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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Monday, May 28, 2007

First Honey Harvest of 2007

Over this weekend, I took a super off of Mellona and did the crush and strain method of harvesting. I took 8 frames from a shallow super and got a little over 25 pounds of delicious honey. I didn't like the look of the outside frame on each end of this super - looked too light to me and I didn't want to harvest it. I wondered if they had moved sugar syrup honey up to make room for brood below, so I left it in the super.

I wanted to get some honey this weekend because my 86 year old father just retired from more than 60 years practicing medicine in Natchez, Mississippi. The main hospital in Natchez is having a reception for him this weekend, and I am going to Natchez for the event. He loves the honey from my hives so I wanted to take him some of this year's honey.

The super I harvested this weekend was the first honey super I put on Mellona. This will probably be the only hive from which I get honey this year. I have two supers on that hive for cut comb honey that are almost ready for harvest. On the oldest super with the 7/11 foundation, there are 3 frames with the honey still not quite capped. When I am cutting comb, I don't want to take the honey until all of it is capped . The other cut comb super has about the same number of uncapped frames. I am watching closely because I want to cut the comb while it is still white and gorgeous.

My weak hive, Bermuda, is doing well to build up strength this year and most if not all the honey produced there will be for the bees for the winter.

Proteus is an odd hive. At the beginning it was my strongest hive. The bees practically tripped over each other trying to go in and out of the hive. In the bottom hive body, they grew brood but in the medium box just above it, all they did was store honey in the crazy comb they drew. I added a third box when the second was full, but by then I think they were honey bound - or at least the queen must have felt as if she couldn't find enough space for laying.

Although I didn't see it, I think the hive swarmed. The numbers of bees has definitely decreased. Now there is brood in the bottom deep, honey in the second box, and brood and honey in the third box. The third box looks a lot like Bermuda did when that hive first began to rebuild.

I have wondered why Proteus wasn't making honey and now I think it is because they had to wait for a queen to develop and begin laying. So instead of making honey, this hive is recreating itself. A hive loses about a month while developing a queen.

While I'm sad that I won't be harvesting from this hive, it will be interesting to see if the new queen has babies that are creative in comb drawing or if that crazy comb building left with the swarm that I assume happened.

Of course, the small swarm nuc will not be making honey this year.

So in total I will probably harvest the 25 pounds I got today plus about 50 pounds more from the two 10 frame supers of cut comb honey on Mellona. If I'm lucky, then I may get one more super that I can harvest from one of the hives before the summer is over.
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6 comments:

  1. The honey looks wonderful Linda, I have just put into jars the second harvest from my 2 hives, it is quite alot darker in colour and stronger tasting then the first harvest 2 months earlier - I would like to know where the little darlings were foraging, as I live in the city there are so many places for them to fly to within 3-5 kilometres, including Botanical Gardens and a large park lined with 100yr old oaks, planes and elms.
    The cold weather has finaly started here in NZ, beautiful days still and I noticed today there were quite afew bees out and about.

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  2. "Kalofagoto" we used to wish in Greece Linda, that means to have strong health and eat-enjoy it all!!!

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  3. Steve Jones9:59 PM

    Linda,
    I live up in Alpharetta, and just extracted my first super last week, and got about 35 pounds of honey. I'm pretty sure it's poplar, due to the color and flavor. Man, it's good! What type of labels do you use? I label my honey, but have problems getting MS Word to line up the print on the Avery labels I have, even though I use the right setting in the label maker. Do you just create a standard word doc, and then print onto the labels?
    Love your site! I use it to check my own thoughts about what I'm seeing in the metro area!
    Steve

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  4. Hi Steve, I use Avery labels #6570 - I do it on MS Word and they do just fine - I think I had to download a template from the Avery website - they are not ideal labels in that they are not waterproof, but people like the cute little bee and I give my honey away so it doesn't matter.

    I hope you'll come to the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers meetings - second Wednesday at 7 PM at Atlanta Botanical Garden in the GA Pacific Room by the parking lot. If you do, introduce yourself. I'm always there.
    Linda T

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  5. Steve, your honey sounds delicious! I love the dark deep taste of the mostly poplar honey.

    The honey from the shallow I harvested this weekend was gathered before the tulip poplar started blooming. My daughter tasted it and said it tasted like wisteria smells. That was what was blooming at the time the bees made this honey but I don't know if bees collect nectar from wisteria??

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  6. Linda,
    Thanks for the invite! I actually go to the Cherokee Bee club, as it's closer, but I hope to make it to MABA sometime. I get their newsletter.
    I don't know about Wisteria. I've wondered that myself. Sounds like a question for Beemaster...
    I checked the hive I extracted from. They've almost filled two more supers! I'll leave one for them, this time!
    BTW, I'm Mountaineerfan on Beemaster and Beesource.
    Steve

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