The summer season is now past us and we have extracted all the honey. We have a little less than last year, collecting around 100 lb from each hive. We also managed some cone honey this year which was quickly snapped up. Anyone wanting jars of honey can contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our goal this year was to handle and manipulate the hives less. This has led to only one suspected swarm all summer. Perhaps they also appreciated their new shaded location under the pine trees. We knew we had mite numbers exceeding the recommended levels but we waited and postponed any treatment until the honey supers were taken off. The six-week treatment for Varroa mites has already started and the strips will be withdrawn next week.
Feeding of sugar syrup is also finished and at the end of the month, all the hives will be wrapped for the winter. During feeding, a hive or two started making elaborate comb within the feeding box. A sign that they have enough for the coming cold season. We have extracted this comb for a local artist who will be incorporating it in her work. (photos to come at a later date)
Robbing was again a problem with us this year. The hives are well populated throughout the summer but once the honey supers are taken off, they find it hard to find space. Nectar was in short supply and they will hunt down the closest source of food they can. This includes neighbouring hives. The robbing screens were added early and most of the hives seemed to cope. They have been taken off recently to facilitate the drones being “dragged” out of the hive. At the onset of winter, drones have no further use and would eat up too much food supply during the colder months… Speaking from a male point of view I’m really glad this doesn’t occur in the human race !
Some photos from around the hive location.