“If everything is honey and I am what I eat, I must be made of honey and life is very sweet.” Winnie-the-Pooh
The final inspection of my hives happened without me. I was catching up on errands and never got the message that Jodi, my bee mentor, was on her way. Both hives were too tall and needed consolidating to help the bees make it through the winter. At this point, they have kicked out the drones and are settling in, clustered in the center keeping the queen and brood warm. My plan was to take off the top supers (hive boxes) and checkerboard the honey frames between the two hives. We removed 13 frames from the “Empire State Building” hive on August 7 but none from the smaller hive. Though the bees have since had time to build up more stores, including what they cleaned from the extraction equipment, my concern was the taller hive might need additional frames of honey to make it through. I needn’t have worried.
Jodi left me a message; the humor in her voice gave away her sarcasm. “You’re not going to want to hear this but you are will be extracting about 50 more pounds of honey. I could barely lift the supers, they are chock full and the bees have plenty!” These photos are courtesy of Jodi and show the height of the hives before and after with a shot inside of the ladies hard at work. The “after” shot includes her ingenious efforts to keep the frames safe and dry until I came home to move them. They were stacked on the benches between the hives.
My first year, I took no honey from my single hive. Last year I had two hives and took just 12 pounds. They didn’t make it through the winter and I had to start all over again this Spring. The idea of harvesting 100 pounds this Fall is a huge bonus. Bee keeping isn’t cheap. The total for the new bees was over $300, plus we added frames and equipment along the way. A bee produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon in her lifetime. It’s no wonder honey has been found in ancient tombs and has been prized since early civilization. Mine should rightly sell for more than most designer drugs. Given the choice, I will gift it to those I love.