The past few weeks we’ve been slaving to finish our 170′ fence to enclose the apiary space, as well as create a safe area for our new dog — an Australian Shepherd we’re rescuing from Idaho Falls, Idaho — to romp about. This week we’ll finish the gates and we’ll finally have a beautiful space to host bee classes and wonderful parties.
The first sections being built:
Swarm season is winding down, though between trap outs, Zenger Farm and a few swarms here and there, I’ve still been busy. This coming season I plan to do a lot more trap outs and don’t expect to buy any bees whatsoever.
Over the past couple weeks I’ve noticed a lot more drone corpses piling up below the hive entrances. A few days ago I noticed the workers of one of the Warre hives had corralled the drones and were forcibly removing them one by one.
Drone in the process of being evicted:
A few of many drone corposes found below the hive entrance:
A shot looking in the window of one of the top bar hives:
Recently my wife informed me that the head chef of Lovely Hula Hands restaurant on N Mississippi Ave in Portland was interested in some comb honey for one of his dishes. This, of course, was most exciting news, and after being too busy to fill the order for weeks, I was finally able to harvest a bar of capped honey from one of the top bar hives in our back yard yesterday.
The comb with bees still covering it:
With the hive from which it came in the background:
To harvest this honey I used a method called the “evacuation method” to get the bees off of the comb. The idea is to harvest the honey around dusk, and the hope is that the bees will quickly evacuate the comb and move back to their hive as darkness encroaches. However, I believe I harvested a dash too early, and I ended up with thousands of bees in the air, on the deck, on the comb, on the honey puddles, fighting vigorously over the smallest droplets. Next time I’ll do it a bit later.
Prior to cutting the comb, I weighed the entire bar and it was a decent 7lbs. This provided around 3lbs of comb honey squares and the rest I placed in the jar to be crushed and strained.
The comb prior to cutting:
That which will be crushed, strained and placed in jars:
Within an hour of harvesting I was at Lovely Hula Hands, doing my part to make Portland one of the best farm-to-table dining experiences in the world!
I leave you with a bee chain hanging on by a single leg!