Dancing with the bees

This is what we did on Saturday:

…resulting in nearly 20 pounds of honey!

We have three hives and it’s time for an update. The honey is from the hive that came from a package which we bought from Jim Bobb early this spring. The hive sits pretty with four medium supers stacked up on the deep brood box. Stepladder time!

We have a hive that overwintered from last year. We purchased the original nuc from Warren Graham (Chester County Beekeepers Association). This strong hive swarmed on us in the spring and we ended up re-queening the hive. It was our good fortune that Mark Antunes of Montgomery County Beekeepers Association had a queen for us. The new queen is from the Minnesota Hygienic Queen strain. The hygienic queen was developed by Marla Spivak, a MacArthur Fellow.  With the swarm taking off; the population dropped dramatically. We noted that hive beetle larvae began to infest the honey stores. We removed and froze those frames and, then, redistributed them to stronger hives to be cleaned up. This strategy seemed to work well. This hive is building up very nicely now. Hive beetles and mites are under control at the moment and we are already noticing some of the hygienic behavior of this strain which includes the removal of reject (diseased?) pupae from cells. We were fortunate to see the queen in the hive on Saturday looking so very fine!

And we have a new hive from a nuc we just purchased from Warren. It, too, looks wonderful. The nuc with its queen was raised in Pennsylvania and we had the pleasure of sighting her regal self on Saturday. This hive replaces an old hive which, sadly, could not beat disease. It was symptomatic of some kind of virus since last year, over winter, and into this spring. I wrote about this hive last year in this post.

We have been in the routine of going into the hives weekly to sugar for mite control. We really want to stay away from chemical treatments. We are still finding mites but they don’t seem to be too bad. We haven’t done an official mite count. We are using Country Rubes screened bottom boards to help us manage mites. We tried them on one hive and liked it so much that we put them on the others as well. They seem to be impeding the life cycle of the hive beetle to boot. That would be good!

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4 Responses to Dancing with the bees

  1. Scargosun says:

    That honey looks both beautiful and delicious! Congrats on a great harvest!

  2. michellesaya says:

    I absolutely enjoy learning about your experiences with your farm and Queen Bees!

  3. michellesaya says:

    Reblogged this on My Ponder Tree and commented:
    Here is another awesome post by Michaelann Velicky, the Permaculture Designer that I interviewed in my “Deep Roots” video. I absolutely enjoy learning about her experiences with her farm and Queen Bees! Did you know that people sometimes have to re-queen their hives? I didn’t!

  4. Wow it sounds like you’ve had a some beekeeping challenges yourself! All seems to be going really well for you though and I can see you’ve definitely caught the beekeeking ‘bug’. Nearly every experienced beekeeper I chat to has on average about 12 hives. I have a feeling that you too will be up to that number sooner rather than later 🙂

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