We have embarked on another interesting adventure today. This time it has nothing to do with homemade flip flops, truck campers or toilet drains. We have begun the adventure of bee keeping…
A couple of days ago, Seth was clearing out some of the pepper tree branches he had cut down when he got stung by a bee and noticed some bees swarming. He found out that they seemed to be living inside an old cooler than the previous house owner had left. See, there is a small pile of random trash and containers that the old owners left beside the garage. It has been covered by tall grass and “protected” by an overgrown pepper tree. So, Seth has been trying to slowly clear it all out. Anyways…
Yesterday, I noticed that the bees kept going in and out of the drain hole of the cooler. I figured we’d have to find someway to shoot in bee killer or some such craziness. But then it dawned on me this morning, what if there’s really an actual hive inside with actual honey? I figured, yeah right, but it wouldn’t hurt to find out.
I mentioned my curiosity to Seth and of course, that got him spurred on to find out. He took a REALLY long board and attempted to pry open the cooler lid (thankfully its still on a strap so that it doesn’t come completely off…that would make things even more complicated). He finally got it open and of course out comes all the bees! But we still couldn’t see in because it was facing the fence and the bees were swarming too much to get to the other side. Then it dawned on me that it was facing the garage which has a screen storm door on one side. So I ran inside and look what I saw:
We went from discussing how to get rid of the bees to researching how to harvest honey and bee keeping. At first I was totally against the idea just thinking of Haddie and the youth group kids getting attacked by bees. It was interesting reading the different articles online though.
I left to run some errands and then I got a picture text from Seth. He had managed (sting free!) to get one of the big honeycombs out and it actually had honey in it! I began to become more intrigued by the idea of keeping the cooler hive.
When I came home, he had moved the cooler to the back corner of the fenced yard and had managed to get some honey out of it. I tasted it and its actually pretty good. I wish I liked tea…because that seems to be what you’re supposed to use honey for.
A friend told me that the honeycomb is actually edible too. So I looked it up online. Apparently, some people just chew the honeycomb until all the honey is gone (kinda like gum) and then spit it out. Some people eat it entirely and others even make sandwiches out of the honeycomb. Personally, that’s a bit far for me! Honestly, I wouldn’t even chew it.
So then, that lead me to wonder what else you can use the honeycomb for.
Here’s a list of uses I found:
Oil Spill Control
Who knew there were so many uses for beeswax?
While I don’t plan on using it on my bagpipes or archery bows, I did think a few of the uses sounded interesting. Reading this list and their descriptions made me kinda excited to experiment with the honeycomb and beeswax. So I researched more about how to making crayons and candles. I’ve also tried to find good websites about how to make jewelry out of honeycombs. But haven’t really found anything useful yet.
We already tried to make a candle…it looks rather gross. I guess we need to strain out more of the junk and that the wax is less than we expected the two big things of honeycomb would make.
From what I’ve read now, bees only make 1 lb of wax for every 100 lbs of honey! Craziness. I figured it would be the opposite.
I also thought that using batik to decorate eggs sounded really cool. Don’t know if I would have the patience to do it though. You use melted beeswax to draw a pattern on the eggs. Then you dye the eggs different colors. The wax keeps the dye off of the drawn pattern. After you have dyed the eggs with the color pattern you want, you melt the wax off. Here are some really pretty examples:
We’ve ended up with a pretty good amount of honey from the two honeycombs that Seth harvested. We’re curious to see how fast these bees reproduce their honeycombs. Maybe Seth’s found a new side business to pursue. haha.
Here’s a few other pictures of the endeavor.
I’ll probably upload a few more later if they will download off of my phone.
And like I said before, our life seems to never be dull. And this house continues to surprise us with new adventures all the time!