I’m finally healed enough from the surgery to go out and work on the bees again. It’s probably a good thing. Both hives were ginormous and packed and ready for a super. I’m still working on a naming pattern for these two hives, and right now I’m thinking Junior and Redonkulous. You’ll see why shortly.
If you remember, Junior is my accidental split, and it consisted of a medium and a deep and no queen when I created it in early June. I opened it today and quickly found eggs (Yay!), and I’d guess about 60 lbs of honey. There was no room anywhere in the hive, so I added a deep on top. I’m wishing now that I had put the deep between the existing medium and deep following that Rose Hive methodology. Oh well.
Good love. This hive, which kept the queen in the accidental split, was already huge. It’s now moved well past ridiculous and moved on to redonkulous. It’s a monster. When I left it after the accidental split, it was two deeps and three mediums tall, easily my biggest hive ever. Well, I cracked it open today, and the entire thing was packed top to bottom except the very bottom of the lowest hive box. The top three boxes were solid honey (I’m estimating easily 140 lbs right now), and the lower boxes were thick with brood. I added yet another deep into the middle of the brood nest (Rose hive), and a medium on the bottom of the honey so that the bees don’t have to move honey up AND so they don’t have to travel so far to put the honey away.
I think I can say that the Rose Hive methodology is a stunning success! I’ve practiced that with this hive since the spring, and despite the split and the lose of most of its foragers, this hive is massive. It’s now three deeps and four mediums tall! And it’s only July 11!!
We get another nice nectar flow in August and September (melons and squash), and I’m thinking we’re going to need to harvest this hive in the next couple weeks and then again in the fall just to keep the size under control. City ordinances restrict hive heights to 6 feet. I’ve never even been close to that until now, and it took all I could to get that last stuffed honey super on top of the hive when I was closing it up.
Since the surgery, I’ve been debating bees again. I do this every so often, and I think it’s important to figure out if this hobby still fulfills something for me. I helped my dad with his hives the week of the surgery (supervised, not lifting), and it was exhausting. I did it without any gear as well which was a first for me. But it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t thrilling.
I’ve been admittedly nervous about today’s visit for a few weeks because of how bad the experience was with dad’s hives. I’ve debated just letting these last two hives run their course and not replacing them if I lose them. But today kind of got me excited again. My set up is so much simpler than my dad’s (top bars mostly). My bee yard is familiar and organized the way that works best for me. My bees are productive, and the experience today was gentle. I could have gone without gear again I think. I also had a helper, which is always so nice. He’s a neighbor kid who asked if he could help sometime. He did a good job, and it’s just nice to have that extra set of hands when things get stuck together or when you need to lift something.
I’m feeling good about the bees again. I was worried.