Saturday, June 27, 2009

"don't expect honey your first year"

If by "year" you mean "month", then yes! do not expect honey your first month.

We added two honey supers on May 28th. Kept meaning to check on them, but bike falls, sore elbows, and family time took priority. I got home early last Wednesday, so we decided to suit up and take a peak. The telescoping cover popped right off, we lightly smoked the top and the entrance. A bit of careful prying with the hive tool and the inner cover came up too.

O.O Could not believe it! This is the top honey super - so the bet is that the bottom one looks as full. We opted to not go any further. We did not use a queen excluder between the brood and honey supers, and I didn't seen any brood in this super, but we could be wrong. The bees were calmly tending to their comb and honey, and took no notice of us.

A quick video of the bees. I need to remember not to talk when the video is on. ;)

The good news - that's a happy productive hive! The bad news - the bees may be honey bound, and we are not at all prepared for this. The risk of swarming is there, and I'm choosing not to do anything drastic to prevent that. I've been standing by the hive saying "please stay girls! Just a few more days and you'll have more room!" The plan is to inspect Terpsichore and then determine the needs of both hives before driving up to Mann Lake. The bees have continued with their washing of the hive. In my heart I'm hoping this means they are saying "we like our home. it's a good home." but may be going too far in my anthropomorphizing.

I've been looking at the benefits and drawbacks of different systems of removing bees for the honey harvest. Mead is definitely a possibility at this point for a honey storage method!

hang in there girls! long live Queen Urania!


  1. I can't wait to get out there!! Yesterday was too hot, I was taking cold showers at 5. Ready to go now, though. For the record, I loved that you say 'those are some happy bees' in your video. :)

  2. wondering if we should take out the Queen excluder. The bottom half of the hive is PACKED.

  3. here's the rationale behind the decision not to use the excluder. In a few books I read, they said that your queen will either lay eggs in the honey supers or not. If she doesn't - great! No excluder needed, and the workers can get in and out easily with their nectar fat tummies. I was for this - I know I don't like squeezing through small spots! ;)

    If your queen does lay eggs in the honey supers, then throw the excluder on. The workers will pass through the excluder as they will not abandon their sisters. one generation is born out of that comb, then it's honey storage from there on out.

    It was a risk, and we don't know for sure if the queen has laid in the honey supers. It doesn't look like it, but we didn't check the bottom honey super at all. Once we add an extra super on, we can take a better look.

    The bee guild meets this coming Thursday. I'm planning on going - hopefully will get some idea about what next. ;)