Honey bottling

So the other day I wrote about how I went about harvesting honey.  Today I’ll follow up with what I did with the honey.

Bees cleaning up

Bees cleaning up

I’ll start out with clean  up.  I knew that people put their honey coated items out for the bees to clean up, so I figured I would do the same thing.  I put all the crushed and strained wax on a baking sheet and set it under the car port.  I went out an hour later and found this mass of bees.  I knew that they would clean it up, but had no idea how many bees would show up.  They made a mess by spreading the wax out and a lot fell on the driveway.  So I moved this into a yard cart that I have sitting nearby.  I put this out at about 9 and by 4 the wax was completely cleaned.  They did a great job.  I gathered this wax and will use it to coat plastic frames when I get new ones. Continue reading

My First Honey Harvest

All my hives

All my hives

Since this is my second year with my bees, I decided it was time to get a honey harvest.  I knew that the hive on the left was chock full of capped honey.  Last time I was in there I found that there wasn’t much space for the queen to lay her eggs.  I put a new empty box on the hive in hopes of her moving into that box to build up the population.  It didn’t work out that way.  When I opened that hive, I found a lot of bees with their heads in the honey cells.  They were robbers that opened the capped honey and were stealing it for their own hive.  So I missed out on all that honey, but most of those bees were probably from my other 3 hives. Continue reading

Homestead weekly update

Welcome to this week’s update.  Just a short update this week.

Birth of a bee

Birth of a bee

Last update, I showed that my bees have mites.  This week I made up a sugar roll jar to see how many mites my bees have.   I did the test and I found that in a 1/2 cup sample of bees, I had 12 mites drop off with the sugar.  This is fairly high and required treatment.  I treated the bees in this hive with powdered sugar.  I intended on testing the other hives also, but the hive I dusted was very angry with me so I’ll check the other big hive tomorrow.  The picture above is of a bee coming out of her cell.  In the upper right corner you can see her chewing her way out.  Pretty cool and I took more pics, but they didn’t turn out. Continue reading

Homestead weekly update

Welcome to this week’s homestead update.  Sorry it’s been so long since my last update.

Thirsty bees

Thirsty bees

Beekeepers have to supply water for the bees.  If not, the bees will find water on their own.  The problem is it could be your neighbor’s pool or birdbath.  I went to Tractor Supply and bought a poultry waterer to give supply their water.  I see 1 or 2 bees on it at a time.  But the bees don’t listen to me and found their own water.  This is a tire track in the back yard.  I’ve seen as many as 10 bees on that leaf drinking from the puddle.  As the puddle dries up, they move onto the mud.  Bees return to the same water source over and over, so these bees will keep coming to this puddle until it’s dry.  I hope that since the poultry waterer is much closer to the hive that the young foragers will go there instead of to puddles or my neighbor’s pool. Continue reading

My first swarm

I think that I mentioned the other week that I thought I saw queen cells in my stronger hive.  Well I was right.  On Thursday, I walked down to the garden and noticed a lot of bees on one of the holly trees.  I thought it was unusual since those trees don’t bloom until later in the Summer.  I took a look and saw this.

My first swarm

My first swarm

Continue reading

Homestead Weekly Update

Welcome to this week’s homestead update.  Sorry for the delay getting this out.  I was kind of busy with running the kids around.

Asparagus "bed"

Asparagus “bed”

I’ll start out with the asparagus bed.  I haven’t touched this since the Fall and it needed cleaning.  For those that don’t know, once the asparagus you are harvesting get small, you stop harvesting and allow them to grow.  That’s what all these dried weeds are, the asparagus ferns.  I just pulled all these out so the new asparagus has a place to come through.  There’s about 30 crowns in a row along this fence.  If I was to do it again, I would put the crowns in an actual bed.  It is so much easier to keep the other plants out of the way so the asparagus isn’t crowded out. Continue reading

Homestead Weekly Update

Welcome to this week’s homestead update.

Lots of larvae

Lots of larvae

I mentioned in last week’s homestead update that I had a lot of larvae laying on the top bars when I took apart the hives.  I e-mailed my pictures to my bee course instructor who is also the inspector for my county.  She reports back that because of the placement of the cells that these came from, they are almost certainly drone larvae.  The bees like to build drone comb between the frames.  If these were queen cells, the bees would have built the cells hanging down from the bottom of the frames, not placed them horizontal.  I didn’t see any queen cells hanging down so I’m good to go.  She did tell me that next time I’m in the hive, I should scrape the comb off the bottom of the boards to clean up the hive. Continue reading