Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Whose Your Favorite Pollinator?

Baby G isn't the only new addition (to-be) in our household.  The story goes like this...  My dad has been keeping bees in his backyard for several years.  After seeing how enjoyment he get's out of his insects and knowing how much the world needs more honeybees, Seth and I mentioned that we would be interested in doing a little keeping of our own.  So for Christmas, Dad graciously gifted us with a hive body, frames, and the rest of the stuff we needed to get started.  We got everything set up and in late April, Dad delivered some bees.  We got a queen (pretty important) and I think around 200 bees to assist her.  In my ever growing state, I have not played such an active part in the bee keeping process.  Luckily, Seth has taken to it and last weekend, he opened up the hive to check around.

Seth got the smoker all started and opened up the hive.  The bees were none to pleased.  The smoker is important because they smoke calms the bees down a bit (basically it gets them a little high).  This is crucial for a sting free process.
Inside the hive body, we have frames for the bees to build comb on and store honey.  Sometimes, they build in places they shouldn't, like the top of the box.
Sweet little bees...
When they build where they aren't supposed to, Seth gets to scrape away the comb.  If you leave the comb near the hive, the worker bees will come and pull all the good stuff out and return it to the hive.  Its pretty cool.

Pure, raw, honey!  We do plan to harvest our honey.  The hive needs time to be well established, so it will probably be a year before we are able to do that.
Hive maintenance also calls for pulling out the frames to see how full they are.  This one is getting there.

This frame is almost full.  Once all the frames are full, we will add another hive body on top.  This helps prevent the hive from breaking into two and swarming. 

And there you have it- bee keeping as narrated by me.  There are way more technical terms for all this and probably a bunch of stuff I am leaving out.  Overall, bee keeping is relatively simple and honey bees are badly needed.  PSA: Everyone go get a hive.  Now.  But really, they are easy and beneficial. 

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