Beekeeping at the Abbey with Oblate Louise Nielsen! We are excited to share with you how our bee hives are doing and more about the bees and honey they produce.

In this photo you see a white grate, this is called the queen excluder and it does exactly that! The worker bees can get through the grate but the queen bee is bigger so she cannot. This is important because another box will be placed over the white grate and this box is where the bees will make the honey. We don’t want the queen to get in the box where the honey is because we don’t want her to lay eggs in the honey.

A smaller box will be laid on top of the box that is over the white grate. It’s called a honey super which will become heavy when it fills with honey. The honey super will have pure honey free from eggs, larva, pollen, and other debris found in the bottom box, known as the brood box, where baby bees are made. Most baby bees will be female workers. Only a few are drones who are males and they primarily go from hive to hive to spread their seed. The box above the brood box is the food box. This box contains food for the hive, pollen, nectar from flowers, and honey. This box is built up for eating during the winter. We don’t take any honey from the food box, it is for the bee’s nutrients.

Here you see a honeycomb and the worker bees who are capping the holes filled with honey with a wax. Propolis is another substance produced by bees its used to fill the holes. Some people use propolis as a salve. The holes in the honey comb is also where the baby bees are hatched and feed until they are ready to move on to their first job in the hive and that is to feed others that are hatching after them. In our next blog we will break down what other jobs our bees will have in their lifetime. You can tell the age of the bee by the job they are doing. Until next time! Bee kind.