Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sweeter than honey?

There are a lot of benefits to keeping bees around.  Of course there is the honey, which is always dynamite.  I harvested plenty of honey from one of my hives this year, it has real flavor (which you just won't find in the grocery store varieties) and expresses a range of color depending on when and where it is harvested from.

This year I was able to capture four swarms for myself, which I have hived in three large Top Bar Hives up on the farm.  On top of that, I had opportunity to capture several other swarms which we placed with some aspiring new beekeepers - nice to get some other folks into the work of caring for bees!  My hope is that the hives will all be strong enough to weather the winter and will start next spring strong.  I will be able to split those colonies next year and continue to expand the apiary.

The wax not only looks great, but it smells simply amazing.
One of the side products that is readily taken from the Top Bar Hives is beeswax.  The bees build fresh comb which they use for raising young and for storing honey.  The honey storage comb is sometimes emptied out as the bees make use of the food during periods of colony growth or low forage availability.  That empty storage comb is good stuff for processing into pure beeswax.  Evie and I built a solar wax melter this summer and have been putting it to use to render out some beeswax for a special project she's interested in.  Pure beeswax has a lot of uses, but she has her eyes set on lip balm.  So we'll combine this wax with some other natural products and start turning out Evie's first line of lip balm soon.  It's sure to be the hot item this winter for all those chapped lips out there, so keep your eyes open for our young entrepreneur's announcement about available product.

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