Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm just a little black rain cloud, hovering over the honey tree...

The other day I noticed the clump of bees hanging on the outside of the hive.  Today my Mister finally had some time to go investigate.  He opened the thing up and decided that the crooked combs had been rebuilt crookedly again really needed to be cleared out.  

He cut quite a bit out and spaced the now-empty bars in between straight comb so that they hopefully rebuild straight this time.  This is the picture where I got a little too close and got chased away by a couple of angry bees.  They don't like people stealing their honey.  After getting the combs cleared up, the bees were too riled up for him to do anything with the bees on the outside of the hive, so we're hoping it's not a major problem.  We'll let them calm down for a few days and take a closer look then.  I'm hoping they were just running out of space inside, and had started building comb on the outside- and not that they are getting ready to swarm...  With how much honey we had to cut out, we're a little worried about winter anyway.  We'll see how much they have left and how much more they can produce between now and winter.  

Just a couple of fatalities.

We tried some of the honey comb.  The kids were not a fan of the wax.  The honey was so sweet that I had a hard time eating my spoonful.  It needed a good biscuit or fresh bread or something.

With top bar hives, you don't use an extractor, you mash all the comb up in a big pot.

Scoop it into jars.

Cover the jar with a mesh-material.  We used cheesecloth, but I think tulle would work a lot better.  (UPDATE: the morning after setting the jars up, very little honey had dripped into the bottom jars, so I stopped by the fabric store and bought 1/2 yard of tulle- it should last for quite awhile- the difference was amazing, at this rate they might be done in a few hours!)

Place an empty jar (with ring) on top of the jar with mashed honeycomb.

Tape them together really well.


It's supposed to be done by tomorrow morning, but I think the cheesecloth is slowing things down.  If it doesn't look like there's been much progress by morning, I'll go by the fabric store to get some tulle to try again.

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