Archive | September 2014

The Hive That Couldn’t

I checked my aunts bees on Friday, and they hardly weigh anything. I don’t know what the issue was, because there were capped worker cells in the top box, and they had plenty of time and resources to expand properly. They never even moved down into the third box. My aunt was excited about getting some honey, but they didn’t even have enough honey for themselves. She’ll feed them this winter and hope they make it through. I would be truly amazed if they did. I just don’t understand why they never tried to requeen themselves or anything. Maybe they were being robbed all summer? There are plenty of flowers in the area, and there are dozens of different species of bees in my aunts garden alone. There wasn’t any sign of mites, and I checked the floor for them specifically. The hive was clean, the bees were active, there just wasn’t much in the way of honey or pollen. There were even empty frames in the top box!

Several of the bees in the colony had bright red/purple patches on their “skin”, and I think they must have some genetics from that strain that creates purple bees. What’s it called? “Midnight” or something? I dunno, but they were pretty. There were also some very brown bees in the mix. Almost almond colored.

Meanwhile my bees have been coming and going by the thousands, and should have plenty of food to make it through the winter. If they don’t make it through the winter then I think I’ll just stay bee-less next year because I’ll be away at school all summer and won’t have time to go up north to manage them.

The Year Of The Lemon Honey

I took the honey supers off of the hive last saturday when I had time, but I didn’t harvest the honey from them until tuesday when I had a full day off. It was a messy process, as always, but I got 10 pints out of it! I don’t know what my bees have been eating this year though because this honey is sour. It’s delicious!! It tastes like someone squeezed a lemon over the frames while the bees were working, and I have to say it’s got to be my favorite flavor of honey yet. I had to keep myself from eating out of the jars while I worked.

The bees were amazingly calm while I collected the honey, and I didn’t get stung on my gloves once. I did use a little bit of smoke, at the beginning, just because the colony is so big, but throughout the whole ordeal they were perfectly calm. I barely even squished anyone. I didn’t do a hive inspection during the harvesting, because I didn’t really have time (I had an end of summer party to go to for work that night) but also because it would’ve been kind of silly given how much I had disrupted everything. I’ll open them up tomorrow to make sure they’re doing well. I can’t imagine they’re struggling given the amount of activity at their door, and I know they’ve got pollen because 1 in 4 workers comes back with their baskets full.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention that a couple of the cells on the honey frames I harvested had GREEN “nectar” in them. There aren’t any candy factories nearby, so I can’t imagine where they got the green nectar from, but it was pretty funny to see those two cells filled up with it. I couldn’t believe it when I saw them. I hope these girls make it through the winter alright. They’re large numbers do bother me a bit, but I can’t imagine that such a robust colony doesn’t make it. They filled three deep boxes this year and they started late as a 3 lb package for crying out loud!

I haven’t had a chance to properly check on my aunts hive, but I know they never recovered like they should have. I’m gonna head down there sometime in the next week to reduce their hive down and make sure I won’t need to have my aunt feed them during the winter.