Sunday, July 05, 2009

I do believe I am officially a beekeeper!

Today I did my first inspection of my beehives, which involved taking them apart and putting them back together again. I had worked myself up into quite a lather of anxiety over this, worrying that I would do something totally stupid and rile up a couple of thousand bees. But it all went just fine and as my anxiety subsided, I became quite engrossed in looking at my beautiful girls (and a few lazy drones.)

If you'll recall, we currently have "Franken-hives", as I am switching the bees from a regular Langstroth hive (green boxes) to a D. E. hive (white parts.) So far the girls are still only working in the bottom deep (box.)

Gordon took photos of me today as I worked.

First, a little bit of smoke under the lid. (Well, the real first was a little bit of smoke at the entrance to the hive!)

"Helloooo? Anybody home?"

That hive tool, so handy for prying apart things that are stuck together!

"Does my butt look fat in this?" Gordon took a surprising number of gratuitous rear-end shots. Okay, so it's not that surprising.

I have carefully taken out the first frame of bees and am putting it vertically on the ground, to lean against the hive. I'm trying very hard not to crush any bees as I do this. When a bee is crushed, a certain scent is emitted that tells all the other bees that their sister has been murdered, and they should get out there and get defensive!

Closely inspecting another frame of bees. You do not, do NOT, want to drop a frame of bees. I am holding on very tightly.

Look at that bunch of bodacious buzzers!

I didn't get stung. I didn't drop a frame of bees. I don't think I squashed any bees (maybe none! I didn't hear any ominous crunching.) I took everything apart and put it all back together again correctly. My first inspection went well, and I'm calling myself a beekeeper now!



  2. That is very cool. Seriously, I am impressed.

    I can't wait til you post a picuture of yourself with one of those 'bee beards'. I love those.

  3. Oooooh, I dunno if there will ever be a bee beard on me. Otoh, I have said "never" and been proven wrong too many times. Nonetheless, I would need to build up a lot more courage (or lose even more sanity) to be wearing bees on my face!

    Mo, I love the bee song link!

    "But maybe I wouldn't be a bee,
    Bees are all right when alive, you see,
    But when bees die
    You really should see 'em,
    Pinned on a card
    In a dirty museum.

  4. Anonymous8:48 pm

    you are crazy!!

    Jill from NY

  5. Bee-utiful.

    But whatever happened to head-in-a-jar?

  6. Anonymous10:22 pm

    Oh, I hope, I hope, I hope you're my secret Santa this year and I get honey!!!!

    Great job!

  7. SoonerShamrock8:52 am

    You are certainly a braver woman than I am!

  8. Very cool! I'm glad that it went well for you. I'm impressed too!

  9. Nice job, Beekeeper! Very impressive display of your beekeeping skills there!

    And when can we expect honey sales to begin?! I love me some wildflower honey! lol

    Keep up the good work!

  10. Congratulations! I'm following this with interest. Let me know when I can come to have a taste of your delicious honey! BTW how many times can you harvest honey?

  11. Monika, because my bees had a late start this year (spring was cold -- I'm sure it was the same where you are!) I may not take any honey this year, but we'll see how they do. You have to leave them enough to survive the winter.

    Normally I think you harvest honey in late August/September, and in this neck of the woods (as opposed to the US south, for example), you do it once a year (I think!) Once the bees really get going, you start adding shallow "supers" (the boxes that make up the hives), as many as the bees can fill with honey. You exclude the queen from the honey supers so no eggs get laid in there. (Nobody want bee eggs and larvae in their honey!) Then at the end of the summer, you get the bees out, take the supers away, take the frames of honeycomb and honey out of the supers, and use a centrifuge to spin out the honey out of the frames. That's the Reader's Digest version! :)

    So I will have honey for you either this fall or next! :) And eggs sometime around Christmas, when the chicks we are getting WEDNESDAY will be big enough to start laying.

  12. Jill, people are very polarized about bees. I either get "You're a freakin' nutcase!" or "Wow, that is SO cool!" Hahaha!

    HWB, the head is well overdue for a draining. I let it percolate way too long between drainings. I need to get on that. Like, tomorrow. And thanks Jenn and Michele. Remind me to ship some honey to Saskatchewan when I harvest it!

  13. Anonymous6:13 pm

    It is a far, far better thing that you have done than you have ever done before (thank you, Mr. Dickens). My epi-pen and I will stay the hell away from...I mean, far, far away from your girls, that's for sure!

    Wombat Boy is right. Your butt is bee-youtiful. oh wait...


  14. Why do you have to take the hive apart and examine the bees? Are you just making sure things are going well since you are wanting them to move to the new hive, or is this more or less a weekly task in the life of a beekeeper?

    You look mahvelous in the beekeeper outfit, m'dear.

    Nancy & the GSD crew


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!