Friday, July 26, 2013

Last Steps

Sarah and I performed another hive check on Sunday, and what we found wasn't good.  Actually it was what we DIDN'T find.  No Queen Catherine!  There were actually still bees left in the hive, a very small population, but enough to care for some brood, if there were any.  We went through every frame, and no queen, no eggs.  No dead carcass with a red dot on the bottom board or in front of the hive.  Did she fly away?  Was she killed, even though they appeared to accept her fine?  I hate not knowing what happened!  If I don't know what it was, how am I supposed to correct it so it doesn't happen again?  Arrrggghhhh!!!

Only a few frames of bees left

Both Sarah and I working without gloves. Granted, there was only a small population of bees.
The only good things about Sunday's hive check was that my niece Enya helped out again, and I worked it without any protective gear.  Sarah also did it without gloves.  We did put our veils on when we shook the remaining bees into one box, but I think we're getting more comfortable and less jumpy.  Due to the declining population, we took off the second deep box, and brushed or shook all the bees off of the frames into the bottom deep.  We put the best frames into the bottom box, and packed up the others. 

Enya helping with the honey extraction
 Oh, and we got a little honey.  HONEY!!!  There was one frame we pulled that had 1/2 of one side with capped honey.  Not much, just enough for a taste, right?  Wrong!  With Enya helping, we scraped the capped honey into a strainer lined with cheesecloth, sitting over a bowl.  We crushed it all up, breaking open all of the honeycomb cells, and let gravity do it's work (hence it being called the "crush and strain" method).  After letting it sit for a few hours, with periodic smooshing, we ended up with 2 small jars of golden elixir.  At least the day had a sweet ending!

Our first honey!

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