Saturday, April 07, 2012

First beehive cut out today!


Today Kitty and I did a big beehive cut out today. I'd helped with one last year and this was Kitty's first. Kitty is also a blogger find her at Labyrinth FarmKitty has posted about the cut out with lots of photos here. This hive has been inside a shed wall for about 20 years. It measured 24" x 42" and was 4 1/2" deep. We filled 2 deeps with 15  frames of bees, brood,  comb, honey and pollen. Likely 15 pounds of honey which we'll crush and strain in the future. The un capped honey we'll return to the bees. Also about 15 pounds of odd pieces of comb I'm leaving out for the bees.

You might ask did we get stung? Kitty got two and a half stings, one through the glove the other while tasting the honey without gloves, the half sting was through her pants. I saw bees sting my gloves but did not get any stings from these bees. Once home and I set up the new hive I took off my gear and my mother hive bees chased me 100 foot and I got stung in the head as a bee got stuck in my hair. Think I killed another that was going for my cheek.

Kitty took this video with my camera. I forgot to tell her not the turn the camera on the side. So grab your laptop and turn it sideways to view.

This is yours truly tearing open the wall of bees. Kitty did a great job of filming this. I had to cut each of those slats of wood to get to the comb and cut the comb around those slats to remove them. Must have been 7-8 layers of comb running up the wall 3 1/2 foot, some comb was nearly a foot wide. Wish we'd had photos of those. perhaps Kitty will post some photos on her blog as listed above and in my side bar as well as Labyrinth Farm

So we did not get many photos. The reason was the camera got covered in honey then covered in bees. My gloves and tools were all a sticky honey mess. That reminds me I have yet to taste the honey... The above photo is of about 1/3 third of the hive cut out.
So after 4 hours of being in my make shift bee suit cutting these girls out, here they are at home in my yard. I added another deep box with 3 frames of new foundation and 7 simple top bars. We'll see what they like! The box on the left is my bee vacuum box, the screen is the cover for it. I'm naming this hive Evelyn for the lady whose shed these bees were in.

Let me tell you what else happened once I emptied the remaining bees into the hive. Shortly afterwards I was on the phone looking outside I saw thousands of bees rising up into the tops of our willow trees! Then they kind of settled back down and flew all about in front (20 -25 foot out) of the hive for a good 45 minutes. I walked around the garden and bees were on all kinds of flowers. I did not see them returning with pollen, but feel like they like the place.

So on the back porch Meg was painting the top bar hive. Several times she bolted into the screened porch because bees were chasing her as she was painting the hive. What a trooper she is. The top bar hive is nearly finished, bees arriving next Saturday!

For the record, I believe our bee yard doubled if not more today in the number of bees. We added one hive and now have 4 hives. Betting some of these new bees will swarm and perhaps I can add them to the double nuk along side the Kimberly hive. We still have two unnamed hives in the yard.


Kitty said...

I can't think of the correct adjective for this adventure. I loved being that hands on with the bees.

Thank you for letting me come along.

Sam Smith said...

Cut outs are always interesting, I figure they always take me about four hours unless they are really entrenched. I always make sure I have a bucket of water at hand for the sticky hands, I use nitrile gloves (doctor gloves) they cant sting your hands in them, (they can get through they just don't try idk why) I have put my hands into an extremely aggressive hive with them and still no stings.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

You have embraced this beekeeping with both hands! That cutout was huge! Can't even imagine how many bees there were.

Freda Cameron said...

You're quite the beekeeper! Although I love bees and their honey, I don't think I'd be up to the challenge! I'll just keep planting flowers for the bees!

Kitty said...

It occurred to me last night as I was about to fall asleep that we may have caught them at a time of supercedure, considering the placement of the queen cells we found. Have you had any hints of a queen in either of the boxes?

Indie said...

Wow that is impressive! What a large hive! I hope they like their new home!

Mark's Bees said...

Congratulations guys! Great job!

Jen said...

haha, this post makes my skin crawl! I love bees, and I would love honey, but I just can't handle the idea of raising bees. My hat is off to you!

Jennyerin said...

I'm so jealous of your new bees! We've been wanting to add bees to the farm but we need to build a house before I can afford to spend any money on a hive. A neighbor has informed me about a big hive in a stump near their camping site that I can have if I'm inclined to go claim them. I need to study up before I make the attempt to get them though :)