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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Comb Honey

Bearding Bees March 2016

Harvesting Comb Honey

This mor
An Inside Look At The Top Frame
ning, I caught the bees bearding and dancing outside the entrance of our top frame.  I knew they experienced a population surge from glances underneath, revealing that the comb was across the expanse of available space.

We have made it kind of a policy to leave the bees alone and let them do their thing, but we weren't ready yet for a split so we decided to grab some comb and expand the hive to give them room for a second population explosion.

An Inside Job

We put our suits on, got the smoker started and had a hard time taking photos, but sharing what we have.

We opened up the hive, pulled out three bars with comb and managed not to kill the queen this year. That is some really good news!  Last year, we could not go outside without angry bees chasing after us until a new queen had been reared. It was frustrating. 

Bee Hive Showing Resin And
No Resin On Each Side Of Excluder

Exclusion Failure

We tried to keep the queen away from comb that would be filled by the worker bees with only honey.  None of the workers would draw comb or make honey in the queen-free zone. They seemed to choose splitting from the hive over making simple honey comb.

The good news is there is a market for bee larvae and comb. Reportedly the drone larvae is more nutritious than the worker larvae.  Use of bees and beehive is not limited only to honey production.  

Our Comb
Comb With Capped Honey And Capped Larvae

Since we're setting up comb honey, we placed the comb in zip-lock baggies and put them in the freezer.  We also had comb that appears to be bee-free which was also placed in the freezer for two days. The only reason for doing this is to prevent the larvae from hatching out of the comb, which would probably be unappealing to some.

Bee Free Comb
We can't bring ourselves to eat larvae.  My husband and I don't consume much honey. We have used the wax to make candles, however. The wax is so sticky it's like glue!  We have the beehives for the pollination benefits for our garden, so what honey we get is given away for the most part.

The honey and wax both smell amazing. We live in a high citrus area, and have several citrus trees ourselves, so our honey has a citrus flavor that is wonderful.

After everything is separated and bagged, this is our share of the honey.

Our Share Of Honey Harvest

Harvesting Larvae

Just in case you're interested in the larvae, here's a how to video.


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