Thursday, August 28, 2008

soap dispenser

My new soap dispenser for the kitchen :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Comb honey!

This is the comb honey that broke off and fell and the children joined in with the bees and ate it up! Yum!!!! :) I had some too and it was delicious :)

Opening up the hives

Trying to get the smoker to light:

Vals Dad looking extremely bemused by things - he was probably thinking he was at a mad house ;) bees flying around, my three year old eating honey from a plate covered in bees and a mother not really paying any attention ;) Just a normal day at my house (lol) Thank goodness Val is used to us!!! Actually Cliff was probably mumbling 'Crazy British Bee Lady' hahahaha!:

Checking out the pattern of capped brood on a frame - and the capped honey in the top corner. This is from the lower box of Flora/ Fauna:

A frame of honey from Freya on a foundationless wooden frame - makes beautiful comb honey - some of which we got to eat today - but not from this beautiful frame!!!:

Sam using the hive tool to try and get a frame out of the Super (which he didn't manage to do but it was fun watching him try - Val and Cliff enjoyed watching him try anyway and I think they liked seeing that he is confident around the bees and not scared of them at all. At one point he got a bee down his shirt but wasn't too bothered - he just got it out and then carried on doing what he was doing! He sometimes wears the hat and veil but finds he gets more scared as the bees then get trapped inside the veil which scares him more. So far we have found it better to just let him get on with it and just never let him be there alone:

Visitors to the hives!!!!

This morning we had some special visitors to our hives! Vals Dad is in town from Vancouver Island, and he treated Val and I to breakfast (thank you so much) and so in return I treated him to a taste of honey from each of the hives!

The combined hive of Flora and Fauna continues to not do well, and so I plan to combine it with my Swarm hive Freya for the Winter to enable the bees to make it through winter with Freya's honey stores. They will kill off one of the Queens (hopefully the Flora/ Fauna Queen which is obviously not the stronger Queen at this time but that is something that will be left to the bees to fight out). They really are struggling badly and quite aggressive now and protective over the hive so I think I won't wait and may well combine them tonight while I know the frames are separated easily from the inspection.

Then in the Spring I will split the hive and then hopefully next year they will do well and be quick to get going as they won't have to draw up all that cmb again as the comb will already have been drawn up! (they will have eaten all the honey and emptied the comb over winter and will again start to fill the comb that spent all that time making THIS year). we opened up the smaller hive first and tried some honey there and looked at capped brood and saw how dark that is compared to capped honey which is all golden and light here right now (although it can be quite dark depending on the nectar flow). We saw how empty the first hive was and how crazy the bees were. I had problems trying to get the smoker going (normally Lloyds job - if I'm alone I don't often bother but as you get closer to Fall the bess tend to get more protective of their honey so you tend to have to use your smoker a little more - especially on a hive with very little honey!!!!)

Then we opened up Freya and Val and Cliff were able to see the difference ina good health hive compared to a poorly producing hive. Freya is working beautifully! This colony is just doing what it should! They are now filling all the foundationless wooden frames and they just look gorgeous! The honey filled frames are sooo heavy! The honey is such a beautiful colour! The bees aren't aggressive at all now.

We lifted off the top box and one of the wooden frams was attached at the bottom and the bottom of a frame came apart falling to the ground and a lot of comb honey came away! Val ran up to the house to get a plate and the children all stood around with a plate of comb honey covered in bees and ate it - literally sharing this honey with the bees - bees so drunk on honey they couldn't move! Several bees died in the honey where they were stuck in it :( After everyone had had enough we put the plate by the front of the hive and the bees will clean it up for us. I hear they do a good job of cleaning up frames so I will take a picture later and add it so Val and Cliff can see how good they clean it up themselves!

Val did very good by the hives - The hats and veils were there for her to wear but she didn't!!!! She came pretty close a few times and she DID put her finger in the frame to try the honey - and the bees were on the frame at the same time! And at times the bees were flying around all over the place so I was impressed :) Although much of the time Vals hands were tight around her neck ;) But she didn't call me names like my friend Holly that came over last week - Holly called me 'The crazy British Bee Lady'.....

Ok so the next few posts will be pictures from this morning :)

Thanks so much to Val and her Dad Clifford for coming over this morning - I had a great time!

Monday, August 11, 2008


It's lovely to see you here at Bee Tales and I'm happy to hear my bee blog has helped raise an interest in bees with you and your family! And perhaps even helped with your fear of bees in a little way!

If you'd like to come and visit my bees ever then you'd be very welcome - they're down by the pond!! I have hats and veils and gloves so you'd be very safe! And you can stick your finger in a frame if you're feeling up to it and taste honey straight from the hive!!!

Did you see the free poster of bees of Canada that you can send off for? There is a post about it a little lower down if you keep scrolling down. If you are ever near Langley in BC there is also a WONDERFUL Honey Bee Centre that is well worth visiting!!! And in Stony Plain the Beemaid store has great colouring books and childrens books etc as well as just interesting things to see if you are ever in the area as well as all the equipment that is interesting to see. The Magic School Bus book 'Into The Beehive' is worth getting out of the library if you want a good childrens book about honey bees too!

Thanks so much for leaving your comments - I hope you keep reading - I have really enjoyed bee keeping this year and can't wait to have more hives next year! The highlight this year was definitely catching a swarm right outside of my front door!

Freya's foundationless frames....

We checked on Freya's upper Super to see how the bees had accepted the foundationless frames - they had only had them for 4 days so we didn't expect much progress. They had been used to all plastic frames in the lower boxes, so we weren't sure how they would take to the wooden frames - let alone foundation free frames!

We were really happy to see they had accepted them and already started to draw comb on them!

Woohoo! Way to go Freya!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Freya and I

Last night we added a second Super to Freya, and to celebrate, Susannah took a picture of me next to her!!! I am so proud of how well this hive has done in such a short time :) My first proper hive - my first swarm 'catch' :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Todays inspection

Today we did a thorough inspection of both Fauna and Freya. Fauna is doing great since we combined her with Flora - both hives have accepted each other well - we removed the rest of the newspaper and checked both hive boxes - there is a laying Queen as we saw brood in all stages and there is plenty of honey now so the hive is doing well at last. We put the brood fill frame sin the lower brood box and as there were at least 7 - 8 filled frames, we kept the upper super in place and put a couple of honey filled frames in it to entice the bees up...we'll check again in a week or two.

We checked on Freya - the swarm hive as well today - this hive is SUPERB!!! We gave it a super just a few weeks ago before we went on holiday and it is FULL!!!! So today we are adding a second super!!!!!! The super that is on right now is full of frames of brood and honey - the most BEAUTIFUL complete frames of honeycomb I have ever seen :) What clever bees :) and so much brood it's unreal! In a couple of weeks if the other hive is not doing well I plan to give them a frame or two of brood from Freya. This hive has soooooooo many bees it's amazing and they are friendly bees now :) I love this hive now - my favourite I think :) probably because they came to me :)

Again we did a complete inspection of both levels. They have an active Queen still and brood at all stages.

We have no more plastic frames left but we have a box of wooden frames to make up but no foundation so for now the bees will have to go foundationless - this will be interesting! We can actually eat some comb honey :) we will have to be careful at handling it.....not that we are planning on harvesting any anyway - and we will have to be careful when moving the hives. Hhhmmmm not a good idea really - we will have to get over to our supply store soon and get some more frames! Or maybe I should switch some around in my other hive where they are less likely to use their frames....

Anyway our inspection went well and we are very happy :)

Our bees are doing very well as Summer draws to an end!