Swarm in the Road? Yep.

by Jorge

After an earlier post about a swarm on the ground, I received word of an even more precariously positioned colony in search of a home. This one settled in the road just outside of the local Mercy Care clinic in Mount Vernon. Someone on their way for a blood test posted the vulnerable bees on Facebook, and one of those folks texted me regarding their whereabouts. While I don't go chasing many swarms, especially after July 1, I decided to take a box and prevent a lot of crushed exoskeletons. I saw the queen in this one and put her in the box, so hopefully she has already begun to lay eggs.

They are now setting up house in front of my farmstand along the highway. I should at least gain a box of drawn foundation, even if it is too late to hope for honey.

On the building front, the transformation continues. The wall outlets are installed and the steel is up! The walk-in doors and equipment alignment are up next.

2016 Honey House Continued

by Jorge

Progress is speeding along with the finished space in the honey house! Here are a few photo updates, and I'm very happy to watch it near completion because the honey is really flowing into the boxes!

The two doors mirror each other for easy drive through and access from inside and outside the building.

And as of yesterday morning, the foam is in the walls!

The metal will go on the walls this week, and then we'll start plumbing and positioning equipment for extracting. It will be a great week!

The New Honey Extracting Space 2016

by Jorge

We're working to put a new honey extracting facility in the steel building at my place near Mount Vernon. I've traveled back and forth to our homebase in Lynnville for the past several years to extract the honey crop. Now a new extracting line is taking shape. A couple of days ago the truck pulled in ready to deliver the steel for finishing the interior!

We tried to lift the delivery with my faithful Bobcat, but ultimately the tractor forks came out. I was not familiar with this unloading system. The first image shows the forks in their stowed position, and the second obviously has them mounted for action:

I'm away at the Agricultural History Conference in New York right now, but I'll post pictures of interior progress when I return! May the honey flow!

The Flow Hive Visit

by Jorge

Link: http://www.honeyflow.com/

The big rage in beekeeping is The Flow Hive--get "honey on tap!" The Australian inventors raised something like $12 million through crowdfunding to launch their innovation and market it. No fear of undercapitilization anymore :) They have a very active Facebook group and it continues to attract people interested in at least experimenting with a system that lets you "extract" using mechanical frames that convert the surplus honey cells into channels that drain directly into a jar. There are a whole lot of pros and cons I could detail, but I don't have that kind of time this afternoon. In short, I don't think it's a worthless novelty, but it's also not going to be an innovation that radically impacts large-scale beekeeping.

Nonetheless, it is nifty to see that one of my nuc buyers loaded their four frames of bees into a Flow Hive and hauled it away. I hope their expensive foray into the latest and greatest in beekeeping innovation proves fruitful! It will be interesting to see if more of our customers embrace the same system!

The First 2016 Honey

by Jorge

There is a giant flow happening during the past several days. I know black locust just opened three days ago, and a tiny bit of clover is blooming too. I suspect something else is happening as well, but the brood boxes are getting mighty heavy. I'm going around as quickly as possible with honey supers. Here is one of the first hives storing in the surplus boxes that I added several days ago. This particular hive has two honey boxes in freshly-filled condition:

I will never tire of sharing a picture of the first honey of the year, but I've also learned not to get too excited about the late May flow. While it can be wonderful and widespread, it usually turns out localized and shortened by rain. I nonetheless, very cautiously, hope that this year will be a bounteous exception!

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