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Growing Apiary

Today is the 4th of July. Old beekeepers tell me they would collect honey on the 4th and then on Labor Day, then take the supers off for the winter. I checked the hives today just to see where I was at with hive growth and honey production. This picture is the vertical hive, which I installed a nuc on June 2nd. This is the bottom deep, which is mostly full. I have a second deep on it. The two middle frames are full in that one. I was pleased to see they filled out the bottom box before moving up. Sometimes the bees will "chimney" meaning they just build up in the middle, leaving the outside frames empty. Since they have been very active and had not done that, I went ahead and placed a medium super on this hive so it has room to expand. The old saying was always, "keep ahead of the bees". That means always put on more supers than you currently need. It has been dry around our area, but we have been watering our property. Also, we live in a swampy area, so even in drought years, the bees tend to find forage. The basswood trees appear to be blooming. I can't tell how full they are. Most other blooms have been short lived this year due to the dry weather. After I had finished with the bees today, I was weeding a flower bed next to this hive, and it was really active, so they are obviously finding forage.

Next I checked the blue long hive, which also was started with a nuc on June 2nd. It is covering around 11 or so frames, which is equal to the vertical hive. This colony is noticeably darker in color and also noticeably calmer in disposition. The Carniolian bees are the darker bees, and I like them best. They seem nicer and hardier and make a good amount of honey.

This is the swarm hive, in the tan long hive. The frame I am holding is number 15 or 16 from the front. It is all new comb in a foundationless frame, completely full of honey and capped. The next frame forward was like it, but had some brood in it, so I chose to not collect today. I placed some empty frames between this one and the frame in front of it to encourage them to continue to build back. I have been pleased that they have not cross-combed the foundationless frames, but have built them straight and filled them nicely.

I do not know for sure if the commercial beekeeper has come into my neighborhood yet or not. My son thinks maybe possibly he saw the truck go down the road, but he won't swear testimony in court that he saw it for sure! So far my bees do not seem affected, they are building up very nicely, storing honey and seem calm. They don't appear to show signs of stress like they have when the competition has been extremely fierce. They are doing well in spite of the current drought conditions, although I have been watering a lot on my property to keep all my produce alive.


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