Monday, July 6, 2015

ANOTHER TALE FROM THE APIARY by beekeeper Denise

July 5 - beekeeping observations: hives happy & healthy.  4 newly installed hives BUILDING their population and stores for winter.  TWO MONSTER hives (6 plus honey supers each)....WHICH I'VE ALREADY STARTED CLEARING (reducing).  NOTE: PURPLE FLOWERS signals the march toward the end of honeyflow (asters are usually the last)  hive #2 & #6 top honey supers are FULL but not capped.  AS SOON AS they're capped, they're getting reduced!  i've had TOOOOO many of these (monster) hives "collapse/fail" after harvest...because i took too much of their resources away too soon.  my plan is to reduce them GRADUALLY this year.  harvest for me is late august....less than 60 days away!

my thoughts on MONSTER HIVES.  as the season goes along and the beekeeper coaxes the bees to store more honey by putting more empty boxes above them....the two bottom deeps become a huge nest area for POPULATION (to distribute among these MANY boxes).   along comes harvest - beekeeper takes all the honey away - "shoves" all the population (STORAGE bees) into the bottom deeps.  and WHAT JUST HAPPENED?????  there's no honey stored in the deeps - you've got a huge population of older bees....and THEY DECIDE....THE QUEEN MUST STOP LAYING - NO RESOURCES.  beekeeper thinks - oh oh....queenless.  and it's LATE AUGUST/ early september....what flowers still exist for them to FILL THEIR OWN BOXES?

it's a TRAINWRECK.


each of these MONSTER HIVES has a "HIVE SUPER" of their own that's filled and capped...and set aside.  I put THEIRS on first...and gradually moved it up and up and off. (i super on the bottom of the stack).  SO THE PLAN THIS YEAR IS:  when i go to harvest honey - they're going to get THEIR SUPER back - to overwinter with.  they will overwinter as 2 deeps and a hive-super.

i was noting the coming abundance of PURPLE FLOWERS this morning...for me - it signals the end of the season.  i've got less than 60 days left to MAKE SURE THE BEES HAVE ENOUGH HONEY FOR WINTER! 

noted: #2 and #6 monster hives currently have 5 supers on.  top two on each are FULL and HEAVY but not capped.  AS SOON AS they're capped - they're getting cleared.  I WANT TO PUSH this population down gradually this year!!! 

2 comments:

Fred Ransome said...

Those certainly are two very productive hives. What type queen bee is heading up those hives?

I have a few little monster hives; 3 or 4 supers. I put new supers on top. Do you know of any literature which has data showing bottom supering increases hive output? Or is it just a case of the monster hives were those that overwintered the best and thus were able to get in on the earliest spring honey flow?

Fred Ransome said...

Purple flowers? Umm, doesn't alfalfa have a purple flower. Its been blooming since mid May. So I'm not sure the purple flowers signal the end of the honey flow. Golden rod and asters are at the end regardless of their color.