Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Still Working!

Pete checked the bees yesterday and said that the bees from the Cherry Pie hive are still alive and working!  This is a relief since we lost both of the other hives - again, for reasons unknown since there was plenty of food.  One theory is that the Queen may have laid summer bees (life span of about 5 weeks) too late into the fall.  As a result, there would not have been enough winter bees (life span of about 6 months) to get the hive through the winter - no matter how mild.

We watched the bees working over the weekend - doing cleansing runs and scouting.  We substituted the sugar/syrup rich fondant for feeding when the weather turned so the sugar water would not freeze; that seems to be working quite well as the bees were all over it yesterday.

We've got two boxes of bees ordered for the Spring Beauty & Sunny Daze hives.  We're beginning preparations on those hives so they'll be cleaned up and ready for new bees at the end of March.

Monday, October 22, 2012


We gave the bees more food (sugar water) yesterday and found a whole bunch of baby bees (BaBees).  BaBees looks just like the adults except are miniature and fuzzy!  Tried to get a picture of them but it didn't turn out.  Last year we rearranged the hives around to make sure that the bees had honey in the center of the hive because they start in the center and work their way out over the winter.  We're not going to do that this year for a couple of reasons - #1 being that they free-combed in some of the areas that we had missing frames so that can't be moved anyway & #2 being that our bees absconded - so we're going to let them do their own thing this year and hope for the best!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pollen Slow Down

We started feeding the Bees for the winter a couple weeks ago.  This time of year it's hard for them to find any pollen from blooming plants so they need some supplemental feedings.  We use big jars and put sugar water in them.  There are holes drilled into the lid and the whole jar gets placed upside down onto a couple strips of wood to create a big feeder.  This gets put into the uppermost section of the hive, above the frames of comb.  

Empty Feeder

Found some free-formed comb!

New Feeder

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

First Honey

We harvested our first honey on July 26th last year.  Below you will see some pictures of the process.  We've harvested honey once this year out of our three hives.  Only one hive had produced enough honey to harvest because each one of the other two hives swarmed earlier in the summer.  "Enough Honey" to harvest is when at least 80% of the frame is capped.  If it's not 80% capped, the honey hasn't reached the right consistency to be honey.  We probably won't get anymore honey this year because the Bees need that store to keep them alive through the winter.

Cutting the Caps off of the Honey Comb

Honey Spinner/Extractor
Centrifugal force from manually spinning the frame pulls the honey out of the wax comb