I’ll be honest; I have no clue what day this was. I think it might have been… Nope, sorry. I really don’t remember. Wasn’t last Saturday.
I finally got in to my hives again a few weeks ago. I’ve trying two new strategies this year:
- Rose hive, which I can say appears to work quite well at least on the one hive I’m experimenting with.
- Fewer visits. I used to go out every two weeks like clock work, and this year I’ve gone out only a handful of times total. I like it.
I’m not sure that the fewer visits is increasing production (anecdotally, there are plenty of beekeepers who say it will), but I’ve found that I enjoy each individual visit more. It’s less “work” and more “play.” I guess it also gives me less chance of getting stung, which isn’t preferred for me. I want to get stung. :-) Okay, maybe want isn’t the best word…. I think it’s important to get stung on a semi-regular basis for a couple reasons. First, it keeps me honest in my beekeeping. Keeps me careful and aware. If I go a long time without a sting, I get a bit lazy and casual, and I make mistakes. Second, I’ve found that frequent stings tend to help my reaction to stings. I go a long time, and I feel like I’m starting off from square 1. That first sting of the year is always the worst in terms of reaction and swelling, but if I have a particularly bad year for stings, by August, I barely react at all. I hate losing that.
But back to the hives….
I’m changing the names of the hives to inside and outside, meaning inside the apiary and outside. If you remember, I created an accidental split back in June when I tried to move my one survivor hive into the apiary. Well, this hive is doing okay. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible. It’s currently a deep and a medium in size with a deep honey super on top. If they fill that up, I’m feeling great about their chances in the winter, but they hadn’t done much when I was out there. Of course, late June through August is our dry/dearth season, so no big surprise. We get a relatively big nectar flow in the fall with the late bloomers, squash, and cooler weather (the dandelions try to make another run of it), so I think they’ll be fine. Probably no harvest, but survival is better.
My inside hive, also known as redonkulous the beehive, is doing quite well. It too hasn’t grown much in honey stores, but it’s just as big as it’s always been, just as thick with bees, and just as happy. I suspect that they’ll make a strong push for honey with the fall flow, and we’ll end up with at least 10 gallons of harvestable honey here. I wouldn’t be surprised if we inched closer to 15 or 20!
One note in general is that the bees are remarkably calm this summer. Not only have I had no stings, but I have yet to honestly feel like I really needed to use any safety gear. I have yet to have a single bee even headbutt my veil! And it’s not just my hives. When I helped my dad mid-summer with his hives, I didn’t have any gear, and we did a full split of the hive. That’s not a simple, non-invasive task there, and I did it without a viel, hood, gloves, or anything else.
It’s been a great year for beekeeping, and here’s to a wonderfully happy harvest!