The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Adding supers before a nectar flow

Foundationless frameOur beekeeping mentor (aka our movie star neighbor) called to remind me that the first major nectar flow of the year is about to begin.  "The Black Locusts and Tulip-trees are starting to bloom," he warned.  "Be sure to put an extra super on your hives!"

So I suited up and headed out to check on our honeybees.  Although the nectar trees are blooming at our mentor's nearby house, our shady farm is a bit behind and the bees were miffed at my intrusion into their lives.  Nevertheless, I was able to see that all three hive bodies were full of brood and pollen, and that one of the hives had filled the first super and started on the second.  I popped a third super on our strongest hive, remembering with a smile how one beekeeper I met told me that he likes to add plenty of supers to a hive.  "It can't hurt," he said, "And everyone passing by will think you must be an amazing beekeeper to need room for so much honey!"

At the other extreme, one of our hives was down to its last small frame of honey.  The queen in this hive started laying about a week later this spring than the queens did in the other two hives, and I suspect it's just taken the late queen longer to raise enough workers to sock away honey rather than consuming it.  I'll check on them again next week and give them a bit of spare honey if necessary.

Our homemade chicken waterer was highlighted on a local radio station this week!  I'll keep you posted and give a link when the show is up on their website for remote listening.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I have to say, I'm pretty jealous of your bee hives. I've been trying to convice Ben to let me get bees, but he's convinced that I'll get hurt and the neighbors will want to run us out of here. Oh well, maybe someday!

For now I'll just be happy to read about yours. I don't know much about it, but it sounds like they're off to a good start!

Comment by Bethany James Thu May 6 10:38:48 2010
Bees are a lot less scary than they seem. They've been bred to be quite polite, and if you're concerned about the neighbors you can plant a bush in front of the hive, which prompts the bees to fly up high fast so that your neighbors never even see them. I highly recommend them!
Comment by anna Thu May 6 13:32:54 2010

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