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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Hoppin' back on the horse

Well, after months and months of not doing anything, I've actually, by some cause, checked on the bees today. It's amazing. I've never medicated due to it either being the wrong time of year (can't medicate with supers for harvesting on the hives) or just being too lazy, and yet, the hives are still very populous. So, how about a chain of events?

I woke up just after 6am...well, "woke up" isn't the apt term. It was more along the lines of "stopped trying to sleep." But, moving on, I found my jacket and gloves sitting by the garage stairs, veil in some chair in the garage, hive tool completely rusted under a pile of leaves out front, and the smoker in the back behind the old, broken lawn mower. It's surprising how much things can scatter about when you just ignore them for a year. There was even still fuel in the smoker, still somewhat wet with pine oils released in the last fire. I cleaned off the hive tool, shook out my jacket, and removed a spider or two before my veil...then treid to light the smoker...and tried again, and again. It seems that after a year without common use, I had somewhat lost my touch for lighting a smoker and keeping it lit. It's really something to make the early mistakes all over again, like smothering the fire or burning it too hot.

Apparently, I had lost two screws on the right side of the bellows of my smoker, and had forgotten I had made a quick repair job with a screw I randomly found. Probably should make a little more complete repair sometime...

The "Italian hive", which by now is probably a mix of whatever's local, actually had three SLAM FULL supers of honey on it, and a very large brood nest. They were still plenty nice to work, their disposition not much changed despite over a year of neglect. The frames also weren't as stuck together as I thought they'd be, and burr comb was still minimal. Gotta love a Langstroth. Put simply, that hive is heavy and practically dripping with honey for harvest, which I might do over the next week or two. Haven't decided when I feel like spending 8 hours of effort to harvest the crop.

Over at the other apiary, the Russian hive is all that remains.

This has left the apiary with a bit of an empty feel to it...

Oh well, at least every single one of those supers on the Russian hive was every bit as full as the Italian supers. These bees were a tad more flighty, but they've always been like that...and a bit noisy as well. For once though, they actually didn't all run out the front and cover the brood box. I suppose I'm being more conservative with the smoke, which is probably best. The broodnest was a bit smaller than the italian one, but I think that's just how the Russian bees tend to be. Also, I had broken a frame some time ago, and that gap had been completely filled with drone comb, which after what seems like a very short use for brood rearing, has been used primarily for honey storage. Always fun to grab a snack while working. So, after cutting that out, and sliding in a new frame with foundation, I closed it up, and just smashed it into a ziplock container. It's a bit thin, so probably has a lot of cabbage palm in it. But, there was also a greenish tint to it in some of the comb, so there may be brazilian pepper as well. More accurately, it's a blend of whatever's been out there over the last year.

Well, there's a thought...selling honey not as clover or brazilian pepper, but as "2007 Honey." All the flavor of an annual trip around the sun!


Blogger Paul said...

I enjoyed the read. What a large hive!

I had a hive that large, but I got too lazy to extract the honey. Now I only place one super over the two hive bodies.


5:24 PM, November 21, 2008  

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