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.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Too Hot for Bees

It was another hot day Saturday. The bees in the Warre hive were making the beard and congregating outside the hive, in an effort to keep the inside cool. Warre hives are better than standard Langstroth at keeping the colony warm, which often leads to overheating in the summer, which the bees deal with by "bearding". In the picture below, we can't really see the beard hidden by the grass, below the landing board. There was a nice pack of bees underneath that landing board.