My assignment this week from Dan was to assemble some honey bee frames for my hive. The frames consist of a top bar, 2 end bars, one end bar and a sheet of 100% beeswax foundation. The beeswax foundation has hundreds of tiny hexagons which the bees will build up to make comb. It is in this comb that they will put eggs, pollen (protein) and HONEY. The process was quite simple and my pneumatic brad nailer made for quick work.
You will notice that there are 2 different sizes of frames. This is because there are 2 different depths to the supers (boxes) that we will use for the hive. The larger frames will go into the 2 bottom supers. This will be where the queen will lay her eggs (up to 1000 in a single day) and her workers will deposit nectar for the brood and winter feed for the entire colony.
The upper supers will be strictly for our honey consumption. There will be a screen below these 2 supers which will prevent the queen from laying brood amidst our honey. Since the queen is much larger than her workers, she will not be able to fit through this screen, though her workers will be able to move up and deposit honey into these frames.
So……..why are these supers smaller than the ones below? Common sense would dictate that large supers would be the best choice for harvesting honey. Remember last week’s post about more is not always better??????? The only reason that these supers are smaller is because honey is heavy! A medium super – filled and capped with honey will weigh in at around 45 pounds. Now take into account that there are around 40,000 bees(that’s the average) who are really ticked off that you are stealing their honey. The last think you are going to want is more weight! Dan informed me that last year he harvested around 100 pounds of honey from each of his 4 hives!
So for now……I just have to wait for my Queen to arrive. Dan told me that she will be coming near the end of the month. She, and a bunch of bees from one of Dan’s strong hives, will be brought together in order to start my hive!
A Bit of Trivia:
Did you know that honey bees are not indigenous to North America? Apis mellifera (Western Honey Bee) was first introduced in 1622 on the coast of Virginia. It was famously called “white man’s fly” by Native Americans.
My daughter with Dan’s pig “Larry”.