Hollenbeck Bee Keepers!

Before we ever left California, my Mother In Law purchased a Flow Hive for us.

You can check out videos and photo galleries of them here → Flow Hive ←

We knew that we would be moving so we never put it together or started our Bee adventure. Once we got to Texas however, Travis put it together and we searched for a place to purchase Bees. It may not be like this everywhere, but we could only buy Bees in the spring. So we put a deposit down to secure our Bees and waited for months to pass. Finally, April arrived and it was time to pick up our Bees. I don’t think any of us knew what to expect. Travis had Bees when he was younger but never actual bought a Nucleus of them. We picked up a box that came with 4 frames and a feeder frame. When a hive is just starting out you need to supply them food. We fed them some nectar that we purchased that was full of essential oils. The Bees loved it. When we got home we let them sit for a little bit before we transferred them to their new home. Travis did the transferring while I took pictures. The entire time though, they did not swarm and were not very aggressive. The pictures below were our first step. Getting the bees and setting up. This took place April 22nd.

After a few weeks of letting them eat and get established it was time to check on them again. We suited up and removed the cover to find that they were doing great! Making honey and filling the box. We removed the feeder frame and added a honey frame. At this time we put the Queen Excluder on. This prevents the queen from going to the top box and laying eggs where the honey is stored. The workers can fit through the holes but she can not. We put the honey extractor on top and scrapped some of the wax and honey off the lid to make it all fit again. And so we could try it. We got them a new feeder that was only filled up one time and we waited again. This was May 8th. About 2 weeks later.

So far so good. It’s been relatively easy. I have been stung once because I think I’m a bad ass.

Now we are ready to check on their progress. We opened up the viewing window and couldn’t believe how much honey was made after 1 month. We had just checked it a week ago and it wasn’t filled up. We decided to go ahead and take our first batch! It was a fun family experience. While you are doing this, you don’t need to be as protected with a suit. You are not disturbing the bees nearly as much as when you are taking off the lid and removing frames. Which still has to be done every now and then for hive maintenance. You do have to take care of it. At some point I do believe we will have to add another super box (that is the box on the bottom where the queen lays eggs) to make more room for more bees to prevent swarms. We happen to have another hive box we just need more frames. This part was the coolest. Seeing all the honey. Watching it just pour out. The kids being a part of it. And then getting to taste all the goodness! This was June 6th.

You can see in the picture above to the right that we drained 2 frames. You can also see that the other frames are not completely full so we did not take them.

We got 3 full jars of honey and I can finally use my honey jar I bought for $2!

Overall, it took about 2 months to get our first batch of honey!

My daughter is allergic to bees. Epi-Pen allergic to bees and that doesn’t stop us from having her join in and be a part of this family experience. In fact, she loves being out with the bees and telling her friends not to swat at them. Bee keeping is not for everyone. This makes it a little easier but maintenance is still required.

We have loved every minute of it!

Happy Thursday My Friends

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