Why am I so excited about this? Because it means that we may be able to get in a third robbing this season, which is extremely rare. Mark's cut-off date for robbing each year is July 15. He absolutely will not rob the bees after this, to make sure they have enough time left in the summer to make their stash of honey for food through the winter. Typically, we rob in late May and then again sometime between July 4th and July 15th. This year, the bees had replenished the honey supply super quickly after the first robbing, so we were able to rob them again here in mid-June.
Another reason I'm so excited is that I made my debut as the cap-cutter. Yes, a new responsibility has been added to my Assistant Beekeeper role. I'm honored to be have been deemed worthy to wield the knife!
Keep working, little bees!! Mark and I would love to
Here is a sampling of pictures from Sunday's robbing - views I didn't capture in our previous robbing. If you'd like to check out pictures of the whole process, click here to read my post from our May robbing. Oh, and on a side note ... I'm working on a recipe for Honey Cheesecake. I'll post that recipe as soon as I feel it's blog-worthy. Enjoy the pictures!
That's Mark scraping (cleaning) the excluder. The excluder is the wire "rack" you see ... the wires are close enough together to prevent the queen from getting through (the queen is just a bit bigger than all the other bees). The box from which we rob our honey is placed on top above the excluder. The result? All eggs are laid in the box below the excluder and we rob from frames that are egg-free in a box above the excluder. Oh, and Mark's being all manly and not wearing gloves, or his bee keeper suit ... I wish he wouldn't do that. WEAR YOUR SUIT AND GLOVES, Mark! Join me in "yelling" at him, will ya?
This is the box that was above the excluder, and Mark's just taken it off the hive to bring it inside for us to rob. This box is called a "super." See all those bees still hanging around on it? We don't want to bring those inside. So, how do we get them off? ...
1. Smoke 'em ...
2. ... brush 'em (gently!), and ...
3. ... leaf blower 'em. Yes, leaf blower. That definitely gets any of the tough hanger-around'ers to depart. This 3-step method seems to work really well. This robbing, we brought zero bees inside, and last time we only brought in three. Pretty good, I'd say!
This is Mark taking a frame out of the super. There are nine frames in there.
This is a close-up of the honey comb in the frame. I think it's beautiful! That white-ish stuff is the caps. We'll cut that off to release the honey.
And that's me making my debut as the cap cutter!! Mark says I did an excellent job. Yay!