About every two weeks it’s Beekeeping Sunday where I don my alluring bee suit and check out my hive. This first video was shot on July 4th. It was still really cold in Portland but that was about to end. After a drippy, freezing spring we were treated to a blast of searing heat for several days in a row. I had to keep the hive lid propped open because the boxes were really hot. When the bees start collecting on the side and the hive opening, it means they’re trying to cool off the box. By propping the lid open, I helped provide a little more air. Their little wings were beating like crazy as they worked to cool the hive.
We have some obnoxious raccoons in our neighborhood and I was really concerned that they would eventually get into the hive with the lid propped open. So today, I bumped up Beekeeping Sunday by a week and swapped out the winter bottom board for a summer bottom board. The winter bottom board is a solid piece of wood; the summer bottom board has a screen that keeps the boxes cooler. It’s like a little air conditioner. In this first video, I’m getting ready to swap out the bottom boards. My smoker pooped out so I had to stop the video and relight.
Yesterday, a big red pick up pulled up in our yard. It was this older, really friendly gentleman named Jim Barleen, a retired USMC sergeant. We started some bee shop talk and it turned out that he used to extract honey from my dad’s hives when my dad first started beekeeping years ago. Small world! Jim was looking for some yards in which to put a few of his hives. He told me that the Linden trees up and down Powell Blvd make wonderful honey and that the bees have been really producing this year. Bill suggested that I put on the honey super and see if I could get some honey.
In this second video, my smoker is lit and I take apart the hive boxes, checking for queen cells. If queen cells start that means I could have a swarm which I really don’t want. I don’t think my neighbors would be too thrilled about that. I’m also going to put on the queen excluder and the honey super. The queen excluder looks like an old refrigerator grate. It sits on top of the two hive boxes and keeps the queen from moving up into the honey super and eating that honey. She’s too big to fit through the grate. Because the hive boxes are so dang heavy, I know the bees have made a lot of honey and I’m comfortable putting on a honey super so I might get a honey harvest this fall. We’ll see.
Unfortunately, my flip video cut out before I was able to assemble the boxes and show the queen excluder and honey super. Bummer! Oh well, I’ll show you next time. Now…it’s time to heat up my waxes and do some painting this afternoon!