Friday, November 1, 2013

Bees Robbing out Cappings on the Robbing Table

Each year we learn more about being better beekeepers. We learn how to harm less bees while working in the yard, how to save time, and how to do more with less effort.

The robbing table is about 50' away from the hives.  This helps to keep the robbing frenzy away from the area where all the hives are. My table is a large box about 2 1/2 feet high.  So far no raccoons have climbed up there to cause problems.

In the past when laying out sticky combs on the robbing table, I didn't have the bowl covered well enough. When it rained it got water in it. And you guess correctly that I discovered quite a few drowned bees.

Those are moments when it's too late to take it back and you feel bad. The best thing to do then is to learn from it and make changes so you do it better next time.

I use outer covers and my plastic political signs to create a roof over everything.  Then I cover it all with a ground cover and plastic sheeting.

One thing I've done the last couple years because I thought it was best is to spread the sticky combs out on a flat surface.

  I'd come back a week later and find all the combs as dry as a bone. Those bees sure are dutiful workers when there's honey to be cleaned up.

This year Dad (who does all the extracting) put the drained but very sticky combs into either small pails or plastic bags (double bagged).

 I found it worked really well to set the plastic bag or pail out under the tarp. Believe it or not the bees would go at this mass of sticky combs and get them entirely clean right to the bottom.

They'd drill down through the combs, cleaning and drying them off as they go. They'd get to the bottom and lick every last bit of honey off those flakes of wax.

Spreading them out is fine but if you're in a pinch, just give the combs to the bees. They know what to do.

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