Bee Blog

Honey Flow

  This blog is dedicated to those people who tell new beekeepers."You will never produce honey on their first season." That kind of makes me laugh. Those people most likely know very little about beekeeping and producing honey. Many first year beekeepers have already extracted honey this year. There is still several weeks left to have the bees collect more nectar. Ive noticed purple loosestrife with honey bees all over it. I have also chatted with many  beekeepers whose hives were honey bound.  Whether they put the honey super on late or not enough honey supers on the hive. It could have been just because there was such a great nectar flow this season. This year we have rented and sold more extractors, buckets, sieves and honey jars than in years past.  So I know its a good year for honey.

  We have had the best honey producing year in over a decade. The packages which we installed in April have mostly all produced about 4 honey supers. A few of them produce only a few honey supers. I think we only had a handful of hives that didn't produced much. Our over wintered hives have produced a ton. Unless of course it swarmed. The best hive we have has produced 8 honey super so far this season.  We have also tested the honey of many beekeepers and finding the moisture content is between 15-15.6%. Which is on the low side. Probably due to the lack of rain. It makes it a little longer to extract. If your hive did not produce honey or have your hive swarm. Maybe your hive is in an area that lacks good nectar sources.

  Today, I went to a few apiaries in the morning to harvest some full honey supers. The picture below shows the hive with 2 deep brood boxes, a queen excluder, 2 honey supers, a bee escape(with white stripe on  left side of box), 4 full capped honey supers, and then the inner & outer covers.  I removed the 4 full supers and found the bees drawing comb in the bee escape. The 2 supers under the bee escape had bees heavy on each frame. The supers were almost full. I put another super on. I will check these hives in 10 days. This hive has produced 8 honey supers and has 2 more that will be harvested on my next visit. What a great honey producing year. I will probably say that many more times before the season is over. 

Honey Flow

 A medium frame with bees capping the cured honey.  Over the past few weeks, the bees have been collecting nectar and packing it away.  We did harvest  several honey supers last week. We did extract the full honey supers so we can put the supers back on the hives  Today, I was checking the 6 hives at one of my apiaries on the farm. The hives were package bees installed in mid April. All of the hives needed another honey super. Good thing I put extra boxes in my truck. The best hive had bees 10 frames wide in the honey super and capping the center frames. This hive has already produced 35-40lbs. That is from a new package installed on drawn comb not on foundation. That's not to shabby. I will be checking all my hives to harvest honey and add new honey supers. 

Checking Queens

 The weather hasn't been the best for beekeeping. But you have to check the bees. In the past few days, we have gone through many hives. Adding honey supers on some hives and second deep boxes on the packages installed about a month ago. I have to inspect 15 nucs today. I will bring a bottom boards, covers,boxes and extra frames to the apiary. I might have to install nucs into 10 frame equipment. I have found the queens we installed into these nucs are great. They all have had nice brood patterns and built up quickly.


   I caught a 4lb swarm on mothers day. The call came in around 10:30am Sunday morning. I jumped in the truck and drove up the street to Bradford to catch it. It was only about 6 feet off the ground. I got up on the second step of the ladder and snipped a couple small branches. Then fit the swarm into a the bucket and shook the branch. All the bees fell into the bucket. I put screen cover on the bucket quickly. Thats about it. The actual capture time was less than 10 minutes. 

  Monday, the call came in 2;30 in the afternoon. I drove over to Salem and caught a swarm that was only 5 ft off the ground in a shrub. This swarm was musher bigger. It was about 7lbs. The swarm fit into the bucket. I didn't cut any branches on this one. I shook it into the bucket and placed the cover on quickly. I waited for many of the bees to land on the cover before placing the bucket into the screened swarm box. The capture took less then 10 minutes.

  Today, I was busy tending to my hives. It was about 3;30. Yup, you guessed it. I went to Ipswich to catch my third swarm in 3 days. This swarm was only a couple feet off the ground. It was the quickest capture ever. I went over to the swarm and fit it into the bucket. I snipped the branch and put the screen cover on the bucket. I caught every bee. 

Varroa Mites

  This spring was the same as every other year. We clean our deadouts and go through the hives that survived the winter. We had a very successful survival rate this year. I feel one reason is the treatment for the varroa mite in the fall.  There are obviously many other variables. But right now its about the varroa. While doing our spring cleaning, We didn't see many varroa either. We treated in the spring and now have honey supers on most of our hives.

Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint