Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day #203 First Honey - Sort Of . . .

Last week, when I opened the white hive, those bees were building comb that didn’t look like anything I’d seen in books, so I put out a call for help. Tommy Bailey, one of the leaders of our beekeepers club, dropped by my house Monday to help me figure out what was going on. I wasn’t crazy. The bees had built comb that wasn’t attached to the foundation other than at the top. Some of their comb was so deep it infringed on the space needed by the next frame over.

Thank goodness for Tommy’s bee-sense. He showed me how to slice off the extra-fat comb so the frames would fit. Then we junked three of the five frames, the ones that had so much messed-up comb they weren’t worth saving. This whole operation will set the white hive back a few weeks, but what they build from now on should be better all around. I’ll have to keep an eye on it.

We did find an active queen, and there were lots of eggs and larvae and capped brood, so the hive should eventually thrive. At least, I hope so.

Then we checked the yellow hive – and the comb they’d built in there was as bright yellow as the hive itself. I kid you not. BRIGHT yellow. Tommy said he’d never seen anything like that. The thing is, I have this HUGE Tulip Poplar tree in my front yard, and it’s been in full bloom for several weeks. Tommy said he guessed that the bees were pulling all their nectar and pollen from there, and that it was turning the wax yellow. Isn’t that fun?

Those frames (in theyellow hive) were getting close to being full, so by Thursday I’ll probably have to put a second story on the hive, to give them room to expand. Can you believe it? In two weeks, starting from scratch, those sweeties have built themselves a mansion, and peopled it with everything they need not only to survive, but to flourish.

The comb we cut off drained out into a bucket, and I “harvested” about three tablespoons of honey! The rest I left for the bees to rob out and return to the hive. My grandkids thought the honey was delicious. Life is good.

BEEattitude for Day # 203:
       Blessed are those who are willing to help others, for they shall go on our gratitude lists.

One thing Fran is grateful for right now:
       The wonderful conversation I had with Tommy.

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