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Showing posts from June, 2010

Bee Escape

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In trying to decide how to go about removing the bees from the frames when we go to harvest the honey, we looked at options such as the fume board, brushing, blowing or shaking bees off the frames, or using a bee escape.  We've chosen to try the last option.  The fume boards work quickly, but we didn't like the thought of "fumigating" our bees or the honey.  My experience with brushing bees off the frames has been that it does not make them very happy.  I like to keep them happy.  So we decided to go with the bee escape method.
There are a number of bee escapes available commercially and there are also plans for building a variety of bee escapes.  Most of the commercial bee equipment outlets sell a simple bee escape that is oblong in shape and fits in the opening of a standard inner cover.  It allows the bees to move from the honey super to the hive body below.  These are quite inexpensive, costing only a couple dollars. You can also buy, from Dadant, a board which i…

Honey!

As we get involved in the routine management of our bees, we almost forget one of the reasons for having them--honey.  So when we opened the hive yesterday to check on the progress they were having in drawing out the comb in the super, we were very surprised, after having checked only last week, to find practically every frame drawn out and filled with white, capped honey.  I put another super on, this time choosing to use the 10 frame initally as the newsletter from Dadant had suggested (done so the bees will draw out more regular comb, later to switch to a 9 frame box) and headed in to start looking at options for extracting.  Should we try to use a centrifugal extractor, use heat, buy equipment, use the equipment at the nature center, etc.  These are things we had only briefly talked about and considered and now we need to make some definite decisions.  Not that it needs to be done immediately--the nice thing about early season honey is we have time.  It will stay in the hive just …

Enlarged opening

Rain and more rain, and, did I mention humidity?  With quite a little gathering of fanners on the apron, I decided to go ahead and open the hives fully by removing the reducer, which had been placed in the larger opening.  You can really smell the honey coming from the big hive, and I can imagine they are working hard to get things dry in there.
Bees are still all over the spiderwort, of which we have plenty, and are now seen on the white clover.  There are still so many things in bloom that they should be getting plenty of pollen/nectar, provided they can get out.  We have not had as much rain as folks in southern Iowa but still have had well over 4 inches and we're only mid-way through the month, with rain forecast 5 of the next 6 days.
I had an interesting experience the other day.  My aunt, Paula, wrote saying that Kelli, her daughter, had a squirrel nest (actually a wood duck house) full of bees and wondered what to do.  I'm not to the point yet where I want to do extrac…