Saturday, November 06, 2010

Bit O' Honey

We have two hives this year (unofficially "his" and "hers") and we decided NOT to pull honey, since we want to stack the deck in the favor of the hives and help them overwinter. The "hers" hive finished out the season with two full hive bodies and a full honey super (10 frames). The "his" hive finished with two full hive bodies, but only 4 frames of additional honey in the top honey super.

But, truth be told, I have become a honey addict, and I couldn't think of going the whole winter without, so we pulled 2 frames from "my" hive. Crude harvesting of the frames (read: no extractor) gave us a half gallon of honey (more than enough if I don't go crazy) and two very sticky frames for the bees to clean.

We had a particularly warm day (70 degrees) a week or so ago, and that's when I decided to pull. So once finished, I put the sticky frames back outside for the bees to clean. I get a clean frame, they get lots of honey to store. And the two hives could share equally in the honey (therefore giving "his" hive a little boost).

Click to biggify, and notice all the "non-bee" honey helpers...Amazing! Within 15 minutes, they had found the frames, and four or so hours later, everything was squeaky clean!


For Halloween, my daughter's 8th grade class decided on a group costume (trying to strike a balance between "too old for that stuff" and wanting an excuse to wear a costume) for the Halloween parade to the area nursing home. They were a hive of "worker bees" (note the hard hats and tool belts) carrying their Queen (the more than willing Science teacher - who wouldn't want to get carried around and waited on by your students?) and Madison was the beekeeper. (BTW - wearing the gear is as close as she gets to the actual beekeeping; she'll stick to chickens, thank you very much).

(It reads, "All Hail the Queen Bee" for those of you that just have to know...)

We'll see in Spring if the hives survive...keeping our fingers crossed! And feeding them as often as we can!

6 comments:

Christy said...

How are you liking the bees? It's good to know you can get honey without an extractor. I'm thinking about bees next year. But am still not sure.

kristi said...

Tell Madison I love the creative idea for Halloween...I could only imagine that my 8th graders would come up with for a "group" costume! My neighbor has 2 hives and about a month ago I received my first "home-grown" honey and though I am not a honey kinda person, I was very impressed by the honey and might just have to change my mind and be more of a "honey":)

melanie said...

We LOVE the bees...and its not just all about the honey - It's so amazing to see them on the flowers and plants, to watch them "build" the hive...

I grew into loving honey - use it mostly in tea and in baking of bread, but couldn't imaging living without it now....we want to try harvesting pollen next year if both hives come through healthy....

Susan said...

What a sweet swarm! Great idea - I bet they were a hit. And why, oh, why didn't you get the extractor from M? It IS the community extractor....

melanie said...

For two frames??? The cleaning of the extractor was a larger project than the bungling harvest of the two frames with spatula and sticky fingers...

Here's hoping I get to use it in the Spring!

Elysbeth said...

Clever costuming!