A small, diverse permaculture farm (and now, Bakery!) in beautiful SE Minnesota - our dream come true life focused on Local Food, Local Art, Local Music.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
We got our bees installed with perfect timing--it was perhaps our first two-day stretch of warm sunny weather this year. Yesterday, the dandelions burst into bloom, and the honeybees were already visiting them. You can see packets of pollen on this bee's back legs. Pollen is high in protein and the bees use it to feed their brood.
Although we weren't planning to do this for a couple days yet, Tom called and said the bees we installed just the day before were already building comb like crazy and he thought we should get ready to release the queens.
Tom held up a bar from my Warre hive where the bees were building comb in the swag-like shape they create in nature. He told me these drapes of bees are called "festoons."
We removed a few beginnings of comb that were not in the best areas of the hive for us, the beekeepers. The darker comb was built from recycled wax from an old frame of last year's hive. The lighter comb is brand new comb in one of my new Warre hives.
Such an amazing structure bees create!
We removed the little queen cage that we had hung between the bars. The queen cages were covered with loyal workers building comb from her cage and satisfying her every need.
Being very careful to not let the queen escape, we removed the cork from the opening and replaced it with a miniature marshmallow plug. We hung the queen cage back in the hive and made sure the bars were evenly spaced so the comb will be built in an orderly fashion. In a day or two, the queen and her attendants will have eaten her free and she can begin her life-long reign, laying eggs to build the hive.
In September 2008, we dived into our dream of creating a small, sustainable farm. Neither of us has previous farming experience, but we have enthusiasm and many ideas for this little 10-acre farmstead.