After three years of beekeeping I was able to harvest my first crop of honey in early June. Spring honey is typically much lighter in color and more delicate in taste.
There definitely was a sense of accomplishment while extracting the honey and then bottling it. But one cannot rest on their laurels. Apiary maintenance is goes on. This year has brought many challenges. Mega growth, shortage of woodenware, queen-less colonies, drone layers, multiple locations and the demand of more time and labor. It has been challenging figuring out the best solutions to these challenges now that the number of colonies has increased. So my main goal now is to condense the amount of hives in the yard to get the colonies in the best condition for Winter.
THEN . . . Mid June a flash flood ran through the main apiary. Nine colonies were upset and in 2.5 feet of running water. With some help I was able to get the hives out of the water until the morning when I began to put the pieces together. In the end there were six smaller colonies rescued. Thankfully no woodenware was lost only drawn comb frames with brood and honey were a total loss – the most value to a colony. My heart was broken as I had to pressure wash the brood off foundation along with mudded up honey.
This year has definitely been a challenge. The challenges have offered learning opportunities and a renewed determination to carry on.
Now here it is late September. Mite washes have been done. Thankfully the mites were very low with the exception of two which are being treated with Apivar. Then all the rest will get oxalic acid vapor treated the end of December.
The ‘blue dot’ queen, from one of the two original nucs I purchased in 2020, is still going strong. I was finally inspected by the State and approved for a Queen Certificate which will allow me to sell mated queens and nucleus colonies in the Spring. This should help with swarm prevention and hopefully maintain the genetics of the’ blue dot ‘ line.
I’m making my Spring 2023 plans now for queen grafting and making up mating nucs which are smaller starter colonies where a virgin queen will reside to get mated and then onto to egg laying to grow and establish the colony.