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.

Before we put the excluders on, we played musical frames. We took a box of undrawn frames out and put two each in Rachel's, Bianca's and Anya's hives swapping out for honey and brood. We put a new box on Madeleine's hive with the six frames of honey/brood and three undrawn frames. That hive needs to build up to be able to make it through the winter, but they are certainly busy!

After the honey harvest we may swap out the undrawn frames again for the emptied drawn frames we bring back from the harvest. Then the bees won't have to work so hard, but can just collect whatever nectar is available.

Hopefully, we will go into the winter with four strong hives with plenty of their own honey and we'll begin feeding in the second half of August after we've decided whether to harvest any more honey and remove it from the hives. We'd love to get 80 pounds of honey which would give us plenty to enjoy and share with family and friends.

Summary of boxes:

Madeleine: two boxes
Bianca: five boxes
Anya: four boxes
Rachel: Three boxes

Going into winter each hive should have three boxes with at least sixty pounds of honey in each hive.

No comments: