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The Beehive: Bees are ingenious at cooling their hives down

The hives are stacked. The deeper boxes at the bottom are where the queen and brood live. The holes are for ventilation of the hive. (Brett Kent / For the Enterprise)

Welcome back to the 5th installment of the Beehive.

As July comes to a close, the honey flow is still strong. I have included a picture of the hives in one of my bee yards. As you can see, the hive boxes are stacked nice and high. At this point I need a ladder to do my hive inspections.

These hives are made up of two deep boxes and six honey supers. The deep boxes, located at the bottom of the hive, are where the queen and the brood chamber live.

Then there are six honey supers. These honey supers are nearly full of capped honey.

Capped honey is honey that has been sealed by the bees. What happens is, the bees fill the comb with nectar. Then the bees fan the nectar filled comb until the moisture content of the honey is down to 18 percent. Then bees seal the end of the honeycomb with wax. This preserves the honey indefinitely.

On the top of each hive you can see a little box with several holes in it. This is a ventilation chamber. This box helps the bees cool the hive on the hot muggy days. To cool the hive, the bees will stand in the doorway, all facing the same direction, and fan their wings.

This will draw the cool air from outside into the hive, which then travels up past the honey frames and out of the vent chamber. They are ingenious little critters.

This past weekend, my wife Brenda and I were selling honey at the Lake George Blueberry Festival. We really enjoyed talking with a lot of you folks. I just can't believe how many folks approach us and tell us their beekeeping stories.

As of the writing of this column, we are planning to attend the Legends and Logging Days event on August 12-13. I am planning on doing a beekeeping demonstration some time Friday and again early Saturday morning.

I will also be unveiling a just completed observation bee hive. This will allow you folks that are a little timid about getting too close to the bees, an opportunity to see the bees while they are going about their business. So come out and say hi, we're looking forward to seeing you there.