Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 21, 2016: Adding Queen Excluders in Hope of a Second Honey Harvest in August!

Queen excluder keeps her from laying brood in honey box.
Lots going on in the bee yard and we're in hopes that we'll get more honey frames to harvest in a few weeks. There are lots of full frames in several of the hives, but not 90% capped yet. I think we'll still be able to get more than the current thirteen and still leave plenty for the bees. They have certainly been busy this season! And the honey is delicious with a slightly fruity taste. Today we put queen excluders under the top boxes of both Anya and Bianca's hive. That allows the workers in to do their thing but keeps the queen from laying brood up there. The brood already in the frames will hatch and then they should fill any space with nectar.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pulling Frames of Capped Honey from the Hives

Checked all four hives this afternoon. The new hive (Madeleine) has a laying queen and we'll need to add a new box since most of the nine frames are filled with brood and honey. We'll add some empty frames with new foundation to all of the hives and fill the new box with frames from the other hives exchanging some frames of brood and honey with undrawn foundation.

We took four frames of capped honey from Bianca's hive and nine frames from Anya's hive. We checked Rachel's but no honey frames were 90% capped and a number of frames with capped honey had brood as well. All four hives look great. Lots of bees and lots of nectar collecting going on.

We took an entire box off of Anya's hive. Eventually we will have all the hives with three boxes as we move into the fall. The bees need about sixty pounds of honey for the winter. We'll start feeding in another month to make sure they have plenty of food. But things are looking very good right now.

I harvested one frame a few days ago so all together so far we have fourteen frames, but we may pull a few more later since there are still lots of nearly full frames in the three large hives.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Our Fresh Air Girls Have Come and Gone...

...and we survived another year and had a lot of fun. A few highlights from the week:

After picking up the girls at the bus in Harrisonburg, we head to Brewster's for ice cream. -- It's become a tradition. We opted for cups instead of cones because it was so hot -- less messy, especially for the little ones. Don't worry about the little guy. I'm holding his ice cream cup.


And then there was the hike on the Skyline Drive and wading in Land's Run.
We started with a picnic at the Visitor's Center at Dickey Ridge near Front Royal.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wow! The Bees are Going Gangbusters!

frame of capped and uncapped honey
We did a three-hive inspection today and were thrilled by the results. All the queens are laying and the workers are bringing in nectar and capping honey big time. This looks to be a great harvest season.

Queen Anya's hive was especially busy and there were both swarm cells and at least one supercedure cell in the hive. So we decided to experiment and make a new split. We moved all the queen cells into an empty box. It's late, maybe too late, for that;

Friday, June 24, 2016

June 22nd: Bee Inspection and a Happy Discovery

I decided to make a quick bee check before we took new baby Jude's siblings for a visit. Good news -- Queen Rachel is finally mated and laying. As soon as I saw a frame with brood (capped and uncapped) I closed up the hive. Better to let her just do her thing. There is lots of activity in both Bianca and Anya's hives with lots of capped honey, so hopefully we will have a real honey boom for the harvest. It will be interesting to see how it differs from last years honey. I still have two jars so a taste comparison will be fun. Every season is different and all the rain in May affected the locust -- there wasn't much so that will not be in the honey. But I've seen the bees on the lavendar and the white clover so they'll be adding to the wildflower mix. Can't wait to taste! I added an additional box to Bianca's kingdom so both she and Anya are now five stories high. Rachel's is only three, but having no laying queen in there for weeks slowed everything down so we aren't likely to get much honey from that hive.

Stay tuned for news about the honey harvest.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Grandbaby 24 Makes His Appearance on June 21st

His fan club is thrilled! Baby Jude is the tie-maker giving us 12 grandsons and 12 granddaughters. He adds another flower to Grandma's garden. We are thrilled!

Lots of hair and alert as can be at only hours old.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Poem for All My Little Bird Watchers

Cardinals and sparrows don't share well. 
I was cleaning off my desk today and came across a poem I obviously started when I was recovering from my rotator cuff surgery. How could I tell? Easy. I obviously wrote it with my left hand when I wasn't allowed to move my right arm -- at least the beginning of the poem. I apparently added some stanzas later after I could lift my arm and use my right hand again because those were in cursive.

I truly enjoy writing little poems for my grandkids. This one is about the birds that come to my feeder. How I love them. We took the feeders down for the summer. We start to attract bears in the late spring and that means they have to go. We don't want any bears near our bee hives!

So here it is: