Adventures in Beekeeping: Hive Removal

On Saturday, Wheat and I helped our good friends Lee and Ben move a colony of bees out of the wall of a tenant house on their family farm into a hive box.  It was only our second hive removal (the first on our own), so we were pretty grateful it turned out much better than expected!

The hive was in the wall of this very old tenant house.  They were using this knot hole as an entrance.  Lee and Ben wanted to remove them and put them into a hive box to begin keeping bees, so Wheat and I offered to help them do it.  It was just as exciting as last time!

Knot Hole Entrance to Wild Bee Hive in a Wall | Oysters & Pearls

Knot Hole Entrance to Wild Bee Hive in a Wall | Oysters & Pearls

We began by using a handheld saw to cut the boards right next to the studs, which we figured were bordering the comb.  Luckily, we were correct, and the guys had the boards down in no time.  Cutting Open Exterior Wall to Remove Bee Hive | Oysters & Pearls Removing a Bee Hive from a Wall  | Oysters & Pearls Removing a Bee Hive from a Wall | Oysters & Pearls Removing a Bee Hive from a Wall  | Oysters & Pearls Bee Hive in a House Wall | Oysters & Pearls

There were a LOT of bees in there!  This colony was pretty well established, and had quite the stock of honey.Honey Comb and Bees | Oysters & Pearls Bee Hive in an Exterior Wall | Oysters & Pearls Established Bee Hive in an Exterior Home Wall | Oysters & Pearls Established Colony of Bees in a House Wall | Oysters & Pearls Lee and Ben and a Bee Hive | Oysters & Pearls Bees on Honey Comb | Oysters & PearlsWe took a group picture when Keri, Ben’s wife, stopped by, then got started on the removal.

Natalie, Wheat, Lee, & Ben with the Hive | Oysters & Pearls Natalie, Wheat, Lee, & Ben with the Hive | Oysters & Pearls

We cut the comb piece by piece and used large rubber bands to fill empty frames with the pieces of comb.  It just so happened that Ben had a hefty supply of the huge rubber bands they use on the farm to bundle collards. :) We shook as many bees into the box of frames as possible, and even managed to find the queen bee and seal her into the bottom box!  It really went as well as it possibly could have.

Wheat Replaces the Home's Exterior Wood Siding | Oysters & Pearls Shaking Bees into the Hive Box | Oysters & Pearls Bees in the Hive Box | Oysters & Pearls Honey Bees Removed from a Home | Oysters & Pearls Honey Bees | Oysters & Pearls We ended up with a good bit of solid, clean honey comb, even after filling 20 frames with comb, so we decided that we would spend the afternoon harvesting it.

Natural Honey Comb | Oysters & PearlsWe transported the whole hive box back to Lee’s house, got them settled in, then got to squeezing comb.

Installing New Hive | Oysters & Pearls  Lee and Wheat with the Hive in its New Home | Oysters & PearlsThe honey comb was really beautiful, so we cut the prettiest pieces and put them in jars whole.  Then we simply squeezed comb with our (clean) hands over the jars until they were full.  Then we strained all that was left in the bucket (a good bit) through a clean cloth and into a bowl to finish it off.

Jarring Honey with Honey Comb | Oysters & Pearls Freshly Jarred Honey from a Wild Hive | Oysters & Pearls Honey with Honey Comb | Oysters & Pearls Fresh from the Hive Honey | Oysters & Pearls

It was a messy, sticky, not so pretty process, as evidenced by the tailgate pictures, but the honey was perfect and delicious and no one minded a bit.  It was a family affair. And the honey was finger-licking good.Finger-licking good!  | Oysters & PearlsWe got all the jars cleaned up and divvy’d up.  It was pretty unbelievable that even with stocking the hive with 20 frames of comb, we still got all this honey.  The honey itself was light in color with a lot of floral notes.

Honey with Comb from a Wild Hive | Oysters & Pearls Ball Jars Full of Honey | Oysters & Pearls Fresh Honey, Honey Comb, and a bit of Pollen | Oysters & Pearls

We got a couple bit of pollen in some of the comb, but we decided to leave it.  After all, it can’t do much but help even more with allergies!  I also fell in love with the dish towel Nikki serendipitously had out on her counter.  #beesonbeesBees on Bees | Oysters & Pearls As Fresh As It Gets! #hivetotable  | Oysters & Pearls

We had a blast helping them with this hive removal and were lucky enough to take a jar of the honey home.  It was a good day spent with friends, and I love that we have two more buddies who are as excited about bees as we are.

Until Next Time

You may also bee interested in:

Adventures in Beekeeping, Part 1

Adventures in Beekeeping, Part 2: Another New Hive

Adventures in Beekeeping Part 3: Processing Beeswax At Home

The Trials and Tribulations of Beekeeping

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