Category Archives: beekeeping

#624: Summer sweetness

 A long, long time ago, last June,
I spent hours pinching off peaches.
Each branch of our peach trees had 20 or so tiny peaches.
Each branch can fully grow only one, maybe 2.
So off came the extras. 
And the effort paid off.

Even in the high branches.
 A pinching off of excess ‘stuff’ and activities
in the rest of my life may well prove equally fruitful.

Summer sweetness.

More sweetness: from our hive.
The bees have filled the frames.

All that excess comb on top!
Sweetness guarded by stings, a bee suit helps.
One more harvest: wineberries.
These are an invasive raspberry relative from Asia.
We love them.
As does one cheeky catbird who swoops in even 
when we’re picking.

The beginning of winter stores.
Saving summer sweet to get through bitter winter.
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#568: Honey Harvest

Our first honey harvest!

Always start with the smoker.
I was told the bees think there’s a fire, 
so they eat  honey and get all dopey.
Like us, at Thanksgiving.
Whoa, honeycomb in the top super already!
We have very busy bees.

There’s a metal grate on top of the 2nd super 
which prevents the queen from moving farther up.
It’s called a ‘queen excluder’.

The workers call it
‘another thing to make honeycomb on’

Checking the frames, this one’s full and capped off.

Scrape off the cap wax, carefully,
then hang the frame to drip over a cookie sheet.

As Carl says:
“This house is about to be filled with the sound of yum.”
Indeed.

#557: Beekeeping on Nantucket

My son has added a 3rd super to his hive.
His friend brought the vintage smoker,
to keep the bees calm:
Might need a little non-vintage duct tape.

The reason they need a 3rd super:
the bees were building comb on their roof.

Which we carefully scraped off.
No beekeeper wastes honeycomb.
Nice calm bees.

The pale top half is capped off cells, full of honey.
The orange cells on the lower right contain drones.

Building comb on the top of the frame,
they want a third floor!
Which my son is happy to supply,
note the queen exclusion screen.
She’s not allowed upstairs.

And…top back on.
Now to do some research on small hive beetle traps,
we saw a few beetles. Dang.

Honeycomb.
Propolis on the side. Bees make it to seal the hive.
Stradivarius used it in his varnish.
It tastes like zinnias. Luthiers are welcome to it.

I’m good with just the honey.
Thanks, bees.