Monday, August 15, 2016

2 out of 3

It's been so hot all summer that I considered ordering an evaporative cooling vest, but the weather has been so soupy that it probably wouldn't work. Instead, I've been trying to stay cool by limiting inspections to 4 hives tops. 45 minutes outside is about all I can take. Fortunately, at this time of year, we can get away with waiting longer between check-ups.

Yesterday, I took some quick peeks at Buttercup, Elsa, and Peach since those are the ones that were in the process of making new queens.

We have a queen and eggs! I even got to watch her lay one -- hooray!

This queen is a little smaller than I like, but she's dark, which I like a lot.

Did not see a queen or eggs. My notes say to check on 8/15 for eggs, so I was a day early. However, I'm not feeling optimistic since she was mad! It's natural for hives to be more defensive this time of year, but I've never smelled her angry like today. Just in case, I gave her a bar of brood from Bubblegum. If I see a queen cell next week, I'll have to give her a queen or combine since we're getting too close to winter.

I forgot to bring a pencil, so this photo is a reference just for me.
When I check next time, the bar marked "Flat" is the one I added.
Logic dictates that if I see queen cells, they would have to be on the bar I added,
but when I first open the hive, the photo helps me to remember just where I placed that bar.

The queen cell from last week is gone, and nothing has taken its place. There are eggs, too, so my guess is that she has successfully superseded. Excellent.

Do you see the queen near the bar?

With all but one hive queenright, next week's inspection will be a breeze -- well, maybe not in this humidity, but it will be short at the very least with only one colony to inspect.

On a completely unrelated note, we had a delightful Turkish couple over for mezedes the other day. Of course, they tried some of my honey from different seasons/times in the season. One of them caused the wife to exclaim, "This one tastes like Turkish honey!" They then proceeded to tell me that in Turkey, a pint jar like the one I had was extremely expensive -- about $200. I wasn't quite sure whether that was really $200 or 200 Turkish lira (roughly $70). Either way -- holy smokes! Of course, we had a good laugh when she volunteered to be my "mule."

To wrap up, goldenrod is still flowering, but there is a lot of new construction going on, and some of the fields that have a lot of goldenrod are being bulldozed. I want to move.

Meanwhile, I haven't seen any flowers on the Japanese knotweed. I could be wrong, but I usually think of knotweed blooming in late summer. Everything else has been 2 weeks early this year. Is the knotweed late or is it simply not going to bloom? It's been such a weird year that I don't know what to expect. These new queens could use the pollen and nectar, though, so fingers crossed for a good fall.


  1. Like Meatloaf sang, "'Cause two out of three ain't bad". :-) Nice looking queens! Do you find that they get bigger a little while after they've been mated? Maybe Buttercup just needs to "mature" a little bit?

    Does the ouzo affect your palate when doing the honey tasting? Sounds like you could have a good export business going at that rate!

    I remember seeing the knotweed in full bloom in CT in mid-September a couple of years ago, so maybe it just hasn't started yet? Hoping that you have a good fall flow for your new queens!

    1. Yes, you're probably right about queens plumping up. They say queens need about 3 weeks of laying, so maybe Buttercup just needs some time.

      Good question about the ouzo. We didn't have a formal honey tasting the other day -- more of a "here, try this while I garnish this dish" kind of thing, but certain wines/beers work better with different honeys, so ouzo probably pairs better with some honeys than others. Hmmm... You are so clever -- thinking of all the angles! Of course, I'd probably have to start making more than a few gallons of honey a year for any kind of commercial success. :-)

      Fingers crossed for a good flow!

    2. Life always seems sweeter, the more ouzo I drink. So maybe that applies to the honey too!

  2. Don't give up on Elsa yet, she may pull through! I had a couple hives in our summer heat take longer than I expected to start laying. Here's hoping Elsa makes it on her own.

    We have Crepe Myrtle trees in bloom right now, and with rain once a week the bees still seem to be finding stuff. Hot days, though, almost a week straight with 95+ F weather. Lots of bearding! I expect we'll dry up any day now, though.

  3. Hi Julie, Just spotted some Japanese knotweed today in Westport that was in the beginning stages of blooming (August 24).

    1. Cool! I think your part of the state must be ahead of us. I was in Bridgeport the other day, and the Japanese knotweed was well under way. I've just started seeing some buds here.


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