The last several weeks we’ve been noticing bees coming and going through a hole in the bricks at the Farm House next door where Aaron and Abbey live. They’ve been finding dead bees falling from a disconnected smoke detector in the ceiling of their bedroom. We did some investigating, sending a scope with a camera through the hole in the ceiling and it revealed a hive of bees in the joists between the floors.
We contacted the local bee associations to find someone willing to come extract the hive from the home. Tonight they came. In all, it took 2 evenings, or about 8 hours of work to remove the beehive. It was an exciting process to watch. Come take a look!
Here they are cutting the sheetrock from the bedroom ceiling.
This is what was revealed up in the space between the floors.
The beekeepers estimated we had 50-70,000 busy bees hard at work here.
They used a shopvac to carefully vacuum the bees into a bee box so they could be safely transported away from here.
There were about 10 honeycombs. They stayed quite calm while the beekeeper vacuumed them up.
One by one, the honeycombs were removed and vacuumed, then handed to the 2nd beekeeper who gently placed them into frames or trays to preserve all the cells that were capped with bee eggs, larvae or babies who would soon hatch. He removed about a quarter of each comb that was filled with honey because it was too heavy to hang in the trays. We got to keep those parts.
These trays will be taken to their new home and the bees in the box will be poured back into the trays so they can continue their work in their new place. The key is to find the queen and send her with her hive. The beekeeper wasn’t sure if he found the queen. If she’s missing, the hive will make a new queen.
In the video below, the beekeeper is telling us that 1/2 cup of bees equals 300 bees!!
You can see all of the capped cells.
Here are the parts of the honeycombs full of honey that were cut off for us to keep. This pan weighed about 15 pounds! The honey was light and delicious. It tasted like the flowers we have in our garden–minty. We have a lot of flowers in the mint family like Russian sage and Salvia.
The beekeeper also removed these old wasp nests that were near the hive. They were paper thin and beautifully formed. This first one was about the size of a cantaloupe.
Everything we saw this evening was exquisitely constructed. Actually miraculous. Creations like this confirm that there is a God in heaven and we were lovingly created by Him.
Some days later, (after many neighbors and friends came to see and taste the honey), we needed to extract it from the honeycombs. Much of the honey had already drained to the bottom of the tin pan.
Claire and Graham broke up the wax combs to release the honey.
We poured the wax and honey mixture into a large sieve and put in the warm sun. Honey melts at 90 degrees. Beeswax doesn’t melt until 140-145 degrees, allowing the honey to melt and drip out of the wax.
The warm 90+ sun went to work melting the honey. There were still some small particles of wax in the honey, but the next sifting would catch those.
The second time we put the honey through some cheese cloth. We kept it out in the sun to keep the honey warm.
After a couple of days, all the honey passed through the cheesecloth.
The last step was to pour the honey into these cute little bears so we can enjoy it and share it with friends. Liquid gold! What an interesting adventure this has been. Many times I thought about my Grandma Elsa, who was a beekeeper and honey harvester. I remember working with her as she cleaned her hives and filled jars with honey. Just smelling this fresh beeswax brings those memories flooding back to me.