Well, I have been a very bad blogger :(
I have done a little better with the bees :)
I did not do a good job of recording my honey receipts from the bees this summer. This year's take was somewhat smaller than last year. But I must say that the effort I put in is relatively small compared to the wonderful honey I get out - it is worth it.
So, just some summary thoughts from the summer. The honey seemed to abruptly stop in June, much more so than last year. Must have been the dryness that hit us harder than I realized.
As a reminder, I now have three hives numbered 2 through 4 (one was lost last year).
#4 which was my strongest producer this year had an odd occurrence in June. At this point, I think I must have had a swarm that left in June - I just wastn't expecting this at that time of the year, and sure exactly why, since the hives seemed to be doing fine. When I went back into the hive later in the summer there was a period when there were no eggs or lava to be found (although there were still older brood). Finally, when I did a good look at all the hives in September there were some new eggs. So, I am assuming that the new queen was created, it took the requisite time to mate and than begin laying. Right now they seem to be doing well, but I will not really now until next spring.
I reduced all of the hives to four boxes with approximately one of pollen, two of brood and one of honey. I am feeding all of the hives 2:1 sugar water to make sure they have enough stores to raise new brood to get them through the winter. (ie they need plenty of bees to keep themselves warm through the winter).
I went out an changed the sugar water tonight, after a week they had sucked the quart jars dry - that is a good sign that they are doing well.
Below is a shot of me at EarthFest 2010 at Sandy Bottom Nature Park in Hampton. Lots of fun and interaction with inquisitive potential beekeepers :)