hive and honey

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Bee themed Asks🐝
  • Honeybee: What is one thing that you hope happens in 2017?
  • Drone: What is your favourite kind of bee?
  • Worker: Where do you love to travel?
  • Queen: What is one of your goals?
  • Hive: What is one thing that you love about bees?
  • Honey: What is your favourite food to eat that bees have somehow contributed to?
  • Bumble: What is something that has inspired you?
  • Flower: What is your favourite season and why?
  • Pollination: What has been your daily act of kindness for today?
  • Dance: What is your favourite kind of music?
  • Beekeeper: Why do you have your blog?
  • Apis: What is your favourite thing to learn about?
  • Brood: Do you eat honey, yes or no? Why or why not?
  • Garden: What do you collect?
  • Cells: Do bees scare you?
  • Stinger: Describe your day in 10 words.
  • Stripes: How have you inspired someone?
Some of you were curious about the honey process

Well, I’m here to show you what these wonderful little ladies make, and how us humans collect the extra.

Some Vocabulary:

This is a Langstroth beehive. Those boxes in it are called “Supers”. Supers hold 10 frames each. Frames look like this.

I’m here to teach you about honey extraction from this particular kind of hive, and when you only have like 5 or 6.

The Process:

First, we start with the frame of honey.

Notice anything? The bees have “capped” this honey with beeswax so it can keep for the winter! (or beekeep heheh)

So what you wanna do is cut those bad boys off with ya Hot Knife.

(Or you can just scrape them off with a fork. Or poke holes in them. Dealer’s choice, man.)

Next, you put your uncapped frames in the Crazy Spin Cylinder. (The Extractor)

And YA CRANK IT

And the honey sp i n s

Honey GO

H O N  E  Y


The frames are spun at such a high speed that the honey is pulled right out!

Next, you open the spigot at the bottom, run it through a strainer…

Pour it in a jar…

and VOILA!

Beautiful Bee Nectar that you got yaself! This has been a PSA

Let’s talk about how AWESOME worker bees are.

I’ve been doing some research and discovered some pretty intense stuff.

I’m assuming you know about each bee’s hard-core role in & out of the hive; drones mate, workers collect honey, etc. But, my friends, THAT’S NOT ALL! They have SO many more jobs to do than just that, especially worker bees when they reach certain ages.

Guards

The way that they go about protecting their hive astonishes me, and those who defend the colony are by far my FAVOURITE. Before going to explore the flowers, they have to inspect EVERY SINGLE BEE that comes into the hive. If it doesn’t have a familiar scent, then that means it’s a foreigner. The only time other bees are allowed into the hive is if they bribe the worker bee with nectar.

But- get this- if there ever is a lack of food in the hive during the winter, the worker bees will literally BLOCK the drones from coming into the hive in general. They won’t even let them in. It’s insane.

Cleaners

When a worker bee is first born, they instantly develop the knowledge of cleaning their cell. They do this so that new eggs, nectar, and pollen can be stored. But get this- if they do it wrong, the Queen tells them to do it ALL OVER again!! This is a very human-like characteristic that’s fascinating to see in insects.

Undertakers

The job of the undertaker doesn’t happen until the worker bees have matured a bit. Due to a number of bees in the hive, eventually a few will perish. So, to ensure that there are no possible health threats exposed to the colony, undertakers will remove and dispose of all dead or diseased bees or embryos. It’s sad, but it’s something they have to do to ensure the hive is healthy.

Nurses

These bees really do deserve their names. They take on the task of incubating and caring for the larvae, along with feeding the queen larva royal jelly. According to BBC Earth, they also “prescribe” different types of honey to bees that are sick, as a way of giving them medication.

Builders

Worker bees can start to make wax flakes from consuming plenty of honey & nectar, their food, at the age of 12 days old. This is what ultimately creates the shape of their hives, which truly is an engineering masterpiece as Charles Darwin has said.

These are only a few that I’ve discovered. But the more I research them, the more I realize how intelligent they truly are.

Bees are cool. Let’s save them.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman


Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

—  Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman

THE SNOW DEAD

Snow is lingering on the roof from our mid-week, mid-March blizzard. With a flat roof, it’s what we’ve come to expect when we pop up to the roof after a storm. But we didn’t expect this: dozens of dead bees in the snow.

It can’t be the cold that killed them. The sun was beating down on the hives and the air temperature was 50˚F/10˚ C. And yet, there they were. It gave us a “moment.” (Admittedly we’re still a bit shaken following the near-catastrophe of our big “blow-over.”)  But there were so many carcasses littering the roof!

And yet, both hives seem to be thriving. Despite the brisk breeze, the bees were darting in and out of the hives — granted they weren’t carrying the big pollen payloads like they were before the storm — but they were very active.

So what caused the snow casualties? Not a clue. Was it related somehow to the storm?  Do you have any thoughts or guesses?  We’d love to hear them.

Phenomenal Woman
Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

6

Pic 1: West Haven yard  Mr. Wheatley
Pic 2: “O well tipped ahead too much” [hard to read handwriting]

Pic 3: 2 white hive-size boxes look like they are behind (west of) Honey House at Honey Gardens. Photo has no caption on back.

Pic 4: beehives. Unlabeled.
Pic 5: beehive. Unlabeled photo
Pic 6: West Haven yard Mr. Wheatley

Sid asks: Is the man in Pic 2 PNT or Wheatley or someone else?

The Difference between Bumble Bees and Honey Bees

Its come to my attention recently that a few of my bee lover friends are having trouble finding the difference between bumble bees and honey bees. 

But that’s okay because it has inspired me to write this post to clear up any confusion!!

Bumble bees and honey bees are actually very different!

Bumble bees have small, round, fluffy bodies and look like this: 

Honey bees are more slender and are less fluffy. They look like this:

Both bees are not overly aggressive when protecting their nest, but will sting to defend themselves or their colony. 

Honey bees can only sting once, whereas bumble bees are capable of stinging multiple times (bumble bees are pretty hardcore)

Bumble bee queens live for one year and other members of the hive only live for three. 

Honey bee queens can live for more than three years (honeybee queens are pretty hardcore too)

Bumble bee colonies are much smaller than honey bee colonies, with only a population of a few hundred compared to the honey bee colony which can have up to tens of thousands. 

Bumble bees actually do not produce a surplus of honey like honey bees, so beekeepers do not collect bumble bee honey for consumption. (That’s really cool, I didn’t know that!)

Okay, so I’ve seen a ton of shit about beekeepers on here lately. Lemme add in my two cents.

I do not agree with the way some of the commercial pollinator companies do business, but that’s absolutely NO reason to bash all beekeepers. The majority of beekeepers I’ve ever met have a deep love and respect for bees and do everything they can to make sure they’re doing their part to help them, rather than hurt them.

YOU CANNOT RELY ON NATIVE BEES TO MANAGE POLLINATION. Native bee populations are entirely too small to be able to effectively pollinate in today’s agricultural industry. They’re not domesticated at all and you cannot move them to locations where they might be desperately needed. If you expect native bees to do the majority of the pollinating, then we are going to SERIOUSLY need to cut down on how much food we produce in order for that to be successfully accomplished.

Taking honey from bees is done for more than profit. One example is a hive can become honey-bound and leave little space for brood. In this case, it’s necessary for beekeepers to pull frames of honey to give them more space. During winter months, in colder climates, it’s best to make the hive as small and compact as possible so the bees have less space to heat and thus can conserve more energy. Depending on how cold it gets and how much honey the bees consume over winter (which can sometimes be difficult to predict), they might need supplement feeding. Many beekeepers will feed their bees honey that has been harvested earlier in the year since it is better for them than sugar water.

My personal experience as a beekeeper has taught me a lot about how amazing and important bees are and my heart breaks anytime I accidentally kill a bee. Even when I’m pulling honey, I always take precautions to ensure that I’m doing everything I can to protect my little fuzzy babies.

I won’t get into the argument about whether honey is okay for vegans. It’s a personal conviction and not my business to tell someone else what they should feel about it. I do want to point out that not all beekeepers are greedy, honey stealing, bee killers though. (:

Originally posted by trixclibrarian