I don’t normally post about the usual inspections of the hive, but today’s was worthy. We went out to check on the girls and oh boy had they been busy. Despite having had very little rain since the new year they are finding nectar somewhere. We had a 40 pound increase in the last 3 weeks.
Seriously busy as a bee. The previous time we checked they increased about 25 pounds in the same time. Not sure where they are finding it all, everything is brown in the area, but glad they are. We aren’t going to be able to harvest for a few weeks and everything was slammed full. Had to stick on another super. At this rate they will fill it too before we get to harvest.
Lots of new things are happening with the hive, and they aren’t all good. I will start with the great news. The girls have been packing away around 10 pounds a week lately. WOW!
Look at that honey super pack on the pounds. It has been going so quickly in fact that I didn’t have any supers ready to go. Luckily I had some time to build them up properly and even do a little extra decorating.
I broke out the mill and carved up a little cartoon bee spray paint stencil. I kind of want to try something different with the head next time, but for now it looks really good.
A full honey super weighs about 50 pounds. I subtract the weight of the box and empty frames, which is why mine appear to top out at 40 pounds in the above graph. The height of my hive was causing problems, so I ended up chopping down the legs a bit. It puts the heavy supers at a more comfortable lifting height. Before and after shots show what I mean.
With the new lowrider setup, the 3rd super is now lower than the 2nd was previously. It was tons of fun out there sawing away with power tools while a bazillion bees flew around angry that their home was being disturbed. No stings while doing it, so booya!
The bad news is I put another sticky trap under the hive and came back with a pile of varroa mites. I estimated 12 per day, but it is hard when there are that many. Previously I had about 1 mite per day. One big difference was that I had the mite trap in place while we did our inspection. Between smoking, moving boxes and frames around, and taking everything off to chop down the legs, I probably knocked a lot of mites off. That is my hope at least. I will wait a day or two, then reset the trap and try again for only 24 hours. Doing it for 4-5 days at a time produces way too much debris on the trap. If the next test again shows a lot of mites, then we will probably institute powdered sugar treatments. Poor girls.