Monday, July 20, 2015

Not Much Honey Yet

Generally around this time of year I usually make my first big honey pull. The Spring flows are over and the Fall flows haven't begun yet and I can usually get a nice mixture of light Spring honey and some heavier early Summer wild flower honey.

Not this year though.

Oh there is plenty of honey on the hives but none of it is ripened enough yet. The girls are doing their best but the humidity is so high from all this rain that they are just not drying it out very fast.

The rains have extended out the clover flow and the Dutch White Clover is still going pretty good although I have noticed that most of the spindly Sweet Clover are now dried up stalks. My Alfalfa is actually blooming for the second time and I have noticed many of the girls working it but the Buckwheat is long gone having been overwhelmed by the weeds. What few Soybean fields that were planted around here this year have at least another two or three weeks before they bloom as well so I am not sure what the girls are concentrating on right now. I have seen some early wild Sunflowers up but mostly of the large varieties no Tick Seed Sunflowers yet and I know the honey bees work those hard around here.

So I went around the other day peeking into the hives for some capped honey frames and only managed to find six frames of capped honey (in the surplus supers anyway) out all 16 of my hives. That's a pretty poor harvest for mid-July but it has just been too damned wet and humid I am afraid. Even with most of my production hives having two entrances for good airflow the moisture is just not getting removed from the honey very fast. As I said there is plenty of unripe honey on the hives though and the top supers are still getting some brood and eggs laid into them which means the lower brood chambers are still filled with unripe honey as well. If this keeps up I may need to harvest some brood frames to alleviate the pressure and allow the queen to go back down into the brood chambers where she belongs on each hive.

Seems like our week of rain free weather decided to come to an end Saturday night and Sunday. I noticed several farmers got caught with fields of hay on the ground too including my neighbor who cut his Alfalfa field Saturday afternoon. It's all out in windrows now ruined after the heavy bout of rains we got Saturday night and this morning.

We had a few blessedly dry days although the humidity was near 100% but so far this week appears to be going right back to more rain. Doing anything outside requires a change of clothes when you are finished. I went over to hang a couple hooks for my Mom and by the time I was finished with even that minor task it looked like I had jumped into the water trough fully clothed. The renewed rains also brought the fly plague back as well. Oh Joy.

And of course it's time to mow again.

I tell ya I am already looking forward to Winter coming back around and that usually doesn't happen until late August.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!


  1. Hay in these parts got rained on, too....some more than once! What happens if the bees can't ripen the honey because of humidity? Is there any way to help them. Sorry to be so ignorant about bees

    1. Tewshooz - Well that isn't a stupid question to be sure and not one just anybody would know I suspect. Truth is I am not 100% sure myself. All I can say is that I am assuming that since the girls had some capped honey in the top supers then they must have some down in the brood chambers too and since I don't take anything from the brood chambers they should be fine. Truth is though I didn't check em but I think it's a pretty good assumption on my part as they typically fill those frames first.

      I am hoping that soon the normal weather patterns will come back and allow the girls to cap all that unripe honey in short order. As far as helping them the only way I could think of would be to add another entrance or perhaps remove the entrance reducers completely but that might promote robbing too.

  2. My bees haven't put any honey in the honey supers yet. There is nothing blooming around here. I hope I can get at least a few frames before winter to give to my family.

    1. SD - I don't every take any honey off a hive until it has reached a minimum of 1 year old and then that's really rare for a hive to produce surplus before it's second Summer. If you want to take a frame or two off your new hives I would recommend waiting until after the Goldenrod flow about mid September to try.

      Your circumstances may be different from mine though. After all bee keeping is mostly a regional thing to be honest.

  3. PP,

    This weather this year has really messed with gardens, crops, bee's, wild and domesticated animals and humans.

    It has started raining again here. I wouldn't mind a slow gentle rain...........instead of a pour down, beat the crap out of everything rain.

    Have a good night!

    1. Sandy - Ya the rains started here again Saturday night. It stopped a bit this afternoon but was so humid and muggy you almost couldn't go outside and breath at the same time.

      Have a good night too!!!

  4. My bee mentor has been telling everyone to check their honey too. I guess it's delayed because of the rain?
    We had a thunderstorm last night. I'm thrilled with the cooler weather and an inside day :)

  5. I hope things turn out better from the honey and bees. At first I thought the post meant no honey from the wife....Big Grin


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