September 5th, 2013

bee2

Harvest Time

Ever since I worked the Boulder County Fair at the beginning of August, I'd realized I was going to have to harvest all the supers at the end of August or the beginning of September. It was pretty clear that if the supers were taken, then the bees would start filling the brood box with honey instead of the extra space I was giving them.

I'd been thinking of just leaving the honey for the bees, and not dealing with extraction and all the extra equipment that implied, since I hadn't really been going into it for the honey so much as for the simple fact that the bees were alive and pollinating. But the display kind of convinced me, and I talked with a man who sells honey at our local farmer's market. He said that now was the time to take the supers off, so that the bees would have the time to fill the brood chambers while it was still warm. My mentor from the 911 center said that he found that the winter bee cluster rarely ever made it as far up as the supers, so they would never reach the honey if we left if for them. So he always takes away all the supers around now so that they have about a month to fill in the brood chambers.

On Monday it had been in the 80's and low 90's lately, and the weatherman said that it was going to stay in that range for the next week, but then the temperatures were likely to drop for a while. John was leaving on Tuesday to pick up the van, and I needed him along in case something happened. So it seemed the right thing to do. Besides, I wasn't going to say no to a little honey.

What I didn't really know was how MUCH I'd get.

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