Category Archives: Backyard Bees

First Honey Harvest

Shortly before Labor Day, Tanner harvested the honey from the beehive for the first time.  He removed three frames and put the honey in food grade plastic buckets (he scored these at the grocery store bakery for a buck each!), leaving the frames to drip in the buckets for a few days until as much honey as possible had been collected.  Total harvest was 13 pounds (not counting what we ate along the way).

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When all the honey was collected, we needed to put the frames back in the hive.  Frank opened it up and took out the temporary empty frames that Tanner had put in while the honey was being harvested.  The bees had been busy; they had started new honeycomb in the empty frame.

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There was 1.75 pounds of honeycomb from this harvest, so I made a couple of candles.  I put the honeycomb inside a cheesecloth bundle, and then set it in a pot of water on the stove to melt to clean the beeswax.  As it slowly melted, the cheesecloth trapped the grit and impurities and the clean beeswax rose to the top.  I then let it cool and harden and had enough to make two candles in small canning jars.  To make the candles, I placed a tabbed wick into each jar and poured in the beeswax.  I used wooden skewers taped to each other to hold the wick in place while the wax hardened.  Then I trimmed the wicks and the candles were ready.

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Meet the Bees

Tanner and Karlee recently became interested in beekeeping and have put a hive in our backyard. The bees are Italian honey bees and have been here for about six weeks now.

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Tanner is smoking the bees to calm them so he can open the hive and see how things are going.

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This is what the hive looks like when the top has been removed.

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Here, Tanner and Karlee are holding frames lifted from inside the hive.

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