As of last night, our bees have started making honey for us. Yesterday was a routine hive checking day. During the hive inspections, we’re looking for any sign of disease, checking production levels, and cleaning out any excess wax that is being built where it doesn’t belong. Hive 1 was barely ready for a honey super. There was still a full frame in the top hive body box that hadn’t been built on, and the other frames weren’t full, but it was full enough to add the honey super. Hive 2 was the hive we started about three weeks after Hive 1 from bees we ordered through a reseller. When the bees arrived, a bunch of them were dead on the bottom of the box and we didn’t have too high of expectations for this hive. It turns out they are an ambitious little bunch. They had every frame mostly full plus were building up underneath the top feeder. They are a lot more productive than Hive 1.
We removed the feeders from the tops of the hives and got our queen excluders and honey supers ready. The queen bee is a little larger than the other bees, and her job is to lay eggs, so because we really don’t want eggs and larvae among our honey, we put a queen excluder on top of the hive body boxes. The queen excluder is a grate with openings small enough for the average bee to pass through, but too small for the queen. This keeps the queen and her eggs in the hive body and out of the honey supers.
On top of the queen excluder is the honey super. The honey super box is shorter than the hive body boxes, and has 10 frames that the bees build comb on and fill with honey.
The inner lid and outer lid top the honey super. The inner lid has a hole in the center and a notch at the front to allow air circulation in the hive. The outer lid covers and weatherproofs the hive. Now we’re ready for honey!