Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This Summer I ....

This Summer I enjoyed a new hobby... BEE KEEPING!! I have had so much fun since the beginning of Spring buying and painting my hive, gather tools and equipment, and actually getting my first 3lb package of bees! I have a hat, a veil, a long sleeve jacket and gloves as my armor and I have gone out to my hive many times over the summer. I get to open up the hive and with 100's of bees flying around my head I give them water and make sure that the hive is functioning well.
My in-laws have been nice enough to let me put my hive in their back yard. Even though I am sure it has been a pain for them at times they have been gracious hosts to the stinging insects living in their back yard.

Adam has been a great help! He took on thousands of wasps over the summer who had threatened my hive. He also was the one out side with the camera to take pictures of everything. He has yet to be stung by wasp or bee! How is this possible!?!?

Finally the end of the season is here and after all my hard work, (ha ha! Okay, so the bees did all the work) it was time to take my hive apart for the final inspection of the year and to take any excess honey to harvest and have for myself.
I invited my family over as well as the Healey family to have a BBQ and enjoy the first sweet tastes of ABC Honey.

Ben came over to help me with the inspection and harvest and we had a big snag. The late afternoon sun had covered the hive with shade. The problem with this is in order to get the bees out of the hive so you can take the honey you must have direct sun light. Ben quickly suggested moving the hive into the sun. This entails completely uprooting the bees' home and moving it. Meanwhile having more bees out of the hive and potentially making them more angry and agitated.

We started out smoking the hive and spraying them with sugar water. The hope is that this will get the bees distracted and busy while we do our thing.

Then we moved the hive into the sun one box at a time. (these boxes are full of honey and pollen, they are heavy! Sometimes up to 100lbs each!)

Once we get the boxes over to the sun we start pulling out each individual frame to make sure the hive is healthy and operating well.

After checking everything and deciding which frames we can remove for honey. We move the hive back to it's original home and put it back together. Yes, all of the black spots on the camera are bees. There were thousands! (Notive the ABC Honey sign that Hilary and Tammie made for me in the 3rd picture. So cute!!)

Here we are in the garage extracting the honey. First, you use a hot capping knife to cut off the wax capping that holds the honey in place. Then, you put the frames in the extractor and spin the frames super fast to pull the honey out.

End of summer totals:
I hung around with thousands of bees.
I received 6 bee stings (all out of love)
I accumulated about 3 gallons of honey which equals out to be about 36 pounds!!
The amount of anxiety I experienced while bees fly all around me and crawl all over me and the amazing time I had learning about bees and having my own hive! There is no number here, it was simply too awesome.


ryan + carly said...

oh alesha!! you make me really happy. you should join forces with my dad...he has a few hives himself. i want to know, can i come see you being a beekeeper one day?

Dustan and Micayla said...

You are so funny! That rocks, I don't know very many people that keep bees. And your in-laws are amazing!! Congrats on your honey, I want to try some!