, , ,

The old-timers call them bee gums.  Bees commonly took up residence in an old gum tree.  These natural hollows could be used for keeping bee colonies.  L.L. Langstroth patented a new man-made structure for bees in 1852 with a careful mind to maintaining “bee space”.  This design, with minor modifications, remains the standard for modern beekeeping in the United States.  Some new designs are being developed.  But Grandpa had his white painted langstroths behind the house and above the garden for his bees.  He still called them bee gums.

I grew up in Colorado, so childhood visits to my grandparents were rare.  But I still remember sitting on the porch watching a massive swarm settling into the nearby tree while Grandpa fretted over how to get them back into a bee gum.  Hard to get honey from escapees.

Fresh honey truly is magical.  Nothing like what comes in the stores.  Even honey from a chemical free beekeeper is not the same – it has sat around a bit.  Grandpa would suit up and grab his smoker and return with frames and frames of the stuff.  My sister and I would chew up the comb extracting the honey directly onto our tongues.  Granny and Grandpa used their great big aluminum pans to drip out honey while cutting the comb.  Chunks of comb would go into waiting mason jars, the remaining honey poured over, and the jars sealed.  The honey went to family, friends, the bank house, and the farmer’s market.  There always seemed to be plenty though Grandpa kept four colonies at the most.

Read the full article here: grandpa’s bees — TheHem4Life