Friday, September 4, 2009

Honey Harvest and Bearding Bees

This week we harvested our first honey from the bees.  They have nearly filled the hive completely with comb, and we wanted to go in and check on their progress, and see if anymore queen cells had been built.  These are larger cells that hang down from the side of the comb where they raise new queens, and it means they are thinking about swarming. Generally we want to reduce the amount they swarm.  We also wanted to make sure all the comb was growing straight down.  A few queen cells were found and removed, and some comb near the end of the hive was curving into a neighboring comb, making the frames difficult to remove.  

We ended up removing an entire frame that was full of capped honey at the top, and nectar on the bottom (not completely dried by the bees yet, or capped) to create some more room, and we cut out the sections that were growing crookedly.  This provided us with about a pint and a half of honey and it is delicious!  Someone had the excellent idea of saving a small amount of it to compare to future harvests and see what different seasons taste like around here.  

Later in the day we were startled to see the bees congregating on their "front porch" (picture above) and were concerned that they might be swarming.  We have since found out that perhaps they were "bearding" which means basically going outside to hang out when the weather is hot and they want more space and ventillation.  

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