Day One After Combining Hives

I have to say, I’ve enjoyed watching pieces of newspaper fly themselves around my yard more than I should’ve. I almost feel the need to put newspaper in again just so I can watch the bees haul it out, lol. I noticed an oddly shaped white-orange glob flying around the hives and could not, for the life of me, figure out what it was. It was darting around almost like a dragonfly, so I assumed that’s what it was, but when it suddenly fell from the sky I had to go and check it out. It was a large scrap of newspaper, with chewed edges. Fantastic. Another similarly sized piece made it to my neighbors yard before it was dropped. There’s a fine dust of white on the ground around the hive. I should’ve taken a picture of it before I watered the garden… It’ll be a week before I can peek in and see how they’re doing.

My extracting went better than last year I think. It was easier to do with just one frame. I’m going to have to come up with a proper extracting process by the end of the year though, because doing things a frame at a time is going to take forever. It took me at least 3 hours to completely harvest this frame. And I know there’s still some more honey on the bottom of the wax-mass, but I can’t get to it. I did much the same thing as last year, where I cut the comb off the frame and put it in a turkey pan. I squashed it all down with a fork, then used a sieve to strain out the wax into a small jar below, switching out empty full jars with empty ones as the need arose. After I got most of the honey out I put the turkey pan in the oven and turned it up to 300 to melt the wax and separate things out. I filled another two jars and then was finished! I filled 8 jars, but they’re so small that I would’ve had to fill them to the brim to make them a proper half-pint. So they each only have 6 ounces in them. 8 jars at 6 ounces each maths out to 48 ounces; divided by 16 ounces (one pint) = 3 pints. Its not that exciting, but still, I get honey, the bees get more space, and everyone’s happy!

It’s a MUCH lighter color than last years stuff, which surprises me a little. Except to say that last years harvest was a result of stuff from later in the season, so I suppose I really shouldn’t be that surprised. It also means I’ll get a second harvest later in the year. I’d be surprised if I didn’t get a harvest from Trunchen Hive as well, because they’ve almost filled the 4 boxes required of them and we’ve still got months of good nectar flows left.

Anyway, I won’t use any of the wax I collected because it’s a hideous black color and is mostly the lining of the cell walls that the bees couldn’t clean off themselves. Its actually kind of gross, and the last jar of honey is much darker than all the others due to the fine bits of it all that slipped through the sieve. I’ve marked that jar with a sharpie as ‘cooking honey’. *wrinkles nose* it just didn’t taste quite right as I was cleaning up. So, I’ll put it in a loaf of bread and no one will be the wiser!

The other thing I wanted to mention was all of the pollen at the bottom of the cells. There was a huge portion of the cells that were at least a 1/4 of the way full of pollen. I know bees sometimes put honey on top of their pollen to keep it for longer, but I didn’t realize they did it on such a large scale. Doesn’t it contaminate the honey? I found this kind of odd. Anyone seen their bees doing this?

I’ll post a picture of the honey compared to last years tomorrow.

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