It is hard to believe the last post I published was way back in January.....as I was imagining my four hives were snuggled close in cluster, and NOT dying...I was so hopeful.
And they DID survive the winter, and we had a wet spring and summer---and my hives survived......
Started the spring with one hive in my backyard, and three in "the country" (at my mentor's place).
Sometime during the year, I lost one hive in the country----but the hive in my yard swarmed 3 times. I was able to collect 2 of the swarms.....one of them on my son, Justin's birthday. Is my Justin hive, and it is doing well...queen right, will not get honey off of it, and hoping it makes it through the winter.
The other swarm is in the fancy nuc hive. It is doing so well that I bought 4 nuc-sized honey supers to just keep stacking. It was queen- right this past weekend, too. ( seems like thousands of small hive beetles in it-- bought a gimmick piece to dissuade beetles from climbing in...called bee baffle..I'll let you know how that goes!)
In the mean time, my 'mother" hive in the back yard was overcome with small hive beetle larvae. I mean creepy-crawling with larvae. I had 4 honey supers on it, all wasted. Made me sick, but I learned a valuable lesson. Just because there is 'bee activity' in and out of the front of the hive does not mean the hive is healthy...I waited much too long to inspect it, and suffered the consequences.
I dismantled it. Cleaned it well. Keeping it on hand, ready for the spring, when I split my strong country hive. I requeened my weak (queen less) country hive last Wednesday (9/11). By Sunday (9/15) she was out of the cage. I pulled a super of honey off the strong country hive, but left 2 supers on. On previous inspection, moved my queen excluder up to the top of the second deep, and the queen had moved into it. Very excited.!! (2!!=very excited!)
So, technically, I have 3 1/2 hives......I've harvested honey twice already, and have one more super to extract. One pound of honey is $8.00...I might break even before I can no longer 'keep' these bees, but the sheer joy from doing it is worth something!!
This post is so dry and boing, but it was really for me to document/catch up what's going on in my bee yard(s).