Honeychick Homestead

Homestead, Health, and Happiness


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The Secret Lives of Bees : How Honey Gets Made

P1020885I know it’s been awhile since I wrote about my bees, and although this post shares info about bees, it’s not about my bees. But don’t let that stop you from reading. I promise the link to the article I’m sharing is worth a read!

Thankfully my bees are doing great! I quickly checked on and fed them over the weekend. I was very excited to see how much comb they’ve built and they continue to grow. The Verbena hive already has lots of honey stored for the winter! The Cosmo hive is younger so they have some catching up to do!

I’ve had less time to write because I’ve been working as a volunteer analyst with LymeLight Foundation, and that project continues to need my full attention until the end of this week. I’m grateful to be able to assist a group that gives kids grants for treatment.

Here’s the post I mentioned from Serious Eats on how honey gets made.  I hope you enjoy the information and pictures as much as I did. Next week, I will have a post about my bees!

New Bees, More Fun!

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Busy, busy busy, summer and it’s outdoor and social busyness has arrived! The fruit is ripening and preserving will soon be in full swing. I’d like to get some late summer veggies planted for my garden. Cute baby chicks are still on the to do list, but they likely won’t arrive until fall. My awesome husband has the coop built, so they have a home when I’m ready. I have more recipes to share, and I hope get them written soon. Oh, and I have those beautiful bees to keep an eye on 🙂

For now, you’re just going to have to “bee” happy with this post about my bees! I’ve decided to name my hives to help keep track of everything. The name for the first hive from the bee package will be Verbena, and the queen, “Lorde” lives there. The name for the second hive from the nuc will be Cosmos, and the queen “Beeyonce” lives there.

Here’s pictures of what happened the last couple weeks.

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Hive Check with Pictures of Lorde!

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Last Sunday I finally got the chance check my hive! This was my first time opening it since I removed the top feeder, and I really didn’t check much that time. I’ve been reading more about beekeeping, and one book recommended not disturbing the hive for more than ten minutes. Umm, that’s not much time for this newbee!

My goal for this hive check was to look for Lorde, make sure there weren’t any ants in the hive, check the brood, look for eggs, see how much comb they’d built, and feed them. Over all, things went well. My skills working with the hive are improving…I only killed two bees this time! Injuring, and killing bees is part of being a new beekeeper, at least that what the book said! I have to move much slower than I realized when removing, and replacing the hive boxes. Those boxes are already heavy, and they aren’t even full of honey!

There was lots going on in the hive, and thankfully there were no ants, or mites! I was surprised that very few bees had moved up to the top box, it was almost empty. I saw some eggs, and some capped brood. Capped brood have larvae in them, and soon new bees will hatch. There was also a little bit of honey, and possibly the start of a queen cell. I’m not really sure if that’s what it was. Next time I check the hive I’ll see if it’s still there.

Here’s pictures of the process, enjoy!

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Busy Bees!

We are leaving for two weeks and I’ve been debating if I should add another hive box to Verbena. I asked the guild members, and most recommended checking the box. If it was 60-70% full several members recommended adding a box.

I decided it would be a good idea to check on them. The last thing I want is a swarm while I’m gone!  Yesterday was my first time I working with them alone. I took several deep breaths before approaching the hive, envisioned things going smoothly, and said a quick prayer of protection for me and the bees. Thankfully, everything went smooth, and I didn’t get stung! The most difficult part was removing the top feeder, that thing is HEAVY!

I’m trying to use very little smoke when working with them because they can become desensitized and its becomes less effective. I always have it ready to go, just in case. I have a soft bristle brush that I use to gently move them.

After I removed the top, feeder, and inner cover I was able to peek at the frames. They were at least 70% full, those bees have been busy! It’s amazing in three weeks, how much comb they’ve built. I didn’t remove any frames, or look for the queen because I didn’t want to disturb them more than necessary.

I added a new eight frames deep box to the top of the first one, and then replaced the parts I had removed.. Overall, I accomplished my goal, however, I did kill a few bees 😦 The top feeder was so heavy that I wasn’t able  to move as slow as I wanted before I had to set it down, and few bees were underneath. Once that feeder is empty, I’m going to use a different one that’s easier for me to handle.

I’m excited to check them out when I return. I’ll have more time, and my “assistant/photographer” will be able to help me look for Lorde. We’ll hopefully be able to see how many eggs she’s laid. There may even be new baby bees being born!