February 2014 - Fear NO Honey Bee

Honey I am harvesting the honey

With both of my bee hives dying, we had to process the honey.  With our hives being warre´ we cannot use the traditional method of harvesting honey that you may be familiar with.  For Lang hives, you harvest the box called a super.  Super’s have a number of frames in them, that you would take out.  You would use either a hot knife or a regular knife.  You then cut off all the cappings covering the honey, then you put these frames into a round machine called an extractor.  You then spin out all the honey from these frames, it hits the wall and falls down do a collection area, and now you have your honey.  This method is great if you force the bee’s to build the frames out to fit your way. In warre´ hive keeping.  You essentially let the bee’s build their honey comb any way that they wish.  Usually this is anything but straight to the human.  And thus harvesting can be different.  Here you use what is called “crush and strain”  It is essentially as it’s name implies.  You crush the honey comb and honey and all, then you strain it. Now to describe the process that we chose and some supplies that you will need. A couple of 5 gal buckets Something suitable as a strainer Something to crush Warm area Seems real complicated doesn’t it?  First one of your buckets you will drill holes into the bottom of it.  This will allow the honey to go through it.  Next you will need something to act as a strainer.  I chose to purchase...

Sad but Sweet

It is with sad news that I report to you that both hives have died (laymen’s terms).  Technically in bee keeping terminology it is called a “Dead Out”.  But regardless they are both gone.  We had suspicion back on December 20 that the “West” hive was dead as we put the candy board in to possibly supplement their honey if they ate it all during the winter.  Then back on January 13 a 50ºF day, we inspected the other hive in what our suspicion turned true that they too were dead. A friend of mine is going to put the bee’s under a microscope to make sure they did not die of a disease.  I don’t suspect that he will find anything.  Right now my suspicions is they died of “Freezing to death”.  In the winter bee’s will form a clump and huddle together.  Keeping each other warm, as well as the queen and any brood that are being developed.  They rotate out about 1/3 – 1/2 at a time, sleeping to warming the hive.  I suspect that on a warmer day, that they separated from the cluster, but then did not cluster back quickly enough as the temperature dropped and froze.  But honestly, we may never know. Here are the temperatures for our home from our weather station charted out for the Month(s). Where do we go from here?  Well, as part of the bee club I’m in, I have already ordered one set of bee’s.  They will be going into new Langstroth hives.  Then I’m hoping to either trap a swarm or get a call to go...