With Hurricane Michael on the way, it was fortuitous that the DMV was closed for Columbus Day today as that gave me more time to go through hives. I checked 15 this morning, but that’s not as impressive as it sounds as a couple were empty. One of those is the one I watched swarm right as I arrived home from work a few weeks ago.
Taking advice from Beekeeping365 to heart, I removed barely used honey supers, both to eliminate space for hive beetles to run around and to lower the height of the hives in preparation for possible high winds Wednesday night. We have one hive that had two deeps and 3 honey supers from which I was able to remove the top (very light) honey super, but the second one is too heavy for me to lift with it being so high up. To make things worse, that hive stand is starting to tilt, so Hubby is making a quick trip down here to help me secure the hive. He will probably drive fence post pickets in again and strap the hive down. We wanted to split that hive a long time ago because it’s just too tall for me to check, but that’s one more thing we haven’t gotten to this very hectic year.
I was happy to see that none of our hives have beetles in the occupied boxes, so removing the unnecessary supers will allow the bees to put their efforts into preparing for winter. Even better, I only saw one wax moth and it was dead and lying on top of a screen inner cover. The bees appear to still be bringing in lots of Goldenrod nectar, but I didn’t see much pollen coming in today. Every hive had a good stash of bee bread, but I only remember seeing a couple of bees per hive with pollen.
The bees totally ignored my watermelon slices yesterday, and I figured out where the bee that chased me away yesterday lives! The hive has multiple frames of brood, so the queen is really strong, but her offspring are mean. And curious….. one found a way into the wrong side of my hood, despite my careful attention to zippers and Velcro. I’ll wear the more dependable suit tomorrow while I see if I can reduce the height of a few more hives. I really don’t want a driver’s license picture with a sting-swollen face.
Here’s hoping for a weakening of the storm as it’s predicted to dump more rain on areas of the Carolinas that really don’t need any. I’m lucky to have had today to secure things around the farm. If a hurricane has to pass through, it’s polite of it to do so when I have a day off to prepare.