Bee Keeping
 
Sharon has the whole family venturing into the hobby of keeping bees.
Check out the photos on this page as we chronical putting up our first hive.

 
  Preparing the site  

April 26th 2008 - Clearing a site for the hive.

The location had to be leveled and the hive needs to face south-by-southwest.

     

 

  Prepping the frams   April 26th 2008 - Prepping the frames for the hive.
       
  Gluing the boxes   April 26th 2008 - Nail and glue the hive boxes "supers".
       
  Preparing the wax foundations   April 26th 2008 - Loading the frames with the wax foundations.
       
  Inspecting the paint job.   April 30th 2008 - Tiger inspects the paint job!
       
  Placing and opening the NUC  

May 3rd 2008 - Delivery of the "Nuc". The bees arrive in a prepackaged box with 5 frames.

Here the hive is being smoked so that the sponge that covers the opening can be removed.

The bees are in the environment where the hive is to be placed so they can be acclimated.

       
  Peek Inside the NUC.   May 3rd 2008 - A peek inside the "Nuc". The queen is in there somewhere.
       
  The first bees venture out.   May 3rd 2008 - The first few bees venture out.
       
  Hive box at the ready.   May 3rd 2008 - Hive box prepped and ready to go.
       
  Smoke in preparation for the move.   May 4th 2008 - Smoking the colony in preparation for transfer to the hive.
       
  Pulling the first frame.   May 4th 2008 - First Frame comes out.
       
  First frame in.   May 4th 2008 - One down four to go.
       
  Our new friends.   May 4th 2008 - We inspected the colony for the queen but we didn't find her. The smoke in the smoker went out and they started getting a touch agitated so we put the frames in and closed up shop.
       
  Our youngest apiarist!  

May 4th 2008 - The "Jr." bee-keeper had things well under control. Mom and dad both got stung (only once) on the head. At then end it wasn't too bad. Kind of like a right of passage.

Note to self, get some extra viels!

       
  Everything is all set.  

May 4th 2008 - Going down with the ship! Sharon hung out at the end and picked up the misc. equipment. The colony was stirred up but not so much that we couldn't make a graceful exit.

Here she's retrieving the extra frame and tools. We left the NUC box there for the stragglers and then picked it up later in the day. We also placed a feeder at the entrance to the hive.

We saw a ton of them foraging later in the day and lots of pollen going into the hive. Seems things are well established and off to a good start.

       
  Long shot of the beehive location.  

May 4th 2008 - The hive site is at the edge of a field. The hive faces south-south west so the colony gets sun all day long.

Behind the hive is a wooded area that provides a wind break.

The area is remote from pathways, livestock, and such and seems to be well underway.

  Second super is on.   June 1st, 2008 - The second hive box (or super as it is called) is on and the bees are beginning to populate it in this shot.
   

June 1st, 2008 - This is another shot of the super open. We were pulling one of the frames so we could add a feeder frame to the box.

The feeder frame allowed us to supply some suplemental sugar water to the bees for their honey production.

Over the course of the summer the bees filled out these two boxes and we added one more shorter one (called a medium) to the top. Once we added the top box, we stopped feeding the bees as the honey produced would be a different quality.

If all works out we'll have some honey to extract at the end of the season.

   

June 1st, 2008 - The feeder frame allowed us to supply some suplemental sugar water to the bees for their honey production.

Over the course of the summer the bees filled out the two lower boxes and we added one more shorter one (called a medium) to the top of the hive in mid-July.

Once we added the top box, we stopped feeding the bees as the honey produced would be a different quality.

If all works out we'll have some honey to extract at the end of the season.

   

October 11th, 2008 - It all worked out and the medium (the third box we added to the hive in mid July) had some honey for us :-)

We treated the hive and prepped it for winter and then set off to extract the honey. These next shots were of the process for honey extraction that we performed on October 11th.

This is the top super with a few frames removed. In this image you can see one of the frames with some honey. The honey in the visible frame is a little light but about half the frame is covered in cap (beeswax).

    October 11th, 2008 - We were fortunate enough to borrow some tools from a friend and here we're cutting the cap off one of the frames in preparation for extraction.
   

October 11th, 2008 - We strained the cap through some cheesecloth and plan to make candles with the collected beeswax.

    October 11th, 2008 - Here are some of the frames prepped for extraction. Some of them were full and suprisingly heavy for medium frames.
   

October 11th, 2008 - In this shot the first frame is loaded in the extractor. This extractor does four frames at a time. The extraction process was interesting. It was a cool day and the honey wasn't that free flowing.

We spun, and we spun, and we spun, and eventually the honey came out. We'll know for next time to do it when it is a bit warmer - lesson learned.

What sticks out the most after the experience was that we had specs of honey all over us after we were done.

   

October 12th, 2008 - The next morning we drained the honey inot a pot for in preparation for the filtering.

Over the course of a week we strained the honey into pitchers using several layes of cheesecloth (forgot to take pictures - oops). Once we filtered it enough we poured the honey into jelly jars.

   

October 12th, 2008 - Here are a few of the jars that were produced.

The honey is a light to medium gold color and has a very creamy and smooth texture. Because it's source is not dedicated we're obligated to refer to it as wildflower honey but is akin to what most would refer to a clover honey. We just refer to it as liquid gold :-)

The hive is closed for the season and the bees appear to be faring well as the cold weather approaches. We will be building out some new boxes over the winter in preparation for adding another set of supers for 2009.