Getting close to the end for the year…. I’m always very ready for that and simultaneously sad to see it come to an end. Such is life.
May it rest in peace. I went in to the Top Bar today with the intention of harvesting any honey and wax I could find. If there were bees, I was going to dump them. The hive was dead anyway, right? Well, indeed it was. Not a bee in sight. However, there was a small nest of wax moth larvae working their way through the four small combs. How I hate those things!
I emptied the hive of everything and closed it up for the winter. Sad.
Happy! This hive is still going crazy and doing really well. No concerns as they get ready for the winter.
Hive 2 and Hive 3
And… I’m done to two hives! We’ll call this one Hive 2.5 for now because I combined the two into one large hive.
Hive 2 is queenless. Not sure what happened, but very little brood, all of it very late stage. No eggs. I would guess there was no more than 250 total cells of brood in the entire hive. However, they have done a good job getting their weight up in honey. I’d guess close to 40 lbs.
Hive 3 on the other hand is packed full of brood, with very little honey. Maybe 20 lbs. At most. They also have a strong queen, and they seem to have resolved their egg-laying worker problem. I figured that since each hive had half the strength and the strengths were complimentary…. I did a newspaper combine putting Hive 2 (queenless) on top of Hive 3 in Hive 3’s spot making Hive 2.5. That puts a good six feet between Hive 1 and Hive 2.5.
I will go in to this hive at least one last time before the season ends to consolidate the frames down to a smaller hive size. Right now the hive is made up of two deeps and two mediums. I’d like to get rid of at least one deep OR one medium. That should be pretty darn easy.
Hopefully the weather holds.
The last thing I did was I slipped a five-pound feeder filled with honey into the front of this hive. I figure that will give them just enough of a jump in honey stores to make it just fine.
So now that the year is coming to end, it’s reflection time. All in all, this was a good year for beekeeping. I was able to reclaim the hobby as my own and do it for the love of the work and the experience. I found two new assistants who are learning quickly and make the experience fun. I regained the joy I found in doing it alone as well. I had my first experience with wax moths, my first experience with egg-laying workers, and a miserable year in surviving. I lost a nuc and two hives. I did my first top bar, failed miserable at it, and I’m wondering what to do for next year to have better luck. And for once, I feel very confident that I will come into next spring with the same number of hives I started the winter with! Granted, it’s only two, but they are both really strong and should both produce nice splits come spring.
If I can get two splits in the spring, I will try to sell two of them off as nucs ($100+ each). I may try for a third split as well to get my apiary back to three hives since I have the equipment. I’d very much like to NOT have to pay for packages in the spring. They are getting more and more expensive each year ($80 this last year), and since my survival rate this year on my packages was pathetic (1/3), I just don’t want to spend the money.
So there will be at least one more visit. But unless there’s a major surprise, here’s to the end of the bee year!
Bring on Christmas!