On Monday, Gabriel woke up and said, “Today is the day to check the bee hives.” We’ve had so much rain that there really hasn’t been a good time to get into the hives to check them.
So, I did what any good mom would do, I put on a long sleeve shirt, long pants and a veil and grabbed my camera to take pictures. Phoebe had a friend visiting and I encouraged her to but on a bee suit and be Gabriel’s assistant.
Gabriel first harvested from the top bar hive. A good friend made this hive for Gabriel when he first started beekeeping. It’s a wonderful hive. You can’t expand it so you have to harvest more often to give the bees room to grow. Gabriel leaves a good two inches of comb on the bar for the bees to attach the new comb to. The dark part is old comb.
If you look, you can see the bees coming home full of pollen on their legs. That is what the orange stuff is on the bee to the far right.
The Langsthroth hives are different in that you can expand them but putting supers on them. Gabriel likes to keep his hives smaller so he doesn’t do a lot of expanding. I’m not sure exactly why but I think because we’ve had such a hard time with the drought – although that cycle seems to have broken.
He moved some frames from two supers to harvest. While he had them open he removed the burr comb which is just comb that the bees are building outside of the frames. It’s really pretty and white, I will probably buy it from him to use in lip balms.
He also gave our friend a bee lesson pointing out where they store pollen, the difference between drones and workers and what the different cells look like. Homeschooling at it’s best.
Gabriel moved the supers out of the beeyard and to our picnic table where he inspected each frame to see if it was full enough to harvest.
Then he brought those frames inside to harvest. For the top bar comb, he cuts it up and bags it. Carl takes it to work and his co-workers buy it. Since we only have a two frame extractor the langsthroth frames took a while – like all day. But Gabriel enjoys the work and even though many of us offered our assistance in uncapping the comb, he declined the help.
If you are looking for beeswax we have some for sale in our Etsy shop.
Here are some beekeeping item that we use…
How are the bees in your neck of the woods?
This post is shared at Tuesday Garden Party.