22 Apr 2011, 1:55pm
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rainy daze & honey bees

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yesterday evening—driving across the bay to see my love, windows down, my tummy full of rich honey freshly cut from the hive. i’m gonna miss this time in my life when it’s over.

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yesterday one of our bee hives swarmed—basically, the colony grew beyond a certain size and the queen took off with a whole lot of workers in tow (leaving some of the colony to raise a new queen). when a colony swarms, they gather around their queen on a tree branch or something similar and hang out while a bunch of scouts go look for a new place to nest. that’s the point at which we can intervene and capture them in a new hive box, effectively catching ourselves a new colony. which we did!


a little bit of video footage.


the swarm, in a lemon tree in the orchard.


prepping frames for the new box. we added beeswax guides to encourage the bees to lay their honeycomb the way we want them to so we can harvest it easily.


placing the new hive box directly underneath the swarm.


penny shook the tree and in they went!


we left a few frames out of the box at first to make sure the queen would end up all the way in the box. once the bees started to settle down, we carefully added them and then capped the box.

later, after dark, when all the bees are in the hive, the box’s opening was taped up and the box was carefully moved up to the platform where the other hive boxes live.

in the meantime, while we were at it and all decked out in beekeeper garb, we checked on the other hives and decided to harvest a bit of honey and add a super (an extra level for the bees to move into and fill up with honey) to one of them.


we smoked the bees to keep them calm.

yum!

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