Homemade beehives with viewing windows
Here's a peek through the rear windows of our homemade beehive.
I have two hives that Rob made with built-in windows and I try to visit these daily. It''s a great way to keep an eye on the health of the hive without the need to pull the entire hive apart for an inspection.
I love that I can check on the bees without disturbing the hive, not only is it fascinating to watch the activity but it’s also a great way of judging when I need to add more supers, and all without having to pull the hive apart.
I can also see if there are any potential problems ahead, such as an increase in the small hive beetle population or if the box appears empty.
In these circumstances I'll do a more thorough hive inspection to see what the problem might be. Otherwise I leave them alone, only opening the hive to remove excess honey supers.
Beehives in Winter
The photo above was taken in winter, and as you can the lower box, called the brood box, is jammed packed full of bees. This is where the majority of bees will congregate during the winter months to keep the brood, although the queen will have dramatically decreased laying at this time of year. You can see the bees have built comb (beeswax) onto the glass, we tend to leave this alone as again it provides added insulation against the cold, and in summer from the heat.
Insulating the hive
The box above, called a super, is full of honey. This not only helps to insulate the hive but also provides the bees with food throughout winter and through the dearth of summer. I don't believe in taking all the honey and feeding sugar syrup back to the bees, always leaving at least one box of honey no matter what time of year. Anything above that is harvested, and absolutely nothing is wasted.
How we use our beeswax and honey
The fresh raw honey is used in our sticky honey chai and in our gift boxes, and the beeswax is rendered down in rainwater, filtered several times and made into various beeswax products or sold as pure beeswax.
Honeybees are precious
Honeybees are incredibly precious, not only for the pollination service they provide, but also for the the honey and beeswax that they produce. These products should always be used with respect and never ever wasted.