First Honey Harvest!

Today, I went outside to find an active hive, hundreds of bees on missions, returning with pollen baskets full of orange pollen. So I spent some time reading about swarm cells, mites, hive management, and so forth, and then I decided I had to go into the messy, messy hive with horribly crooked comb. I knew it wouldn't be pretty, and it wasn't.

The comb was not, as I knew, built along the top bars. Here's a summary of what happened: I went to a class and was told that the first year, you leave the hive alone. There's no management. You may harvest some honey in September. This was not great advice. My bees went renegade, and I made the executive decision, late summer, that it was too late to fix the situation. I would leave them alone until spring.
Well, when I saw them returning home with such a bounty of pollen, I decided that today was spring, and I went in, armed with a chicken tail feather, a bread knife, my bee suit, a large bowl, and a bucket. I started removing bars, brushing away bees with the feather, and cutting out comb; it was all honey and nectar or bare comb. I worked until they were in an absolute tizzy. I don't know how many times I got stung. I noticed that I don't really feel stings until later. I believe maybe three times, as I noticed something on the back of my left calf and on my left arm near the elbow and maybe one other spot. I'm not done. There's still crooked comb, but they were having a conniption, poor girls. I had to relieve them. Today, I didn't use any smoke, but next time, I believe I will have to. Especially since I believe that it would be better if I went in and finished the job tomorrow.
In the meanwhile, I have honey to process and comb to melt into wax. I removed as many bees as I could from the honey. After harvesting comb, a few fly back onto the combs. I really did my best to brush as many off as possible. I might try to melt the wax tonight. I read something about doing it in water and that it would float. Need to read up a bit more. I will be sure to take photos and blog about the processes as I figure them out and try them. So excited to have honey.
 A big day for the chickens as well. The hens went into their dome and clucked away, and I took the little halflings and put them into the outdoor coop. It was the longest they've been outside. I'm not sure how big of a deal scent is with chickens, but the shared territory might be of service later when I have to introduce the younger two to the big mammas. Eventually, I moved them back (babies to basement and hens to coop) because the americauna started squawking like she wanted to lay an egg.

I think I'd like to plant some peas and maybe some kale tomorrow as well as continue the beekeeping mission. Camillas, crocus, and daffodils have all been in bloom for a couple of weeks. Dandelions also starting to appear.

1 comment:

  1. congrats on the honey and wax! it does look like spring there...it's been rainy here the last few days, but it's starting to feel like nice spring rain rather than icky winter rain. i'm seeing some crocuses but no daffodils yet :( jealous.