Tuesday, July 21, 2009


To be continued.....

Due to the acknowledgement I want to give to the honeybees, from now on when I post about them it will "bee" in my new blog:
In the meantime sit back....relax.....and enjoy something cool to drink;-)
And to all beekeepers out there please remember your bees need fresh water daily as well;-)
It's wise to put it near their hive so they won't be drinking out of you or your neighbor's swimming pool......people tend to freak out when they see bees especially when they are buzzing around their swimming pool;-)
More in my new BEE blog........http://bizzybuzzinhoneybeezness.blogspot.com
to be continued......

Honeybee wall removal

As I said before we have learned allot about bees from the internet BUT we have learned even more by diving in head first and by doing it (knowing of course some of what we might be up against). My husband found a pdf file on the "net" that gave instructions on how to make a bee vac. He and a friend made one and it worked like a charm! The suction is very low and in the back we put a soft foam so the bees wouldn't fly and hit the back of the box. If you want the instructions let me know & I'll get them to you or post them to give credit to the guy that had them on the web. We've made another one since then with some changes of our own.
One of the things that kept going wrong was the hose kept clogging up because of the honey so we had to have two hoses. When working with bees it's best to always be prepared. When I say it clogged because of the honey my husband had to cut the comb because the bees had built several layers of comb one behind the other and in order to vac the bees we had to cut the comb in sections as we vacuumed them, therefore when the honey dripped down it got on the bees that were below and when they got vacced in it clogged the hose.
As you can see the bee vac can be used by both female and male ;-)

We got the bees out safely along with the honey and comb and all with only two stings and that was on my back side when I went to take off my suit two little girls had crawled on my back and
I didn't know it until I rolled them.
This was our first ever wall extraction and it was the most pleasant experience. But, boy was it a sticky, sticky mess!
We got the hive home and into their new home. I took the comb we retrieved out of the wall, cut it to fit the inside of empty open frames and tied it with string (not a good thing) the best thing to secure it in with is small wire, but I didn't have any and was in a hurry to "fix" it up before night fall. But even though the string wasn't a good thing it did hold up pretty good...long enough for them to propolise the sides, top and bottom to hold it in. Then they chewed the string off and carried it out of their entrance, all in a matter of a week or so. Honeybees are amazing creatures! I don't think we really grasp the concept when we say we're "busy as a bee". This hive we call our # 2 hive because it was our second hive. It has gone through so much though since we rescued them in March of this year (2009). The day after we brought them home we got a call to please come get a swarm of honeybees. Boy, news travels fast! My husband got these on his lunch break and called me to come get them to bring them home. This happened for the next three days. So within a week we had 5 hives, three of them were swarm hives. Anyway, getting back to hive #2 I believe they were robbed within a day or two of setting them up because I saw a large amount of dead bees on the ground around their entrance and the number of bees had dropped drastically. That was their first battle. The next was they lost their queen, then a worker decided she would take over the role and every time I would put eggs in for them to hatch their own queen she would chew the sides of the queen cell and kill the queen. I'll post all of this next time because I have pictures. This blog wouldn't let me post but four pics at a time. So to be continued........
Bee Busy as a BEE ;-)

MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2009

My honey day.....at last

I can't believe we have been official beekeepers for 14 months now and just today I finally harvested our first bit of honey! I have been waiting on this day for 14 months!;-) To make it worse I had to fight with the extractor. I had thoroughly cleaned it and fought like a wet settin' hen trying to get it put back together again. Finally everything is ready for me to get the frames from the hive. I suit up....but before going to "the" hive I stop in to check on our two "newbee" hives that we rescued last week. Both of them are only about a frame a piece, but I can't help it, me and my husband can't see or stand to hear about someone spraying them to death, so we rescue them no matter how small the swarm is, besides when their queen hatches (if they don't already have one) they'll be growing before we know it. I have pics of them too that I'll post. ANYWAY....they are fine so I head for "the" hive take the top off everything is looking great, I was just in them yesterday telling them what the plan was, and started hearing pops on my hat.......I wasn't really seeing them swarming me then after a few minutes it dawned on me....it was starting to rain! I could not believe it!!! So I grabbed a frame (when I say grabbed...I mean I carefully pulled it up) ;-) Brushed of the bees and ran it inside so I could get back out before it started raining to hard, I carefully pulled another frame and brushed the girls off set it down pulled another one making three. Put everything back like it was and made my way back inside to harvest. I wanted to make sure I had enough time to extract the honey and be able to put the frames back in the hive before it got to late in the evening. Mission accomplished. The girls were happy and so was I. We have been sooo "bizzy" with saving swarms for people that want to see them die or "bee" anywhere except where they are, that we haven't been taking any honey for ourselves but just giving it to the "newbees" to give them a better start. I actually only took three frames from one of our swarms that we rescued the first of April. They have been without a queen for a few weeks now but a new one should be hatching out any day now. A couple of weeks ago I put a frame of eggs and brood from one of our other hives in with them so they could produce their own queen, and so far so good. I had done this in a couple of our other hives that lost their queen as well and it has worked wonderfully. This way we don't have to worry about them excepting or NOT excepting a purchased queen.
Getting back to the hive I harvested from.....They have the brood box and shallow box (honey box) full of honey and pollen, so I needed to pull some frames and extract the honey so they will have some room for brood when their queen hatches, mates and begins to lay her eggs. After I harvested the honey I put the frames back in their box to be filled again. This time things will be faster and easier because they've already pulled the cells (comb) out. The first picture is of one of the frames of capped honey. This second picture is the cap being cut off. You can purchase a heating knife but I'm not usually near an outlet so to me this would've been a waste of money when a bread knife or serrated knife works just as good. The honey looks so golden here but when it ran it was so clear.

Here is a picture where it came off in such beautiful sheets, I was thinking if I could rinse it very carefully I might could roll them up and make candles(?) We'll see. I'll let you know how that thought comes to life.

This is the finished product. The pics make it look darker than what we see it, maybe because it's dark outside and the lighting isn't that good for these pictures. Anyway....it tastes soooo good! I know I won't ever buy honey again. This is better and healthier than any honey you can buy in the store! We were reading allot about store bought honey and what they do to it before it gets to the store is not good. That story is for another day.
I got 18 4-ounce jars plus 2 pint jars and an 8 ounce jar out of just three frames. Not bad for our first harvest. In this bottom pic (between the two jars up front) that's a honey comb that I took out of one of our hives a while back. We were waiting on a shipment of frames to come in because we didn't have enough for one of our hives and they started building their own;-)
We have learned allot about bees over the internet, but most of the info is from colder climates. I'm here to tell ya that the heat can take it's toll on a hive and plastic frames. Our poor girls have battled so much here in the deep south. Last year we only had one hive and battled small hive beetles all summer long. This summer I almost lost "our wall" rescue hive to wax moths. I have pics and will post them next time. I have sooo much to write about and soooo many more in pictures. I will try my best to be more diligent in writing more to this blog.
Until then TTFN!
Lots of HONEY you'll need to eat;-)

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