Sunday, October 9, 2016

Honey Harvest!

It's the time of year when I need to do one last big inspection on the bees so I can combine hives, treat, think, evaluate, etc. before the winter.

I had 6 hives:

#1 The big Mother Hive - Russian x local queen
#2 Bedford nuc lg
#3 Bedford nuc sm - never took off.  Queen problems.
#4 1st swarm from Mother Hive
#5  split from Mother Hive to stop swarming.  [didn't work]
#6  after swarm from #5.   Stayed small [1/2 med box] but nice queen and good laying pattern.

I was delighted to find that #1 had filled me a whole super of honey.   First time for a real honey harvest.   #5 had filled a partial.  In all I had about 1 1/3 medium boxes of honey from the two hives.

We crush and strain by hand.   It took Claire and me about 1 1/2 hours to get it all done and cleaned up.   It's messy.   Seriously, seriously sticky and messy.

Even though the bees have been all over the goldenrod this year, we had plenty of rain and they were late filling the supers, I was amazed at how LIGHT the honey is.   It is sharp tasting like clover honey.   Since the bee yard has been smelling so good and like goldenrod, I expected darker, stronger goldenrod honey.   Huh.  We had a lot of asters, so maybe that was it.

At any rate, I'm very grateful.   I had wondered if I'd ever get a full super from any hive ever.   In all we got 10.75 pints of honey.  [That's 1 1/3 gallons.]

In other hive news:
#3 had gone completely queenless, no brood at all, but they had stored some honey.   I combined it with #6 by taking out the honey and putting it in #6, then putting #6 on top of #3 with newspaper between.   In a week, everyone should be up in #6 and we can pull #3 off the bottom and button them up for the winter.  

I took the extra boxes off everyone else to reduce defensible space.   The nights are chilly now and they're clustering well.  

Now I have 5 hives left.   They look good.   We'll put sugar bricks and quilt boxes over them in the next month or so and probably wrap them in tar paper, too.


  1. Your grandfather, Russell, would have been so very proud of you! He had hives in Benton Harbor and really loved it. Nice job...and absolutely beautiful honey!!! With the spraying for zika down here the bees are really suffering! It makes me so very sad! Thank you for helping them survive!!!!!

  2. Nice! Glad to hear you've had more success this year. Keep it up!!


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