Saturday, 3 November 2012

Honey, Honey, Honey

Its November and we finally get to the bees to take the supers off.

A few quick checks have been done over the last few months so we know that they are still alive and have been building the honey stores up. Before it gets too cold we have to take the supers off. The more space there is in the hive the more energy it takes to keep it warm enough to survive.

A few days previously we put the crown board under the supers with porter escapes in. This allows the bees to go down into the brood box of the hive but not to return up into the supers. It is an easy way to clear the supers without having thousands of bees chasing you for the honey. Because we have taken their food stores (they do still have stores in the brood box) we have given them food in the form of fondant so that they have enough. We will continue to do this throughout the winter to ensure they don't starve.

The supers come off easily with bees not included. I take off a few of the cappings and we along with our 6 year old nephew dip our finger in to taste the honey. It is beautiful, tastes completely different to the store bought honey you can actually taste the flowers.

We have a super and a half of capped honey currently stored in black bin bags in the car. Not owning an extractor we now have to figure our how to extract the honey. We are not doing what we did last year. It was complicated and sticky with inedible honey.

We haven't done the varroa treatment and now it is too cold for us to start so we will have to leave it this winter. We have been keeping an eye on the varroa numbers and it doesn't seem too bad at the moment so hopefully we haven't damaged them. There is an unproven method of using icing sugar on the bees. I understand the theory behind it is that it gets the bees to clean each other and therefore getting rid of the varroa in the process. It is something to consider if we want to do something.

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