Sunday, October 04, 2009

Honey Bee Update

Last time we left off, in regards to honey-related items, we had combined our Swarm Hive with the Mud Honey Hive using the newspaper method. We plunked two deep supers from the Swarm Hive onto two existing Mud Honey deeps, with only two sheets of newsprint separating the two. Unfortunately, the swarm hive turned out to be one heck of a hefty hive and I had a difficult time willowing it down to two deep supers. The Swarm Hive bees were not happy and it created a bit of a headache. Well, not a headache for me as I was off gallivanting around Botswana. Mom and dad got stuck with the mess.

Eventually, the ladies settled down, ate their way through the newsprint, and turned into one massive hive. Presumably, one queen bit the dust as well. Hopefully they'll now have the numbers and the stamina to make it through the winter.

Today our task was to take off two of the deep supers, leaving our ladies in a two-super deep apartment complex. Which was great until we went in there and discovered that the bees had been very busy. Very busy. We discovered that we could only, in good conscience, take one deep super off, as the remaining 30 frames were filled with both brood and honey. And lots and lots of angry ladies. Interestingly enough, dad seemed to be the primarily target today. Perhaps the girls have come to the conclusion that mom and I (their usual targets) are going to rip their rest to shreds, no matter what. So they gave poor dad hell, including one nasty sting behind his ear.

The most interesting find from our hive check was actually in Blue Moon Hive. After the last honey extraction, the frames were then placed back on top of the hives so the girls could clean them out and salvage the few drops of honey that didn't get spun into the extractor. They are usually quite efficient and we can then store the frames in the garage for the duration of the winter. When we went to remove the newly cleaned frames from Blue Moon though, we discovered that they were full of honey. Whoa! You go ladies. So full, in fact, that we put another shallow super on, just so they didn't get any swarming ideas. Perhaps we'll have another honey extraction event in the near future.