Bee Diary: August 6, 2010

Lughnasa                                     Waning Grandchildren Moon

Hive inspections today.  The package colony, the youngest of the three, began life here in late April.  Now it has three hive boxes full of brood and honey, a honey super full and has two near empties for the rest of what the summer offers.  I’m pleased I’ve gotten honey from this colony so soon.  The parent colony still has two full honey supers, a third nearing full and two near empties.  The divide has expanded itself to the necessary three hive boxes for overwintering, but early on filled the third hive box with honey.  Since then it has shown little interest in the two empty supers I put on a month or so ago.

The upshot of all this, at this point, is that we will have honey.  How much depends on the nectar flow over the next couple of weeks, but enough to justify purchasing extracting equipment.  It also means that I have two strong parent colonies going into next spring, the divide and the package, assuming, that is, that they survive the winter.  My mentor indicated that some people “knock the old queen on the head” in a parent colony, then requeen it.  If I decide to do this, it would see me next spring–again, assuming winter survival–with three parent colonies.  That would mean that in May I would have six colonies instead of four.

Right now four seems about right for what I’m trying to do.  I don’t have commercial intentions, though I may sell some honey.  I want honey for us, for friends and family, for gifts and I want to continue learning about bees.  I’ll decide over the next few weeks.

After extracting the honey, I also have to check my bees for mites and nosema.  A bridge not yet crossed.

Also spent time in the vegetable garden where I found my onion crop ready for harvest.  I pulled them out, whites reds and yellows, put them on another raised bed, now empty of its parsnips, so they can cure in the sun for three days.  Then, some weeks on a screen drying further and finally downstairs in the storage room cum shop.  Picked green beans from the plants I put in between the potatoes and also gathered in some swiss chard.  Greens tonight.  New potatoes aren’t ready yet.  I look forward to them.  Potatoes fresh from the garden are like a different vegetable.

Under my new schedule I’m supposed to work out now, but I’m going to do it after the nap.  At 4:00 pm I claim an hour of my birthday present from Kate, a massage at the oddly named, Massage Envy.