Thank you ladies of Dater Montessori for hosting a hive in the Gaiser Bee Co. apiary for the 2017 beekeeping season. It was pleasure having you out to the farm to learn all about honeybees.
The second hive "American Honey" was hand painted and very detailed. Very inspirational with the lyrical quotes :)
INSPECTION DAY May 14th
New honeybee colonies can start from a number of sources. For the American Honey hive, these girls started from what is called a package of bees. These honeybees were from a bee farm in Georgia. We picked them up in late April and placed them into a temporary home until we had an assembled hive for them. So on May 14th, after the hives were painted, we took this colony and placed them in their permanent home.
They were living in what is called a "nuc" which is a smaller hive with 5 frames. We took them and placed them in a 8 frame hive to allow them to grow their population.
These girls looked amazing! When we opened up this hive we saw exactly what every beekeeper wants to see when checking on their bees progress. We were able to spot the queen almost immediately so we caught her to be marked. She had a beautiful laying pattern of eggs and plenty of capped brood (baby bees) so we knew moving them to a bigger home was the right move. Their population was about to explode.
Each year that a queen is born, we will mark her with a specific color to help us know her age. This year the universal color for queen marking is yellow. We do this by gently catching her with a cage and placing her in a tube. After we did this to the American Honey queen, we placed her back into her home, to which she happily retreated.
Everyone is happy and settled in! In just a few weeks they will be ready for their next layer to continue growing their colony. After inspection, we closed up the hive and let them bee.
One of these little girls wanted us to get a close up of her.
Be sure to follow this blog for updates and feel free to leave comments, questions or concerns.
inspection day august 5, 2017
We went out to the apiary for another inspection on August 5th and decided to treat all of the hives for precautionary reasons. The "American Honey" Hive was doing so well– the population was booming! We took the top off, looked at a frame, determined it was doing exceedingly well, then closed it back up and treated it for mites.
We're getting to that tricky time of summer when it's much too common to find the hives being infiltrated by mites and other unwanted species. We saw these bees had fallen victim so we ended up having to treat them for Parasitic Mite Syndrome(PMS).
Reports from the Ohio Department of Agriculture are indicating that the varroa mite population this season appears to be excessively high. Varroa mites are minuscule in size but they latch on like ticks and drain the life from the victim. We wanted to see if this was true with our hives so we did a thorough inspection on 10 of the hives in our apiary. Of those 10 hives, 6 had obvious signs of heavy mite infestation. Including but not limited to:
- bees with deformed wing virus
- poor honey storage
- spotty brood pattern
- larva that appears melted in their cells.
But, not to worry! Just because your hive has mites, doesn't mean it's the end of the world– or their world, really. We have started treatment and will be treating every hive in the apiary every five days for the next twenty days to ensure that the brood, currently in the larvae stage, is fully treated and protected from the varroa mite infestation once they hatch and start to grow/work. We believe these ladies will pick themselves back up and become a healthy, thriving colony once again in no time!
Because of the high number of Varroa mites throughout the entire state of Ohio, we spent the month of August treating all hives. We did an organic treatment of oxalic acid in 3 treatments, 5-7 days apart in order to treat all capped brood as they hatched.
fall extraction season: late summer – mid fall
Inspection Day September 9, 2017
After treating all of the hives and monitoring the bees behavior throughout the month, we opened their homes back up on September 9th to see how everyone was doing. We specifically went in to check on the status of the Varroa Mite treatment and to see where their food supply is at.
The treatment looks like it worked tremendously and everyone seems to be happy and healthy! Therefore, we proceeded with checking the food supply and decided to add in some Easter marshmallow candies on the inner cover until we start the feeding for fall.
Feeding during fall is necessary after extraction season so that the bees can continue building up their food supply for the winter months, before the cold gets here and they're forced to bundle up indoors just like the rest of us!
october 3, 2017 inspection day + final extraction!
On October third, we went to the apiary to gather the frames for our final extraction of the year– the beloved fall honey!
Fall honey is dark in color, plus rich and bold in flavor. It is a bit thicker and more of a dark amber color compared to spring honey. While darker honey is more flavorful and intense than light, it also contains more nutrients; including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
We didn't pull many frames from the newer colonies this year so the honey you will be receiving will be coming from some of the stronger, more established hives– so yours can continue to thrive.
The final step, in the first week of November, will be to go through and consolidate some of the colonies and insulate them.
We will be sure to keep you updated on our next visit out to the apiary. Be sure to follow this blog for updates and feel free to post any comments, questions or concerns.