Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bee-autiful!

Yesterday, my bee mentor and neighbor, Tom, came over to help me get ready to harvest the honey.  We checked the Langstroth hive, which has 3 supers on it, the top three smaller boxes. The supers contain the honey for us.
A little smoke  to calm the bees.
The bees had not stored any honey in the top super, the one I added  in August.  And the first frame we removed from the second super was not full - I was getting a bit worried.
But all the rest of the frames were totally full of capped honey! Tom said they were perfect -- State Fair contender frames.  He predicts we will get at least 20 pounds of honey from each of the two supers!
The bees look very healthy, with no sign of parasites.
Bees at work.
The larger orange bee is the queen. She is not very large for a  queen, but she has done a great job populating the hive.  Most of the drones (male bees) have already been evicted from the hive for the winter, leaving just the female workers.
We placed a bee escape in the hole of the cover.  Inside the bee escape, the oval metal piece, are brushes that allow the bees to exit but they won't re-enter against the grain.  We placed the cover beneath the two supers full of honey. Over the next few days, all the bees will  leave and won't be able to get back into those supers. That way, when we harvest the honey we won't have to worry about harming any bees.

The two Warre hives are another story - they are going to be very challenging to harvest. Stay tuned.


2 comments:

gz said...

quite a few of my friends are changing to Top Bar Hives finding them far easier to handle.

Varroa is a worry, some have lost colonies, especially where there is intensive, non-organic farming near them. Seems that the organophosphates weaken the bees.

The Luddite said...

great shots of the bees - lovely queen! looking forward to reading more about your honey harvest.