April 6th and 7th: Spring Cleaning!

Monday and Tuesday were the first two days of my Spring Break. I took off work because my son is off of school this week. He unfortunately has a nasty spring cold and has preferred to spend his day curled up under warm blankets chilling out with every episode of “Slugterra” available on Netflix. I have found myself sucked in. It is a good series!  Mostly, though, I did spring cleaning. On Monday I got caught up on laundry and organized the basement.

Tuesday April 7 was bee spring cleaning day. I went through all of the bee equipment from my dead beehives and got it ready to give to my friends at Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm. I discovered that Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap is great for wiping down surfaces on the beehives, since it is effective, doesn’t use harsh chemicals, and bees love peppermint. I don’t go too crazy with cleaning, though, since bees are very good at cleaning up and re-using abandoned hives. I usually don’t do more than shake out any dead bees, but since the hives had gotten wet and the bees had dysentery I needed to make sure the equipment was clean and dry. Sitting next to a dehumidifier for a few weeks solved the moisture issue, and between scraping down surfaces with a hive tool and wiping down with Dr. Bronner’s, they are good to go.

I had enough honey  left in the hives to give Cedar Valley about 10 frames of drawn comb/honey and I kept more than enough for my own bees to start two new 8 frame hives. I also was able to extract 10 frames of honey for my own use, and I made 2 jars of elderberry-honey syrup to help deal with a spring cold that has struck our household. This honey is not quite “pure” because there is some sugar in it. The bees utilized the dry sugar I gave them (mountain camp method) and stored it in the combs, and while I tried to choose to extract from frames that were pure honey, some sugar got in. Since I am the one who bought the sugar and we’ve been baking with it, I’m not so worried about a little bit of sugar in my honey. I wouldn’t sell it, but It still tastes way better than processed honey!

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