Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Harvest time

Last Friday I went to Durham to help my father harvest a small honey crop. As we worked we inspected the hives. Looking in a new hive I could not find the queen, nor could I find the evidence of a queen. If you cannot find the lady, usually, you can see her work. New eggs, larvae or capped brood will testify to her presence and hard work. Nothing was there, there was plenty of pollen, some new honey , but no brood. I was concerned that this new hive was queenless. We completed our harvest on another hive and ended the day. We called a queen breeder in the area and ordered two queens.

Saturday morning I made my way to Orange County and Busy Bee Apiary to transport my ladys.
I drove back to my father's home and we opened up the new hive to add a new queen. We found a frame full of young larvae. In my haste on Friday I had neglected to move the frames into sunlight for a better look. The shade had caused me to overlook the eggs in the bottom of many cells. I may not have seen the queen, but I know had evidence she was around. I now had an extra queen. My father and I drove to my bee yard, took a frame of brood from three hives, two frames of honey from another two and dropped the queen in with bees. The nuc is sitting on my porch, I'll open it up this coming Saturday to take a look. While we were in my yard I decided to harvest my honey. After heavy lifting it appears I have around 300lbs of honey to bottle and label over the next few days.

We then took the extra queen to the farm of Mr. Philip Barker. He is the last of many here in N.C. Mr Barker is the last African-American dairy farmer here in the state. It is a monicure I am sure he would be proud was not his. It is important for all of us to keep and protect the family farmer. White, black, yellow, red, we must have farmers and their families farming for future generations. Mr Barker is now trying his hand at bees. I am attempting to teach him what little I know. He had a hive with a very weak queen. The hive now has a new, young and hopefully hard working queen to produce for Mr Barker.

By next week at this time, I hope we have bottles full of beautiful honey. The photo is just one view of the great work our bees have produced this spring.

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