinoa and fruit. Bake 1 hour or until the breakfast bake only has a small amount of liquid remaining. Serve warm.

Yield: 9 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

From:  http://www.honey.com/recipes/detail/6/honey-breakfast-bake

Harmony Hollow – Pumpkin Honey Bread

Pumpkin Honey Bread


  • 1 cup – Harmony Hollow Honey
  • 1/2 cup – butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 can (16 oz.) – solid-pack pumpkin
  • 4 – eggs
  • 4 cups – flour
  • 4 teaspoons – baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons – ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons – ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon – baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon – salt
  • 1 teaspoon – ground nutmeg


In large bowl, cream honey with butter until light and fluffy. Stir in pumpkin. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Sift together remaining ingredients. Stir into pumpkin mixture. Divide batter equally between two well-greased 9 x5 x 3-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let loaves cool in pans for 10 minutes; invert pans to remove loaves and allow to finish cooling on racks.
Makes (2) Loaves.

From:  http://www.honey.com/recipes/detail/6/pumpkin-honey-bread

More Soffit Bees!

This colony of bees was very docile – I probably could have done the whole removal without a bee suit – but I always suit up – just in case one rogue wants to tag me.

A view from within the house while removing the comb. There was NO sign of a laying queen in this colony. No eggs, larvae or brood – and very little pollen (protein source) in the comb.

They will likely be combined with a colony that needs more numbers to survive winter. Enjoy the view!



Valley Ranch Bees – In the wall!

This removal – though fairly straightforward – had the potential to go VERY wrong The wall stud-space was not insulated – I suspect because there was a vent-stack as well as electrical lines in that portion of the wall.

Care MUST be taken when cutting into any unknown void (i.e. drywall) to ensure that no electrical, plumbing, gas, etc. lines are damaged. These bees were very docile – and I suspect they had been in the space for well over 2+ years – even though a neighbor just recently noticed bee activity outside. The comb was a very dark brown color – indicating some age to it.

After the bee removal was complete, I was able to caulk the entrance the bees were using – from the inside – then filled that wall-space with insulation. In this case, the homeowner has a neighbor that is performing the drywall repairs.

Enjoy the video!   Please DO subscribe to the channel, and click the “thumbs up” button.  Comment and let me know your thoughts on the work as you peruse my videos.



Valve Box Removal – No Smoker – a bit of attitude

When performing removals – we don’t always get to pick the ideal conditions.  Environmental factors play a big role in the behavior of a hive.

When it’s windy, overcast, humid, etc, etc… there are more bees at home than usual – and are in defense mode instead of out foraging.

After 2-3 days of rain – I had a window of time to do this removal.  As guessed – they have a bit of defensive attitude due to:

  • Rainy prior (and current) days
  • Overcast Sky
  • I forgot my smoker

What?  Why would you do a removal or ANY bee work without a smoker?  It can be done.  Should it be done?  Probably not…  But with proper knowledge of how to deal with the bees, it’s possible….

Now – a month after this removal, the bees are doing well in the nuc box they moved into.




New Bee Yard Setup


A short video with highlights from setting up a new bee yard for a customer.   Hive stands, 10-frame Langstroth woodenware, and NUC colonies – delivered and setup.

If you have not yet subscribed to my YouTube channel – be sure to!  There will be a link in the video – near the end to subscribe to my channel.


And part 2 of the bee yard setup:


Varroa Mite Management with your hives

Varroa mites are the latest finding in the plight of our agricultural (and hobby) European Honeybees.  The Varroa Destructor is known to be a vector (carrier for diseases) for several viruses, including (but NOT limited to:)

  • SacBrood
  • Deformed Wing Virus (DWV)
  • Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV)
  • Nosema Apis
  • Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CBPV)
  • Lake Sinai Virus 1, Lake Sinai Virus 2 (LSV1, LSV2)
  • Acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV)
  • Kashmir bee virus (KBV)
  • Kakugo Virus
  • Varroa Destructor Virus 1
  • Israel acute paralysis virus (IAPV)
  • Slow Bee Paralasys Virus (SBPV)

(list source: http://articles.extension.org/pages/71172/honey-bee-viruses-the-deadly-varroa-mite-associates )

While there is a rift in some beekeeping circles and groups about whether varroa mites can be managed with breeding “varroa resistant” or with “hygienic behavior” in bees – the fact remains that if bees are bred to coexist with – or to tolerate the varroa mites, then the colonies are subjected to a variety of possible diseases.  Folks that are “treatment free” – should still perform varroa mite count tests – and not be disillusioned about the fact that mites are in your hives.

Another option is to use scientifically bred lines of queens that produce workers that do indeed perform hygienic behavior as a method of culling affected brood that has been infected with mite progeny (offspring) )from a reproductive foundress (female founding) mite.  Research on this line of selective breeding can be found through Arista Bee Research Labs around the world.

A fantastic resource for learning to do mite-counts and various treatment methods is available at :
https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/varroa/ (link will open in new tab or window)  This has been updated in June of 2018 – and also includes links to videos showing how to perform mite-counts as well as several treatment methods.

Monitoring methods

Varroa mites can be monitored with any of several methods.

Alcohol Wash (or soap/water wash)

Sugar Roll

Treatment Methods

Dealing with varroa is a delicate and tricky proposition – when it is considered that we are trying to eliminate a “bug ON a bug”.  And the host bug (apis mellifera – or honeybee) we want to thrive and be healthy.

A variety of treatment methods can be employed.  I’ll also say, though – that some have proven to be ineffective.   See this video link for a quick overview.

  • VSH Lines of honeybees (Added Nov 2019)
  • Oxalic Acid (OA) Vaporizing
  • OA Fogging
  • OA Drizzle
  • OA Long Release (shop towel application)
  • Thermal Heat Treatment of the hive (added Jan 2019)
  • Apiguard
  • Formic Acid
  • Drone Brood Culling
  • Brood Break
  • Thymol (in various application methods)
  • Screened bottom boards (ineffective – not a control – but as a monitoring method)

There are many more treatment methods that were found on the internet while researching treatment methods.  Some – such as using screened bottom boards – have been dis-proven to be effective by themselves – however MAY be an aide to help another method be more effective.  Regardless – it is recommended that you employ at least two methods for varroa control.

Newer methods of applying Oxalic Acid are being experimented with by several researchers, including Randy Oliver of Scientific Beekeeping, and others in Central Texas.

Randy’s OA results are shown here: http://scientificbeekeeping.com/oxalic-shop-towel-updates/
and his 2019 end-of-year report is here: http://scientificbeekeeping.com/extended-release-oxalic-acid-progress-report-2019/

(Jan 2019) – Experiments with using thermal heat treatments of the hive have proved effective for varroa management.  In essence, the hive is heated to 106 deg. F for about 2 hours.  This mimics the temperature that is achieved in nature that is associated with hive overcrowding for swarming action.  This temperature also is that which the varroa cannot survive.  When the hive temperature is raised to 106 deg. F. – the mites attached to the bodies, and those that are in the brood cells are killed – thus breaking the mite’s life cycle – and allowing the colony to move forward with fresh brood that is healthy.


Honeybee Health Coalition:  https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/varroa/

Arista Bee Research Labs https://aristabeeresearch.org/

Randy Oliver – Scientific Beekeeping – http://scientificbeekeeping.com/extended-release-oxalic-acid-progress-report-2019/

Mighty Mite Thermal Industries – https://www.beehivethermalindustries.com/how-it-works/

Dave Cushman – http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/varroatreatment.html

Photo from: https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2017/08/09/central-bee-health-threat-varroa-mite-parasite-may-manageable-using-oregano-oil/


Nucleus Colonies (NUC) honeybee hives for sale – Harmony Hollow

MAY 2018 – Harmony Hollow has added nucleus colonies (NUC) to the line of products available.  NUCs are a “starter” colony that include a mated and egg-laying queen of known Italian genetics, several frames of eggs/larvae/brood, at least one frame of resources (nectar/honey/pollen) and a frame with foundation for the bees to draw fresh comb onto.

NUCs are $200ea for the 2018 season.   These bees will be provided in a waxed cardboard NUC box – ready to transfer to your permanent woodenware.

Pickup of colonies is by scheduled appointment at:

  • Wolfsong Farm near Forney, Texas
  • Locust Grove Sanctuary in Farmersville, Texas
  • Zentopia Acres in Ponder, Texas
  • If reasonable distance – we can arrange for delivery – and I can install into your readied woodenware – for a $50 delivery fee.   In all cases – purchase and pickup/delivery needs to be personally scheduled.

Care for your NUC:

After purchase, you will need to carefully move the frames of bees to your prepared woodenware for them.  This can be 8-frame or 10-frame boxes.  The safest way is to pick one of the outside edge frames that is either empty, or has the nectar/resources on it to remove and place first.  Then the other frames can be pulled away separately and placed into their full size hive body.  Watch each frame closely for the queen, and the brood frames for freshly laid eggs as well as various stages of larvae and capped brood.

It is highly suggested that you also have a feeder available for the bees.  Internal frame feeders, or a feeder that sits on top of the brood box for the bees to access from inside will reduce robbing from other hives or colonies in the area, and will encourage the bees to draw wax on the additional frames in your hive and maximize the population (and their hone/food stores) before entering the next winter.  Reduce the entrance down to an inch or so to further reduce any robbing activity from feeding your bees.  Sometimes placing a robber-screen or some blockade in front to the entrance will discourage robbing activity.

Note:  This is a livestock/NUC hive purchase only – and does not include “mentoring” or consultation on how to manage or care for honeybees.


Bee Yard Project – Convert Frame Feeder to No-Drown Feeder – DIY

This short video outlines how to convert a standard frame feeder into a no-drown feeder for syrup being fed to bees.

All items for the upgrade were available as scrap from my personal workshop – so no additional materials were purchased for the improvements.  The only expenditure was my personal labor.

Be sure to watch to the end – for a few outtakes/bloopers….