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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Been away for a while...

Sorry, I've done it again. I've gone another long period of time without posting anything. I actually haven't checked any of my hives since about a week after the last post. Sorta been busy or distracted with other things.

About a week after the last post, I harvested honey from the new hive. It was the day of the extraction, I had assembled all my gear and suddenly remembered, I forgot my fumigant. I normally use the "bee quick" because it's basically imitation almond extract and, that smell is preferable to the odor of rotten eggs of the "Bee Go". After a short trip to the super market to pick up a small bottle of imitation almond extract (in the hopes that would work as a substitute) I was on my way to the hive.

After a short time lighting the smoker, applying the imitation almond extract to the fume board, I walked over to the hive and began taking it apart. I figured I'd remove the top two shallows and one medium, leaving a full medium for their own use and an empty one for expansion. On the first box, the imitation almond extract worked decently well. There were a few bees left but, not bad results. The second box was ok, but, I decided to set it aside and manually brush the bees out. In the third box, the bees wouldn't budge. Overall, it was about 45 minutes spent waiting for the imitation almond extract to work, smoking the bees, brushing them and loading the three supers into the trunk.

After ariving home and brushing the bees out a second time, I began on the extraction. This would be my first chance to use my new electric uncapping knife. I found it generally easier to work than my old "cold" knife. The cappings would melt slightly, making them easier to cut. And so, after several hours of uncapping, extracting, cleaning and bottling, I ended up with just over 5 gallons of honey.

This honey was probably some of the worst quality I've ever seen. Most of it had partailly crystalized in the frames, resulting in a grainy texture and frames that weren't very easy to extract. Actually, given the foundation was wired wax, I ended up tearing apart a few frames just with cyntrifugal force alone. The crystals were continually clogging the filter, slowing how fast I could bottle the honey. In the end, the honey came out almost black or a very, very, very deep red color. This is, no doubt, due to the fact it was most likely sitting in those frames for up to two years.


I came home and, on Tuesday, March 20, I discovered a swarm, hanging off a tree limb above the second story of my house. I figured that they were too far up for me to go at, and would probably leave in a couple of days. They stayed there for a week. I was almost convinced they had made a hive up there. I have a few photos of it and, when I get around to uploading them, I'll probably post them here.

About two days before that swarm left, another swarm appeared at roughly the same hight, 20 feet away on a different tree. This swarm was almost twice as large. It appeared to have emminated from that nuc I've had since last year. I've needed to supper most of my hives for some time. I'm sure I'm missing out on several honeyflows, and may lose a swarm or two.

I've sorta been in a "funk" lately as, I have two ABJs, still in their packaging, unread. Those three supers are still sitting in the lawn, waiting to be returned to their hive and my gear is unwashed since the harvest. I really need to get around to working the hives reguarly again.