Seeing Tara's husband, Chris, work with his bees was so neat! He said he needed to check them and we all said to wait til we were back from the shower because we all wanted to see!! They have 1 hive right now but they actually bought another box to hold another hive while we were at Tara's shower. What's so crazy is that a lady at my office, her husband just went through the bee keeping class and just got bees so I've been hearing her talk about it. So seeing it was neat. I think Chris said he checks the bees once a week. He got all suited up in his space suit and went to work, while his adoring fans watched. HA!! He uses the smoke (which was caused by a smouldering corn cob) to calm them down so he can work with them. That glass jar on the side is filled with sugar water, which is what they eat. I can't remember how often he said he fills it up but it was pretty often (maybe every other day??).
I can't remember exactly how many of the vertical sheet things there were, maybe 10, but right now his bees are only on the first 5 or so. They slowly work their way back until the bees are making comb on each slat piece. He was carefully inspecting each sheet, checking the way the worker bees were building (think they're called drones) and looking for the queen. When he first got the bees, the queen came in her own container and it got hung in there and the bees ate her out. Crazy! The queen mates one time and is capable of producing thousands of eggs from there on, and she can live for a couple of years. There's only one queen in each box, and worker bees are male or female.
With this sheet held out, you can kind of see how the bees are building the comb.
He was inspecting each sheet very closely because unfortunately, he couldn't find the queen. He said if you see her that it's very obvious because she's much bigger than the other bees. She could have died or could have been in there somewhere, but what he did find was what looked to be a new queen cell that the bees were building. So it's possible the queen died. We never heard an update this week as to whether or not he ever found her, or if the new queen cell hatched out a new queen.
As for when they can start harvesting the honey, I believe they said it would take about a year to get enough in there to start harvesting and the said it's a pain to get the honey out. He did scrape off a piece of honeycomb off the top. Becca tasted her piece and said it was a little sweet because there was a little honey on it. The piece that I tried just tasted like wax, blahh!!
Hopefully I didn't include too much incorrect information in this post. :-) But it was very interesting hearing Chris and his father in law (who also has bees in Mississippi) share their knowledge. The pictures towards the end looked like we were pretty close, and we were! The bees really just kept to themselves and stayed around their little home. A big thanks to Chris for sharing his beekeeping knowledge with us and hopefully ya'll get lots of good honey!