Hi, this is Marie's husband. The bees seem to be doing fine. It's been a little over two weeks since the bees went in the hive, and when I peeked in a couple days ago I saw that they had started building comb upwards. So I must need to put in another box of frames. Should I do anything with that comb that's been built up, or just scrape it off?

Farmer Gene's Bees - Hi Mike. What is above the box that the bees are currently using. What space are they building comb into?

Farmer Gene's Bees - If I understand your setup correctly you are using three medium boxes for your brood chamber. How many of your boxes are the bees in at this time?

The current set up is one box with the nuc and additional frames I put in, and another box on top with a feeder. They are building up into that box. It was only a very fast look so I didn't see if there was anything in the comb.

Farmer Gene's Bees - Generally speaking your bees should be using the lower boxes to raise brood and they will expand into the open space above to raise more brood and to store honey. Let the bees draw out comb and fill the box that they are currently in and when its about 70 to 80% full add another. Don't go over three boxes for your brood chamber. If they still seem like they want to expand and are needing room, put a queen excluder on and put another box above it. The excluder will prevent the queen from making any brood above it and any honey that the bees put into this fourth box is for you!

Ok, so are you saying that the next box I put on should have frames, but let this middle open space get filled with comb?

Farmer Gene's Bees - Yes, sounds like you are doing it right. Once they get that second box mostly drawn out and filled with a combination of brood and honey put your third box on. Your goal for this year is to try and get all three boxes completely drawn out and filled with brood/bees and honey. You have a new queen so she should be vigorously laying eggs and making new brood, your colony should be expanding rapidly. Your bees will need to be populous and well provisioned to make it through the winter. If they get all three boxes filled then go ahead and add another but use an excluder to keep the queen out of it, this fourth box will be for your honey.

Ok. so to be clear, they are building comb in a box with no frames.

Farmer Gene's Bees - Ooops! Yes their should be frames with foundation in the boxes. If you just use empty boxes they will make crazy comb everywhere. So yes, scrape off the comb that they have built up into the empty space and put frames with foundation into the box that is above them.

Ok, thats what I thought to do. The weather clears up on Saturday so I'll do it once it warms up a little in the morning.

Farmer Gene's Bees - Your first hive will be a learning experience for you. Open up the hive weekly to observe and inspect. The more you understand about what the bees are doing and why, the better you will be able to anticipate their needs and be able to provide for them. A beehive will survive indefinitely if well cared for but it takes a while for a beekeeper to learn the necessary skills.

Yeah. putting the nuc in the hive was quite an experience.

Farmer Gene's Bees -  :)  Did you see the queen? She has a bright yellow paint dot on her back?

Yes I did. I was nervous about handling the frames, but she was on the one that I chose to look at more closely.

Farmer Gene's Bees - Good.

Farmer Gene's Bees - If your looking for a good reference book I would recommend "Honey Bee Biology & Beekeeping" by Dewey Caron. Available thru most bee supply companies.

Thank you for your excellent questions. Raw honey is the most desirable and pure form of honey. In its natural state it is considered a premium product and is packaged and sold as is. Honey has many properties which naturally keeps it safe and makes it last indefinitely. There is no processing or pasteurizing required, in fact these acts actually damage the quality of the honey. Generally raw honey is not recommended to be fed to infants under one year of age due to infants having an undeveloped immune system. Over time honey will crystalize and will loose its clear liquid form, turning thick and grainy. The quality of honey is not damaged by the crystallization and can still be used in this form, many people actually prefer it this way. If desired, honey can be returned to its clear liquid state by gently rewarming.
Thank you,
Gene – Farmer Gene’s Bees

I would like to get a quart of the Cornelius Honey. Is it only sold online or is there a brick and mortar store. 

Local Honey, Raw Honey, Honey in Portland

Thanks for the quick response! Do you know how much shipping would be to Ashland, 97520?
And does it matter if I order from the Etsy site or direct from your website?

Do you feed your bees honey or by artificial means (e.g. sugar syrup)? I ask because I'm trying to find a supplier that doesn't do the latter.
Thank you in advance!

Ok, just placed the order through Etsy. Shipping was 1/2 on Etsy. Thanks!

Hi Natina
Great question! As a beekeeper we feel that it is our utmost responsibility to take excellent care of our bees. It would be wonderful if our bees could reliably find excellent wild nectar sources year around however this is not always possible. The reasons are many but occasionally there are times during the year when supplemental feeding is required to keep the bees strong and healthy. These times are most commonly seen in the early spring when the cold and wet weather prohibits the bees from flying out of their hives to forage. Also in the late summer and early fall most of the floral sources have dried up and died off so we provide supplemental feed which allows the bees to build up their necessary stores inside their hive to stay strong and healthy. This extra feed allows them to overwinter well and come out strong again for the spring flowers. When supplemental feeding is required we are not taking any honey off of the hives for that would be counterproductive and could possibly lead to contamination of the natural honey with supplemental feed. We only feed with pure cane sugar and pollen supplements, never with High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Thank you for the great question!

Thanks for the honey & the discount. I also really appreciate your no miticide/no chemical treatment approach, which is how I tracked you down initially. So please keep it up and know that many of us really appreciate your methods!

Our bees and raw honey are very valuable to us, we take the utmost care in nurturing, protecting and supporting strong healthy colonies. There are no bees killed in the honey harvesting process. There was a time (long ago) when the use of skep hives was the norm. To extract honey from these skep hives the bee colony was destroyed but this process has long since been abandoned. When harvesting local honey from our bees we only take any excess they may have, if the colony is light on honey we leave it alone. As bee farmers we want to take every precaution to ensure the colony is strong, healthy and with ample honey stores to survive through the winter and be in top shape come spring. 

Thanks for the great question!

Hi! Do you offer any of your honey in bulk? I use honey to make kombucha and go through about 12 lbs. every 2 months. I live in Ashland and am willing to pay for shipping. Let me know if you offer in bulk and what your pricing would be.

I would punch in your address using both Etsy and my website and see which one comes out in your favor. Just cancel before you complete your order to see what the shipping costs will be. Go with the one that has the cheapest shipping, the honey will be the same either way. Etsy uses a different formula to calculate the shipping than my website does which is why there can be a difference.

Discount has been applied to your purchase. Your package will ship later today and should get to you mid next week.
Thanks for your order, hope the honey works well for your kombucha.

I sell honey in the quart size which is 3lbs per qt. for $20. If you wanted to purchase four qts (12lbs) I could reduce the price from $80 to $70. Because of the way Etsy's pricing is set up it would easiest for you to pay the full price then I would refund $10 back to you.

Hi- I am interested in purchasing raw honey, and local is great as well. I have a couple question. 1. Are there any health concerns with unpasterized honey? 2. How long does a quart of your honey last? Will it go bad? Thank you.

Farmer Gene's Bees

Local Honey, Honey in Portland, Raw Honey

Customer Questions and Answers

I don’t have a brick and mortar store but you are welcome to swing by my house and pick up some honey if you are in the area, otherwise you would purchase it online and I would ship it to you. I ship through the postal service – priority mail and most packages only take a couple of days for shipping.

Gene – Farmer Gene’s Bees

How is the honey harvested? Are bees killed in the retrieval or do you have them in auto flow frames?