My indoor hive is doing well – too well in fact.
As a new bee keeper I’m lacking one major resource – drawn comb – honey comb the bees have already made. When I add space for the bees I have to use foundation – flat sheets of embossed wax that the bees will use as a template to make their comb. Making comb takes time and takes honey – eight kilos of honey makes one kilo of wax – bees don’t like making comb unless they have to.
My supers where I would like the honey to go are full of foundation. The bees, quite sensibly have decided that rather than going to the trouble of making new comb and burning up precious honey, they’d rather use comb that’s already drawn. There’s a teeny problem with that though – that comb is meant from brood – space for the queen to lay eggs and for larvae to grow. With it full of honey, the poor girl doesn’t have space to lay, feels crowded and the hive makes preparations to swarm – most uncool and also likely to upset the neighbours.
In bee keeping parlance my ladies are honey bound.
There’s a proper way to deal with this – simply remove the frames and replace them with empty drawn comb, save the full frames for when the bees need feeding. Herein lies the problem, I have no spare drawn comb. I do however possess a honey extractor.
So I’ve raided the hive, yesterday I snuck in and grabbed five frames off the top brood chamber.
The now dripping frames, lightly glazed floor and somewhat tacky dog reminded me to do this closer to the extractor next time.
The extractor itself is very simple – put frames in basket, turn handle.
All I had to do next is put the sticky frames back into the hive – the hive that is full of now quite angry insects in a small room full of flying bees. Did I mention bees are attracted to honey and things covered in it?
Amazingly I didn’t get stung, not then anyway – it was about an hour later and I still don’t know how or why that bee got up my t shirt sleeve – Sting count 37.