Thursday, February 23, 2012

Feeding the Bees

Have you noticed? The weather is warming. The trees are bursting with buds. That means it's bee season!
So, here are Adam's four hives. The two hives on the left survived the winter and have bees inside. The two on the right did not survive; the bees died. Adam already took a box full of honey and comb from the red hive, and put it into a big plastic bucket. He drained a pint of honey from it to give to the couple who are graciously allowing us to keep our bees on their land.
Today Adam took the comb and remaining honey back to the bees. He's gonna feed it to the bees that are still alive. Here's Jerry, our friend.
Adam opens the bucket.
Here's the yucky-looking comb and honey. Doesn't look very good, does it? The bees disagree :)
Adam up-ended a cover on top of one of the dead hives and then turned the bucket upside-down so all the contents would empty into the tray.
There it is. There was more honey left in there than you'd think. Gooey, sticking, yummy honey.
There's even some left in the bottom of the bucket. Adam left it turned on its side, for the bees to clean. They're very efficient, and by tomorrow, every available drop of honey will be gone from the tray and the bucket, and taken back into the two surviving hives, to be fed to new baby bees. The worker bees will tell the queen, "Hey, lady! There's honey outside now! It's time for you to begin to lay more eggs." So she will.
Today was one of those early spring days with a warm wind, and billowing clouds that skate across the sky, with gray undersides that bode of possible rain.
The bees discovered the honey in minutes. They'll spend all their time robbing this comb now.
Adam also looked into the other dead hive, the second one from the right. It has really beautiful drawn comb. The comb was dry and mostly empty of honey and bee bread, because the other two surviving hives had already robbed this dead hive of all its treasures. Adam thinks these bees died of cold. He's not sure. The queen failed.
Adam's been asked to give a short presentation on bee-keeping next week, so he'll take a box of these empty combs to show to people.
An up-close shot of the comb/honey. You can see the dark honey, around the comb. The comb itself is dark and dirty with lots of dead bees/baby bees/bee bread, etc. But it cleans up nicely if you boil the comb once or twice in water, and cut off the dark part. I'll use it to make more "Dama's Bee Cream."
Some of the comb, however, was white and clean, with beautiful honey in it. I had a good snack on that! The wax is fun to chew, after the honey is eaten. Yay for the bees! Summer's coming!

2 comments:

  1. Hope the bees find the sourwood trees this spring. All the honey will look just like your last picture.

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  2. I am fascinated by beekeeping and even hoped, some years ago, that about this time in our lives my husband and I might take it up as a hobby and service to the world -- which is what I think it is. I love all the pictures you've posted!

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