29 Nov 2012

Harvesting today

Well, this is my first post for quite some time and also my first harvest for the season.

I am currently participating in Andrew's Hive Weighing Research Group - or HWRG for short.  Every week, in addition to observing my hives, I diligently weigh them with this nifty weighing mechanism that Andrew has created.

Andrew is keeping track of the weight and any other observations and advising us of the best course of action to take in relation to our individual hives.  It is quite amazing how some weeks they will put on kgs, and in others there is no noticeable weight gain at all.

In mid-late September, my girls had put on weight, and harvesting was looking like it was an option.  However, on inspection, there was brood in the top box - so I let them be.

Since then, the boxes have stayed at a pretty constant weight.  The average of last week's readings for the first hive was 23.75 kg and the second hive was 17.89 kg.

On weighing the hives today, I discovered that the average weight of the first hive was 26.97 kg and the second hive was 20.3 kg.

In real terms, due to the way the high weighing tool works, this means that the hives had both put on in excess of 5 kg for the week.  This is quite a large weight gain and indicates that the girls are experiencing excellent foraging conditions.

With no brood in the top boxes, I whisked them off and placed them onto contraptions like Tony's in his harvesting post.  You can see the top of mine in the photo below.

I (or rather my husband under my direction) made my honey / bee separators by cutting a couple of ideal boxes in half.  Our cones on the top are made out of shade cloth - which, although does the job, the bees do not seem to like.  This is apparent as some of those coming out, immediately decide to sting the shade cloth - the result of which you can see around the base of the cone - some dead bees - next time I do this I will change the material used to create the exit cones - will try fly screen next time.

The hives, after my disruption, have a number of bees hanging around and bearding outside the hives cooling down.  It is quite hot in Melbourne today - 38.1 degrees celcius - which has been a bit of a sudden shock for us all - so you can't really blame them.

I will try to follow this post up with a photo of the boxes of honey and the final weight of the honey harvested today.

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