Monday, September 1, 2008

Finally Good News…

Once things dried up the middle of last week, I ventured for a look see on my last remaining hive and found two capped suppers and a very strong hive. Talk about being caught completely unprepared. I also got stung once on the back of my upper arm which upped the sting count to 10. My reactions are definitely diminishing by the sting.

Unless your goal as a beekeeper is to have your hives swarm out, two capped suppers and a strong hive is a good indicator for the beekeeper to take a supper or two off. My plan was remove both suppers off (9 frame wooden frames, 10 frame plastic frames), and replace them with a new nine frame supper (Wooden frames). Things didn’t go as planned. I’ll write a how to when things go right, but for now up the sting count by another three. One found a way under my veil and got me on my neck, one got me on my right shoulder, and one followed me all the way to the garage. The minute I removed my veil it got me on my ear.

The current configuration of the hive is as follows. Deep 10 frame (plastic), queen excluder (which I would like to remove), 10 frame supper (plastic) that can come off in a week or two, and a brand new 9 frame (wooden) supper.

I removed six wooden frames from the nine frame top supper. Two frames were about 30 percent drawn out with no honey, and one was fully drawn out, but the honey was only capped on one side.

How much honey from 6 frames? 264 ounces = 22.01 cups = almost 1 ½ gallons of Honey. Two 32 ounce jars have honey, all others are just filtered honey.

This is how I processed the raw honey. Once indoors I:

  • Cut the honey comb out of the frame.

  • the comb that will be use for comb honey (do not uncap) and then everything else is crush and strain. Here I am crushing comb with a mash potato masher.

  • Once it’s mashed I pushed the comb to one end of the Tupperware and inclined the container so the honey runs to the side free of comb. In Florida the heat of my garage helps the honey run to one side in about 10 minutes.
  • Allow the frames and crush comb to drip some more

  • Drain the separated honey into a bucket with a filter. I like to use a two stage filter. Medium filter, and then a fine filter.

  • Bottle and label if you wish

Wonder what the stomachache is??? One too many helpings of raw honey…the kids and I love comb honey. I hope to repeat this in a few weeks with the bottom supper, and then hopefully once more in November with the Pepper tree flow

I’m a Slacker

It has been a while since my last entry. I was on vacation for several weeks, dealing with Tropical Storm Fay effects and aftermaths, and weeks of sad heart breaks when it came to coverage of the hives.

First the Top Bar Hive – I installed a split from my hive with an Australian queen. Talk about docile bees, they were a joy to work with, but way too docile for my local environment. These ladies worked extremely hard and fast, but would never hurt a fly. Eventually they could not outwork the damage created by the Small hive beetle and ants.

Then there are the two packages I ordered at the beginning of the season. I believe they sat at the post office for one day too many. My guess is that ½ of the bees in the packages had perished by the time I got them home. The bees released the queens, but they never laid a single egg. Both packages collapsed.

Soon after, I purchased two Nucs from a local beekeeper. Both Nucs collapsed or absconded ……. I’m not sure why. Harassed by ants and small hive beetle is my best guess.

With my evil beekeeping streak, I decided to leave alone my last and only remaining original hive.

Soon after, we had Tropical Storm/Hurricane Fay which hung around for about five days, dumping over two feet in my area. That is correct ……… 25.8 inches of rain in 3 days.

Below are pictures of what happens when you get tons of rain. Water level on my yard rose about 14 inches on this side of the lot. Thank God for the new stand, six more inches and everyone would had gone for a swim.

Below is my chicken coup. (note: chicken poop marinating in water for a few days is really stinky)

My shed, it was close, but it never made it in,1/4 of an inch and it would have

Path of Fay. Arrow indicates my location

Can someone please remove my area from the drought list ...............

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