Friday, June 17, 2016

Honey Flow!

We have been coming and going a lot lately, so monitoring the progress of the bees has been a little difficult.  Today was forecast to be a bit cooler (it really wasn't!) so after having been gone for a week I knew I needed to check the hives.  My objective--see how the bees were drawing out the comb in the supers, check on hive #4 to see if it was successfully queenright and check the other hives to make sure queens were laying and hives were not becoming honey bound.

Hive #4 seemed very busy and happy, and yes, young larva!  Good news.  That's about all I did with that hive.  I am almost totally out of frames (more coming tomorrow from Mann Lake!) so I didn't have enough to even put half a box of frames on this hive, so that will be something I need to do ASAP.

Next I looked at Hive #3, my 8 frame hive.  I only had one super on it (again, due to low number of frames) and found they have really been busy filling out the frames in the super.  I removed 3 good frames of capped honey, leaving a 4th that was filled and capped on one side and half of the other. I went and got Kathy, needing an extra pair of hands.



Looking further into the hive, I was surprised to find no larva. Before we traveled, I had taken a frame with eggs from this hive to put into #4.  So what has happened to the queen?  Possibly there has been a swarm (swarms?) and this hive just hasn't gotten the new queen into laying mode yet.  Still, I decided to put a frame with eggs into this hive just in case.  The bees in this hive were really very animated, flowing out over every box I opened.  Huge number of bees.  

I opened hive #2.  Some progress at drawing out comb in the two supers but not much else.  I set those aside and started looking for brood.  The top box of the brood chamber was totally filled with honey--very heavy.  I won't take any of that.  I looked in the second box, also very full of honey and nectar.  Same thing in the bottom box, though not as much capped.  No brood.  I did find at least 6 swarm cells that had been occupied and chewed through. My guess is there is an immature queen present. I will wait a week and check this one again.  I closed this one up.

Hive #1 had young larva and eggs, so I did transfer a frame from this hive to hive #3.  Again, the top box of the brood chamber is heavy with honey, with some new comb in the supers but nothing close to being filled and capped.  I removed the queen excluder from this hive and hope they get busy soon.  A flow is definitely on and they need to fill supers now that brood chambers are definitely heavy with honey.


So what is blooming?  The bees have been all over the spiderwort, which has beautiful blue blooms through mid-day, then the blossoms close up.  The bees really love it.  We have a heavy cover of sweet Dutch clover as well, and the bees have been on that.  


Blueberries and honey bees have little in common, but the berries are really coming ripe right now.  Apple trees are very full, the grapes look great and raspberries are coming on and the honey bees love the red raspberries as well.  Hopefully the honey flow will go on for several weeks.  We're positioned to have our best honey harvest in several years, so fingers are crossed.