Oh, Honey, Honey

These past two weeks, we headed into the hive with the primary goal of checking their available space. We have been seeing an exciting level of honey flow and have added supers again and again. We want to avoid having a HONEYBOUND hive. What is honeybound? Well, as I have learned through this process, a healthy hive must have ample space maintained for the queen to keep producing new bees (brood) in the lower two boxes of the hive. This is the reason we check and treat for mites and inspect for diversity in the age of the brood (eggs and larvae) – all to keep the colony healthy and confident in their queen. 

Now honey is exciting – and delicious fresh out of the hive. However, if the honey supers get full and we do not provide more space for honey storage, the bees can begin to fill the brood chamber with an excess of honey and leave no room for the queen to lay. If the queen can’t keep replenishing the bee population, the workers may try to re-queen the hive or the hive may swarm (queen up and leaves with a portion of the hive population). This poses a number of problems for the beekeeper – needing to re-queen the remaining population, having to make some decisions about how to correct the honeybound condition and trying to get the hive back on track so it can be ready to survive the winter. 

After our visit this week, we have decided that it is time to harvest the honey. We are out of supers to add to the hives and there is limited space remaining. Stay tuned.

Mite check: We sampled hive #3 for mites and found only 1 from a sample size of 300 bees. Our expert (Elly) feels confident that is within acceptable range that we don’t need to treat the hives for mites at this time.

Let me know what you are curious about and maybe we can address that in an upcoming post.