It’s been a while since the last update. I’m back at Mount Mercy University for the new academic year, so my involvement with the bees is pretty limited at the moment.
The honey harvest is almost over for us. There are three yards left with honey still on the hives and awaiting mite treatments. The average is going to be in the 80-90 lb range. We didn’t get around for the second round of splitting in time to stop a few yards from building cells. As a result, we just split the swarming doubles into singles and let them develop their own queens from the cells. The positive side to that process is free queening. The negative side is that a single with a cell is one month behind a single with a mated queen. This year, singles with a cell did not develop in time to gather a good crop. I calculate that the result was at least 5000 pounds of lost honey. If you sell 5K lbs on the barrel market, you come up with $7-9K. If you market through profitable farmer markets and specialty shops, it might be more like $25K.
As for the three yards left to pull, later September is a point in time where the odds of irrecoverable damage from mites may develop. I’ve embedded a link that narrates the mite lifecycle that is the source of so much damage.