Honey Prospects and Extracting

by Jorge

We still have two or three weeks with good potential to put surplus honey in the boxes. The really wet spring delayed soybean planting, so we have a decent chance of catching some of that honey in a later flow. It would be nice to have some kind of benefit since we always worry about the insecticides drifting over the fields at different times of the year. Soybeans aren't a very dependable honey source though--they're pretty finicky about yielding a lot of nectar.

The bad news is that it got pretty chilly--lower seventies all of a sudden. Although people weary of the summer heat were pleased about the cool down, we are disappointed because our bees were in high gear when the temperature change hit. We're supposed to slowly ramp back up into the mid 80s, but we always worry that the bees won't shift back into gathering mode instantaneously (if at all). Luckily, we have only a few more weeks of wondering about the crop's size and character. Then we will shift toward mite control and winterizing once more.

We just finished extracting the first pull from the eastern Iowa bees that I manage. Hopefully there will be a second pull that boosts the barrel count. Here are some of the extra-full frames that we had the pleasure of extracting recently.

The cut comb boxes are also coming in for sectioning. Here is an example of how markedly the floral source affects the honey color--some really light sections and some really dark ones. These particular combs are from the Lynnville bees, but I've had a few root beer-colored combs from time to time too.

Honey Continues!

by Jorge

Here are some coneflowers that I planted in my front yard to entice the honeybees. It turns out that the bumblebees are visiting them much more frequently than my little friends, but they still look nice!

The honey story is continuing to improve. Earlier, only the overwintered colonies and very strong splits were producing. Now, only the very slowest colonies and late requeens are lagging. I started a few dozen packages this year to aid my expansion, and almost all of them are significant producers at this point. Now we need the next few weeks to find out if it will be an "okay" year or a really nice crop.

I went around yesterday and found that straight boxes of foundation are just getting whited with little flakes of wax--it seems the flow is strong enough that we will get some new combs (if the weather holds favorably). Our fingers are still crossed, but we're also breathing a little easier as the crop becomes more substantial.

2013 Honey Flow!

by Jorge

The past several days have seen tremendously increased activity in the honey boxes. Our main honey flow usually comes in July, and that seems to be the case this year too. Clovers and trefoil are both peaking right now, and the temperatures are in the upper 80s and lower 90s. Pretty great honey-making conditions. Last night Alex and I both had bees flying intensely at almost 9 p.m. Here are some images I took a few days ago with honey filling the boxes. It is the same yard that appears a few posts earlier during the pollination period when many of the hives were singles.

Entire boxes covered with bees whiting the combs with fresh wax are a great sign. Most of the stronger hives are working at least two boxes in this manner at the moment.

The later splits are the only hives that still need to get into gear. While there is not yet a great crop, it is becoming more probable that we will at least have a decent result from this year's beekeeping efforts.

Ebert Queens Webpage

by Jorge

Link: http://www.ebertqueens.com/

After a couple of years of promising to develop an online ordering option, EbertQueens.com is operational. It is a pretty simple website that tracks inventory and offers online billing and shipping information dedicated to queen orders. We will continue to develop it as time passes.

Since I work full-time at Mount Mercy University, keep a good number of hives for honey production, and raise/distribute queens, it's a challenge to handle all the business through phone conversation. It takes a lot of work with the bees to make everything possible. The website allows buyers to get their orders on the books without waiting for a callback. I hope it makes your lives easier! Payment is possible through existing PayPal accounts and credit card payments that are processed through PayPal. It is NOT necessary to have a fully registered PayPal account to use your credit card--PayPal can also process credit cards as a merchant service.

I will soon have an update on the honey crop prospects--after ten days of frequent rain, the sun is out and the bees are active in the boxes!!!!

Black locust bloom

by Jorge

The black locust bloom is usually the moment when we really want to have supers out on the strong hives. Splits aren't ready to forage for surplus honey when locusts flower, but they can still provide a nice boost as the hives mature. At one location, there is pretty easy access to a couple of locust trees :)

A more complete grove of these trees sits just across the road, and it's nice to know that the bees didn't have to fly too far to get some pretty significant nourishment between rains. It was a windy day when I took the picture of the bee yard, so the trees don't look quite as white in the picture as they appear in person during full bloom. Now the locust flowers are mostly fading after several days of blooming, but here is an image of their blossoms in their more pristine phase.

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