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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Backyard Beekeeping In Shangri La

Trying not to look like a bear
Beekeeping does not need to involve a lot of equipment and can be a pleasant sting free activity if you approach the hive calmly and move slowly with respect in ways the bees don't interpret as hostile.

Just before opening the hive I gave the hive a few puffs of smoke to distract them from my hairy presence that might put ideas in their heads I  be a bear disguised as a man.
I am using the kitchen knife to gently separate the top bars trying not to breath heavily especially if I have been eating garlic,cause even bees don't like garlic breath unless they are the famous Ligurian bees of Kangaroo Island that got blown across the seas from Italy on the trade winds.
 The top bars that the bees build honey from don't need to be wired up and foundation beeswax connected which is a great time and money saving method for the beekeeper and means the bees build beautiful V shaped comb that conforms to their natural desire to build comb cells of different dimensions depending whether they use them to raise brood or store honey.   
Honey Comb
 Beautiful honey comb dedicated to the storage purely of honey.No brood in this frame.
Having a closer look
When holding the top bars its always important to hold it correctly so the comb sits the way it does in the hive or it can break off and end up in a mess on the ground.

 The frame below is what is known as brood comb that has been extracted from deep in the cent re of the hive where the queen has been laying eggs into wax cells which the bees cap from which a new worker bee will emerge in  21 days or if it is a drone bee 24 days or 16 days if it is to be a queen.When the eggs hatch in their cells they are given a supply of royal jelly in which they float for three days and live off before their diet is changed to a mixture of honey and pollen.Queen bee larvae are fed royal jelly for a longer period through their developing time.At the end of the feeding period the adult bees cap the cells and the larvae inside spin cocoons  and pupate.over the next 12 days shedding its skin up to 5 times before emerging from their cells.
Brood Comb
Newly formed comb inside the hive

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