Monday, June 28, 2010

Well, it’s time for a bee update…several folks have asked how the bees were doing and my response is generally, ‘busy’…now as you may remember, it was back in mid April, when we received our package of bees and set about being beekeepers…and I must say all has been going very well. We took a beekeeping class at the end of April and learned some of the finer points of keeping these little guys happy and healthy. The next job was to check the hive about every 2-3 weeks to make sure everything was going along nicely. We had heard horror stories from other beekeepers about not checking the hives often enough and having them over run with these disgusting moths that can attack a hive, or having the queen get sick and the hive just sort of withering up. So a couple weeks into May we gave our crew a check…lots more bees – yippee!
We determined it was time to add a second box on top of the first to let them expand further.
Now when the Sacramento summer goes full tilt there is lots of stuff growing and blooming and a lot for a little bee to do… producing more bees being high on the list. Well I started noticing that there seemed to be a lot of bees hanging out outside the hive and proceeded to freak out that they were getting too crowed and would swarm and hence leave us for more palatial digs…so long about the first of June we decided to do a very thorough check of the hive and sure enough they had all but filled up the second box! Now I’ve gotta say, calling someone busy as a bee is bordering on wacky, nobody can work that hard! Anyway we added another half size box and figured we were well on our way to being able to harvest honey…
Three weeks have passed since then and yesterday, one of our first truly hot summer days,
we donned our bee garb, hat with screen, long sleeved shirt, long gloves, jeans with legs tucked into socks…uber hot – even I, a non-sweaty sort of gal was literally dripping – I just kept thinking ‘ this is probably really good for my skin…’ We then fired up our smoker, the smoke seems to calm the bees and they become a lot less active, which
at this point is really important since there are so many and they get really cranky when you start messing with their stuff.
We then started our inspection. Now there are LOTS of bees! It is actually more difficult to do our work because they are everywhere! They are beginning to fill the third box with comb and there are frames in the second box filled with honey! There were also all sorts of bee larva, another good sign. The full boxes actually weigh in at about 40 lbs! We thought about taking some of the honey but thought we would let them fill up the third box a little more before we started harvesting. I am so curious about what our honey will taste like!
When you think of all the various flavors, Orange Blossom, Lavender, Wild Flower, I can hardly wait to taste Urban Sacramento! We managed to get everything put back together, very happy to get out of our now wet, bee garb, let the bees calm down and congratulate ourselves at our ever improving skillfulness at checking the hive. I’m pretty sure next time we will be tasting honey…I will be sure to give you a review!

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