Monday, June 09, 2008

Bees and Honey Update

Michael checked the bees last week. They started off fine... And then we noticed them getting a bit more aggressive.
Every hive was doing well. The supers that were on the hives were full of honey, but the honey had not been capped yet. When the moisture is out of the honey, the bees cap it to seal it.
He added another super to a hive. He was looking for extra queen eggs, but the bees were so aggressive that he didn't take the time to comb through them. Usually on a hot sunny day, bees don't even notice when you are in the hive. However our bees were very stirred up. The only thing we could think of is that Michael hasn't been in the hives on a consistent basis. We know that one of the hives hatched out an extra queen because that hive swarmed. It is always frustrating for us when that happens. In an ideal world, one would catch the swarm and put it in an extra hive. We even keep extra hives for that purpose. In the real world, it doesn't usually work for us that way. The bees always swarm when Michael is at work. By the time he comes home, they have already left. Whenever he sees new queen eggs being laid, Michael always smashes them. When doing this, you are taking a chance that your old queen may need to be replaced, but there will be no new queens to do this. We have had to go order new queens from the bee supply store before. However if you leave those queen eggs to hatch out, then you know for sure that a swarm will take place. Just remember...2 queens can't live in the same home!!! A swarm causes your number of bees to go down in the hive which causes less honey to be produced.
I am hoping that we will have a good crop of honey this year. Last year we didn't get any due to the drought and the late freeze. We even fed the bees through the winter months because we weren't for sure if they had enough honey stored for their own survival. I have rationed my honey this past year and now I am down to my last quart. In times past we have sold our extra honey, but if we have extra this year I think we will keep it. I enjoy using it to bake my Whole Wheat Bread!

grace and peace,

No comments: