An Inspiring Introduction to Beekeeping – Part 2

My beekeeping studies continue – this post follows on from An Inspiring Introduction to Beekeeping

A big thank you to my teachers at The Glasshouses, Killult http://www.natithegloine.com 

Smokers

Smoke is puffed over the top of the frames, to calm the bee colony when inspecting a hive.

Scraps of newspaper are first set on fire inside a metal container in the smoker, before adding pine needles to create smoke for the inspection.

The smoke is then dispensed using the small bellows attached to the main metal container.

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Hive Inspection

The roof of the hive is removed gently to allow for close inspection, before smoke is puffed over the top of the frames.

You will see that these outer frames are beginning to get covered in wax comb by the bees. You can also see small residues on the inside cover.

As the inspection continued we witnessed lots of activity on the more central frames. The combs here are also getting heavy with honey, Drone and Worker bee larva, pollen and excess comb.

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The Queen was located near the centre of the hive, where the worker bees are keeping her healthy by feeding her royal jelly.

Adding a Super 

This hive contained eight frames of larvae, thus it was deemed to be in good health, and a new box of frames or super, was added on top of the bottom layer containing the brood colony to:

  • give the colony more space
  • to store more honey.

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Adding a Queen Excluder

A thin divider made of white plastic mesh called a Queen Excluder is placed between the brood colony, and the new super.

The mesh allows the main colony to move freely between layers of the hive, but the Queen will remain with her brood colony, creating new generations of bees.

Harvesting Honey

Beekeepers never take honey from the brood colony, only from the supers. Several layers of supers can be added when honey production is at its peak in summer.

Did you know that a healthy bee colony will produce 60 – 100 pounds of honey in a year?

I bought a lovely jar of local honey to sample, and it was delicious!

Beeswax Comb

Any excess comb on the frames is removed with a hive tool, and can be used to make candles, ointments…

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Classes have ended for this year, but I shall include one more post next month, before follow ups next spring.

Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.

 

 

 

42 Comments »

  1. So interesting, bees are so amazing. I’m not sure if I mentioned this to you before, but a few years ago I read Song of Increase the author is a bee keeper and here is a part of the description “Within these pages is a bee-centric approach to living with honeybees, rather than advice for simply maximizing the products they provide. Jacqueline Freeman takes us beyond traditional beekeeping and offers a way to work in harmony with honeybees for both their good and ours.”
    I thought you would be interested in this book. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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