Honeybee Update #2 – 2017

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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.

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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.

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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.

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20 comments

  1. I’ll be interested to hear your impression of the honeyflow system It looks great (if expensive) but it almost looks too easy to be true. Mind you our summer was so poor I have given more sugar to my bees this year than they have given to us :-<

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    • In the second section of this blog I discuss some of our frustrations. When we bought it we got a deal compared to what it costs now. I can’t imagine ordering a new set now with how expensive it is. Good luck with your bees! It felt like we were feeding our bees forever this year until they got going.

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  2. Amazing! This is what Anthony William (Medical Medium) says about raw wild honey: “Unprocessed honey in its raw, living form is nothing less than a miracle from God and the earth. Honey has saved human life during drastic times of starvation, and it will become critical again in the future as a food for our survival.” It is one of the “most adaptogenic foods on the planet” and a “secret weapon against infectious illness.” I would love to work with bees some day. Keep up the fantastic work!

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    • Thank you! I honestly didn’t think I even liked honey that much when we started because I’d only ever had store bought honey. I was amazing after having our raw honey for the first time! We sure enjoy our beekeeping project. Next year we plan on moving our hives to the farmland we purchased this year. Another new adventure of ours. 😀

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    • Ha! Thanks! We like to joke that we are professional wedding goers at this point. Two weddings to go this year! One Friday in Jacksonville depending on Irma’s wrath. I’m glad you enjoy the beekeeping adventures. It has been quite the learning experience. 🐝🐝

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  3. I was able to assist a friend in honey harvesting last month. What an experience. I loved how I had to be very mindful, patient and peaceful. Of course the peacefulness left once my hood slipped off and a bee stung my nose. You are right about it not being as traumatic as when I was a child.

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    • Oh how fun, except for getting stung on the nose! It was only my second time in a bee suit this past harvest. I agree! It was an exercise in mind over matter to be calm when the bees are swarming. I kept thinking over and over that they can smell my fear! Ha

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  4. Have wondered about Superflows and will look forward to hearing more. We’re newbie beekeepers (newbee keepers?) – started this year with one hive – and have only just stopped feeding our girls. They seem to have had a slow start despite being a nuc rather than a package. Crossing fingers the goldenrod will bring them up to scratch and they’ll get through winter.

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  5. Wow, beekeeping is so fascinating! My kids and I are afraid of bees but a part of me still wishes I could have a hive. We love honey. For some strange reason, some bees keep flying into my house and getting trapped in our dining room chandelier. At that point I imagine they are angry so we cover it up and let them die. =(

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    • I was fairly afraid too when we started! For the most part honeybees are surprisingly really mild mannered. You must be close to a hive if they keep finding your house, though they can range up to 2 miles from the hive a day. How are you gots handing all the smoke from the fires? My brother has been telling us how ash is getting everywhere. He was in Glacier over Labor Day weekend when several of the paths were closed down.

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      • We had some ash snowing down at home on Tuesday. Silly us tried to take my visiting mom to Rainier thinking the fires were in BC but they made us leave. We drove 2.5 hours for a tiny picnic and then had to go back, and we could hardly see anything because of the smoke.
        It’s raining today so hopefully it will clear up the fires and air a little bit.

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