I bottled the honey from the harvest a few weeks back. As is usual, I put all the wet wax out for the bees to pick through and salvage what they could.
And then I sat in the middle the swarm (took my first sting of the year as well, though from a wasp).
Pretty Incredible! Here’s another shot of the same swarm.
After sitting for a while, I started noticing which bees were from the same hive and which were not. Most of the bees largely ignored each other, but there was quite a bit of fighting, including this lovely little lady who was nursing the stump of her missing legs.
I don’t remember seeing fighting like that the last few years, though now that I think about it, I suppose I wouldn’t have noticed it. In the new house, the spot I chose for the pan of wax was just outside the kitchen window. In our old house, it was out the back door and in a secluded area of the yard. Hard to see and watch.
As the beekeeping year comes to a close, I’ve settling into a comfortable happiness with the bees. I admit that I could take it or leave it at this point, but that I’d prefer to take it. I like having bees. I like being unique in that way, I like what I can do for my local ecosystem, I like the fresh honey, I like having something to do and be engaged in, and I like having something to look forward to each spring. I like being a beekeeper.
Two hives seems just about perfect. It’s enough to be busy without being busy. It’s enough to get us the honey we typically use, have a little left over for friends and family, and the wax we like to use for lotions and stuff.
I want to make at least one more visit to the hives before this year wraps up (probably next week and hopefully with some mite strips for Inside Hive). I don’t want to lose that hive. I think I’ll find another batch of harvestable frames on that hive for another gallon or two, but I admit that I don’t know that I’ll take them. I don’t need more honey, and I am loathe to take from them more than I need.
And so closes year… 6? I think this was the sixth year for beekeeping. Not that it matters.