Honey Boxes Filling 2014
It's raining again this morning. Fortunately, the drops from the sky have fallen with less frequency over the last 10 days, and the result has been several yards putting together a respectable amount of honey. My best hive right now has 200 lbs on it, though the generally good performers have 2-3 full boxes on them (approx 80-120 lbs). There's always a thrill that comes along with a good number of honey boxes frosted with fresh wax. This one is at the stage where the combs are pulled all the way out, filled with nectar, and just waiting to be capped:
Here are a couple side-by-side near the small town of Ely that are at the same production point--three boxes each:
I'd say about 1/3 of the hives are still getting their act together, and that's especially true among the later splits and other hives that needed two or three queening attempts to get them on track. So, there's not a truly good average per hive yet, but at least I know that we have some barrels of honey waiting for the extractor. The plus side of the precip and mild temperatures is that the bloom has matured slowly and there is plenty of moisture for nectar production. Really the next concern is whether or not the moisture content of the extracted honey will be too high. If it gets into the upper 18% area we have to worry about fermentation. The bees seem to be capping the crop pretty readily, so I have some reasonable hope that the moisture situation won't be ridiculous. The next week is supposed to be dry with similar temperatures in the 70s and low 80s. While that's not the amount of heat I usually look for, something is clearly going right for the bees lately. If this morning's rain didn't shut off the honey flow, I should be in a much better crop situation several days from now. Fingers crossed!