Catching Up

It’s been a looong time since I updated, so sit back and get comfy.  The swarm from last spring settled in just fine and did great over the summer.  They stored a lot of honey, so I didn’t interfere much and just let them do their thing.

My youngest son (7) got his first sting (to the nose, ouch!) in August while I had the hive open.  He wasn’t even that close, but got nailed by a determined gal.  He didn’t have much of a reaction, though, so I’m hoping that’s good news for the future. Also in August, I did a round of honey harvesting with my Oregon Master Beekeeper mentor.  Got to work with Langstroth frames, an uncapping knife, and honey extractor which was fun.  Also got stung which was not so fun.

We have had a ridiculously early spring in Oregon this year.  While the rest of the country has received record snowfalls, we had the warmest winter on record (avg. 45 degrees).  The bees were out for a cleansing flight as early as January 24th and we have seen a lot of them since then.

Back on February 22, it was so warm that I was out in the garden cleaning up when I noticed that there was something dripping down the legs of the hive…..drippyhive

Uh, oh.  Honey?  Why would there be honey loose in the hive?  Broken comb?  What would cause that?  Fortunately, it was warm enough for the bees that I could open the hive and have a look.

wethive

The back half of the hive was pretty wet on the floor….the front half where most of the bees were was dry, so at least there’s some ventilation at work up there.  I took out the second set of entrance corks in hopes of drying the hive out a little.  As I pulled the top bars, I realized that there wasn’t any breakage.  They had plenty of honey.  But the bottom of the combs were drippy–where the bees have been collecting nectar from so many early-blooming plants thanks to our spring-like weather! Plus, I found some reddish honey/nectar which looks garish, but I assume it’s just from someone’s hummingbird feeder nearby.  Not sure why the nectar is running out everywhere and not staying put, but the bees seem to be doing great, so I decided to just close them back up.

redhoney

Yesterday, March 6, I pulled 4 combs of honey which was about half of what they have left. I’m starting to get worried that our great weather is going to cause early swarming, so I wanted to give the bees some more room but didn’t want to leave them without any honey at all in case we get a weird cold snap (it’s still March, after all, and I’d hate to jinx the sunshine).  I got a little over a liter of honey from the combs which is a nice treat for so early in the year!  I’ll pull the remainder in early April.

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