Friday, October 12, 2012

Getting Ready For Winter

A couple of weeks ago, I extracted three 10-frame medium supers. I put the supers on top of the inner cover of the strong hive because I had read that they'd clean up the comb and move any remnants down into the hive. Since I've had to work a lot, I only got back into the hives today. The three supers that were to be cleaned out were full of bees and a lot of honey.

I also have the swarm hive that I caught a couple of months ago in an 8-frame deep. They are OK, but not great. There are a lot of bees, but they're not drawing comb and I didn't see any eggs. They are, however, bringing in pollen and there was capped honey in the hive. I looked, but I didn't see a queen (but that doesn't mean there's not one).

I've been feeding both hives with zip lock bags on a table out in the yard. I'm sure a lot of that has ended up in the three supers on top of the strong hive.

My goal today was to get each hive to two boxes for the winter.

I had to use the fume board and the spray stuff to get the bees out of the supers I wanted to remove. The bees weren't too happy about that.

I put an empty super on the 8-frame hive. I had to use a medium, I didn't have a deep. I took the best 8 frames with a lot of honey, pollen and bees and put in the super on the swarm hive. I put a piece of paper between the boxes just to ensure there were no trouble between the bees (I don't know if I had to do that, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I had never done it and wanted to learn about doing the combine thing). I have the inner cover and telescoping top on top of the super and will look into it in a week or so to see if they're doing OK.

I put the three 10-frame supers and remaining frames in a freezer where they will probably stay until next year.

I was really surprised that the bees had started filling up the supers again. I had read that somebody put an empty super between the inner cover and the super(s) to be cleaned. Maybe that would have been better.  Maybe I should have taken them across the yard and just left them open for the bees to clean out.  I'll try different methods next year.

I will probably do a mite check next week. I know I should have already done that, but until I get my work schedule more regular, I'm just going to have to do things when I can get to it. Luckily, it doesn't really get cold here until January. After that, I should be good until next year (I hope).

Anyway, this has really been a learning year. And the bees have remained buzzing despite my actions (some good and some not so good). I've harvested about 80 pounds total of honey this year. So it's been an introduction into beekeeping, to say the least.

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