Bees In Our Bonnets

The (mis)adventures of raising honey bees in Minnesota

Harvest! part one

with one comment

War with its three honey supers

It was that time of the year at the Four Horsemen Apiary. It was early September, and the nectar flow is slowing down in the Twin Cities area. About all that’s left is the goldenrod, aster, and purple loosestrife (although there’s a fair amount of all left). We decided it was time.

We took Famine’s single super off first, and to no surprise there was no honey in it at all, and very little drawout. Famine had never been as industrious as War, and its super went on late in the season.

I cleaned up Famine’s hive, placed a thymol tin in the top (we decided to treat preemptorily for mites), and that hive good to go for the balance of the year (after another thymol treatment in two weeks).

Famine ready for the winter

The next hive was War. She has three supers (very industrious hive, particularly for its first year), so I took all the supers off at once and set them aside. It’s easier to do that than to take off one super at a time to clear the bees out.

Next came examination. The uppermost super was pretty bare except for the frame I’d taken out of the second super to “seed” it. However, the first and second supers were quite rich. The bottommost super had quite a bit of capped cells, while the middle super was mostly uncapped. (There are some ‘keepers that leave uncapped frames alone.)

The best way to clear bees off of frames is to take each frame and “flick” it. Writer Neil Gaiman demonstrates this here:

Any bees that don’t come off easily that way can be removed with the use of a soft brush.

You brush from the bottom up, in order to disturb the little darlings as little as possible

You have to quickly store each cleaned frame in something the bees cannot get into, because they really don’t want to give up their hard-earned work. (We had a hard lesson with this the following week.)

I cleaned up all three supers’ worth of frames, and then put a thymol tin into War, and got the lids on the hive.

Next up: extraction, and the results!

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Written by beesinourbonnet

15 September 2010 at 08:29

One Response

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  1. Cindy, I had no idea you were blogging. I’m so glad I have the link now 🙂

    Michelle

    29 September 2010 at 19:37


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