During my last inspection, I mentioned finding some funky-looking grayish capping on an old dark frame that was located in the bottom box of Green Hive 1 (GH1). Of course this concerned me, so I Googled “gray bee comb”. BAD idea! My concern turned to horror.
One piece of advice that most beekeepers agree on (a rarity!), it’s this: Find and join your local beekeeping organization. Not only do they offer invaluable introductory training for next to nothing, but the knowledge base of local, experienced beekeepers is heads and tails above anything you’ll find in any book. I have yet to attend a single meeting (although I plan to very soon!), but I have taken advantage of their email forum. Their generous and expedient responses are always indescribably helpful.
After consulting my beekeeping association, I learned that the gray matter is actually crystallized honey. Hard to believe something that gray and shriveled can be honey. But it’s true. Just as comb turns dark with age, so does the honey. One responder suggested I used my hive tool to open the capping and take a taste. Hmm, perhaps another time. I am more than content to take his word for it since “honey” is a much better answer than the terrifying speculations that were going through my analytical mind.
And so another small tidbit has been added to my beekeeping knowledgebase. To think, in a few years’ time I’ll be the one sharing helpful tips with a beekeeping newbie who can’t tell the difference between drone cells and queen cells.