I found that one of the extra supers wasn't quite full, so I took 5 frames for us, smoked and brushed most of the bees off, and put them on the porch. The next super down was REALLY HEAVY, and very full of bees. I set that on a wagon, smoked it a bunch, and wheeled it a distance from the hive, hoping the bees would evacuated back to the safety of their condo.
Then, I went to check on the other bees. The thriving hive had barely started filling that extra super, so I left it, wondering if I should remove it so that it will be easier to keep their hive warm as temps cool. And then I decided I should find the queen of the new hive, which is something I heard beekeepers do regularly. After all that book learnin', I felt like a dope because I searched every frame without finding her. As a matter of fact, I have yet to locate a queen in any of our hives.
After that, I had to start making dinner and being a responsible parent, so I left off beekeeping for the night.
This morning, I covered my kitchen in newspaper, because last year, I covered it in honey instead, and our feet made shlupping sounds when we walked for at least a month. I heated a pot of water to keep my capping knife in and set up three big bowls for separating honey and wax.
|Bowl of mostly wax, bowl of mostly honey, naked frames, etc.|
One nifty tip I learned from that book is the bees will do a lot of the clean up for me. I put the empty frames back into the hive and set my honey and wax covered dishes outside, and the bees raced over to gorge themselves.
|Bees washing up my dishes|
|This bowl was covered in honey just a bit earlier.|
Once the wax and honey are removed from the frames, the next step is to separate them from each other. Some people use cheesecloth, and they probably do a better job, but I used a fine sieve, and found it to be satisfactory. I don't mind some fine wax particles in my honey.
Meanwhile, I had the front door open, and the smarter bees found their way around the house and started coming in before I realized what was happening. They seriously wanted their honey back. It took some time just to carefully remove each bee and put them back outside, and I'm still finding them here and there. They were completely peaceful, though. No stings.
Side note: That Damian friend I referred to earlier has a beekeeping/honey business in Portland, OR that is quickly becoming famous. Watch for him on Bizarre Foods. The brand is Bee Local Honey, and he keeps hives throughout Portland. Each neighborhood has its own flavor - a great concept.