Archive for July, 2010

Library Bees Update – Comb Honey

July 15, 2010

The hives at the library are healthy and active.  The bees are storing honey in the shallow supers.   We will extract that honey later this summer.  I installed a comb honey super (Ross Rounds) on one of the hives today.   The hive is strong and the nectar is flowing so if we are going to try to get some comb honey, it is now or never.  Generally comb honey is best produced only during periods of nectar flow.  The super contains all of the plastic pieces and foundation for making round comb honey sections.   This type of comb honey is called a Ross Round.

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Scout Hives Going Gangbusters!

July 12, 2010

The scout hives in the Harvard Yard currently have two full honey supers each.   I added another empty super on each hive and will monitor them closely to see if they might need an additional empty super by the end of the week.   At this rate, the scouts will be extracting a couple hundred pounds of honey later this summer.

Library Hives Thriving

July 11, 2010

I inspected the library hives today and they are both thriving.   I flipped two boxes on the left-hand hive since it had a deep above a shallow (it wintered over in the lower deep and a shallow).   The queen was laying in the deep, so I simply switched the boxes, put a queen excluder above the deep and placed the shallow on top.   Now the queen can continue to raise brood in the two deeps that now make up the more “normal” hive configuration and as the brood emerge in the shallow, above the excluder, then those frames will be filled with honey.   The other hive is a bit more problematic.   It has two deeps only.   Last week the upper deep was half vacant without much wax and the queen was in the lower deep.   This week the bees have fully drawn all the frames in the upper deep and packed it with honey so the queen cannot lay in the upper deep.   The hive is effectively honey-bound.   I will immediately replace the upper deep with a a different deep, put an excluder on top of it, add a couple of empty shallow honey supers, and place the honey-bound deep on top as a deep honey super.   It ways over 100 lbs, so lifting it is a real pain in the back.   I will update this post tomorrow after I have had a chance to modify the hives.

Update: Monday, July 12.   On the honey-bound hive, I lifted the upper deep and replaced it with a new deep box full of frames, about half of which already have wax drawn on them.  I added a queen excluder and then put the honey-bound deep on top.  I estimate that that box weighs something over 100 lbs at present.  I then added another two shallow honey supers.  I might have put the deep honey super on top of the two empty shallow supers, but lifting that box is a chore.  On the other hive, I lifted the shallow super that is sitting above the excluder and contains significant brood.   I replaced it with two shallow empty supers and then put the full super with brood on top.  The nights are warm, so even though I split the brood in this box from the cluster, I think the bees will tend the brood and they should hatch and then the super will be topped off with honey.

Utah Rocket Club Supports Beekeeping

July 7, 2010

Visit the website of the Utah Rocket Club ( to see how the Utah Rocket Club supports beekeeping.  It might seem like an unusual partnership, but model rocket launching and beekeeping are two of the best things to do in Utah.   UROC members love to launch rockets but they also love all other things like Big Art Projects (Spiral Jetty recreated out of Giant Foam Fried Eggs).  Check out to learn about what the club does and to see some of the great activities in which you can participate.  HellFire 15 is the annual high-power rocket launch of the club and will be held the first weekend in August at the Bonneville Salt Flats, just 118 minutes West of Salt Lake City.  Take a break from beekeeping and enjoy the scorching heat and blinding white vistas at the Salt Flats and see some really, really big rockets blast thousands of feet in the air.   Bring your own model rockets and participate.   UROC welcomes families and scouts to join in the fun.

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Bumblebee nest uncovered at the Big Garden

July 5, 2010

During routine removal of a brush pile, Grant discovered a bumblebee nest.  The bees appear to have shredded up a piece of plastic and nested deep in the pile of debris.  About a dozen agitated bumblebees proceeded to harass us and to hover about their disrupted nest but neither of us was stung.  We attempted to preserve the nest rather than destroy it, as bumblebees are excellent pollinators.   The photos are difficult to interpret but you can see a few brood cells in a clump amongst the plastic shreds, sticks and detritus.  There are a couple of bees bumbling around in the photos, but they are difficult to see.  If anyone else runs across a bumblebee nest, please try to get some better photos.  

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Update: Monday, July12.  Grant protected the bumblebee nest all last week and he said their was activity around the nest every day.  He thinks that yesterday was the last day he say the bees.  We inspected the nest today and it appears that the brood have all hatched and the bees have moved on.   Hopefully they are staying close by to help pollinate the Big Garden.

Hive Inspection July 4, 2010

July 4, 2010

The hives at the Harvard Yard are doing well.  That is to say that hive number 3, started from a swarm is a complete loss, but the other two hives, started from packages in April are coming along famously.  We currently have 2 honey supers on each hive.   Accumulated surplus honey is currently estimated to be about 30 or 40 pounds.   We can look forward to a healthy pair of hives come winter time and a bountiful harvest of honey in late August.

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