BEEKEEPING IN THE NORTHEAST - An account of my beekeeping, not a treatise of expertise, but for friends & family who wish to keep bees vicariously through me, and for the occasional apiarist passer-by.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Extracting Newly Drawn Comb

Just a few insights...
Pretty, pretty...

If you have ever done a cut out from a recent swarm you've experienced how very soft and fragile that beautiful, white-white beeswax they started building can be. The same holds true for wax drawn by the young bees on new foundation.

Everyone is talking honey harvest this summer, even the 1st season beekeepers. Normally we advise not to pull honey the 1st season. Up here in our northern climate the blooms stop in early October, then nothing happens until late May, but this year in late July we still have the fall nectar flow to look forward to and the hives are bursting. 

Remember that adding "space" means adding drawn comb. One excellent way to do this or at least to encourage bees up into a new super of foundation is to spin out some honey and add those frames back into the new super. I'll usually space new foundation every other one around the spun out honey combs.

Top: 1st season comb...
If you only have newly drawn comb this poses some challenges. The wax is so very soft that even wired foundation can blow out in a hand extractor. The honey is just too heavy to be moved around, 1st from hive to work area, then uncapping procedure, and finally lifted and placed into the extractor. 

By the time the spinning begins the comb can easily fall apart.


So choose second season frames if you can. They almost never fall apart. For the new wax I have found rubber-banding them works very well.

If you need help extracting honey and are local to Center Ossipee, follow this link or come by the shop to talk about it.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Shed Bee Gals - Update

In April my little band of survivors from my shed swarm of last summer in Wonalancet were moved to a new location on the Rt 16 side of a very wild part of the Ossipee Mountain range. They've built up fast and have two deep boxes almost full of partly capped honey. No brood, so did they swarm after all? Very mild mood. Several broken queen cells... hmmm. A break in the brood cycle would explain the honey stores. Earlier last month I spotted almost a whole frame of drones. I worried this indicated a problem and that perhaps I had a swarm after all and a drone layer took over; however, today everything looks very normal and very productive.

I went ahead an pulled just three shallow frames of honey just to take a taste of what they've been up to. All weighed in at a little over eight pounds. Not bad, Crazy Comb Girl!