A Taste of Honey

It has been three weeks since we checked inside the hive. The bees have been very busy with lots of pollen being taken to the hive. There’s a lot for them to forage on right now – goldenrod, sunflowers, broccoli, squash – and they are taking advantage of it. The previous times that we opened the hive, we saw lots of brood comb and some honey comb. This time we hoped to see mostly honeycomb as this is what will take them through the winter.

When we last opened the hive three weeks ago, they had just begun to draw comb on the eighth frame.

Today they had started the tenth frame.

It looks like they are only making honey comb now.

As we were moving the frames, I broke off a bit of comb. There was a bit of resistance when I was moving the frame but I didn’t recognize it for what it was until the comb broke off. The bees had drawn honey comb that crossed between the eighth and ninth frames. I’m holding both frames because they are still attached.  You can see where the comb is missing on the left of the frame.  I think that these two frames were pure honey.  Now I know what a bit of resistance means and I’ll try to avoid making that damaging mistake again.

We continue to be impressed with how gentle these bees are.  Again we used only a water spray.  Although we started just after first light, the sun was well up by the time we were examining the frames.  Breaking off a piece of comb as I did should have upset them.  It did get noticeably louder but not that many bees took to the air.  When next we open the hive in about three weeks’ time, I think that we’ll only crack the frames apart to break the propolis “glue” and gently try to move the last few frames to see if any comb has crossed from one frame to the next.  I need to find out how to handle these crossed frames.  My instincts tell me to leave them alone since this honeycomb, ie, their winter food supply and that I shouldn’t disrupt the process since they need as much food as they can possibly make before the winter.  They will probably try to repair the damage that I did by drawing new comb in that area .  I caused needless wasted time, pollen and energy.

Worker on the left & drone on the right

Uncapped honey cells

The light cells are empty; the dark have honey

It tastes as light & delicate as it looks

Bee keeping is truly something magical.

More pictures.

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