5th Floor Penthouse Added: Bees Now Making Honey for Humans

The bottom 2 boxes of ‘brood’ have spawned thousands of new bees in the last 4 months. The next 2 boxes up now have about 60 pounds of capped honey (my back is sore from lifting them).  This was made with the help of a sugar water feeded and is the bees’ food for the winter.

Now it’s time for us. I added a “Queen Excluder” grille of bars – too narrow for the queen and just wide enough (about 5 mm) for the workers. Then on top I put the 5 th floor penthouse, complete with sheets of wax foundation. For 2 days they just sniffed at it so I removed the excluder grille. Within 3 days they’d built deep wax cells on each side of the 8 foundation frames:

The sugar water feeder has been removed. Now they only get real nectar from the mid-summer flowers: wild mint seems the most popular. I don’t see any on the Crown Vetch. And 2 days later I can already see honey glistening in some cells:

At this stage the honey has too much water so the poor little darlings must flap their wings over it to evaporate most of the water, while more workers add extra nectar. When ready they will cap it with wax and we then can harvest it. It should be the purest possible honey as I’ve used no chemicals in the garden for years, and I’m only trapping the few hive beetles in an oil bath under a 3 mm mesh.  The bees chase the beetles and they fall in. 

As long as the queen stays down on the first 2 floors and lays her eggs only there, all will be well. Keep hoping.

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