Three years in the making! Three years to get a colony of bees to over-winter, but worth it!
It has been tough going getting our bee hives to grow. Starting the bees three years ago, we have lost every colony through fall and winter each year. But I made a commitment to myself (Actually the wife made a commitment for me) that I would give it a minimum of three years to over-winter a colony.
The original goal was to add a new colony each spring until I had three colonies, but each spring I have been starting fresh with one colony.
I have always bought Italian bee’s, but this past year through a special deal from our local club, I purchased two nuc’s with Russian bees. I think changing to the more aggressive and hardier Russian bee made some difference, although I did still lose one colony through 4 different swarms.
The colony that did survive the winter, turned out to be a very strong and thriving colony. Yesterday we removed the Illinois honey box and proceeded to extract our very first run of honey.
I truly though it would be a lot of work, so I asked a couple of new beekeeper friends to come and help, but it was truly not to bad. Pulling the frames of honey, de-capping the comb and spinning the frames proved to be a pretty easy experience.
I was really thrilled with our first year’s production, considering we extracted over TEN POUNDS of honey from just 6 1/2 frames! It was the best tasting honey I had ever eaten, but that could be just the excitement of eating our own honey talking.
Here are a few pictures from the day, sorry I did not take more!
By the way cleaning the equipment was really simple. (buckets and honey extractor) I just set all the equipment in front of my bee hive for the rest of the day and the bees cleaned it all up for me! Just a little soap and water this morning and the equipment is back in storage for next year!
Here is a quick video of the honey extractor at work. I can’t wait til next year!
Lot’s more pictures HERE.