In the last couple of weeks, we've been busy! We harvested our Urania hive, and moved our Terpsichore hive.+++ The Harvest!+++
The harvest was on Friday, August 6. I was getting ready to go to work, so I was hoping around. It was so strange not to be part of the harvest! I stuck around long enough to stick my fingers in the sun warmed wax, always the best part of beekeeping!
This is the first time we've harvested Urania 2 (U2). U1 was a sweet, docile hive. We would "talk" for the bees in psuedo stoner - surfer voices. "Oh hey man. Er, buzz. Yeah. Hey. Buzz." U2 is much more OUT OF MY WAY I AM BUSY HERE. I kept thinking that once they saw how good the food selection was around here, that they would settle down. Well... they haven't. But, they are a strong hive and a productive hive.
Getting ready. Umbrellas are an under appreciated component of beekeeping equipment.
U2 before harvest.
Smoke time! We anticipated the worst - but surprisingly, no stings at all!
M took off the top super first, and set it aside. He then pulled frames from the bottom super, brushed them on to the top super, and then took the frame to the extraction tank. This worked great - the girls were distracted by all the things to do, and he didn't have a ton of followers to the extraction tank.
Frames removed. (the two with no bees on them were brand new frames with no drawn comb)
I love the way the sheets of wax pull off the frames. So gorgeous!
The first pour. This honey is pretty light in color, with the slightest green tint. M commented that this may be worth entering into the county fair next year.
All bottled! We took these stir sticks to allow folks to try the honey, giving us a few extra sales.
I'm thrilled that Luke's Local bought a jar of our honey for their coffee and tea station. Local honey at a local stop! (Thank you for supporting your local bees and beekeepers!!!)
+++ The Hive Move!+++
Terpsichore, our oldest hive, had to be moved to a new property. Terpsichore is a strong hive with no nonsense bees. I received a sting from them last year, so I'm a bit wary of this hive. Our plan was to split the hive in half for the move: honey supers separated from brood boxes. This was to reduce the total weight and improve the mobility. After sunset last Friday night, we went to shut the bees in for the night. M lifted the honey supers off and walked them a few feet to the right of the brood boxes. I bent over to pick up the extra lid to cover the brood boxes and ONE TWO THREE got stung twice in the thigh and once in the butt. Fearing more coming, I said "I'm gone!" walked quickly down the hill to the truck, and ripped my pants off to get the stingers out. (And if you were driving on Highway 9 that night, hello to you too!) M had finished covering the bees and met me down there.
(Earlier in the day I had been watering my garden. I went to turn off the hose bib and got a sharp pain in my upper right arm. A U2 bee, for reasons totally unknown to me, had decided to follow me about fifteen feet from the hive and sting me in the arm. What the????)
We got up the next morning to go move Terpsi while it was still cool and foggy. I was _not_ looking forward to this. It's one thing to be stung and keep on, it's another to be stung four times in a day and go work with a hive that is going to be really ticked off by what you're about to do. We loaded the hives up in the truck without incident.
We drove out to Terpsi's new house (a gorgeous garden on the mountain top) and started the unloading process. Overall, things started smoothly. We got everything ready for the final move this lid and set these supers on! and poor M - he lifted the honey supers about two inches and they slipped out of his grasp. The bees were MAD. They were already sick of us, but this put them over the edge. His work pants were dotted with stingers (none penetrated, I am getting some of those pants!!!) but he did get one sting on the forearm. He finished setting up the hive, and already he saw the girls sticking their butts up signaling "come home".
Silly me. I wanted a photo of the new location, and walked near the hive from a different angle. A bee flying by got caught in my hair and walked up under my head scarf. I tried and tried to free her, but finally realized, let's just get it over with. Strangely, getting stung on the head isn't that bad. That, or I was already so full of bee venom that it didn't bug me!
The honey is selling well. The stings have all healed. That brings my lifetime sting count to nine. (one when I was five, three last year from hiving the bees, getting the Terpsi sting, and being dumb enough to put my hand on a bee on my pants), and five from this weekend. Crazy!
My yoga teacher, bless his concern. "You did not die did you?" No. I'm still here, and still a beekeeper!