Saturday, July 1, 2017

Watching the Work Progress and Looking forward to the Honey Harvest!

 From my garden:
There will be primrose nectar in the honey harvest!
We went into the hives on June 21st and again today, July 1st (sweaty work on this hot day!). We examined all six hives both inspections, but not all the boxes in each hive.

We used the smoker for two hives on June 21st, but not at all today, since all the girls were calm today! It's hot, bright and sunny with a breeze and every hive had lots of activity. The purple thistle is blooming up the road and the Golden Raintree isn't quite finished down on Water Street so there is plenty of nectar available for harvesting. We saw no ants in any of the hives today and no signs of swarming. Here's the breakdown on both inspections.

Hive #1 Queen Rachel - four boxes (original split from Madeleine - attacked by bear):

June 21 - The girls haven't started to draw the top box of new frames. Several frames in the next box are almost ready and there was lots of shiny nectar. We reversed the bottom box and the one above it since not much was happening in the bottom. We saw lots of capped and uncapped brood and eggs so this hive should get a lot busier in a few weeks.  
July 1 -- Calm -- The girls are drawing out the frames in the top box. We swapped two frames from this hive with box #2 since they are much busier and may need more room. The next box down is busy collecting and capping. Also saw brood.
Hive #2 Queen Ella (swarm hive) - four boxes
That smoker got used on June 21st and I still got stung
through my glove. Drat! Silly girl.
June 21 -- Very testy, we used the smoker.  They are drawing out the top box well and collecting. Lots of capped brood but did not see the queen. This hive has been active since the day we captured it. Lots of bees and a great laying queen!
July 1 -- Calm -- working hard. The top box has a lot of capped and uncapped honey. Wen down to 2nd box and saw lots of capped honey there as well as plenty of brood. We swapped two undrawn frames from box 1 to give them a little more room. We'll need to check them top to bottom for sure next week.
Hive  #3 Queen Lauren - three boxes (Spring nuke)
June 21 -- Calm. No work in the top box; they haven't drawn the frames yet. Middle box has lots of brood and nectar. Not so many bees.  
July 1 -- Calm. Still not working in the top box. We may have put that on too early. But there is lots of capped brood and larvae in the 2nd box so they will be increasing activity soon. We saw one wax moth caterpillar that Larry killed and we cleaned out a very little of wax moth mess on the top cover. We didn't see any evidence in the frames. Next inspection we need to go down to the bottom to make sure all's well there.
Hive #4 Queen Bianca -- three boxes (Spring nuke)
June 21 -- Calm. No work in the top box yet. Middle box has lots of capped brood and larva. We did not look at the bottom box.  
July 1 --  Not much going on in the top box still. A little frame-drawing. Lots of brood in the 2nd box. Activity should increase in the next few weeks hopefully before the end of the nectar flow.  
Hive #5 Queen Anya -- three boxes (Spring nuke)
June 21 -- Very calm but had some ants -- not many. We didn't take any action. They are drawing the frames and filling them in the top box. Lots of capped and uncapped brood in 2nd box. We didn't look at the bottom box. Got stung through my glove on my right index finger. Had minimal swelling -- just the first knuckle.
July 1 -- Still drawing frames -- four not started in top box. The second box had lots of capped brood, beautiful pattern. We did not go down to the bottom. (Need to check next time since we saw a little brood in top. We may need to swap the bottom two boxes.)
Hive #6 Queen Madeleine - four boxes (original strong hive from 2016)
June 21 -- The girls are drawing out the frames. We swapped the two bottom boxes since there were lots of empty frames in the bottom. Everybody was calm. We saw capped and uncapped brood and eggs.

July 1 -- The girls continue to work the top box but still have room. We saw plenty of capped and uncapped brood in the second box. Stopped there. We'll let them keep working undisturbed.

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