Monday, June 26, 2017

Honey Flow and Queenless Colonies Update!

Today was beautiful at the UAF Botanical Gardens! I noticed a variety of bees competitively foraging the lovely flowers.

What perfect weather we have been experiencing in the Interior! A nice balance of rain and sunshine. This allows flowering plants to make more than what they need for food, offering up extra nectar for foraging creatures such as our beloved honeybees! 

The Interior Honeyflow Is Beginning! Fireweed has arrived in some locations. All of my colonies, including the two queenless ones have started to store extra honey in the super frames. I have put all of my medium honey supers on this weekend. It is important queens don't get "honey bound" with no place to lay new eggs. Having supers helps the workers to have extra space for storage and allows the queen space to lay up to 2,000 eggs per day. I figure my queens have about five to six more weeks to lay eggs before I will invite folks to watch a queen caging demonstration. By then we will be in the thick of harvesting honey, veggies, and berries. One of our favorite fall activities is making sour kraut.

Queenless Hives Update: Neither one of my queenless hives had new queens after I left a queen cell in each to hatch out. I am trying again to hatch out one queen cell in each of these colonies and praying for viable, well-mated queens in each. Regardless, time is running out, and any day I expect a worker to have developed ovaries and start laying multiple, unfertilized eggs in every cell, which cannot be remedied. If this is the case I will shop vacuum both colonies and recycle them by dumping the drowned bees into my compost. The soft organs will become rich soil and the exoskeletons will become organic vermiculite because the exoskeletons don't decompose very quickly, so they aerate the soil beautifully. I ordered three new Carniolan queens from Kohnen Brothers and they are due to arrive this Tuesday. The third queen is already spoken for by my friends, Dave and Pam. I will do complete hive checks to see if the queen cells I left in both hives have hatched and the queens are doing their jobs. If not, they will both be re-queened. I will leave the cork in the new queen cages for a few days, hanging them in the center of the hives so the bees can get used to the new queen pheromones. On the 3rd to 4th day, I will perform a slow release with a mini-marshmallow (if I don't end up with laying workers).

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