Aug 18 2014

Quick & Dirty

So I went out today at 7:50am to inspect the hives. Nary a girl was out but the sun was up and I knew it was going to be hot so, look out girls, here I come. Wake Up!

This was just going to be a quick inspection. They are probably getting a little cranky this late in the season because they know they’re trying to stock up for winter. And the wasps are going to be extra cranky and I don’t want them in the hive so the less time it’s open and exposed, the better.

I took out an empty box to sort brood out.

The dead bees on the ground weren’t drones, but it turned out they were from the girls cleaning out all the little dead bodies that drowned in the feeder.

I knew I’d need the smoker since all the girls were n the hive. And despite starting at 7:50 in the morning with the shade still sheltering the hives from the sun, I ended up sweating like a fat sailor in the hold of a pirate ship, even though I only ended up having about a 20 minute or less inspection time.

Blue Hive

  • 5 total boxes
  • 6 frames of bees
  • 4 good frames of open brood, most of it very tiny and fresh eggs
  • 10 good frames of capped brood
  • I did not see Queen Siste Sjanse. I looked at each frame but didn’t spend extra time trying to locate her
  • There was about 1 1/2 boxes of nectar/food, all the frames a little light (not stuffed and super heavy) but they were bringing it in.
  • The feeder was bone dry and there was about 1/3 cup of dead bees in the bottom, also bone dry, which means the girls licked every little bit of food off them

All in all, I’m pleased with this hive. I still need to give them food, which I’ll do early tomorrow morning before everyone’s up (including the VSD’s) so they can stock up this week.

Orange Hive

  • 6 total boxes
  • 8 frames of bees
  • 5 good frames of open brood, in all stages, including fresh eggs
  • 11 good and very full (edge to edge) frames of capped brood
  • I spotted Queen Håper scuttling about on a frame with tiny open brood, in the 2nd box
  • There are two very heavy boxes of nectar and capped honey, with very heavy frames of food
  • The feeder was bone dry and not a dead bee in site. So they must have been the tidy little hive that cleaned up all the dead bees

Very nice hive – I’m very pleased with this hive for the winter. I left the feeder in and will still go ahead and feed them because I don’t think they can have enough food going into winter and it’s still pretty dry out.

 

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Aug 17 2014

Mama’s home

orange bell pepper

orange bell pepper

I’m home again after a week out of town working. I was incredibly busy Saturday night and Sunday, so I’m going to peek at the girls tomorrow morning.

heirloom striped tomato

heirloom striped tomato

They’re very busy around the front of the hive, though, especially the orange hive, but there’s lots of girls around the blue front door, too.  They’re starting to cull out the bees as there are about 50-60 on the bee deck, dead. When I look tomorrow I’ll see if they’re mostly drones. I’ll see if they’ve drained the syrup (which they should have by now) and see if they’re bringing in enough honey, nectar and pollen to get them through the winter.

English cucumber

English cucumber

If they appear to have enough bees – really bolstered their population and are laying up a lot of bees – I’ll decide when I’m going to check them for mites since that essentially kills about 300 bees in the checking process.

I’ve got lots of pics of my girls on this blog, but today I took some pics of the literal fruit of their labors. I wouldn’t have any of these lovely veggies without the girls.

heirloom orange cherry tomatoes

heirloom orange cherry tomatoes

Thanks, girls, for honey, beeswax and my huge garden full of wonderful veggies.

 

 

 

great northern dry white bean

great northern dry white bean

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Aug 11 2014

Are you eating?

So at 7:30am I suited up and took the new syrup out to the hives.

The Blue Hive had eaten about 1/2 a gallon of syrup and there were a lot of dead bees in the syrup – idiots. Probably about 1/3 of a cup of bees. I topped the syrup off.

The Orange hive and eaten about 3/4 of a gallon of syrup and same on the dead bees, about a 1/3 of a cup. I topped them off, too.

So they’re eating the syrup, but not draining it. They’ll go for real nectar and honey if it’s out there and go for the syrup if they feel they need more stores. I gotta leave for work for the week so we’ll see how things are doing when I get back next weekend.

Eat up little girls. Fly out and find pollen and nectar for the winter.

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Aug 11 2014

Feeding Aug 10

Last night I made some 2:1 syrup. For the fall, you need thick syrup (2 sugar to 1 water) because they don’t have a lot of time for the stuff to “ripen” or get dehydrated. I made 2 – 1 gallon containers with 2 parts sugar, 1 part very hot water from the tap, and 1 tsp each of HBH. Boy, does it smell good – I wanted to eat it. It’s all essential oils, mostly lemongrass and some mint and other stuff.

I shook and shook and shook.  Then I let it settle and there was still some sugar in the bottom. So I shook and shook and shook.   Then I shook and shook and shook.  Repeat. Finally it was all a viscous, clear, slightly yellow syrup.

At 7:30am, there were about 2 bees out. I suited up, didn’t smoke the hives, just popped the tops.

The feeders have little “ladders” I made out of fine wire mesh that goes down into the feeder from bottom to top, about 10 inches wide, so when the bees are down in the syrup and get all sticky and can’t fly, they can crawl up the ladder. Otherwise you have about 3 cups of drowns bees in the sugar syrup.

I carefully poured a gallon of syrup in each hive (if you spill even a drop, the wasps will be all over it) and quickly put the tops back on. Done.

We’ll see how they ate it up tomorrow.

Then I made two more gallons, minus the HBH to get ready for tomorrow.

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Aug 11 2014

Mini-inspection Aug 9

Saturday was going to be a hot day, highs in the upper 80′s and I wanted to just peek and see how the queens were doing in laying – not a full blown inspection, just a quick in and out to see about food stores and laying.

I looked at the Blue Hive first.

They’ve really gone through the honey stores. They’re bringing in nectar but not at the pace they’re eating up the honey. There are 5 boxes on this hive.

  • There were 5 frames of bees
  • There were 4 frames of capped brood and 4 frames of open brood, which is double what it was last week – go Queen Siste Sjanse
  • There were 6 frames (3/4 of a box) of capped honey and some nectar being brought in
  • A lot of empties, cleaned out frames

I removed two empty frames from the top honey box to make room for a feeder.

Then it was time for the Orange Hive.

They’ve also been going through the honey, but they had a lot more honey. Again, bringing in nectar but a lot of empty frames in this hive.

  • 10 frames of bees
  • 11 frames of capped brood and 3 frames of open brood – holy cow, they’re really laying up
  • There was about 12 frames of capped honey (1 1/2 boxes)

I removed two empty frames from the top honey box to make room for a feeder.

You shouldn’t add syrup to a hive during the middle of the day as it will encourage robbing – other bees and VSD’s will smell it as you put it in the hive and they are active. You need to wait until either evening or very early morning, when all the critters are still asleep and in their own hives. That way the hive will be closed up before anyone can smell the syrup. I’m going to do this to see if they gobble it up voraciously and as a means of introducing HBH (honey B healthy) into the hive to get them really healthy for the fall. If they go through an entire gallon in one day, they’re going through food rapidly and not replenishing it. If they don’t touch it, they think they’re bringing in enough natural nectar and honey.  If it’s in between – meh.

 

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Aug 04 2014

Inspection for Sunday, Aug 3 (so I get behind sometimes)

It’s been close to 100 or over 100 for many, many days. I decided to inspect the hives about 8am and that was about an hour too late. Halfway through the inspection, I had to leave the bee deck, take off my hood, hose down my face, then clean my glasses because the pools of sweat on my lenses was so bad I actually couldn’t see what I was doing. How on earth do they do beekeeping in Florida?!

So I’ve managed to leave the girls alone for about 2 weeks now, which was really hard to do. My purpose today was to see if the blue hive had actually managed to create their own workable queen to replace the bought queen. If they didn’t have any working queen, I was going to combine the hives for the fall as buying a queen at this late date would just not be feasible.

Blue Hive Inspection

This hive started with 7 boxes; 6 Westerns and 1 shallow. This was because I’d put 2 boxes of wet frames from our extracting on top of each hive last week for the girls to clean out the frames.

One of the boxes had 8 cleaned out and empty frames so I removed this box of drawn out and empty frames entirely into the bee shed. The shallow had 7 frames of empty frames and one with honey, so I moved the one honey shallow frame to another box (since it’s shorter, this will cause them to fill the remaining space with a lot of extra wax, but I’ll just clean it out) and removed the honey shallow box.

This left me with 5 western boxes.

I managed the honey frames all up, with boxes that had partial honey and nectar above the bees so they’d fill up those frames with honey rather than having to walk over an entire box of honey to fill up the top box with honey.

Synopsis:

  • 17 frames of honey or nectar, 8 of those completely full, the others all being filled or partially full
  • 4 frames of pollen
  • 3 frames that were a combination one side honey/nectar and the other side pollen
  • I removed the drone trap frame permanently for the season because it was still empty
  • There were 8 frames of bees
  • I did not spot a queen, either marked or unmarked
  • Buuuuuuuuut….I found 2 frames nearly full of fresh eggs, tiny larvae up to very mature open larvae and 2 frames of capped brood – wooohooo!
  • So we have a functioning queen they made somewhere in there.

I managed the 4 frames of open and capped brood to the center of the bottom box.

Boy, I’m going through the queen names like crazy. This one is actually laying and seems to be laying well, so she’ll be Queen Siste Sjanse - which means last chance.  This was the hives last chance to make it on their own before I just combined them with the other hive.

I’ll still check up on her to make sure she’s laying up enough to get them into the fall. I need to see 8 or 9 frames of brood.

Orange Hive Inspection

This hive started with 7 western boxes because of the wet frames from last week. I consolidated honey stores and had a box of 8 frames that were clean and empty so I removed one box. And I managed the honey up so that the top box was one full of honey, then those with lesser honey above the bees.

So I ended up with 6 western boxes.

Synopsis:

  • There were 14 frames of honey or nectar, either full or getting full
  • There were 6 frames of pollen
  • There were 8 frames that were a combination of honey/nectar and pollen
  • The drone trap frame had about 1/4 on one side of capped drones and no open brood, so I removed this to the freezer just so I don’t have a mite breeding ground
  • There were 11 frames of bees
  • I spotted Queen Håper scuttling about
  • One frame very full of fresh eggs, tiny larvae and open brood up to very mature open brood in a really nice circular pattern
  • And get this – 11 frames of nearly wall to wall capped brood - WOW. She’s really laying up for fall. That’s what I want to see in the other hive within a couple of weeks

I managed the frame with open brood and one capped brood to the center bottom, then empties for expansion on each side with a pollen and honey on the ends. Then boxes 2 and 3 have the rest of the capped brood with food on each end.

So I just need to keep making sure that Queen Siste Sjanse stays catches up and stays on target like Queen Håper so I have two hives going into the winter with plenty of bees.

 

 

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Aug 04 2014

Mite checks

Here is some good information I got at the bee meeting regarding doing mite checks in the fall and in the spring.

  • The fall levels of mites should be less than 5 mites per 300 bees (1/2 cup of bees)
  • The spring level of mites should be less than 2 mites per 300 bees
  • Take the bee sampling from the brood area and make sure the queen isn’t in the sampling
  • put them through a 1/8″ mesh strainer so the mites will fall through, then put alcohol in and wash the bees again and strain again to make sure all the mites left the bee bodies

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Jul 27 2014

It’s so hard to wait

So last weekend I inspected the two hives and saw the Queen Håper and the other hive which had a busted out queen cell but who know if they have a queen.

You’re supposed to leave bees alone for at least 2 weeks after they have a new queen.

This is the very hardest thing in the world for me to do. I want sooooooo very bad to go in this weekend and peek at the girls, watch them work, see if they have a queen, is she laying well.

It almost made my skin itch all weekend I wanted to get in there so bad. But I resisted. I’m off to work in California for another week tomorrow so I won’t be able to cheat and I won’t be able to peek until next Monday.

Oooooh, but I want to.

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Jul 27 2014

The culmination of the whole venture

Saturday was extraction day. Aaaaaaaah. The big event that every beekeeper waits all year for.

Before I get into the details, first some ruminations. My “beekeeping style” is not for honey production. I decided my beekeeping style was going to be trying to do my little part to help the bees survive, hopefully pollinate my garden and then, if I got honey – well, that was just gravy.

That’s why I let them roll their own queen, even though it can set me back on honey production (this year, all my honey was pulled from the hive that got it right, while none was pulled from my second hive was had difficulty getting a queen going). It’s why I leave 85-100 pounds of good honey on the hives over the winter; so I don’t have to feed them nasty sugar syrup (although I’ll give them some in the fall in order to get HBH in them to help them go into the winter healthy) and so they come out of the spring with lots of real honey on the hive that will last them until the first nectar flow. Except for about a gallon on each hive in the fall to deliver the HBH, I haven’t fed them in several years.

Even if I had a year without any honey, I’d love doing the bees because it’s incredibly relaxing, it’s always a learning experience, it’s extremely interesting and it’s rightfully humbling to see the detailed complexity and wonder that God put into creating these little bees and knowing that if He cared enough about these little insects, how much more He cares for me.

pint jar of amber honey (about 1 pound) and a teeny weeny plastic baby bear with honey

pint jar of amber honey (about 1 pound) and a teeny weeny plastic baby bear with honey

Given all of that – it’s still just ripping exciting to actually extract honey.

On Friday, I prepped and set up the equipment. I pulled it all out of it’s storage boxes in the bee shed and onto the lawn. I hosed down the inside of the bee shed to get all the dust off the walls, floors and shelves.  I then took the capping tub/lid, the 4 food grade plastic 5 gallon buckets, the 3 plastic filters and lids, and the stainless steel honey extractor and washed them with soap and hot water and left them out in the sun to dry.

Then I set everything up in the bee shed. The capping tub went on one table, the honey extractor was set up in position and locked down tight to keep the jiggling to a minimum when it’s unbalanced. A bucket with a filter was set right under the honey gate  under the extractor (which sits on a shelf). I plugged in and tested out the hot knife and put the fan in the west window.

Every year at the bee meeting you hear horror stories of people who have outfitted their garages to be special honey extracting sheds, every hole plugged with spray foam, windows closed up tight, doors sealed with rubber seals and still there’s the one tiny hole and they end up overwhelmed with bees in their honey shed during extracting.

I have a bee shed that has a door that does shut, a screen door that has a 2 inch gap all the way around it into the garden shed which is entirely open to the garden, and a few cracks and holes. I have a screened window on the east side, just 2 feet from the bee deck and another screened window directly across from it on the west side. The bee shed is under the big maple trees out front so it’s shaded all the time and even when it’s really hot, it’s not stifling in there. We set up a fan in the west window blowing the air out so that all the honey smell goes out the west side of the building instead of the east side where the bees are. I have never had an issue with even one honey bee coming in the gaping holes around the door and bothering us. Given all that, we don’t go in and out of the shed as we don’t want to tempt fate.

On Saturday morning, we put the 3 big black totes with honey boxes out in the sun so they’d really warm up. I ran up to the bee supply place to get myself the cutest little plastic baby bear honey jars (hold 2 oz). My nephew, the one who got me started in beekeeping, came over to help me extract for the first time.

We had a 5 gallon bucket of water in the shed for cleaning our hands off, a couple of clean towels, 3 big containers of ice water and (later since we forgot) a big long rubber spatula.

My extractor holds 4 frames and is a hand crank. You can buy a motor for these to just turn it on but I really enjoy the old fashioned, hands on feel of cranking that puppy up, letting her spin and cranking her up again. It makes you feel connected to the process.

Our  bounty of honey this year, all jarred up

Our bounty of honey this year, all jarred up

THE PROCESS

First we find four frames that are relatively the same in weight. You can’t have heavy and light together or the spinner gets really out of balance. Then one by one, we take a frame over to the capping tub. Nephew glides the hot knife down the face of one side of the honey frame, then the other, and the wax cappings just shave off in a sheet. Any that didn’t get shaved because they were concave, I have a little wax capping scratcher that looks like a very sharp afro pick and scratch at the capping to break them. The tub is hard clear plastic and has an upper liner with holes so that the capping drain their honey down into the bottom tub, which has a honey gate.

As soon as one frame is shaved, I place it in the extractor and we do the same process 3 more times. Then we put the lid down on the extractor and start cranking. It doesn’t take too long, about 4-5 times cranking her up good and letting her spin out. Then you pull out a frame, you can see the frame is bare now, you turn them all around and you do the same for the other side.

You then transfer the “wet” frames (empty cells but coated thinly with honey) and put them back in the rubber tubs with the lid on.

After about 8 frames you start to see – the golden, thick liquid come slowly burbling out the honey gate on the bottom of the extractor and into the upper sieve on top of the honey bucket. You put your hands and arms down into the wash bucket because you have honey all over your hands, and then you keep going until you’re finished.

Lastly, we scooped up all the wax cappings in the top of the capping tub, put them in the filter on top of another honey bucket. Then nephew put the lids on the 3 buckets, and on top of the capping tub, and he and HB took them quickly into the kitchen. I suited up and took the 3 boxes that had the “wet” frames and put them (plus one box with drawn out frames) onto the top of the hives so the bees could clean them out. Now each hive has 6 boxes.

Then nephew and I took the equipment all out onto the lawn and left it there for the bees to clean off for awhile.

We cleaned up stuff in side and decided we needed to let the stuff drip through the filters for another day as the honey was really thick and going very slowly through all the cappings and the filters.

We all celebrated with BBQ filet mignon steaks, corn fresh from the cob, roasted beets from the garden and baked potatoes. It took about 3 hours total.

Later we went out to hose down the equipment. There must have been 1000 bees on it. So I sort of misted it all down to get the bees out of there. then we hosed off the equipment, took out a 5 gallon bucket of hot, soapy water and cleaned and rinsed off all the equipment; let it dry in the sun and put it all away.

BOTTLING

We waited until Sunday afternoon to bottle. First I weighed an empty bucket, then weighed each bucket and totaled it up. Not as fine as last year, but our yield this year was exactly 60 lbs. of honey. That sounds like a lot, but honey is really heavy. Still, I’m not complaining.

HB and I love the bottling process. I had already sterlized gobs of half pint, pint and quart jars in the dishwasher. HB set up a system for himself and I brought him jars, he filled them, I took them away (he’s really good – nary a drop out of place) and put the lids on and we just kept at it.

Every year watching that first jar of honey fill, we just both laugh and say we can’t FLIPPING believe this. We have bugs in our back yard that fill our jars up with this thick, golden, sticky honey.

The crop this year is thick, glossy, is not sickening sweet like some of the stuff you buy where it kind of stings the back of your throat, you could just keep eating this stuff, and after you’ve swallowed it, you taste a kind of nutty spiciness.

When we were all done, HB took two pieces of toast, used them to mop out the last honey bucket, got a glass of cold milk and ate a honey sandwich to celebrate. Divine!

pot after melting the wax capping and letting the wax rise to the top and cool. There's slumgum underneath this and then brown water

pot after melting the wax capping and letting the wax rise to the top and cool. There’s slumgum underneath this and then brown water

WAX RENDERING

All the cappings were in one bucket. I put cool water in the bucket to well cover the capping and stirred, then poured out the water over a filter and did this about 5 times until nearly all of the honey was actually out of the cappings.

I then put the cappings in a big stainless steel pot I have for this purpose, just cover the cappings with water and put it on medium low heat on the stove. It melts into a peanut butter looking gummy mess. You stir it up and take it off the stove and let it sit 2 hours in a tub of cold water. The wax rises to the top and makes a disk.

You pick up the disk and pour out all the gunky water. There is stuff called “slumgum” on the bottom of the disk which is this disgusting, chunky, gooey brown mess of all the solids that are not wax (bee parts and bodies, propolis, pollen, goop). You scrape this crap off the bottom of the disk as best you can.

Then I break up the disk into chunks, put it in a big pyrex glass 4 cup measuring cup, put it in the microwave and 40% power and nuke it for 30 seconds at a time, just low to melt it, not make it actually sputter and cook.

whip cream carton about half filled with hot, melted, pure beeswax

whip cream carton about half filled with hot, melted, pure beeswax

I have a cleaned wax coated whip cream carton. I have cut several chunks of 4 layers of cheesecloth. I lay a cheesecloth over the carton, push down a little and pour the melted wax into it. This filters out the rest of the nasty, cooked slumgum, which I throw away with the cheesecloth.

Then I pop the carton into the fridge and I have a block of pure, unadulterated beeswax that I can use for making my homemade lip balms, furniture wax and lotion bars.

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Jul 20 2014

Inspection for both queens

This is regarding my inspection on Saturday, July 19.

The bee deck is to the right, and this is the new guardian of the girls, guarding the bee shed.

The bee deck is to the right, and this is the new guardian of the girls, guarding the bee shed.

I decided to get an early jump and got out to inspect the bees at 8am, which was a good idea. It wasn’t nearly as sweaty. The girls weren’t really out and about a lot, but they weren’t grumpy, the sun was up and it was already 73. I used the smoker, but I’m wondering if the girls already thought we were in a fire – the smoke from the forest fires surrounding us in this area are absolutely choking. The sun this morning was a dark red ball, there’s a creepy orange/brown haze over everything and the smell of woodsmoke was so strong in the night it woke us up.  We can’t see them from here, of course, and we’re safe in the city, but the fires jumped into our county last night, the winds are strong and there are hundreds of acres of forest burning to the west, north and east of us in different spots.

Soooooo, I suited up, got my smoker, my wax collecting tub, camera and little notebook.

Speaking of wax collecting – I really have collected very, very little – scant little pieces. The girls in both of these hives are pretty neat and aren’t prone to making crazy wax all over in appropriate places like some of my past hives. They’re a little more orderly.

My goal today was to see if either of my hives still had a queen and if they were laying. It’s been a week since I found both hives without any open or capped larvae, didn’t spy either queen, and found a great big ol’ capped queen cell in the blue hive where Queen Kloke had been installed.

Blue Hive

SYNOPSIS:

  • There were 5 boxes on this hive.
  • There was a total of 13 frames full of capped honey, 6 frames pretty full of pollen, some frames with some new nectar.
  • There were 11 frames of bees
  • All the rest of the frames were empty and cleaned out
  • There were no capped or uncapped brood, no larvae in any stage and no eggs
  • I did not see a queen
  • The very large queen cell I saw last time is now torn open on the bottom. It did not have a little trap door, but looked chewed out – I don’t know if that was from within or without. I tore it open and looked inside and there was nothing

This means I may (or may not) have a virgin queen on the loose in the hive. I looked carefully but there was no motion, entourage or anything else that indicated the presence of a queen. That means absolutely nothing since virgin queens are notoriously hard to spot and very, very quick. I’ve only seen one in my entire time of beekeeping.

PLAN:

I’m going to let them figure out their own thing here. I’ll check them again next weekend and leave them alone this week. At the very worst, if they actually don’t make a queen at all and I go 3-4 weeks with no queen activity, I’ll combine it with the orange hive for the winter.

This is the girls waterer. It's an old Red Flyer wagon with a faucet on continual drip at the back end, stones inside and it just drips over the edge.

This is the girls waterer. It’s an old Red Flyer wagon with a faucet on continual drip at the back end, stones inside and it just drips over the edge.

Orange Hive

SYNOPSIS:

  • This hive had 5 boxes
  • There were 13 frames of new honey just capped, 3 1/2 frames full of new nectar, 7 frames full of pollen
  • There were 6 frames of bees
  • The drone trap was still empty and cleaned and this is where I spotted Queen Håper, scuttling around looking healthy. Video of the Queen
  • There were 3 frames with with large, pearly white larvae in the center, smaller and smaller brood circling out and tiny fresh eggs at the edges – YEAH QUEEN HÅPER!
  • There was one frame with capped brood
  • The rest of the frames were empty and cleaned out

MANAGEMENT:

I moved the 3 frames of open brood to the bottom box, in the middle, with honey and pollen on the sides. The 2nd box has the capped brood in the middle, and the drone trap with the queen and honey and pollen.

HONEY MANAGEMENT:

I removed 3 frames of honey from the orange hive and replaced them with 3 empty, drawn out frames. I removed 1 frame of honey from the blue hive and replaced it with the frozen drone-pop frame.

THOUGHTS:

I have no idea why Queen Håper took a 2 week break from laying. C’est la vie.

I have no idea where Queen Kloke went, why they made a new queen and if a queen is even alive in the hive or will survive. At livet (that’s c’est la vie in Norwegian).

It seems like every bee season I have one hive that does great, one – not so much. I’m either combining, splitting and re-combining, waiting for a queen to be made, losing the weak hive to wasps, or coddling along a hive trying to make a queen or replacing a queen when they can’t, or replacing replaced queens.

Each year I think I’m going to split both hives when it’s swarming season and I’ll have 3 or 4 hives and it never happens because one is struggling.

Here's the bee deck after inspection. Hives, extra stand for sorting, and the smokers in the foreground, with the bee fencing surround

Here’s the bee deck after inspection. Hives, extra stand for sorting, and the smokers in the foreground, with the bee fencing surround

I frankly don’t know if I’d do better if I just bought a queen every single fall, pinched the existing year old queen, and artificially managed the hives and their queens this way, importing them from California like many do. But I’ve decided to let my bees try this on their own, try to make their own healthy queens that can last through a winter and try and determine when they want to boot out an existing queen.

NOTE TO SELF:

I think next April, I’ll go ahead and buy a full bee package with a queen. Then I’ll have my 3 hives I’ve been wanting. If I have one hive constantly in turmoil, maybe I’ll have two hives that are always great.

 

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