Tuesday, August 18, 2015

(Already) Getting Ready for Fall

Last weekend, Minnesota weather was fully hot. We have been keeping only an occasional eye on our hives the last couple of weeks, but we decided it was the time to start getting the hives ready for the end of the season.  

The hive that is right-most in the photo above is the first one we inspected and evaluated, and you can see a frame from it below.

This sporadic and bumpy pattern makes it look like the worker bees are laying eggs.  This is bad because there should be an efficiently-laying queen to make more worker bees.  When a worker or workers start laying eggs, only drones (male bees) are produced, and the hive is doomed because there will be no more workers to stock up honey for the cold season.  This hive will not make it through winter, so we took the honey frames off of the top and set them aside for harvesting.  We also put some of the frames that these girls had started with comb and uncured honey and put them on the center hive, so now those bees can really stock up for winter.

Second, we inspected the center hive, which I'll now call Champion.  You'll remember that this is the hive we started in the spring of 2014.  It produced amazingly last year, powered through winter, and is producing amazingly again this season! You can see one of their frames, loaded with honey, below.

We are really proud of this hive and this queen and we're pretty sure we'll try to get her through winter again.

We haven't looked at the last hive yet (the one that started as a top bar hive).  Mr. Bee has an idea of how they're doing, but we saved that inspection for another day since they are a pretty feisty bunch. The other two hives, which are normally at a "usual" temperament, are amped up to protect their hard-earned honey.  I had several trying to attack my face - no worries, they only ran into my veil.  If they were so protective, we know that last hive will need to be inspected on a day when we are on the top of our game.

Since we had several boxes of honey frames, we started harvesting!

Enter: Knudson's Honey this year. I'm really looking forward to showing you an "official" jar soon!