Labor Day Labors

It’s a spectacularly beautiful day today and very pleasant after yesterday’s fall preview.

Happy Hives I got into the beehives, today, as usual weeks after I hoped to. The July split was doing exactly what I feared they were, putting honey and brood into their honey super while ignoring the black plastic frames in the hive body. I’d given them the super, with honey in it, so they would have something to eat when starting out. I knew they wouldn’t like the black plastic, but I needed another hive on ten minutes notice. Anyway, I put our one remaining bee excluder under the super, so now they have to deal with the plastic. There’s 10 or 15 pounds of honey in the super. I’ll put a feeder on as soon as I pull the super to make sure they can get ready for winter. It’s our most active looking hive, so I have high hopes they’ll make it.

The original hive is finally starting to lay down honey, in both the super (also put on for feeding) and the hive body. I’ve pretty well decided that it’s not worth buying another bee excluder at Agway (price=ouch), I’ll just move the one we have in a few days. These guys are fully drawn and (finally) have plenty of bees, so a few days won’t matter. I’m tempted to let them go hoping for capped honey and then try to feed them up in October.

Finally, the May split continues to do everything right. The broodnest is shrinking and they’re filling in around it with honey and pollen. Their super has six capped frames, so I gave them another super. We’re smack in the middle of the Japanese knotweed flow, and the summer flowers are hanging in. These girls can go until we get a killing frost.

I’m also happy to report that, unlike the late lamented ‘superhive’, no one was actually trying to kill me today, even with all the honey about.

At long last we’re getting tomatoes. Lisa made salsa today, using chilies from the kitchen. We have gallons of tomatillos in the freezer waiting for the Hatch chilies that may never come. Lisa made a mistake on the shipping, but they seem incapable of correcting it after two weeks.

I set up lights in the chicken coop today, so they have no excuse not to lay. Other, that is, than a desire to be stew.

Hanging Out We’ve been housing Buffy and Faith right next to where the sheep are, trying to get them comfortable around each other, being very caution since the disaster with Buddy. Yesterday, we let them out with some of the bolder sheep, and it went well. The puppies had some desire to play with the sheep, but took no for an answer, and have really settled down well. We will probably let them out into the larger area with all the sheep, as well as the horses and the cow, to see how they do there.

Onward with the fall chores.

3 thoughts on “Labor Day Labors”

  1. Just curious – how much is Agway charging for a queen excluder? The Dadant catalog has them for around $10 for metal, $4 for plastic; though I guess shipping would end up more than the cost of the item… Glad that some of the bees are doing what you want them to do!

    • I need bee excluders, which are different widgets. They let bees out but not in and I find it a much less traumatic way for all concerned to get bees out of the honey supers.

      This is the first time in six years of beekeeping that I’ve had brood in a honey super, and I blame that on the hissy fit over plastic frames. I won’t be buying any more of that.

      Anyway, Agway has a small stash of beekeeping supplies on consignment for a guy in Gilsum. I paid $21 for an outer cover, which I thought was pretty grim. I never remembered to call the guy, and by the time I paid shipping from Dadant or Betterbee, I wouldn’t save anything.

      Next year I want to be ready for two splits, so I’ll be ordering most of two hives after Christmas.

  2. Ah, sorry, I misread – was thinking that you were putting an excluder on to get the queen to stop laying in the super, not putting the excluder (aka bee escape, right?) on before harvesting the super. Mmm, honey!


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