The second super or box is where the bees make honey that they will store and live on this winter. Our bees, so far are doing a great job of this. We have a wonderful supply of clover, goldenrod, and of course, garden produce that the bees have been working and the honey combs show this.
Foundation covered with bees and honey comb full of capped honey
small foundations we added to the third super for extra honey harvest
Smoking the bees
As a rule, DH checks the bees and does whatever is necessary. I watch from a distance. I'm not terribly afraid of them but I have a healthy respect for thousands of bees swarming around my head! He really loves this and wanted to share the experience with me so I agreed to put on a marshmallow suit and check it out.
To open the hives, he removes the cover and he uses a smoker which has baling twine and newspaper in it. The little bellows keep the fire going and creates the smoke. The smoke stimulates the bees to gorge themselves on honey and therefore keep them from stinging us. We open one hive at a time.
Steve isn't as apprehensive as I am and doesn't normally use his face protection. I on the other hand, went in with full outfit from head to toe. I wasn't taking any chances :)
Not taking any chances!
It was a great experience and I'm sure I'll participate again now that I know what to expect. We have been very fortunate that our bees have done so well and we have not have problems with varroa mites , which are one of the major killers of bee colonies. Keeping strong colonies diesease free and well fed seems to be the best prevention. Hopefully we can keep doing that.