Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beehive Extraction

This morning I helped Chris with a cut out extraction. We also had help from Catherine another local new beekeeper. The beehive was reported to be at least 15 years old and was in an old chapel that is going to be restored. If I got the facts right this chapel was built around 1825-1826 by slaves. It is just down the trading path to Stagville  Plantation  The bees were in the floor of the slave balcony, the photo below shows the ceiling under balcony. I found a blog post about the Fairntosh Farm it states the chapel was called  Salem Chapel.

Here is our first look at the hive with one piece of ceiling board removed. Note the smoker in use.
Here is the complete hive, my estimation on size is 42 inches x 20 inches and 10 inches deep. A pretty big hive. You can see where the hive used to be in the other rafter space by the outside wall.
Here Chris is just getting started removing comb.
This is a typical comb section, much bigger than the frame so we cut them to fit in the frame.
As you can see one of the custom frames Chris made, it is split and hinged with bicycle inner tube rubber. Once the comb is set in the frame you close up the 2 piece frame and fasten it with rubber bands made from inner tube.  So what you have here is mostly honey on the lower comb piece and that orange you see on the other comb is pollen.
This is Catherine, she was very helpful cutting and fitting the frames. I held the light while Chris cut out the comb and later Catherine and I switched jobs.
We filled 2 1/2 deep brood boxes with comb, 8 frames in each box.
Getting close to finishing and we are looking very closely for the queen. Not found her yet. Chris says he usually finds the queen half of the time.
Oh my the queen was on this comb! Chris found it and it took a bit more looking to find it again. Chris got the queen on his gloves and moved he so she climbed onto the brood box we just filled. She disappeared into the frames and we hoped she stayed while Chris sealed up the newly boxed hive.

OK, I know some of you are going to ask did we get stung. Chris got a couple of stings I think, Catherine got one sting and I got half a sting. My glove was stung as was Catherine's and my finger just touched the stinger and I manged to barely feel it. One lady in the small   crowd watching got stung on the arm as well. Not sure if any more stings happened after I left or not. Chris and Catherine stayed to do the rest of the clean up and I had to attend to my customer scheduled for the day.

Got to go tend to the small comb section of honey I brought home with me. Dark and very tasty honey!!!


Karen said...

Wow, that looked like a big job! Amazing how the hive had filled up the space so efficiently. I hope they like their new home so the renovations can go on with the chapel.

sweetbay said...

Very interesting! That looked like a lot of work.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

This is very interesting as I know very little about bees, hives and such. Is the queen visible in that photo?

Anonymous said...

Bees are such fascinating little creatures... Thank you for sharing these great pictures!

Skeeter said...

I am finding your bee adventures ever so interesting. Thanks on the Robberfly post below! I spotted my first one a few days ago and had yet to research what the thing was that sucked the life out of a bee! Now I know.....

Lancashire rose said...

What an amazing extraction. Great story.

Kelly said...

Wow!!! Really interesting... A lot of dedicated work goes into the extraction. I had no idea...

Kim and Victoria said...

Your bee posts are just fascinating.

Sam Smith said...

I found nitrile surgical gloves will prevent all "attack" stings, a few have gotten through but they are the "I squished it" type stings, I have even put my hand into an angry hive and pulled out sections of comb with those gloves, only place they seem capable of stinging is the sleeve strap that goes over your thumb so I put those inside my gloves now.

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