Sunday, November 20, 2011

Getting ready for winter

Post: Bernie: November 20, 2011
Note: To follow our Bee Keeping adventure from beginning to end, choose Setting up the hive from the index at right.

On a beautiful blue sky day in November Eric the Bee Keeper stopped by.

On the way he passed our neighbor Patsy out for a walk. He had the smoker going and the smoke was pouring out the open window of his car as they waved their hellos. She caught up with him pulled over by our yard and she told us she thought that, "Ok, he didn't make the garage.". She didn't know about the bees but then stuck around for the show. Sonja then came down the street in her car too and Joey took a break from her pottery glazing and they all watched as the action began.

Today was the day to see what was happening in there and then to move the hive for the winter.

Smoking them, quiets them down (most of the time).

Inside we found a very healthy hive.

The top chamber had a lot of honey!

And very active bees!

Eric estimates that there are 60,000 to 80,000 bees now in the hive.

Maybe a little more smoke is in order.

Sonja took this photo of me in my Bee hat with a metal clipper and screen that Eric is going to install as a mouse guard. I'm decked out so I can help Eric move the hive out from under the Apple tree more into the yard so it can get more winter sun.

Eric sees that the bottom chamber has almost no honey so he is going to remove it and transfer any bees in there into the other chambers.

Sweeping the bees into the other chamber.

Then he sweeps the stray ones from the inner cover into a hive that now has two chambers. This will give the bees a smaller hive to winter in so they can hopefully keep warm enough while feeding on the 60-80 pounds of honey that is their food source over the long winter.

 Eric also flipped the inner cover so more warmth will be retained inside the hive.

Putting empty comb trays back into the chamber. Once we move the hive he will leave this nearby so the bees can transfer any honey on them into the other chambers.

Top back on.

Now time to put that mouse guard on.

Moving the hive. Sonja took these pictures. She was off there with Patsy and Joey watching from a safe distance.

That was it. Except that the bees didn't like it too much.

This is me doing the, "I love you but don't want to get stung by you!" dance.

A good day. No stings.

The hive is now in a place where it will get the winter sun for the most time.

We finished the afternoon sitting on the terrace drinking our homemade Pear Wine chatting and laughing. A good day indeed.

Next: Eric is going to bring a some hay bales to place around the north east sides to protect the hive from all the wind we get up here on the top of this hill. [Building a wind break]

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