Saturday, July 3, 2010

Honey Of a Fourth

Originally uploaded by dmb90260

The Playa Vista bees had swarmed earlier in the month even after I had added a third super.  I had done it too late and neglected to move some of the frames with brood or honey up in to the new super. In the dog world we refer to this a "handler error."  Bees do what bees will do but sometimes we mess up and make it harder for them.  As noted in "Bees In Lavender" I had captured the swarm three weeks ago. They were still in that nuc sitting in the lavender bushes and needed a new home.   My neighbors are very close and I did not have enough space to justify keeping them.  I needed to check into the Playa Vista hive and fix some frames with messed up comb and I also wanted to inspect the Twitchy Bees.  I had not been deep into the hive for a long time.   I made a deal to handle all of this.
On July 3,  John Lyons arrived with  his 11 year old son Arguna (with his own bee suit).   We would inspect the hives, make any honey decisions and he would leave with a nuc of nice gentle bees.  This was a win-win-win situation.  Arguna would learn more about beekeeping, so would I and I had time to take some pictures.
The #4 super on the twitchy bees had some activity and comb but not much so we left it alone and set it off to the side.
This is what we found on the end frame of #3 super.  Beautiful full capped honey.

A couple of frames in and it looked like this with brood surrounded by capped honey.

It was like this all across the super.  We did not go deep enough to look for the queen.
With another full capped frame on the other end, these bees had been busy.  I think the number of bees was down from before and they were no longer twitchy.   We had almost no aggessive behavior out either hive.   I think they may have swarmed and I did not know about it.  In the process the new queen may have mated with nicer bees.  I am guessing about that but I am very happy with the quality and amount of honey they are producing.
We harvested two combs.  When John cut the comb off he left a 1/4 inch of comb on each to use as a guide.  Those two frames were put into the #4 super to encourage the bees to move up and then we closed that hive.  Other than a quick peek we did not bother the brood nests on supers #1 & #2.
On to the Playa Vista hive where John and Arguna checked everything very closely with a head to head inspection.  (Is this a form of mind melding in the bee world?)

They were able to spot the queen swarm cell.

John also spotted the queen on this frame  but she kept moving back and forth on the bottom and I was never sure I got a shot of  her.
 One of the frames was missing on the bottom super due to odd honey comb.  We fixed that and then Arguna swapped a couple of full frames up to the top super to encourage the bees to move up more.  The hive was closed and that part was done.
John and Arguna wrapped up their nuc of bees for transport home.  
 But first the comb had to be crushed.

That brought out all sorts of four legged and two legged honey inspectors present,
 Arguna gave his taste of approval.   The honey was left to drain while I took the dogs out of town away from the noise of fireworks.

The honey is great and a small harvest is better than no harvest.  This honey is from the Twitchy Bees which I got from Kirk in September of last year, it has been a while but well worth it.

You have to good to your workers.  While I was gone with the dogs I found Some Russian Sage to reward the bees.    
This really was a honey of a Fourth.
(Special thanks to John and Arguna)

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