Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer is here for Vancouver Beekeepers

After a dismal spring and early summer for the ladies (worker bees) summer has arrived and the honey is flowing.  We are fortunate at Cottonwood Community Garden in Strathcona to have a diverse and late bee food supply.  We have about 40 fruit trees (plums, cherries, apples, mulberry, persimmon, pears etc), blueberries, raspberries, black locust trees, kiwi, current, gooseberry, salmonberry, thimbleberry, blackberry and grape.   We extracted our first jars of honey a few weeks ago and will do another extraction in a couple of weeks.  I'm having difficulty keeping my queen down without an excluder which I don't like using because the workers are hesitant to pass through making it a honey excluder.  I've tried reversing the brood supers (moving the second super with the queen in it down to the bottom) and within two weeks found the queen in the honey super.  I'm considering using a top entrance only for one of my hives next year (screened bottom, 2 brood supers, small exit for virgin queens and drones, queen excluder, top entrance, honey supers).  There are studies that show this increases the production of honey while not overproducing honey in your brood boxes.  I may switch to a bottom entrance late in the summer when brood production is down to stimulate the filling of the deep supers with winter honey.  That's what makes beekeeping fun.  Always something new to learn.  We are planting common Asian Asters (4 ft by 4 ft bush with hundreds of small flowers) which flower in Sept through October and the ladies (worker bees) love them. Here's hoping for a late summer.  Check out the Newbees (us) at their first hive inspection  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_YAJeFfoX4&feature=related).

Pink Lilac Phlox at Cottonwood Garden

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