August 10, 2010

Proud Mama...of a Bunch of Girls

As some of you know, this was the first year that bees joined the Jones Cottage.  And, what a year it was!  We had some crazy swarming behavior in June.  Still not sure what exactly happened there other than the Girls made a new queen. At least we are pretty sure they did...either way they have continued to produce more bees (need a queen for that) and honey.

Sunday was the day that we "robbed" the hive.  Our hive consists of two deeps or hive bodies and a super.  A super is like a deep other than it's not as deep.  Between the super and one of the hive bodies we had a screen called a queen excluder.  Basically, queens are too big to fit through the queen excluder and therefore, she doesn't lay any eggs in the super.  So, the worker bees store honey in the super and that's what we "rob."  Boy did they do a good job.  It is likely we could have added a second super had we realized just how good our hive was doing.  We are new and since the spring was so wet, we never anticipated a brand new hive doing as well as ours has done this year.  

Turns out the top deep was full of honey too.  The bottom deep appears to have mostly brood.  So, we think the Girls are set for the winter.  We pulled the super, scraped all of the honey and wax off of the frames (10 frames hang down in each box for the bees to make their wax, brood, honey, etc), and put the super back on the hive.  The Girls will clean the honey off that we couldn't get and may even start making we'll see if we get any more between now and the end of September when we pull the super off for the winter.  

Andrew has been working with all of that for the last couple of days.  The final count is approximately 9.5 quarts of honey and 1.5 cups of beeswax.  The honey tastes great and the wax smells amazing.  But then again, I'm the proud mama...I might just be a little biased!
Photos kindly taken by my friend Kathleen Thorpe
Click on the picture for a better look!  And, no, they haven't started making maternity beekeeping suits :)

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