Monday, July 22, 2013

One Does Not Just Walk in to Mordor

Once bee business was booming, it was easy to see that our hives had very different personalities.  Harmony, the top bar hive, is calm and Mordor, as you might guess, aggressive. I have not looked forward to having to dig around in that hive for the queen, in order to literally squash those aggressive tendencies, and replace her with a nicer version.
I read, read, read and thought it through very carefully.  First, I decided I needed to have a good experience so yesterday I spent some time visiting with the Harmony Hive which resulted in a very hospitable gift.
 It was with much excitement and joy we tasted our first piece of comb filled with honey and filled a few wee jars so the gramerlings can share in the tasting.
 Sunshine in a jar and very delicious.
You can see in the above photo, the papery covering on the honey which means it's capped and ready. Not all of the comb was capped if you notice in the bottom right corner.  I cut the comb off the top bar, and cut away any unfilled or uncapped comb and put it outside with the bar.  The bees come and take every last drop of honey. I purposely left a strip of comb on the bar for the bees to have an easier start, so honey was dripping everywhere. That honey is now back in the hive.

 So, preparing for Mordor.   One does not just walk in to Mordor, you must be ready. First you pray, naturally.  The bee jackets are really fabulous, no stings through them anywhere, but they are so stinking hot, so in Rambo style, I had to get on my bandana, as it's difficult to work with sweat pouring down your face.
 Next, a cooling neck wrap to try to keep me calm and collected when battling the bees.
All kinds of bottoms and tops to put over and under the sections as we took them apart.
Then Handy Man is suited up, but what you don't see is the cucumber peels in his pocket and the cinnamon toothpick he's chewing, both considered to be repellants.

Bees, Bees, Bees and more Bees, but not a Queen in sight.

Well, there is only so much being swarmed by bees a person can take, so after an hour we surrendered- our first attempt a dismal failure.  I  believe the queen is in the deep, which we have separated , so when we try again, we will only have one box to go through, not three.
Yesterday, I was loving bee keeping life and today I  was seriously questioning my bee keeping ability.  For my part, I'd like to just park this little missy and her witchy-poo consort in the south forty and wish them all the best, but it feels wrong to continue to send genetic bee nastiness out into the netherworld. So, we'll try and try again.


  1. How can you look at all that beautiful honeycomb and not think you have mad bees skills? It looks so delicious. I remember being little and my Dad would get honey in the comb and that was the best ever! I loved chewing on that wax.

  2. Sorry to barge in! Just wanted to say that this is amazing!!! I love this post, love that you're working with bees, and in the process teaching their importance to the kids around you. Really, thank you! :)