Monday, 6 October 2014

Honey frames

The bee keeping year in winding down. The weather has become cooler, especially at night but the bees are still bringing in plenty of pollen mainly from ivy.
I took another three frames of capped honey out of the hives today. This will leave them plenty for the winter. I feel that it will be enough for for us to use over the winter and surplus for the bees larder. If the honey is still there in the spring, I might harvest it then.
I was looking forward to harvesting honey comb but all the frames I brought in happen to be built on wired foundation, which I will be phasing out over the next few years, in preference for foundation-less frames where the bees will draw their own comb.

I made up new batches of salve/balm for the house with the beeswax. I use this for minor cuts and irritated skin, and as udder balm for the cow. It is so simple, cheap and effective! It works so well for nappy rash  in young children and for outdoor winter cracked hands.
The recipe is so simple, just five parts olive oil to one part beeswax. 
I usually add a few drops of essential just because they smell so nice. Gently heat on the range until the beeswax melts into the olive oil. Using more beeswax will produce a firmer salve, which may be preferred during summer months.

We have four piglets going to new homes this evening and another one going to a neighbour in the morning. So this time tomorrow we will have two piglets instead of seven. I am delighted by this!
Piglets eat a lot, and seven eat an awful lot of food! 
It will take a lot of the pressure for milk production off the sow, as they have started to damage her teats with their fierce competition for udder space.


  1. Excellent idea about the making the olive oil and beeswax balm. We are still useless as beekeepers, (too much else happening at the moment) but do have a bucketful of beeswax, which I didn't know what to do with, but now I do! Am also very interested in your frameless project so will watch your progress great interest.

  2. You do seem to have a lot going on :-)
    We started this year with changing over to foundation-less and it has gone well. At the moment one in five frames have been drawn my the bees themselves. We found a few things:
    that they did not draw all drone cell, very few really until the hive required them, the same amount as you would expect from using foundation.
    The frames are not as hardy so you must handle them more gently, no flipping over on a hot day, or the comb will fall out due to the weight.
    We did not lose production due to the bees having to draw additional wax as the books warn, quite the opposite. The bees seemed so eager to draw their own comb that it kept them very motivated and busy that swarming tendencies decreased and overall production increased.
    It produces much much cleaner wax.
    You have to be careful that your frames are spaced correctly. too much space and they will draw two frames instead of one in the space given.
    it is easier for them to draw good queen-cells from soft fresh wax.
    The queen seems to prefer to lay in new comb. I will always see new eggs laid onto emerging comb, never older comb.
    I noticed this pattern:
    Eggs always in new emerging comb.
    Older good comb is back filled with pollen and honey.
    Dark comb that is 2yrs + is ignored and not used for anything unless stuck for space.
    General hive hygiene is high better/cleaner.


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