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By Martha Stewart
The vitality of our vegetable and flower gardens depends on the health of this hardworking insect. This environmental and conservational concern sparked my interest in the bee population -- and a desire to care for hives of my own.
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I jar my honey in a variety of lovely containers. It looks best in glass; lids should be tight-fitting.
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It’s important to check the hive and frames throughout the season for egg and honey production, and to confirm that the queen is in good health. Honey is then harvested in early fall.
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The Right Timing
It’s best to work at midday, provided it’s clear and the winds are calm -- 50 to 60 percent of the hive should be out foraging then.
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I wear a one-piece bee suit that covers me from head to toe; it has no openings for errant bees to enter.
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At the Ready
A smoker (mine is fueled with bark, straw, and dried leaves) should be prepped before you open the hive. It calms the bees and establishes a sense of well-being in and around the hive.
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The hive tool allows you to pry loose the frames -- which are often stuck in place with beeswax and propolis -- and lift each one out.
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The honeycomb is capped with wax, so little honey escapes while you check the frames.
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Return on Investment
This frame is heavy and full. It will stay in the super, or box, until harvest time.