Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Autumn Preparations...

Somehow I'm feeling organised!  I'm not sure why, but I think it's because I have started preparing for the Autum now!

Ok, so I will confess I probably was forced into it, but still, it's a start!

I nominally have 2 hives at the apiary, and Dave has 2.  We help each other out, but we kind of think we each have our own!  Anyway, one of my hives has been quite prodigious; I extracted 51 lbs of honey in July.  However, this hive became Queenless (I don't really know why) but continued to produce honey and as of last weekend I had 4 supers stacked on it. Two are pretty much capped and the other two are perhaps 50% full.

The other hive I have was 'sick' earlier in April but it pulled through and has left me with a crammed full super of capped honey. There is a queen in this one!

So back to Autumn management. What to do with the Queenless hive? Well, I decided it was better to not generate problems next spring by not having equipment available for new splits and swarm control, so I united the hives.

I removed two full supers and I will extract honey from these. The resulting combined hive now looks like this...

Outer cover
Inner cover
Bee escape
Queen excluder
Base board

The idea is to keep the Queen way down in the hive, to clear and then remove the deep and a super from the top (for later use?) and to leave two supers of stores to the bees for the Autumn.  If all goes well (that's got to happen at some point, right?) I'll further reduce the hive for winter - but I'll move full stores from the 'removed' deep into the deep at the bottom!

I will then have lots of equipment and drawn frames for the coming spring!

The mite count I did last week showed some moderate number of mites.  I'll treat once things have settled down after the combination!  Depending on the count level then I will treat with MAQS or try oxalic acid for the first time!!!

It's a plan of sorts!

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