Hobby Beekeeping is enjoying quite a popular resurgence. Many people are becoming interested in raising their own bees, whether for pollination of their own gardens, that delicious honey, valuable beeswax or just to care for our beloved pollinators.
Today I’ll be talking about requeening our hive. There are many reasons a beekeeper might want to requeen their hives. Maybe their existing queen is older and not productive anymore. Or maybe over the years the bees in the hive have swarmed and requeened their colony so many times the hive is becoming more aggressive, or ‘hot’.
You see, each time the colony makes their own queen, she must make her maiden flight for breeding with the surrounding bees. Oftentimes those are wild bees and some might even have more aggressive Africanized bee influence.
If you have very many generations taking those steps you’ve gotten too much opportunity for aggressive characteristics to be introduced into your hive.
Last week we talked about Preparing The Hive For Harvest. And in my Beginning Beekeeper’s Series we’ve talked about everything from becoming NewBEES, obtaining your bees, caring for them and more. Links to all of those articles are below for your convenience.
But now? Oh now we’re going to take that sweet honey from frame to bottle!
We have several hives in our small apiary. Here in NE Texas, we typically harvest our honey around the first week of July. It’s hot, sticky work that’s for sure. But there’s much more to getting that honey harvest than just strolling out to the hives.
RancherMan & I have a small apiary. The bees are fascinating creatures & invaluable in making sure my garden gets pollinated. Plus they offer up that sweet delight during our summer honey harvest as well. In our area of NE Texas the honey harvest is usually done the first week in July.
But we don’t simply decap the honeycomb to get to the honey. We go ahead & scrape the frames down. After we extract the honey we turn our attention to that gorgeous natural beeswax!
Around the end of March RancherMan & I start thinking about splitting our beehives. Splitting a hive accomplishes 2 things – it expands the number of hives in your apiary. (yea!) But it also gives the bees a little elbow room by putting empty frames in each hive allowing for expansion.
You see, if the bees get to thinking things are too cramped, they’ll swarm looking for more space. And that’s something no beekeeper wants since there’s been lots of time & effort into managing their apiary. We did our splits by swapping empty frames for full ones. It was easy!