Back in late July, we showed some photos of our beehive. A few weeks later, we opened the hive again for a summer inspection and wanted to share those pictures here too. As we’ve said before, we’re new to beekeeping, but we’re learning more every day.
Necessary equipment: veil, smoker, pry bar and support frame.
Lighting the smoker.
Smokers are commonly used by beekeepers when opening and inspecting hives. The smoke is thought to dampen the guard bees’ pheromone response, allowing the beekeeper to open the hive without a defensive reaction. This does not mean, however, that beekeepers don’t get stung – but the goal is to minimize the stings, because those are harmful not only to the beekeeper but obviously to the hive, too, as the bees die once they’ve stung. Good beekeepers want to reduce unnecessary bee death whenever possible.
Smoking the hive in preparation for opening.
Carefully opening the hive. (I am very helpfully holding an enormous sunflower stalk out of the way.)
Beekeepers traditionally wear white because large predators of hives – bears, raccoons, skunks – are overall dark in color. It is thought that the bees will be less stressed, and therefore less likely to attack, if the beekeepers are clothed in white. In South America, however, beekeepers most often wear red.
The inner workings of our Langstroth hive.
Removing the frames one by one.
It is such a thrill to see so many healthy, thriving bees!
Honeycomb! We’ll leave some for the bees’ winter food supply, and hopefully there will be enough for us, too.
Can you spot the queen? I couldn’t.
Our hive without its top box and cover.
Closing up the hive.
We’re hoping we’ll be able to harvest some of that gorgeous honey you saw above in a few weeks, before the weather turns. Stay tuned!
P.S. Jim, you’re the best. We couldn’t do this without you. Thanks!