Our busy little bees are well…busy. During hot sunny days the bees must work to gather nectar so they will have enough food (in the form of honey) for the long winter ahead. Bees gather nectar from flowers. Nectar is very dilute sugar water. Nectar is carried back to the hive in the bee’s honey stomach where it is mixed with enzymes. Bees then fan the nectar that they have placed in the honeycomb to evaporate off the excess water. When the honey is just the right concentration the bees will cap off the honeycomb cell with wax where it will be stored till winter. In the winter, the bees will bite off the cap and drink the honey. Pretty cool. It’s like having a whole pantry full of honey.
You might notice that the three hives in the photo are not all the same height. Let me explain. The bottom boxes are called deeps. There, the colony lays their eggs, raise their brood, and store some honey. The queen bee spends most of her time there. As the deep fills up the beekeeper might add another deep which the bees will use in the same way. The upper boxes are called supers. Worker bees fill supers with honey stores. Beekeepers keep adding supers as the season progresses. The beekeeper will remove some of the supers to harvest honey. Deeps are left alone to provide food for the bees in the winter. Each hive has it’s own characteristic. The taller hives are stronger, more vigorous colonies. The short hive has not been as “busy” therefore, it has not needed extra supers. We are hoping the short hive makes it through the winter. We will not harvest any honey from the short hive but leave it all for them as they are just not as strong. I will update you as the season progresses.