Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bee Log 44: July 6, 2010

Solar Wax Melter

My husband built a solar wax melter. It is a box painted black inside with a window. The window is in a frame that is attached to the box with hinges. The box is setting in a wheel barrow so that it is tilted toward the sun and can be turned as the day progresses. The box is large enough to hold queen excluders which the bees are always clogging with wax.

Wax Moth Larva

One of the banes of beekeepers is the wax moth. We are processing our wax just in time because the wax has some wax moth larva in it. Up until now we have not seen this pest. You can see two wax moth larva in the above picture.

Our Garden on July 6, 2010 Two Beehives in the Background

Finally the sun has come out in Seattle. The bees are flying with intensity. The blackberry honey flow is almost over. Clover is blooming and will be a major source of honey for the next few weeks as will lavender. We were not able to be at the Phinney Farmers' Market on July 2 because there was no honey to take from the bees. We might not make this weeks market either. The bees are storing honey in the supers (top of the hive where excess honey is stored) but there is not enough capped honey to make it worth our while to extract and bottle the honey to sell. We will check again on Wednesday and make a final decision for this weeks market.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bee Log 43; July 1, 2010

In mid-June, we drove from Chicago to Los Angeles with our daughter who was moving from the mid-west. We stopped and bought honey from Mystic Maze Honey located in Needles, CA.

Honey was sold on the honor system out of this trailer.

This coyote was walking along just across the road from the honey sales trailer.

Our bees about June 10.

We do not have any honey to take from the bees yet. We will not be at the Phinney Farmers' Market on July 2. We hope to have honey to harvest for the July 9 market. Only two hives our of our 19 hives have some capped honey in the supers. When the bees are finished dehydrating the nectar that they have collected, they cap it with a thin coat of wax. This protects and preserves the honey. This is our signal that the honey is ready to harvest. The super is a box on top of the beehive meant for surplus honey storage. We only take honey from the super leaving any honey in the brood box for the bees.

This cold, wet weather we are having in Seattle is hard on the bees. We have had swarms but the new queens have not had warm enough weather to mate (70 degrees needed). We have purchased mated queens and placed them where needed.

The main nectar flows in western Washington are big leaf maple and blackberry. Maple is long gone and blackberry is blooming right now. Lavender will be next in our area of Seattle along with many garden herbs. Watch to see what the honey bees are visiting in your yard. Let me know what you see.