Friday, August 13, 2010

Sunday's Hive Visit Notes

I hesitate to call it a full inspection. Mark didn't try to find the queen in each hive, nor inspect each frame. Mostly he was checking for any obvious problems and seeing if the bees were doing what they were supposed to with little interference or supervision from him. The short story is: yes, mostly. Please note that Mark had left his gloves in Kemper County, so this entire process was completed with his bare hands. A lot of very experienced beekeepers do so, at least from what I've read, but it was pretty amazing to watch Mark handling all of the frames without protection!

Hives 1, 2, & 3 were bearding in the late afternoon heat. The picture above shows you why it's called bearding!

Hive 4, the BBQ bees, had very little activity in or out of the hive, and the feeder was not empty. Mark opted to take a frame of brood with a few nurse bees from Hive 3 and put in Hive 4 in hopes of boosting their numbers.

Hive 3, rather than spending their time building on the empty frames on the other end of the super, decided to maintain their building project between the tops of the frames and the moving screen. This time, the "burr comb" had honey in it. I was dispatched to the truck to find something to put it in. [Note to self: always make sure small containers and a bucket go with the beekeeper.] Mark wielded his handy dandy hive tool and removed the comb into . . . the bottom of a water bottle. Ah, very glamorous, the life of a beekeeper's assistant.

The most exciting news is that the top deep super on Hive 1 is FULL of honey. I mean, look at this gorgeous capped honey comb. Mark said it was so heavy he couldn't move it to check in the bottom super for proper queen activity.

We removed the feeders from Hive 4 and Hive 5 as they weren't in use. When we returned home we had notes to buy more moving screens and more frames, as Mark had originally ordered enough frames for four growing hives. We also ordered something else, but I'm going to save that for another post!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nix on Six and Fermented Honey??

Mark went to check the Kemper County bees he was trying to relocate. This is the same colony that 1) had evidence of trying to make a queen and 2) generated the 3 quart jars+ of honey during my Friday night slog. When Mark checked his hive box, nary a bee was in sight. So, he's now 3 for4 on moving bees from their established location.

He called me at work to tell me he thinks the honey might be fermented. From the start, the wax and honey had a different smell, but he figured it might be what they had access to. I'm not sure how to tell if it's fermented or not (a sour taste is what I've read) but I'm not going to taste it to find out! If it is fermented it can still be fed back to the bees, which is what we'd intended to do with it anyway.

If we'd had to pitch it after my long labors in the kitchen, I would have been Highly Displeased.