Thursday, July 16, 2015

:: Having a Bee loving friend is the Bee's Knees ::

Okay, okay, that's about as corny as I could get with the title. But, it's true. This whole beekeeping adventure is one of the most exciting and educational things I've attempted in a long time. It also keeps you wondering if you're doing it all correctly. Read one website or facebook group about the same issue and you'll get about a thousand different answers & suggestions. It's sort of a guessing game at times, but it also puts you in contact with one of the most important groups of people in the entire world : Lovers of the Honeybee.
Yesterday, a friend & I got together to help each other with inspecting our hives. We've both done plenty of them on our own, but sometimes it's so nice to have an extra set of hands and eyes.
We had one major mission to complete and that was to clean house; so to speak. We both had so much burr comb built up between the two boxes where we had put a shim for an extra entrance.
While it wasn't hurting the bees to have it there, it was preventing us from getting into the bottom super to check on everything.
Photo credit on most of these captures goes to my youngest son Chase. He does an excellent job finding fun angles to help tell a story. 
Obviously, having a friend who is into beekeeping is so beneficial for sharing advice and asking questions, but also being able to view someone else's hives. Her bees are doing SO amazing. Neither one of us have ever used our smokers to enter our hives; nor are we dead set on taking any honey this year. It's important to both of us to build our hives up strong and help them make it through the long upcoming winter months. 
We are approaching our beekeeping adventure in the most natural way we possibly can. 
Next, we headed to my hives to do the same sort of clean up. 
We scraped and removed a bunch of burr comb and I experienced my first bee sting. And yes, it hurt like a Hell! 
Phew, got that over with so it won't happen again right? LOL! 
 When we pulled the burr comb off it was full of drone (boy bees) brood and larva. Yes, we killed a lot of bees during there developing stage, but it's sort of a catch twenty-two (I never have understood that saying) and something that needed to be done to keep things nicely in order within the hive.
 In the above photo you'd notice little white worm looking things on the right side and some within the comb. Those are drone larva. Cool right?!? And, see all the wet areas on the wood. That is honey! It was literally dripping from our gloves. I took one little section back to the house so Aaron & the kids could taste it and rest was left for the bees to clean up and enjoy. And it was SO SO good!
I left all of the burr comb pieces and bees alone for a few hours so they could clean up what they needed and then make their way back into the hive. Once they were pretty much all gone I came back to collect the comb to prevent animals like skunks and raccoons from being attracted to the area. 
 I've been collecting all the extra little pieces of comb & wax in a bucket so that when I have enough we will melt it down to make candles or chapstick with. Oh I can't wait! I think I'm more excited about doing that than the honey!
Enjoy your Thursday everyone!

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