Today we were able to get to Inverness and do hive inspections on the three hives located there. The Hive Sponsor was out there with us, asking all sorts of great questions about what was going on in the hives and what Mike was doing. Talking with her and showing her all the amazing things going on in the hives made our day even more fun. Here are some of the cool things we were able to share with her.
This frame is an excellent example of a pulled out frame that bees are just starting to work on. It started out as a foundation-less frame meaning we didn't put a base in for the bees to build on. All the comb in there was made by the bees which is why it is wavy and irregular looking. The white / waxy looking part is capped honey, the puffy parts are drone cells (male bees) and the other covered part are brood cells (female worker bees).
This hive also had a lot of burr comb, or comb that the bees had made in places that we didn't want there to be comb. We found burr comb on the lid, and attached to the inner walls of the hives. The dark spots in this comb are actually pollen stores, and on top the covered cells are full of honey.
Mike showing our Hive Sponsor one of the frames. Notice the top of the frame, how it is white and waxy. That is capped honey. The bees are starting to make their honey stores.
We found the queen bee in one of the hives! She is the one whose abdomen is much larger than the others. We don't always see the queen every time we inspect the hive. With thousands of bees in a hive, she is sometimes very hard to spot. So we typically look for other signs that the queen is present and healthy, for example, day-old eggs, and good brood pattern.
We also got to see a bee being "born." As soon as she was completely out of the cell, she was ready to start working as a house bee, doing work inside of the hive. As she ages, she may get promoted to a forager bee or guard bee. There were actually three or four bees on this frame who were in the process of being "born."
We were able to snatch an hour this afternoon to do a hive inspection at a sponsor's property in Willow Springs. The weather was perfect for bee-keeping; warm, sunny and with a light breeze. Typically, Mike does most of his inspections alone, but today, I (Joanne) was able to go with and I brought my camera!
When Mike got into the hives, we saw some wonderful things. The first hive we went into was going gang-busters! They had 3 boxes on their hive, excellent brood pattern, and were even starting to store honey! It was a good thing we went when we did because they were just about to run out of room. We added a 4th box to the hive. If all continues to go well, we should be able to harvest honey from that hive.
The second hive we looked at wasn't as far along as the first hive, but it too was doing very well. The queen had excellent brood pattern, there was plenty of larvae and they were just starting to add some honey stores. This hive had been behind the other one for a while, so it only has 3 boxes on the hive so far.
There is a 3rd hive at the site; for the time being it is empty. We have a nucleus hive on order that we will be putting in once it arrives.
Reminder! If you're in the Chicago area and you want us to notify you when we have local honey available for purchase, please click HERE and fill out the form!
We have had so many people asking us if we have honey available. We feel so bad when we have to tell them that we're out for now, but we'll have more in July. Instead of just walking away from the conversation, we've set up a page on this site where people can request to be emailed when we have honey available for sale. We promise, we will only email you to let you know when the honey is available and what the prices are.
So, if you're interested, please visit our "I Want Honey!" page and send us your email address. That way, you'll get notified right away.
DISCLAIMER: We are NOT selling honey online. There are a TON of regulations around selling honey online that we just don't want to get involved with. All we are doing is setting up an email notification list.
Tonight we had so much fun sharing our love of bees with a group of 4-H Cloverbuds based here in Westchester. These are kids from 5 years old to about 8. First their leader read the book "The Beeman" to the group and then our "beeman," Mike, shared some information about bees, honey, and the tools he uses. The kids got to try on his bee-suits, look at some honey in the comb, and taste some fresh honey. They asked so many good questions about bees and they had such enthusiasm. We were so surprised when their leader gave us the copy of "The Beeman" book! Thank you for such a wonderful evening!
If you are interested in having us come talk to your group, please send us a message using our contact form! We'll be happy to arrange to visit with your group.
Just Bee Cause
Mike is the bee-keeper, Joanne is the photographer / record keeper, and Dale is our trusty mascot!