Reverie - n. a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts; a daydream or fantasy; a visionary or impractical idea

"To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,—
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.

The revery alone will do
If bees are few." - Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hive Inspection - Late July

I checked in on my hives last weekend.  They are filling up the honey supers so fast right now and I need to stay on top of it.  This is a foundationless frame that they are still drawing out.  If you look closely you can see the horizontal wiring.  They incorporate it beautifully into their comb, making it stronger for extracting.  Organic loveliness. 

They are not finished with this one yet, but I have observed that in general they make much larger communication holes on the bottoms of foundationless frames than they do when given foundation.  Do they just prefer not to waste time chewing out foundation?  Sometimes the only attachment points are on the sides of the frames, with the bottom left completely open.  Look at the beautiful orange propolis on the top bar of the frame.  That stuff is so resinous and sticky it will stay on your fingers for days.
Pulling up a really heavy, pure white frame like this still takes my breath away. Beauty in simplicity.  Yet imagine the treasure hidden beneath...
It was a tight squeeze, and this was the first frame I pulled out.  Equal parts exciting and unfortunate.  I wanted to sink my teeth into that, black bear style.
And now this....I lifted the bottom-most honey super, the one that sits directly on top of the queen excluder.  And there was a lovely sucking/pulling sound.  This is why.  I scraped up all of this, making a mess and dripping honey all over myself, the bees, and the hive.  It was an absolute honey frenzy for everyone involved.  There was probably a better way to do it, but I am a novice who always makes giant mistakes when no one is around to see.
A frame from the top brood box (below the queen excluder).  Only two frames had brood, the rest of the box was solid capped honey.  This frame is incredibly honey bound.  Look at the variety of pollen sources these bees were bringing in!  I love to see that rainbow pattern. 

By the way, there is NO WAY I would be able to lift a 10-frame box full of honey.  I'm eternally grateful I went the way of the 8-frame hive.  I would recommend them to all female beekeepers. Nothing against my fellow girls, but those things are HEAVY!
A first-year hive, from package bees, tended by a first-time beekeeper.  Wow!  Beyond all my expectations.  I must have a good mentor :)
Speaking of that, look what he gave me the other day....three full boxes worth of old, fully-drawn comb.  They need to be cleaned out by bees and tidied up a bit, but I want to set up more hives next spring and I won't turn down free equipment, no matter the condition! 
Here are the bees at work cleaning up one of those second-hand boxes for me.  Probably not a good idea to encourage robbing this time of year, but we'll see what happens.  I really do learn from making lots of mistakes.  For instance, I left the other two boxes uncovered in the garage next to my boy's bicycles with the garage door open.  MISTAKE.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! You are so lucky that you were able to get honey on your first year of beekeeping. We didn't extract until our 2nd year. I love the idea of 8 frame boxes. Those 10 frame deeps and mediums sure are heavy! Especially when they are full of honey!