Friday, May 22, 2015

Bees are more than honey

I would like to recommend the movie 'More Than Honey'. It is available on Netflix, Hulu Plus, and I'm sure many more places. It discusses the bee situation world wide. This is not just a problem in the U.S.

 We are very small scale bee keepers, hobbyists really. We lost 40% of our hives over this past winter. One of our friends who raises bees as his total livelihood lost 80%. We don't send our bees away for the winter we did one year and lost all but two hives. It wasn't worth it to us. So we winter them here.

 Ah but we are still learning. We put the bees in a small silo (old corn silo) thinking they would be out of the wind, rain, snow etc... but that wasn't a good idea. On warm days they went out but they couldn't find their way back in... We had no idea but a second bee keeper we know told us that's what happened.  We've bought more bees. Ordered some new queens and are working to build our hives up again.

We love the bees. I enjoy hearing them buzz on the fruit trees and in the garden. I know that they are blessing us with pollination and later they will share some of their sweet honey with us. We too share with them. We buy them brood patties to build up the young. If the spring is slow we make sure they have plenty to eat. We watch them and care for them because they are such a vital part of our survival.


 More Than Honey trailer


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring Split

Here are a few pictures of the 'spring split'.  The bees wintered well and needed room to spread out.  Some had shallows added (I didn't go with them to that set of hives so no pictures...) but I do have some pictures of this hive being split.

Checking for a queen cell.
Yes, there is one so that one went into the new hive.

Lots of brood at all different ages.

So what was one is now two.
The fellows will go up in about two weeks and split the remaining hives.
Our fruit trees and the fruit trees all around us are in full bloom.
So there is lots for the bees to enjoy!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Bees Winter

The bees wintered well.  The hives are still heavy with honey.  The hives are ready to split.  DH and #1 son are going to split the hives tomorrow so they don't get any ideas to swarm.  I hope to get some pictures to share.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don't they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.” 
― Ray Bradbury

Thursday, May 16, 2013

First honey harvest of the year

#1 son and DH have been working the bees.  They purchased some new queens (they just come in the mail).     After about three years the old queens stop laying.  The hive will make another queen but it takes about one and a half months so this speeds the process.  The first harvest of the year produced apx. 5 gallons of honey.  This is the honey harvest process.

Another by-product is wonderful beeswax.  We clean the capping wax, we leave the cells so the bees can just fill them again.  It's a lot less work for the bee which means more honey.  :-)

The wax goes into the double boiler which is a #10 can that has been modified.

When it is all melted we pour it through a nylon to filter out all the extra 'stuff' and what is left is beautiful clean wax that smells divine. 

Uses for beeswax??

  • Candles and ornaments
  • Lip balm
  • Cosmetics and medicinal creams
  • Waterproofs shoes, fishing lines
  • Lubricant for doors, windows, tools
  • Wax for skis, toboggans, bow strings
  • Furniture polish
  • Soap making
  • Beard and mustache wax
  • Leather waterproofing
  • Polishes
  • Wood filler

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Raw Honey

Just exactly what is raw honey??

“Raw Honey” means honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling, or straining; and that has not been heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit during production or storage; or pasteurized.

 Raw honey contains some pollen and may contain small particles of wax. Local raw honey is sought after by allergy sufferers as the pollen impurities are thought to lessen the sensitivity to hay fever.

What else is raw honey?  Darn Good!!