We are getting ready to extract honey from our four hives. It was a rainy beginning to the pollen flow this spring, and it was rainy in the fall too.
Honey production wasn't up to par due to those factors. We checked all four hives today, and the bees didn't even touch two supers. We thought they
would be filled.
But that's the cards mother nature deals you. You only can keep the hives, you can't control them. It's perfect balance with nature. Here's a thumb
of the hive assessment this year. I set my smartphone to date stamp everything now. Hey, who knows when I'll be tending bees, look up, and see a
So we're talking about extraction, and the biggest question is how do you get the bees out of the honey super? There's these little gadgets called
bee escapes. They allow one-way travel through a hive, and you rearrange supers and put them in the over board, so all the bees leave, and can't get
back in. Here's what they look like:
And so, we have to decide which supers we can extract, the surplus, and where to insert those little gadgets in the hive. Here's the assessment:
Hive 1: Two supers full. Flipped the top empty super to the bottom, added a bee escape, and placed the two full supers back on top. Good hive, 100
US lbs. of honey.
Hive 4: First super with a few brood cells, second with 50% honey, no capped cells. Kept static, just inspected. New swarm this year, did not
expect to be productive. Next year it will kick @ss. I expect 100 US lbs. at least.
Hive 3: The hive that made Hive 4. Moderate production, weak after the swarm, left static, and no honey extraction.
Hive 2: One super full, 50 lbs. Switched supers to put empty on bottom, a bee escape, then 1 super for extraction above.
I took pics of Hive 2, thought you might like them. One of them has a crystal clear pic of bees in action, but I Gimp'd it with text, so it's not a
classic, but I have the original at 3224x1264, something crazy for rez, the phone does 8 MP, aye? A beautiful pic, I thought.
I really liked the contrast of this pic. Bees in 3-D, stop motion.
So we are down to the equipment to make this all happen. I fetched it out of storage, and it needed a lot of cleaning:
Here's is the de-capping assembly you'll see in action tomorrow:
edit on 10/8/11 by Druid42 because: changed an on to of. spelling glitch.