Finally! A new honeybee update! Due to our hectic summer schedule, i.e., twelve weddings, we have been regularly checking on our bees, while continuing to pile on supers. As discussed in our Honeybee Update #1, we upgraded to three hives this year with one Italian set of bees and two Carniolan hives. As with last year, each hive has seemingly developed its own temperament and personality. Our Italians have been struggling throughout the summer, barely filling out their own honey supply for winter, although Luke and I were really excited to note this hive really starting to thrive over the past couple of weeks, especially as summer begins to wane. Our Carniolans are both so feisty this year, especially the hive on the far left! Last year both of our hives (Italian and Carniolan) were mild tempered, allowing us never wear our bee suits, however this year we are forced into wearing the sweat suits even during the most mild interactions. In our three years as beekeepers, this spirited hive has been the sole source from which Luke and I have gotten stung, although I must add the disclaimer that getting stung wasn’t nearly as traumatic as when I was a kid. I made the mistake this weekend of going back out and checking on Luke’s progress closing up the hives after I’d disembarked from the protective bee suit. Even through I stood approximately 50 yards away from the hives, my sweet irritated bees found me and after the ensuing mad dash sprint around the house, one of the angry little ladies decided to voice her vexed opinion.
Adding to our delay with regard to harvesting has been our rather frustrating experience with our Flow Hive frames this year. We were one of the early buyers in this highly funded Indiegogo fundraiser and have been really excited to try out this noninvasive new technology. If you haven’t read about it or watched the viral videos of the system in action you should really take a gander because the potential regarding this advancement is really exciting. Last year was our first time using the frames, whereupon we experienced a fair amount of leaking, likely losing two is pounds right out the front of the hive. This year, excited to give the frames a second chance, our bees (middle hive) have decided to prefer the traditional frames over the plastic Flow Hive (FH) ones. Twice in July and August, we prepared to harvest the FH frames, only to discover our picky bees had bypassed finishing filling the rest of the FH frames to fill the traditional super that we had placed on top so they didn’t run out of room. This behavior is rather out of character for bees as they typically fill a hive from bottom to top. We haven’t given up hope yet regarding our FH frames but perhaps we need to read up on our other fellow beekeepers’ experiences using this novel technology.
After extracting and filtering our tasty honey we finally have it bottled! We have been overwhelmed with the response to our first harvest and are almost sold out already! ❤ No worries though! We will be conducting another harvest and a new honeybee update in late September.