Thursday, September 20

"Eat honey, my child, for it is good." ~ Proverbs 24:13 Honey BeesLast year I shared how I was making beeswax candles. During the summer I had briefly mentioned our new “pets”, our {or I should say my husband’s) honey bees and promised a future post. Today is the day I make good on that promise.

For quite a few years Matt had talked about wanting to get bees, I just pawned it off as another of his ideals of being a Gentleman Farmer. This year he made good.

He started building a hive in March, ordered a hive in April, picked it up from the finger lakes in May. The thing with bees is, they really need to be fenced in, to prevent bears and other such critters DSC_0026from getting them {yes, we do have bears around here}. It was a win-win: Matt had incentive to fence the yard in and the yard was fenced in so that Ave could play.

All summer Matt’s been busy, well, as a bee, but he finally got to open up his bee hive a couple of weeks ago. I was lucky enough to secure a bee suit from a friend, so that I could document {aren’t I stylish?!}.
{All captions are below the picture}.


Opening the hive: We’re currently transitioning from a Langstroth Nuc {a smaller bee-family} Hive to a Warré Hive (the bottom 2 boxes). There are a lot of reasons as to why Matt has chosen this method. Warré hives are a much more hands-off method of beekeeping; allowing the bees to dictate comb construction.


The hive when opened…all the bees are busy! You can see the slats that are strung along the top of the box, allowing the bees to build their combs downward, as is their natural method.



The Warré Hive: Notice how the combs are not of equal sizes, they’re rather wavy and look like snakes.


Matt inspecting the bottoms of the comb.




in flight 1

You can see the clusters of pollen around their legs from their recent expedition.


Langstroth hive (the top box): You can see the previous beekeeper had plastic frames in which the bees would create their combs. The yell0w-brown stuff on the top is a combination of wax and propolis.

The comb is very square, you can see the space in which the bees are filling up the honey. If you notice, there is a large thing-y hanging off the bottom of the frame, that is the Queen Cell. It’s basically the Lady in Waiting’s room. Once the bees are “grooming” a new queen that is where she will reside, until it is time for her “coronation”.




The top has a film over it, which is the bees method of “capping” each comb that has been filled with honey. It’s their way of keeping the honey they’ve made from fermenting. The bottom 2/3s of the frame is where they are currently storing honey. Once it has been dried they will then cap each cell of honey.

We won’t be getting any honey or wax from our bees this year. We need to give them time to grow and develop themselves. If we were to harvest, they wouldn’t make it through the winter, as the honey is their food. In the next few weeks we’re getting a couple hundred bulbs (tulips, daffodils etc) to plant near the hives for the bees. Hopefully, providing them with some new food once the flowers begin to bloom.

I have to admit. I wasn’t that excited by having bees, but now, having looked at their hives and how they work, it has been fascinating. Ave loves sitting down by the hives (we have a wire fence around them) and watching the bees going in and out. There is definitely something to the phrase, “Busy as a bee!”
If anyone has any questions about honey bees, Matt is more than willing to answer them. Oh, and just a note. Matt’s actually allergic to bees: He’s never been stung by our bees. Honey bees are very docile, once they sting you, they die.

No comments: