WSBee Honey!

Today the 5th grade helped extract honey from honeycomb made by our very own honeybees. The honeycomb was carefully harvested last week. We only took a couple of bars to ensure the bees have plenty of honey to get them through the winter. Below are photos of the extraction process.

First the empty comb is cut off and placed into an empty bucket. Then (after thoroughly washing hands) the capped honeycomb is crushed. When its has been thoroughly pulverized (and fingers thoroughly licked), the wax & honey goop is poured into a strainer system. To build the straining system I went to a local brew shop, Nepenthe Homebrew, for food grade buckets, a spigot, and mesh strainer. I cut one of the buckets in half and lined and sandwiched the mesh between the two stacked buckets. The honey is then strained through the mesh which collects the wax. After a couple of slowing dripping days, we will bring the wax outside and place it near the hive so the honeybees can come out and clean off the remaining honey. It’s a pretty low tech system. This winter we will build a small solar oven so in the spring we can melt the wax down to make candles and lip balm!
Have a nice weekend!

The Honeybees are Back!

Actually, not quite, but they will be in the next few days. This week I was able to procure a new horizontal, top-bar hive from Baltimore Honey. WSB hosted honeybees from Baltimore Honey on our property before, but this time WE ARE THE BEE GUARDIANS.
I spent the last couple of days painting the new hive (with low VOC paint) and setting it into place. Each of the 4 steel legs had to be buried about 20″ down (which if you’ve dug into our stoney land before, you would know is a rather humbling task). The bees will be delivered sometime between now and Tuesday. Here are some photos of the new hive placed by the top of the driveway:

Last winter I took Baltimore Honey’s Bee Stewardship Workshop — and I’m very excited to be working with a holistic approach to beekeeping and sharing it with our students and community. If you’re interested, watch this 6 minute excerpt from a film by the Bee Guardians at Back Yard Hive: