A busy summer in the bee yard

We just got the website up and going over the last couple days, so, we have not bee blogging as the season progresses this year, will try to start doing that on a fairly regular basis from here forward.

The short summary of how the season has progressed this year.  We started our colony expansion back in February, by bringing in 3 New Zealand packages, and hiving them into 10 frame boxes.  We continued the expansion in April, brought in 3 nucs.

Our early season management was focussed around feeding the bees as much as they wanted and/or needed to give us a rapid population buildout.  That went well, and by the time May rolled around for the early berry blooms, most of the wintered colonies were in fine shape to produce honey, which they did in earnest over the month of May.  We moved a couple colonies to a local raspberry U-Pick for the raspberry bloom, and they filled 3 supers for us, while the hives that stayed here at home managed to fill 2 supers thru the salmon berry bloom.  The new starts all built well during this time, and by the tail end of the raspberry bloom, all of them had 2 boxes of 10 frames, fully drawn out with comb, and were starting to draw comb in the first honey super.  The new starts will be in good shape to help with our honey harvest from the late summer flow.

The other avenue we started to persue during the month of May was the first year of planned queen rearing, which turned into a significant learning experience, but we did well on that part too.  We harvested brood frames from the wintered colonies to populate mating nucs, and by the time May was over, we had 8 more new starts on the stands with fresh young mated queens.  Our goals for these colonies are modest, we just want to see them build out in the 5 frames boxes to get 2 stories of drawn comb so they can winter in the 5 over 5 configuration that’s worked well for us in the past.  These colonies are not intended to contribute to the revenue this year, but, they will come in handy next spring to replace any losses in the full size colonies, and any surplus over that will be used for populating the mating nucs again next season.