Monday, September 25, 2006

September Hive Inspection

We attempted to do an inspection of the hive today. This was to be the first full inspection since we put the supers on and removed the honey. There was some good news and some bad news.

The hive presently has two deeps and we removed the honey supers 2 weeks ago.

First the hive seemed very strong, even on a hot, calm day when many of the bees were out foraging, the hive was very crowded. We also found pollen stores, brood, larva and even spotted the queen in the post-inspection review of the photos. (She's in the photo above.)

The bad news, after combing more than a dozen close-up pictures later, we did spot one bee, tending the larva with varroa mites on her back (center in the photo below). This means we must start treating for the mites.
Even after our first freeze and several frosty mornings, we still have many warm days and many flowers still quite active in our garden. On warm days we see many bees on the late blooms including: aster, butterfly bush, spirea, russian sage, salvia, stonecrop and other hearty perenials. The photo below shows one of the workers on an aster, taken yesterday.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Apple Blossoms?

Here it is later summer, after the first freezing temps of the season and I'm out looking over the impact in the garden and what do I see? Apple blossoms in full bloom! This tree is confused.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

First Frost: Sept 17, 2006

We had our first major wind-storm of the season yesterday, with gusts topping out at 45 MPH and steady winds of 35 MPH for several hours. This of course wrecked havoc on the garden. One of the bean towers was toppled, many of the tomato and pepper plants had torn limbs or were otherwise tossed about by the high winds.

This was followed by clear skies and calm winds overnight, which allowed the temps to dive to an "official" low of
34.4º F which is measured at 5' above the ground. However I recently installed an additional sensor at ground level to detect frost, which recorded a reading of 31º F. This sub-freezing temp was confirmed by the fact that this morning all the leaves of the squash, pumpkins, cucumbers and a few tender annual flowers were frost-bitten and dead.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

2nd Honey Harvest

We harvested the second honey super today and tried the escape board this time. While it seemed to be no more effective than the BeeQuick on the fume-board, we varied the process slightly which seemed to help. This time we loaded the super on the trailer, quickly covered it with a towel and I jumped on the tractor and high-tailed it out of there.

After moving a safe distance from the hive, we removed each frame and bumped and brushed all the remaining bees away. Since we were far enough from the hive, the swarming was not quite as bad. Once again we avoided any bee stings.

We also let the frames warm-up a few hours before we started the harvest, which also made the process go much more quickly. After we measured the last bottle we had a total of 21.5 lbs from this super. Not as much as the first one, but more than we expected.

This brought our first-year hive total to 48.5 lbs of honey. From everything we've read and heard, this is a very impressive yield for a first year hive. The hive seems very strong right now and again no signs of any pests at this point. We will do a full inspection in a few weeks and see what we find.