Sunday, August 24, 2014

Put feeder boxes on

Sunday August 24
Mark and I smoked the hives and took them apart to weigh the boxes. The top two boxes each have 20# of honey and the second boxes ~10# of honey so they need a lot more to make it through the winter - maybe 20 more pounds each.

We put the feeder boxes on and I will start feeding them to stimulate more comb/honey production for winter stores.

Got a little honey

Monday August 18
took off one comb from each super and crushed the comb to get a 4 oz bottle of honey and a couple of 2 oz jars which I shared with Joe and my parents.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bee excluder board added

Well 6 weeks to the day, I checked the hives - due to upcoming vacations, I have to harvest what little will be in the top boxes now.
I want to make sure that each colony has at least 2 boxes full of honey for the winter and I will start feeding them when I am leaving for I suited up, assembled a piece of flat cardboard, brought my excluder boards (which Mark made for me) and started the smoker.

After reducing the entrances of both hives to ~1.2", I removed the roof and quilt box, then pulled back the top bar cloth and smoked the bees. I removed the supers and then the top and second boxes and pulled out some combs just to look at them. The top boxes (the ones that were my original top boxes, not the supers) are HEAVY and packed with honey - YAY. I looked and saw larvae developing and capped brood and pollen as well as honey. There are also open cells of nectar - lots of them.

Neither of the third boxes even have comb - which, of course, causes me distress since I was really hoping to get them to winter with three boxes. But the goldenrod is just starting to come, so maybe that will send those busy bees into more activity. August 29, I will put feeders with 2:1 syrup on them.

This is so exciting to watch!

Anyway, Duchess intelligently kept her distance and observed the frenzy. Actually things weren't too bad, considering I was potentially a "honey robber."

I had an ice cream bucket with a lid, and my cardboard. I set the first super on the cardboard (to catch any honey which might leak when comb to comb attachments break - thus to prevent leaving honey around the hive which can trigger robbing by other bees/wasps/hornets), oriented so the combs were vertical (so they don't collapse). Then I moved a bar which still had brood in it to the box that will stay on the hive. When I used my hive tool to break the boxes apart, I tried to lift the top box but couldn't so I thought I had not broken all of the propolis attachments - but, in fact, the box was just that heavy with honey!! So I lifted the box off and set it so the combs were vertical. Then I removed the next box and turned it on its side too. The third and fourth boxes are empty.

I scraped off broken combs on the tops of bars and put them (even with bees on them) in my ice cream bucket and covered it. I put the hive back together, put the bee excluder board on top and then the super on top of the excluder. The cloth went back on, the quilt box and the roof. In 24 hours, I will remove the super and see what honey I can harvest.

The second hive was similar but there was a developing queen cell so I destroyed it and I looked in a drone cell to see if the larva had any mites on it - it did not. This hive's combs are packed with honey too - I moved one top bar with comb in this hive too.

Will update you tomorrow on removal of the supers.

Now there is a beautiful rain with rolling thunder - every type of weather here is truly gorgeous. So peaceful and pleasing.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

August 2014

Well, things are perking along. Hive A (northwest hive) still looks stronger than Hive B (southeast hive).

I have attached videos and pictures below.

There's a big yellow and black garden spider on Hive A:
cool, huh? that's the hive that the previous spider used to live on (the jumping spider) so I'm not sure if that one has been moved out or not!

Here are the videos of the hives: