Yesterday afternoon we did an inspection of the beehives, and our first harvest of honey from the Flow hive.
Firstly, we added a second brood box to one of the new hives (the one in the foreground), as they were ready for more space. The other new one (next to it) wasn’t ready yet; that one started out behind, so will be another few weeks before they need another box:
Here’s the queen excluder from the purple hive; this grid lets worker bees through to the honey supers, but keeps the queen out, so she doesn’t lay brood up there:
A brood frame with lots of honey (their winter reserves; we won’t harvest that):
On inspecting the Flow hive, all of the frames had at least some honey, so we decided to do our first harvest. Unlike traditional honey supers (which we’ll have on the other hives), the Flow one is designed to make it easy to harvest honey like turning on a tap. By opening the back, removing some covers, inserting a tube, and turning a big metal key, the frames split open, and the honey oozes out. When done, the process is reversed, and the bees refill the cells; no bees are harmed, and they’re hardly disturbed:
Here’s a video of the bees working on the leftmost frame, through the inspection window on the side:
And a video of harvesting from three of the Flow frames:
Harvesting honey; the cheesecloth is to keep bees out of the jars:
A full jar:
While we waited for the honey, swapping out jars as needed, we also put a Ross Round honey super on the purple hive. These are a different kind of special frames, where the bees build their comb in circular frames, which can then be easily packaged into round containers of comb honey:
Close-up of a bee on Jenn’s bee suit:
Our harvest: 7 quarts (about 6.6 liters) of honey:
Not bad for about 3 weeks of work from one hive. Well done, bees!