We got the hives ready for winter back in November. All entrance reducers were put in place. We also took off most all of the supers. A couple of the supers had a small amount of honey in there so we left them in there for the bees to eat this winter. All of our inner covers have a hole in the center. We placed sugar on top of the inner covers for the bees to eat as well.
All of our hives have two brood boxes. Most all of them had 10 frames of honey stores and the hive body weighed around 60 pounds.
We made sure all the hives were level with a slight angle toward the entrance. We will check them periodically during the winter on warm days. We will probably put in a protein patty on the inner cover on a warm day in late January.
Today we were more prepared. Since this is our first harvest, we probably went a little slower than most. We ended up taking 10 frames from our hives. Some of the frames that we left were not full so we decided to leave them for later or we will just let the bees have that honey. We were able to gently brush the bees off of each frame and placed them into an empty super that we kept covered. This worked out very well and we did not have any bees once we got the frames home.
Harvest went well also. We cut the caps off the comb with a serrated bread knife. Our extractor that we have will do two frames at a time. Once we got the hang of it, the whole process of extracting only took about an hour. We ended up with about 27 pounds of honey. The honey was a light amber color.
We ran out of daylight today to harvest honey. Most of our hives are new hives we've started this year so honey production will be low. We will take about four supers this year. We checked them out and some of the frames have not been capped yet. We will check the moisture prior to harvest next week. Hope to have lots of pictures for this will be our first time to extract.
Treated all bee hives with Hop Guard II today. 2 strips per hive. This is a all natural product with no negative effects on hive activity. Studies show one application may be all you need.
This is the time of year to be checking your hives for small hive beetles and wax moths. We had two new hives from swarms we put out at The Roost two weeks ago. When I checked today, no bees in one of the hives. This hive was a weaker hive. Wax moths were everywhere. We removed the hive from the yard.