It’s been quite some time since I last posted, but that is because there has not been much to report. Mine and my mother’s hives have been what honey bees do best–be busy and make honey. We have been extremely lucky thus far. We have heard so many horror stories of first year hives succumbing to the (almost) inevitable swarming in the Spring, not long after establishment. Many first year hives this year have also been plagued with queen issues–the queen that came with the original package was superceded, which interrupts the brood process by several weeks.
Somehow, with a bit of luck, our hives have avoided such issues (knock on wood) and have been busy making babies and honey. There is constantly a swarm of new bees taking orientation flights and older bees zipping in and out with goods from the field.
Now, for the good part. My mother and I were consistantly told not to expect honey from our first year hives. First year hives are several months behind in brood and honey production than over-wintered hives and generally make just enough honey to make it through their first winter. However, again by sheer luck, our hives have produced enough honey that we get to take some spoils from our new hobby 🙂
Three weeks ago, the previous hive inspection we performed, my mother and I were a bit overwhelmed by all the burr-comb and honey and sticky mess in our hives. We took too long cleaning house and the bees got agitated so we couldn’t finish. So, we invited our fantastic bee teacher over to show us some tips and tricks and offer insight as to how our hives are doing. As soon as we pried the top off of my hive this week, he said my hive was honey-bound, had no room, and we needed to remove some honey ASAP. Well, that was just music to my ears! I haven’t stopped smiling since! We removed 5 frames (about 20LBS) from my hive. We could have taken more, but not surprisingly, the bees got quite agitated.
We didn’t have time to go into my mother’s hive that night, but with the great tips and tricks our teacher showed us, my mother had enough confidence to inspect her hive solo (my father supervised from the safety of the window, so she wasn’t completely alone with the agitated bees!) She managed to get two bulging frames of honey, which add about 10 LBS to our total. Right now, we are waiting for the chance to extract and bottle the honey, which will hopefully take place next week!
I will most definitely take pictures of the extraction and bottling process, so look out for that!