Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Season 2014 in ON!!

The beehive has awaken from the winter and appears healthy from watching the entrance activity. Foragers are bringing in pollen, which indicates that the queen is laying. The hive will be opened on the first weekend that breaks 60F.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Super added on May 22nd

Update post to make the date on the first inspection, during which one super and one nadir were added. The colony was found to be very strong, with 4 boxes containing combs, three boxes relatively heavy. A fourth box was full of bees, but no comb. Total number of boxes after inspection is 7.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Expected colony failure

My second hive was a late small swarm of last year. It had three handicaps: a very late swarm, a small swarm, and a third swarm from the same hive. Here is the beehive where I set it up:

I only put two sections, knowing it was already doubtful the colony would have time to fill them up. To have a chance to survive our winter, a colony should have at least two full sections. With three sections, survival is more likely.
A few days ago, my other colony was very active, while this one showed no signs of life at all. Today is sunny, and again, my other colony is active, while this one was quiet, so I decided to open it. After removal of the roof:

Cool bee art, but no bees. The bottom of the hive section shows some mold, which is pretty common, except mold usually forms at the periphery, not the center like here.

After removal of the top section, the section below was completely empty:

The bottom of the hive showed must less dead bees as I expected. It looks like the colony absconded, or merged with another colony.

I will probably add a new colony from a package in this spot. I may try to put the hive on a stand, as I am not happy with the hive being on the ground, too much moist gets in, as well as ants and other critters.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Emergence 2013

The picture below was taken two days ago. Looks like the colony survived the winter. This year I may try comb honey. The Warre hive is ideal for comb honey. I better start preparing the honey super.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hive Status

W10: My main hive, produced 2 gallons of honey this year. It is resting on 5 sections. W11: made of a swarm I got from Jack. It was a small late swarm (3rd swarm), and has a low probability of survival.

That is all, after 2011 losses, I decided to have only one hive until I get a full harvest, which actually happened. W11 was not planned, as it was a swarm.
I will only increase my number of hives if I get a swarm next year.

As far as equipment, I do need to improve the honey harvesting method. Smoking the bees out of the honey super is fine, but the filtering process was too slow. Once I get several producing hives, it won't be manageable.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Well, the bee escape did not work, most of the bees stayed trapped inside the super, and were really pissed off when I opened the hive for harvest. I set a table 20 feet away from the hive, brought the full honey super (heavy!) on the table, and tried to figure out how to "invite" those bees to leave the honey (their hard work) and go back to the hive. I set the super on small blocks and smoked it from underneath. Bees rushed to the top of the super, I brushed them off with a handfull of grass. Within a few minutes, all the bees were gone, and I brought the super in the kitchen for harvest. I was not too sure how to do that either.
I started cutting the combs free from the hive walls, removed the first two combs without much trouble, and started cutting the combs in small pieces over a strainer. Here is a the second comb resting on top of a bucket. A section was cut off already.
The cut off section has been shredded with a very sharp bread knife, and is draining above a strainer.
Honey from the first two combs, 7 more to go.
Third comb, nice full straight comb, and it is heavy.
Other side.
The harvest is ongoing. My only regret is that I would have loved to show all this to a smart little boy. He is in my heart.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Checking the Honey Super

I checked the honey super last weekend, and it is full. Back in Spring, I added both a super at the top, and another at the bottom of the hive. The hive did not swarm, and the top super is about 90% full of capped honey. I just put a bee escape, and we will harvest during the coming weekend. That will be our first harvest. I have another hive from a small swarm in our garden. This hive will probably have to be few. That is all the hives I have at this time.