Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Examining Rachel's Bottom Box

In order to reduce the hive from three deeps to two, we took the least utilized frames out. Since we had slacked for over a month, the bees had moved up in the hive and the entire bottom box was mostly empty, making frame selection quite easy. We just took the whole freakin' box.
You can see some honey at the top of the frame above. It has been capped for winter storage with white wax. Pretty much all the honey in the bottom box is pictured here. You can also tell that this is a new frame, added this year. The comb is still lovely cream color. As time goes by and bajillions of little bee feet tromp over the comb, it gradually turns black.
Much of what was in the bottom box looked like the frame above. Sort of a "lite bright" image of yellows and oranges and browns against a black background. The material stored here is pollen. Bees collect from one type of flower at a time and store the pollen from that type flower in the same cell. So...different color pollen comes from different flowers. Pollen is the bee's protein, an important part of their food source. One can't live off honey alone. Pollen is vital for the production of brood.

Finally, a little burr comb (comb not hanging neatly on the frame) that demonstrates how very dark the comb can get. Or illustrates what a very white woman I am. Or both.
We froze the frames in our chest freezer for a few days. Freezing kills moths, mites and other problem critters. We've decided to put the box of frames on the back porch for the bees to raid...and to allow them to recoup some of their honey and pollen.
We'll freeze it all again once they've emptied it.

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