Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 30: Removed the Queen Excluders and Took Out Four Honey Frames

We inspected all four hives and replaced the queen excluders and the undrawn frames we put in last week when we took out frames for the honey harvest. Today, we replaced most of them with the empty frames from the harvest -- less work for the bees when they have already drawn frames. They can just start filling them with nectar and pollen.

We saw plenty of capped and uncapped brood in all the hives. When the weather gets cooler we'll do a full inspection. We just examined the top box on Madeleine and the top two boxes on Bianca, Anya, and Rachel. All's looking well!

Today's status:

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;