Bees Update 1999

Steve’s Update from the Hive: 

April 30, 1999

Hi folks,

It’s your favorite beekeeper again. Today was a beautiful day for honey extraction. I’ve been pulling surplus honey off of the hives for about five weeks now, and it was finally time to download the golden stuff into bottles. My friend Marty Schwartz came by and Marty, my mom and I had a honey party. I’ve never seen so much honey, this was the biggest load ever. About 450 pounds of the sticky stuff. It took nearly two days but there was much laughing. When you hang with Marty, that happens.

I just don’t know what to do with all of it. Actually, Pia & I have found it very useful when we have sex. We put it on the door knob so the kids can’t come in, ooops!



Beekeeper Action Shots – March 1999:  

A hive has appeared in a tree behind the Mothership studio, so while fearless neighbor Ruby looks on, Steve has to get the bees down and into a proper hive.




Photos by Rich Pike, except the last one by Rina Bucollo (after Rich got stung and decided he was leaving).


Steve’s Update from the Hive:  

January 18, 1999

Those little darlings of mine have been really busy.

A little explanation about hive construction. A full depth “super” is the largest bee box, and it’s usually on the bottom of hives for the brood chamber. That’s where the queen lays her eggs. If you have a very active queen, you could stack two full depth supers on top of each other and use them both as brood chambers.

On top of that usually goes a medium depth super that is used as a honey super. You put a “queen excluder” between the brood chambers and the honey supers so the queen can’t get up to the honey supers to lay eggs there.

Now some people like to use full depth supers for honey, but when they are filled you can’t believe how heavy they are. A full depth super filled with honey can be up to 80 pounds. I like to use medium depth for honey because they’re easier to manage.

During the first year, it is usually a good idea not to stack the brood chambers two full depths high. It can take a year for the bees to build a strong colony. But, in the spirit of the true Vai mentality, I feel that my bees must be superior so I’m gonna stack it two full depths high and add 2 medium honey supers on the top of each of my 4 colonies.

As a result, now that it’s almost a year, all my medium depth honey supers are barely filled but all of my second full depth supers are packed with honey.

So today Pia and I set out on a little adventure. I needed to take all the packed full depth honey supers out of of the hives and bring the hives down in size to one full depth brood chamber and two medium depth honey supers. This meant that we had to get really deep into the hives.

My God, it was amazing. Each of our colonies right now has about 30,000 – 50,000 bees, and at one time or another half of them had to be on me. I only got one sting, though! So that took a few hours, but it was actually invigorating.

Now came Sunday. Julian, Fire, Pia and I take to the pool house in the back yard and start extracting and bottling the golden goo just for you, my friends.

That is, if you get one of the bottles we’re going to sell or auction here to raise money for the Make A Noise Foundation. [Info will be posted as soon as this starts to happen] Ah heck, I may even send some out to a few lucky people anyway —

Vai, in the thick of it