Our beehive now has a second story!

Since moving into their new home in May, our girls have been hard at work — building comb, gathering nectar and pollen, taking care of the young, making honey, and the countless other tasks that go on inside of a hive. The population has grown dramatically, and the bees were running out of room. One clue was that they were starting to build, or “draw” comb on the bottom of the inner cover.

When bees need more room, beekeepers add a “super”, which in this photo is the white box above the green one (which is called the “deep”). We also added a queen excluder between the super and the deep. A queen excluder, which looks like a wire mesh cooling rack, allows workers bees to travel up to draw comb, store nectar and pollen, and make honey, but doesn’t allow in the larger-sized queen to travel up, so that she won’t start laying eggs in the super. The bees will use the extra space for their own honey stores to get them through the winter. If the nectar supply, or “flow” next spring is wonderful and there is an overwhelming surplus of honey, only then will we consider a honey harvest, and it is from the super that we will do the harvesting.

In our very full hive, the bees have started to build comb between the ten frames. The extra comb in such “wrong” places is called burr comb, and we’re saving it up for future beeswax crafts.