The bees have started to build swarm cells on the bottom of top super frames. I put another box on to give them more room in hopes that it will stop swarming. .
The hives seem to be wintering okay. I noticed condensation on the bottom edge of the lid of the hive in my back yard. When I lifted the lid slightly I could hear the bees. There is not much to be done with the hives this time of the year. So, other than the occasional walk around I don’t bother the hives.
This time of the year is slow time for beekeeping which has given me some time for art. Here are some new gelli plate prints with bees, birds and flowers.
I checked on one of the hives today and they have lots of honey stores for the winter. The honeybees were quite active today. They were out collecting pollen and nectar on the flowers that are still in bloom. It is a beautiful and sunny day here. Although it has been getting below freezing at night. I will have to winterize the hives soon.
Over the past two weekends we have extracted honey from the beehives. We extracted four supers of honey-yielding about 10 gallons of honey. After rendering the wax cappings we had 26 oz of beeswax.
To render the beeswax I use a crock pot.
Rendering the wax was is done by melt the cappings in a crock pot on low heat with water. I let the wax melt and then skim out the debris from the surface of the wax with a wire strainer. The crock pot is then turned off and the wax hardens on top of the water.
The wax comes out of the crock pot in disks.
Here I put the debris in a cup for you to see. It contains propolis, bee parts and pollen,
Repeat the rendering process to further clean the wax by braking up the disks and placing in a nylon sock.
Once the wax has melted the remove the nylon sock and then turn off the crock pot. The sock captures all the debris that was not removed before.
This process can be repeated until the wax is clean.