After delivering and teaching beekeeping 101 to Julia this morning in Los Altos, we head over to Palo Alto to meet the CoolEatz crew and friends to open up the two hives that we set up for them last year. The goal is to do a full inspection to see how the bees are doing since the last inspection was in the Fall and one hive is looking extremely weak, and if possible harvest any excess honey from the hives as the nectar flow is on. Unfortunately I was so busy for two hours teaching everyone about the hives and bees, and my hands full of honey, I didn’t have the chance to snap any photos. Hope to update with pictures when Jesse sends me some.
We opened up the four medium tall hive first. This colony was weak in the Fall but wow, they sure have turned things around coming out of Winter. They are still in four mediums and have been using all of it as well. We were lucky to spot the queen at the top box and everyone present was able to see this beautiful golden queen.
After removing the top box with the queen in there we harvested honey from the box below. As Jesse wanted to have cut comb honey for her restaurant, we took out about 6 straight frames out fully capped of honey. Then we harvested more to crush and strain to make honey. Total probably about 18 pounds of cut comb honey plus 20 pounds in the bucket for crush and strain.
It was time to open up the next hive. This hive was so strong in the Fall but really decreased in size over Winter. There was very little activity but the foragers were bringing in pollen. Quick overview, we found the queen, little cluster but with capped and open brood of all stages. They have plenty of honey which we took some as the hive went from three mediums to one. The bottom board had some mites but very little. So I really doubt it was a mite issue that took the population down to this small size. We’ll watch and see how this small colony will do as the weather is now warmer with a good nectar flow.
And lastly, it was really cool to meet everyone today and it was kind of funny watching them chase the runaway chickens while my dad and I worked on the smaller hive. Should have captured some video of that! 🙂