10 October 2012

Honey and the end of summer

Thanks to these gals, we got over 5 gallons of honey -- most of it off the big purple hive.

The bees are put to bed for the autumn, with boards under the bottom screens and the extra entrances closed up. I've been feeding them, and pink hive has has been enthusiastic about taking syrup, while purple hive mostly ignores it. Both hives have a full box of honey up top, some honey in the brood boxes, and pollen with a little honey in the bottom box or two... these are big hives and we haven't been able to take much out. They've been bringing in pollen up through last week, though I doubt they're finding nectar so dry and so late in the year. They worked the oregano and hyssop and mint and SEDUM as long as they were in bloom.

  I still haven't treated for varroa mites, though Gunther Hauk says that formic acid (sold commercially as mite-away) is nontoxic. Maybe in the spring. The pink hive is Carniolian, the purple is the Russian-wild survivor mix from Olympic Apiaries; both seem fairly mite-tolerant.