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Albuquerque Innsights

A local innkeeper knows New Mexico secrets and tells anyone who will listen.

Our First Honey Harvest at Adobe Nido B&B

We harvested honey from our bee hive for the first time last weekend at Adobe Nido Bed and Breakfast. We did it just in time for National Pollinator Week which this year starts on starts on Monday, June 21, 2010. I am so jazzed about this first honey extraction, and Albuquerque’ recognition of National Pollinator Week, so I am going to tell you all about it.

Urban Beekeepers

My daughter and I get ready to open the hive for the first time this spring.

Here is a very brief history. (This post is mostly about the photos).
I started up a bee hive at our Albuquerque Bed and Breakfast in April 2009. I read a few books, joined our local Albuquerque beekeeping group, got a mentor to help guide me, and off I went. I am motivated to do this because I heard that the fate of honey bees in this modern world lays with backyard hobby beekeepers. Commercial beekeepers are not interested as much in honey production as they are driving their bees all over the country to help farmers pollinate their crops. This is very stressful for a bee colony, and helps to spread bee disease as well. With CCD – Colony Collapse Disorder – looming over the bee world without a cause or an end in sight, the honey bees need all the help they can get. So here I am – an Urban Beekeeper.

building honey comb

The bees have just started to build comb on this medium sized frame.

A few of my beekeeper friends call ourselves beehavers, because the bees pretty much keep themselves. I am a pretty laissez-faire beekeeper, and rarely go into the hive unless I have to. I feel that the bees know how to do their thing far better than I, and my minimal interference will “beehoove” them. The last check on the hive for the season was on a warm day last October. All looked well except I’d wished they had a bit more honey stored up for the winter. I did not harvest any honey from them that first year, letting them keep it all. I must have done the right thing, as my bees made it through winter just fine. My pictures in this post represent the April check in with the hive and our first honey harvest last weekend. I was very lucky to have my daughter Sally’s beau, David, who was home on leave from the Navy, to help us. He is an experienced beekeeper with over six year under his belt and he and led us through the uncharted waters of our beekeeping world. Thank you Dave!!!!  We will now have fresh, raw honey to offer our guests for breakfast at Adobe Nido B&B, and Sally and I are well taught and prepared to do it ourselves next time. Yaaahooo!

David used a warm knife to cut the caps off the honey comb in the frame.

David prepares to spin the honey out of the frames in the Extractor.

We save the wax caps that came off the honey comb and melted it to separate the honey from the wax.

David opens the capped honey that wasn't exposed with the knife, and we spin it out again.

Monday evening a few of my beekeeper friends and I will take some of our honey to Albuquerque’s City Council meeting, where my Councilor, Debbie O’Malley will issue a proclamation of support for honey bees and beekeepers in Albuquerque.

This event will usher in National Pollinator Week, June 21 to 27, which is a week long, nationwide awareness program of the US Department of Agriculture. It is designed to give the public more information about not only honey bees, but all pollinators – native bees, bats, birds, moths and more! I look forward to this meeting with our City Councilors and am very pleased they feel this is important.

You can go here to vote for your favorite pollinator. I suppose you can guess mine. For more great information about beekeeping in Albuquerque, visit ABQ Beekeepers here at their online community. My friend and former guest, Chantal, has a great website about the rials of a new urban beekeeper. Her site also has FANTASTIC pictures.

I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!

The extractor has a square cage in it to hold up to four frames. The frames have to be turned around to extract from the other side too.

Back at Adobe Nido, the hive is smoked to calm the bees while the frames we harvested from the hive are returned to the bees for them to clean up and use again.

The fruits of the bees - we harvested nearly 65oz of honey from just 2 frames.

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2 Responses to “Our First Honey Harvest at Adobe Nido B&B”

  1. Rachel Reid says:

    Sarah,
    What a great story. I find this subject to be so interesting. Can’t believe you got all that honey from just 2 frames.This is a huge “hobby”. How do you find the time Destination Queen of Albuquerque?

    • adobenido says:

      A Langstroth hive such as I use is pretty much a hands-off hobby. I let the bees do their thing and don’t go into the hive that often. They know what to do, and if something goes wrong I just have to accept that is how it should be and then get another batch of bees. IMHO using chemicals and interfering too much is contributing to CCD. The bees that can survive nature on their own will be the strongest and will pass on their genes.

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copyright 2009 :: sarah dolk, adobe nido bed and breakfast, albuquerque nm :: photos by susan see, abq, nm & marianne groszko, mariannephotography.net