we lost another hive over the winter. it was quite a disappointment. especially considering how mild our winter was and how much honey the bee's had stored. everything looked ideal for success. recently i had the pleasure of running into tamar haspel whose blog, starving off the land, is one of my favorites. she and i joined the barnstable beekeepers at the same time and are both entering our third season of beekeeping. neither of us has seen a hive last the winter. she recently wrote a very interesting post on the matter. i hope for the both of us, that this year will be the year. i'm not sure how many more hives i can loose. it is more devastating than one would think.
now for the sweet side. this time around, and as previously mentioned, the girls had a very ample amount of honey stored for the winter. this group must have perished early on, before depleting their entire honey store. the bottom deep was pretty well emptied out, but the top was frame after frame of this::
the new colony will need about 75% of the frame open and available for brood. at least 5 of the top deep frames were either straight capped honey or down to about 20% available space. meaning, we had lots of honey and needed to clear some out to make room for the new girls to do their thing. yes, it was time to harvest honey for the first time in our beekeeping career::
from here it was slow and steady drippings, aided in part by a few hours in a slightly warm oven to help quicken the flow (thanks for that tip claire). in the future, when we're working with our honey supers, i will most definitely be using an extractor. the honey, even when warmed, doesn't really want to leave those cozy little combs. but when it does? oh boy::
some for sharing::
and some for storing::
this years bee package was right on time and is already installed and buzzing about::
these girls should be all set and secure by the time the real nectar flow begins (around the end of june). i'm hopeful. and happy to have the buzz back!