Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 14 Bee Inspection: All's well!

A frame of capped honey ready to harvest
What a hot day for an inspection. We went out right after 8:30 Mass and it was already 90 degrees and humid. Whew! Those canvas suits are hot!

We were hoping for a bumper crop of honey this year, but it is not looking too promising. All the hives were calm and we saw no ants or evidence of wax moth. We always look closely at the bees and we've never seen any varroa mites but we probably have them because everyone does. But the girls all look good. No evidence of malformed wings or any other health problems. They were all flying and pollen was coming in. The queens are laying like crazy -- lots of brood and larvae. We took out some honey frames and hope to get more on the next inspection but I doubt we will do as well as last year. Here's the rundown:

#1 Rachel -- Checked three of the four boxes. Not much is happening in the top box which is mostly empty, but they are drawing out frames on one side -- three or four out of nine. We took two frames of honey from the second box. We removed a drawn frame from the top for the lower box as well as an undrawn frame and added another undrawn frame to the top box.

#2 Ella -- This is the swarm hive and they continue to be very active. We took two frames of honey, one was 100% capped, the other wasn't quite, but sufficient. A little bit of shiny nectar but all the rest was capped or opague. Quite a few frames in the top that are almost ready to harvest so we should get more from this hive next inspection. We checked down three boxes and saw plenty of capped brood and larvae so we didn't examine the bottom box.

#3 Lauren -- The top box is still mostly empty and undrawn. The bees are doing some drawing and there was a small amount of nectar in the top. There was lots of capped and uncapped brood in the middle box so the queen is laying well. We didn't look at the bottom since all is well. It doesn't look like we'll get honey from this hive, but it was a nuc this spring so that isn't surprising.

#4 Bianca -- Another Spring nuc. Not much activity in the top box, but there was lots of capped and uncapped brood in the second box. We didn't look at the bottom.

#5 Anya -- Another Spring nuc. Not much going on in top box, but plenty of capped and uncapped brood in the 2nd box. We may not get any honey from this hive either. The queens in all three nucs are really building up the colonies.

#6 Madeleine -- We took one filled frame from the top box. Several other frames are almost ready. Lots of brood and larvae.

At present we have eight frames for the harvest -- the five we retrieved today and three from last year from the failed hive last Spring. They are all resting in the fridge until we harvest in August. Hopefully, we will get at least another eight frames before then which would bring us to about 50 pounds of honey for the season considerably less than last summer when we only had three hives. And we are nearing the end of the nectar flow until the late summer and fall.

Every season is different and no matter what each brings, we love our adventures in beekeeping.

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