My Greenhouse: Part 2
Another Use for a Greenhouse
The year after I got my greenhouse, I set up an apiary and started raising honeybees. Before the first honey harvest, we installed a drain in the greenhouse and poured a concrete floor. We also procured several metal shelving units from a local secondhand store.
When trying to decide how to complete a honey harvest without turning the entire house into a giant sticky pad, we thought about using the greenhouse.
The greenhouse proved to be the perfect place to harvest honey, and we’ve used it nearly every year since.
The greenhouse had a thorough cleaning before we harvested the honey. A shade cloth covered the roof so bees could not enter through the open vents – which had to be open to release excess heat. We placed all required harvesting equipment and supplies in the greenhouse. A water hose and power cord ran through an open vent. Running these under the shade cloth and through the vent instead of the door insured the bees didn’t have an open invitation to the inside.
In addition to the basic harvesting equipment, we included items such as a fan, a bowl of soapy water, extra towels and wash clothes, empty honey super boxes, extra honey buckets (better too many than not enough once sealed inside), a fly swatter to fend off any incursion from bees that slipped through the defenses, and even a cooler with some snacks – in case it turned into a long harvest.
Once all the needed items were present and accounted for, we closed the doors.
As soon as the greenhouse became a secure fortress from the onslaught of flying dive boomers, we began robbing the honey boxes. As each frame came out of the hive, it received a gently brushing to remove all of the local occupants. The frame quickly jockeyed from the robber to the transporter who deposited it into a box inside the greenhouse and the doors were quickly closed again. This continued until all desired frames were inside the greenhouse.
We entered the stronghold and sealed ourselves inside for the duration of the heist.
The sun heated the inside of the greenhouse which allowed the honey to flow quickly, but this also made it uncomfortable for us as the temperature ranged from 95 to 110 degrees.
As soon as the first frame was sliced into, the smell wafted through the open vents, signaling any nearby bees to the new food reservoir. In less than half an hour, scouts had already started calculating possible entry points.
We worked quickly – partly because it felt like a sweatshop inside and partly hoping to finish before a cloud of tiny swat teams descended upon us.
The harvest, being a great success, went smoothly. The empty frames had been placed into several honey supers. We scraped the honey remains from the extractor and hosed it out, closed all the honey buckets, covered the capping tub, and washed all the tools. My husband grabbed a full honey bucket and hurried it to the house while I suited back up and placed the empty frames back on top of each of the hives for them to clean up.
Hosing out the extractor kept the bees from fighting, becoming stuck, and sinking into the thick honey once contained inside. The empty frames were divided among, and placed on top of, the hives. This allowed the ladies to peacefully relocate any honey droplets without having to fight bees from other hives.
While the bees were busy with housecleaning, we hurried the rest of the honey buckets, the capping tub, and the cooler back into the house, turned off the hose and fan, opened up the doors to the greenhouse and relinquished the remains to any scavengers for the next 24 hours.
Since that day, we’ve completed one honey harvest in our kitchen. By far, I prefer the greenhouse harvest. It’s amazing how one drop of stepped in honey can spread everywhere and take days to discover and clean up.
For my video on one of these honey harvest check out this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3Lcqwj43uw
Or check out my other videos on YouTube @Queen Bee1755.