Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Homegrown Honeycomb

It's time for a bee update! Those bees have been extremely busy. While it is still too early for us to actually harvest honey from them, we have gotten to eat several pieces of comb that were being built along the sides of the hive (instead of hanging from the top bars as they should). I had never eaten honeycomb before, which is the actual comb (made of wax) filled with honey. You chew it up, slurping down the honey, and then spit out a tiny ball of wax. It is delicious. And it is ours!

I have some interesting photos of the hive that I took about two weeks ago when Mr. Chanclas was checking on their progress. I should  note that these photos were taken just one month after our bees arrived. They have done so much work!

Bees arriving at the entrance to the hive
Mr. Chanclas removing the roof to the hive
Replacing the jar of sugar water that helps feed the colony
Removing one of the top bars to look at the comb
A small piece of comb being built on the side of the hive. Chanclas removed it with a knife and we ate it.
One of the larger combs. Notice the golden brown in the center. That's the honey!
A closeup of the comb. Honey glistens in the center. The upper cells are capped with white.
The largest comb we have at the moment
The smallest, outermost comb. The bees started building comb at one end of the hive and are working their way down, building comb on the successive bars. Eventually they may fill or almost fill the box.
Lantana blooming near the beehive. This is one of many plants blooming at this time of year and providing the bees with nectar and pollen.

I find the beehive to be such a wonder. We do almost nothing for them. Mr. Chanclas makes sure they have some water nearby and he still gives them some sugar water to supplement their food. The combs themselves are gorgeous, made of perfectly formed, precisely sized cells. The beauty of a top bar hive, as opposed to the traditional bee box hives, is that the bees decide what size cells to build. There is no template that they are forced to build on. They build what is best for their colony.

I've also been surprised at how docile the bees are. Mr. Chanclas bought a smoker but has yet to use it. We move slowly and carefully around the hive and the bees tolerate our presence. I have found bees to be very different from all of the other animals we keep. Namely because we don't "keep" the bees at all. They could leave any time they wanted. We just provided a nice home and they decided to stay. We don't manage them or interfere with them much at all. They just go about their business and we will be lucky to reap some honey rewards at some point.

7 comments:

  1. YAY for bees and honey! That is so awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was just thinking about your bees and wondering how they were doing.

    I am fascinated by this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like yours WAY better....mine were in my closet wall!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You've gotta stop this! You are sucking me into yet another homesteading-type endeavor with promises of low maintenance. The bees and their combs look amazing. Hmm....

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am so stoked for you. I'm gonna breathe my way through a panic attack looking at that comb (I have a completely useless and annoyingly persistent fear of bees for NO REASON). I am SO impressed by all that they have done! It's incredible.
    And look at yer hot man, just a bandana and hat, like a total bee cowboy.
    That's his new name from me: The Bee Cowboy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. So freakin cool! Way to go bees! And you guys for making them such a happy home.

    ReplyDelete

I love to read comments so please leave me one!