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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Same as Last TIme

On Tuesday of last week (February 7, 2006) I harvested more honey. It ended up being the same amount as the last harvest in October due to some changes I made in the last minute. I decided to leave that second super full of honey for the bees given they appered to be "digging into it" for their own needs. I figured that I might as well leave that on untill the Jacaranda trees start blooming in mid March or so. I'll probably beging treating them soon for Varroa and innoculating them against American and European Foulbrood...basicly, most anything bad that is present of may present itself later in the year. The honey is much darker than the crop I got earlier. When held up to the light it has a redish amber color but, when not held to the light it apears black and one cannot see through it. There was a fair bit of pollen in the frames and think that may account for some of the darkness in the honey. Given the time of year the honey was stored and it's color I'm inclined to beleive that it is predominantly Gallberry. This time I fed the honey from the cappings back to the bees so I probably saved them about a quart of honey. Since I disturbed them so many times in one week (inspection sunday...removal of honey supers Tuesday...replacement of honey supers Wednesday) I decided not to do an inspection this weekend.

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Here is some of the honey just to show you how dark it is.

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Here is a picture showing the color of the honey when held up to the light.

All in all it was a successfull harvest...I cut the time in half compared to last time. I finished extraction and cleaned up in about 3 hours!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Why are their two races of bees in my hive?

I went to check on the Russian hive a little after I checked on Italian one. At first I was concerned that they may have swarmed. They were very quiet given there is usually a loud roar when I open the hive. I appears as though most of the super is filled with honey but they're still refusing to draw out most of the frames in teh brood chamber. Only about 6 frames are drawn with only 4 in active use. I'll probably have to requeen this colony or hope that the bees more actively draw comb in the summer. THe one thing they have no shortage of in that colony is propolis. The hive is just about gummed up with the stuff. One thing I did notice when I opened the hive was that my usually dark black bees now have a few Italian, leatherback colored ones. This has probably been due to the queen being killed and a new queen mated with native stock. I did find a supercedure queen cell cup on one of the frames. The brood patern in teh hive is improving. I'm begining to find the characteristic circular shape brood patern of a good queen. The bees sure do seem to be storing enough pollen. THere are practicly frames full of the stuff. If I could just get those bees to draw out the rest of the frames I'd be happy and maybe I'd get a crop or two of honey this year. This could be a prommissing year for honey production.

Unconfortably Close

I inspected the Italian colony today to guage how long untill I should harvest honey. Right now, given it seems that the honeyflow has halted, I'm thinking I should harvest the two boxes either Tuesday or the weekend after next. After seeing the honey I removed the boxes to get down to teh brood chamber where the queen, eggs, and larvea are. I removed the first frame and accidentally rolled all the bees off. Rolling bees is jsut when they are all scraped off the comb by an adjacent frame. Either way, they get very angery when that happens. I continued looking through the frames and then heard a loud buzz and felt something on my ear. Then it flies to the face mask part of the veil. A bee had gotten into my veil! Then, after a few seconds I noticed two more. It turns out that my veil had gotten caught open on the back of my shirt collar. I had to close up the hive before I could do a varroa test given they were getting nasty since I rolled them and I had a few "visitors" in my veil. I hastely closed them back up and walked away. I threw my veil off my neck and watched as a few bees flew out. Overall, it wasn't a very productive inspection, though I did move a few frames around in hopes that the honey they contained would be ripened a bit more. On Monday, I'll hope to sanitize my equipment and get everything in place...oh, I forgot to buy the jars. On Tuesday afternoon, the harvest will begin!