Yep, it seems in all my excitement of seeing jam-packed honey frames in the 2nd brood supe of Freddie (hive #1, ~75,000 bees in residence) and putting on the 1st honey supe, I may have over anticipated how much honey would be coming our way. I’ll explain.
Yesterday when I went out to check on Freddie’s honey super, it was like a GM factory with a night watchman walking around with a flashlight in there… maybe 3 bees, tops… and not a lick of fresh comb. (Remember that I’d put on a queen excluder – kind of ironic to be using that on a hive named Freddie (Mercury, of Queen), isn’t it? Anyway, I wasn’t feeling the love so I put the cover back on and let them be. (Hive #2 – Ray (Davies) of The Kinks – is filling up nicely with honey and larvae so maybe another week before putting on Ray’s honey super.)
Anyway, I came back in, called Mr. C and explained the “no bee left behind” situation. He ever-so-gently explained to me that the honey flow (nectar collection from flowers used as basis for honey) was just about over and I may have missed it this year.
Fine, I’ll just throw myself in front of the local train.
“Well, how about if I harvest a few frames of honey for our use and let nature take its course?” Well, you could do that but you need to leave enough for them to winter. Ah. The bees have to “winter” and I have to use brown sugar in my coffee instead of TBC Honey. (Man, what’saguygottadotogetabreakaroundhere, anyway?) We hang up and I head to Mr. C’s to rent an electric capping knife (don’t ask.)
This morning Joanne and I headed to Santa Cruz to see the Woodies on the Wharf (no, it’s not an all-nude Chippendale show!) and were back home by 11. We swung by Fuzzies (local beek I mentioned last week) and told him of my situation.
Fuzzy: Are you using an excluder? Yup.
Pull the excluder and they’ll work up, no problem.
Me: What about the honey flow being over?
Locally, we’re running a few weeks behind so it’ll be good for 3+ weeks – the sprites are just now blossoming and they’re a great source… be patient and by the end of August you’ll have two full honey supers on each hive.
So I returned the knife to Mr C, told him of my plans and returned home to an air conditioned house (it was ~100F here today). Ahhhh.
Until about an hour ago when I went out back to remove the excluder. No smoke, just suit / gloves, etc. Popped open Ray to see how they were doing and, boy howdy, they sure move fast when they think they’re being invaded, don’t they? (Note to self: Always use smoke) Popped open Freddie (with Ray’s bees crawling allllllllll around my suit / net, trying to get in my ears, nose, eyes – you name it, they were out for revenge!) and found another roiling mass of 50,000+ bees coming up from inside the hive.
Removed the honey super, queen extractor, put the lid back on, then the cover and I was outtathere… my suit and netting crawling with verrrry angry bees. Eventually I walked over to the sprinkler that was running to water the lawn and stood in the spray until the bees left me alone.
All except the one that stung me in the neck… well, more appropriately, in one of my chins 😉 I seemed to have scraped the stinger out before I got out of my suit but went over it again with a knife and have had ice on it for the last 40 minutes or so.
So far so good but the hive is down at least 1 bee as a result of tonight’s work 🙁 Hate to lose a good worker.
Back to the honey: we’ll see how things progress over the next week or two and if it looks like things “ain’t happenin'” in the honey supe, cover me, I’m going in!
As always, thanks for stopping by, be well and don’t forget to write when you get work.