May 28th was a very hot day this year. Temperatures rose to over 100 degrees. I hadn’t been visiting the hives on the farm for a while and when I arrived, I checked on the bees. I was surprised to find the hives were covered in bees. It almost looked like a scene from The Swarm!
I had learned a little about swarming bees in my last visit with Dale.
I phoned Dale and emailed him a photo. Reviewing it, he assured me that this was normal behavior. He suspected that the hives were overcrowded and, when he visited a few days later, affirmed that was the case. The bees were unusually productive, approximately four months ahead of schedule, based on Dale’s 40+ years of experience.
Bees do not usually swarm in the first year, but it’s important to make sure they have enough room to grow as they multiply. Thirty-two days since we installed our hives, we have approximately 35,000 bees in each hive. The brood boxes are too heavy to lift. We are four weeks away from our first honey harvest and anticipate over 100 lbs of honey per hive.
We added another super to the beehive.
On this visit we:
- Inspected the frames to check the status of honey production
- Added a second super to both hives to give the bees more space
- Removed the wooden excluder at the entrance
- Had a Q&A session with interested future beekeeper Joyce Wallace
- Planned the honey harvest in two-four weeks.
In my next blog post I’ll cover some important information about farming for bee food.