Sweet September (so far)!
The weather has been extremely kind for the past few weeks as we continue with the honey harvest and mite treatments. The beautiful box of honey at the top of this post was discovered yesterday and put me in an extra good mood! I have around 100 bonus hives that were started very late from project hives for purposes of maturation with little expectation of surplus honey in 2019, but the first yard we visited still averaged around sixty pounds with some very nice boxes. Then we went to another yard of project hives and discovered an even better surplus crop. Here is our second stop getting its Apiguard treatment. The bees here are in beautiful condition!
While I always wish to go faster, we really don't have anything to complain about. The temperatures have regularly maxed +70F with decent humidity, and that keeps the bees happy, aids harvest conditions, and helps our preferred post harvest Apiguard treatment vaporize effectively. We are plowing along with harvest and on top of the mite treatments in all of the hives that were cleared off in the past three weeks. Last year, in contrast, it would rain heavily every few days and slowed me up considerably. I will be done clearing the bees around the Mount Vernon region in the next 7-10 days if our good fortune continues.
Also on the treatment front, we encountered two locations on a private pollinator reserve that totally destroyed their Apiguard card in exactly ten days. There are usually a few super hygienic hives that shred them before the second application, but it is really rare for us to see entire yards destroy them quickly. Their exceptional industry on this location is a great sign in terms of general health and probably reflects the quality of their chemical-free foraging environment as well. Here is an image of the remnants of the plastic core from an applicator card that one hive was trying to drag out of a small gap in their top hive body. Compare this image to the white cards in the photo above where Sydney is applying Apiguard. Cool stuff! The shredded plastic below is also stained yellow from the goldenrod pollen that some hives are visiting right now. I am extremely encouraged by the vitality of the bees we've harvested so far, though some of them in more row-crop oriented settings need supplemental feed asap.