Sunday, April 17, 2016

Making a stand, Honeycomb from heaven, and a busy bee month

What a month !  The Florida Bee Farm needed more room to accommodate all the new arrivals (3 swarms caught) and one split so a new stand was built and squeezed into the apiary.  A large Oleander bush and one papaya tree needed to be relocated and the ground needed leveling in the area of the new stand and it turned out nice.  Not as shaded as the other hives but there is some shade.
New hive stand and 2 of the 3 new hives at the Florida Bee Farm

New brood boxes needed painting and stands needed to be finished to work correctly.  Also bought several migratory covers to experiment with instead of the covers I'm currently using which seem to host more pests and ants than I care to deal with.  But I remember a couple old time beekeepers saying that migratory covers are best in Florida and they're probably right.  I'll probably change all my hives to use migratory covers because I'm tired of finding ants, spiders, frogs and lizards under the cover.

The tomatoes have really been getting most of my attention and have been producing quite a few delicious tomatoes.  Between many nice meals with them and multiple canning sessions, they are just about done for the season.  I learned a lot and picked up a few tips for next year when I plant tomatoes again.  This weekend we probably did our last canning of the season.   It's a bit of work but so very satisfying. 
Final tomato canning session of the year

My latest experiment that was started about a month ago is Hops.  I purchased a few starts from a company in Michigan and they're already 5' tall !!!  They're growing like mad.  It will be an interesting experiment and if successful they may be grown on a larger scale next year even though they're not officially a Florida plant since they may need cold to go dormant.
Honeycomb from heaven The Florida Bee Farm

More honeycomb from heaven at The Florida Bee Farm

The other day I was sitting under a tree and got up to do something.  When I came back, a 8" piece of honeycomb with some bees was sitting next to the chair.  Looking up, I couldn't see through the canopy of leaves to determine if any bees were up there.  Next day I walked by and there were two more pieces of fresh beautiful honeycomb on the ground.  Something's going on up in the tree but not sure what and why the comb keeps falling out.  Fresh made comb is quite amazing.  Very light, perfectly formed and just beautiful.

Finally, for the first time I did a split of one of the hives that was getting too large.  Stacking too many boxes on top of each other is too heavy for me to lift up high and it's also not good for the bees unless you add an upper entrance to the hive.  Because you don't want them coming in with their nectar and pollen and having to climb through a couple brood boxes and honey supers to drop off their load.  So I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  Another hive I was in this week may be in trouble as the brood wasn't looking good.  Possibly needs a queen. 

There's been an abundance of fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit on our table this month.  Delicious.  And the extra has been sold at the Indian Rocks Co-Op which has been a great group to work with.  A good place to get organic veggies, plants, and all sorts of things. 

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