Sunday, October 01, 2006

2006 Beekeeping Update

The bees are fed for the winter, weak hives joined with stronger ones to get them through until brood rearing time in January and then until spring nectar and pollen come in. I got alarmed in August when I found the driveway apiary almost devoid of honey, pollen, or brood. They're Russians and shut down brood rearing when our severe drought hit. There were flowers, but little nectar. They had consumed about a super of spring honey each. In the garden apiary the Italians had a surplus of honey and were full of brood and pollen. Unfortunately they also showed signs of Varroa mites. The new apiary, with the Purvis Gold Line queens, had lots of stores and good brood buildup. Guess I'm going with Italians, and will get more Purvis queens next year. They are the queens raised from breeders whose genetic lines have had no Varroa mite treatments for five years or more. I've only been treating with powdered sugar since year before last. I've got 33 hives right now, but may combine some more weak ones. If I lose half, then I can split in the spring. The only ones I'm interested in perpetuating are the Purvis queens. Clay and I went down to Brushy Mountain and hauled back about 575 gallons of HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) for feed for the next few years. I figure the ethanol production will compete for the corn crop, fuel will get more costly, and sugar is already at $0.47 per pound.

I got about 5 supers of honey (about 120+ pounds) from both spring and fall crops.

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