Thursday, July 15, 2010

Don't weigh your honey before it's extracted

I try not to count my chickens before they hatch, so I know better than to weigh my honey before it's extracted. Nevertheless, if the 2010 summer honey flow is supposed to be over in these parts, nobody has told my bees.

I went to the monthly ABA meeting Tuesday night. The subject was small hive beetles, and I was pleased to come home with 4 new beetle traps - 2 of Mr. Cutts' Beetle Blasters, which I already use, and a new one that I'll try too. I asked a question about what we should be doing/looking for/etc. at this time of year and got some great answers and suggestions.

At the end of the Q&A, the consensus from the experts was that, if we new-bees had managed to keep our bees alive at this point, we were doing good. That's slightly depressing news, and says volumes about how rough a year this has been for beekeepers in general. Just in this area we've had loads of hive losses, more than average swarms back in the spring, loss of queens, heavy varroa mites, and worst of all - foulbrood. Bob L's entire beeyard is still under quarantine and he had to have several hives burned, which means he lost his honey crop for this summer and a good bit of his monetary investment as well.

The good news is - all 3 of my hives are going strong at the moment, so I'm happy not to have been one of the people raising my hand when Bob asked how many folks had lost at least one hive this year. All in all, it's been a hard, but interesting few month since my girls arrived. I've had 3 swarms, captured one, started a new hive, requeened, treated for varroa mites, and lost all the honey because of the Apiguard treatments. On the bright side, I ended up with 3 hives instead of 2 and now have loads of honey for the bees to eat over the winter. I recently installed a second super on my green hive because it was simply bursting with bees and the super was completely full of honey and brood. I just this morning checked the second super and they're drawing it out nicely and already putting in new honey so, as I said before, if the honey flow is supposed to be finished for this summer, nobody has told these girls! The only thing I see blooming right now is crepe myrtle, but there's tons of it in our neighborhood so they must be finding enough to keep them busy. Since I've already treated for mites, I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will at least get a couple of frames of honey to extract before the winter - especially once the goldenrod begins blooming. And with all the signs I've seen lately that we'll have an early fall, that just might happen.

But . . . until the honey's in the jars, I'll try not to weigh it!!


  1. So exciting! I can't keep up with all the new lingo. Foulbrood. Dang. Glad your bees are doing so wonderfully! This subject is so interesting.

  2. Thanks Becky - I'm learning tons of new bee-speak too. Don't you want to get you some bees?