Harvest! part one
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).
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 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!