In October, we harvested 140 pounds of honey from our six bee hives. Clover, alfalfa & soybean blossoms produced a varietal that possessed notes of woodland wildflowers and hints of nectar from the Casey prairie. Sunshine-colored, the honey was intensely reminiscent of summer.
Arvin Foell is our apiary guru. His 40+ years of beekeeping spark our honey enterprise. He shares invaluable information about the colonies and how to work safely and efficiently among the hives. At the height of summer, each hive may have upwards of 20,000 bees.
Worker bees cluster on a wedge of honeycomb, practically creating a chain of bees.
Each hive has one queen who lays all the eggs in the hive, sometimes over 1000 per day. The queen has shorter wings than her attendants, and her body is elongated, what with her elevated task of egg-laying. Here she moves among her court.
Worker bees tend to the nectar cells on the left. They fan the nectar with their wings in order to remove the water content, thereby thickening it to the typical consistency of honey. After that they cap the honey (on the right) with fragrant bee’s wax.