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@substack

The day after xmas Marina and I walked over to one of our nearby neighbors to help out with hive maintenance. This is our second time helping out and this time we took some pictures.

Marina suited up:

marina-beesuit.jpg

I got into a bee suit this time as well:

me-beesuit.jpg

This is the hive with the top roof taken off:

top-bar-hive.jpg

You can lift the bars up to inspect the combs.

hive-bar.jpg

Bees everywhere, naturally:

hive-closeup.jpg

We went through the bars one by one, scraping wax off the sides of the hive, looking for beetles, and inspecting the ratio of honey cells to brood. The brood is darker brown.

We harvested one of the bars with almost no brood in it since the bees have been filling up the bars into the back even now in winter.

hive-harvest.jpg

We put the hive back together, scooped the drowning bees out of the harvested comb, and went inside to strain the honey.

First we mashed the comb to break the capped cells and picked out more drowned bees.

honey-mash.jpg

This is what it looked like when fully mashed:

honey-mashed.jpg

Then our neighbor poured the bowl into paint straining bags suspended by a cane over some bowls.

honey-bags.jpg

Our neighbor squeezed the bags by hand to get all the honey out. They melt down the remaining wax and trade it at the farmers market.

honey-squeeze.jpg

Here is some of the honey we collected, I think 6 jars in total or about 3 liters. They gave us 2 of the jars.

honey-haul.jpg

An informative and productive morning of hive maintenance!

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@mycognosist

Awesome post @substack and @marina! Thanks for documenting the process so well and for sharing. Hopefully your honey lasts a bit longer than mine usually does ;)

Are the bees of a different species / subspecies on the islands, compared with mainland USA? Did your neighbor share any anecdotes about the health of the bee population in the local area? Is there a distinct wet season where you live, or is rainfall distributed more-or-less evenly throughout the year?

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@noffle

Woah! That was a great write-up & photos. I feel very informed.

@substack

@mycognosist I have heard that the bees here are fairly docile, partly because of the mild weather and partly because there are plenty of flowers year-round. I'm not sure what type of bees these are, but there were some different species mixed in. Here in Puna it's rainy all year long but most rainy in winter and least rainy in spring. However with climate change and a warming pacific ocean the rainfall has become less seasonal and more evenly spread across the year.

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