Sunday, May 31, 2009

What's the buzz, tell me what's a-happenin'?

Today we went over to see our new beekeeper buddy, Dave. He gave me a bit of hands-on experience with the beehives!

I was in charge of keeping the smoker smoking. I didn't do very well; it snuffed itself out by the time we'd walked to the hives, and Dave had to restart it. Ooops! To think I keep a wood furnace stoked all winter. Here's Dave relighting the smoker as I look sheepish:

Once we finally got the smoker going, Dave had me smoke the hive. In a nutshell, smoke calms down the bees. You want to give them enough to drive them further into the hive, but not so much that you asphyxiate them. Here I am on the right, trying not to asphyxiate Dave:

"I think I've got the hang of it now, Dave!"

As I watched and Gordon stood well back, Dave gently pried apart some frames with his hive tool:

Then he lifted out a frame of beautiful, busy bees:

Here are two frames gently set aside as we inspected a third. The bees are very happy and healthy, and the queen has been laying lots of eggs. They look like grains of white rice when they are first laid, one per hexagonal cell:

Guess who? It gives you serious hat-hair, but you won't get stung on the face! I think it also minimizes wrinkles, not to mention my chin...

Prepare yourself for an onslaught of honeybee posts after we get our own hives set up in a couple of weeks!


  1. I love honey! How great it that to have your own production!!!

  2. how fun that you're helping! My hubby has a fascination w/ bee keeping so he'll be especially interested to read future posts!

  3. Do I see a Pooh Bear in the making ;o)

  4. I have wanted to do this since I was in my 20s, which is a long time ago! And Surani, when I was a child, my parents read "Winnie the Pooh" stories to me all the time.

    I still am not a big fan of the taste of honey, though I will use it in cooking and baking. But I love the smell, and I LOVE beeswax, and most of all I am totally fascinated by bees. (And fortunately not allergic to their stings!)

    Shelley, as I understand it, beekeeping needn't be a hugely time-consuming hobby. Maybe someday your hubby will get a couple of hives for up at the log cabin! Although if you have black bears, you might need an electric fence around the hives!

  5. So what kind of smoke is that? If you use marijuana do the bees get stoned?

  6. Oh, how exciting! I want to keep bees in the worst way. Darned city bylaws!!! I'll have to live vicariously through your posts so please keep them coming!

  7. I've heard that if the bees have access to lavender flowers they make lavender flavoured and tinted honey.Likewise for marijuana flowers.H-m-m-m!

  8. Gives "honey pot" a whole new meaning, eh Fran? I suppose if I had a legal marijuana grow-op, I could start a whole new, relaxing line of honey!

    Michele, they are stoopid to have bylaws against backyard beekeeping. Don't get me started! Do you know anyone slightly out of the city with a bit of land? You don't need much!

    And Mo, it's not pot smoke. You can use grass(the kind from your lawn), wood shavings, sumac "flowers" and various other things in your smoker. ALthough I do wonder how bees would react to a big whiff o' ganja!

  9. No mysterious bee deaths in your area, then? They have been wiped out in many areas.

  10. I think a lot of people have been having issues with colony collapse, but the beekeepers around here are hanging in there. My fingers are crossed!!

  11. Very cool.

    Bees have a secret life, you know. It's true. I just watched a movie where they said so.

  12. Ah, James, excellent! I have a secret life too. ;) Actually, I just read The Secret Life of Bees and am wondering if the movie is as good as the book. And is it a chick flick? Shall I torture my husband with it?


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