Our apiary is tucked into several nooks in the windbreak of eastern red cedars that separates our flowers from a hay field, and earlier this summer we harvested a super crop of light, smooth basswood honey.
Hive and nucleus
Earlier this year
The green hive on the left overwintered really well, and we split it into three nucleus colonies which we fed and have now successfully drawn out wax for their brood chambers and are working on filling honey supers. Before bees can store nectar and pollen they need to draw out cells within the frames, which requires lots (and lots) of wax, produced from a gland on their bellies. They tend to draw wax during the spring flow, and I was really pleased with how many frames of wax cells the splits filled.
Our established hives had already completed this work, and so the spring flow was a time for them to head straight to honey production.
A frame of capped honey
The boxes we stack on top of the main bee brood chamber for honey production are called ‘supers’ and this spring each 10-frame super weighed just over 50 pounds. After removing the wax cappings (leaving the cell structure intact) we collected roughly 40 pounds of honey per super.
2 lb jars of basswood honey
The fall nectar flow is starting, fueled by the sporadic rain we’ve gotten, and I expect the honey to be much darker than the spring’s.
A few photos of the bees: