Above, Jill holds up a frame from one of our hives.
We ran up into spring this year with somewhat renewed gusto for beekeeping (after last year’s defeatlearning experience, we were a bit overwhelmed with sanger*) and took on four hives and doled out high fives left and right (mostly to each other). As I may have mentioned, we bought two new hives and had two of my later grandfathers’. This last weekend we dropped by the hive for our almost-weekly check in and found that the hive that started the season as the strongest had been robbed out and had only a few hundred bees left, trying to pick up the pieces. We really thought we’d been doing everything at least sort of right this time, only to find that there may not be any such thing. The good news is the new hives are doing lright and the other established hive is doing very well. We incorporated the remaining bees into one of the new hives and will press on. I didn’t really expect to feel as strongly about them as I do, but after my reaction when we got a dog, I don’t know how I’m surprised.
*sanger is a delightfully awful mix of sadness and anger.
Interesting little video of a colony being safely extracted from someones home.
more on this later, but it seems Almon was weaker than we thought. Was packed a couple of weeks ago, now totally empty. Very lame. There were still some bees and we added them to Francine (far left) as she is the smaller of the two nucs.
We are quite sad.
Not a great way to end the day at all. #beekeeping #lostSlashmergedhive #ripAlmon #splitnextyear? (Taken with Instagram)
man Dane is looking great. We’ve already taken one super of honey from her this year and she’s got FOUR on top of the brood box right now. Granted, we just added one today, but that’s amazing seeing as she swarmed earlier this year.
Current status at the end of the day. Almon is still struggling but Dane is killing it. The nucs are doing fine. (Taken with Instagram)
Jill & Stephanie looking into one of the new hives
As I mentioned, we’ve done a ton since last proper update.
We did end up extracting Memorial Day weekend. It was an early spring so we went for an early extraction, and I think because of that some of the honey wasn’t ready. We were conservative about what we took, knowing we’d very likely be taking off more this year (so what’s the rush eh?), but we still got basically 5 gallons. Considering last year we worked as hard as we could to get EVERYTHING and we got a gallon, we were a bit overwhelmed. We still haven’t bottled but we’ll get to it.
We may have mentioned that we’re pretty sure both established hives swarmed a while back (right after we put them in, maybe?), and on the rebound one hive is doing way better. You’ll notice the super tall one in the shot.
Here’s Jill and Steph making sure we were appropriately leveled. Left to right, the hives are Francine, Fern, Almon, and Dane.
Francine and Fern are the two new hives we bought this year (nucs) and are named after my sister’s middle name (sorry, Nic!) and what my middle name would have been had I been born female, as was expected (ahhh the 70s). What you’re seeing on those hives is this: The deep of the brood box and the medium of the brood box, and another deep that was housing our pail feeder. Both hives are doing well, though Fern is doing a bit better. They’re both still pulling the foundation on the mediums (side note: the guy we bought the nucs from switched to plastic foundation this year and we’re trying to figure out if it’s causing the nucs to pull the comb a bit slower. We could just be making it up but we’re watching it either way).
Almon and Dane are the middle names of my grandparents, given to these hives in honor of my late grandfather. Almon is the short stack on the left and we think maybe it took way longer to requeen, or possibly the queen died or something. We really don’t know (there is a queen though, not just a laying worker, we learned, because the eggs we saw were in the bottom of the cells not on the sides. To explain why there were multiple eggs per cell, we read she may just be young and not quite properly laying). But you can see how it’s still a bit behind compared to Dane. Dane is kicking ass. We really should put another super on soon. You may notice, too, that the blue super in the middle is a bit taller than the ones on top of it. Sort of by necessity, we switched to mediums, but we still have so much shallow equipment, we’re gonna keep using it until we just can’t any longer.
Sorry the blog has been quiet lately. We’ve been working hard with the bees, but also with life, so blogging falls by the wayside.
We really have done a ton at the hives..maybe this weekend we can get together and recap what all has happened.
Above is Steph and Jill inspecting a frame this weekend.
Stephanie and Jill at the bee yard this weekend.