I brushed the last remaining bees off the super which had frames with remnants of honey after the extraction. The bees had removed the contents and the comb was quite clean. Back at the house I cleaned the wax and propolis off each frame ready for storage over the winter.
I estimate the stores in the last super (that will go under the broodbox for winter feeding) to be about 17lbs. The weather is good and the bees are foraging and bringing in nectar and pollen but I plan to put some sugar syrup in at the next inspection, just to be sure.
Inside the brood box the new frame I added weeks ago is still untouched, then there is one frame being drawn out with wax followed by one with stores. After that there is a lot of capped brood and some larvae so the queen is still laying. Some of the original short nucleus frames are still in place but with less brood so I intend to remove one or two at the next inspection and hope that by then they are free of brood. Time to get rid of the dirty old wax which heightens the danger of wax moth and disease.
The varroa count is higher than I would like although much less than at the Kenwood Apiary. I therefore did a formic acid treatment using MAQS strips. I re-read the instructions then checked the weather forecast to ensure that the temperature would be within the tolerance level for the week 50-92 F, 10-50C. Then checked the hive floor was clear of debris, removed the varroa board and added an extra super to ensure good ventilation. I then added the strips over the frames with bees, as directed and closed up the hive. There is a chance that the queen will stop laying but that will happen sometime soon anyway. Hopefully there will not be many fatalities using this carefully measured dosage. I added the batch information to my veterinary record card.
Whilst the weather is good and the herbs are flowering there is little else in the garden other than cosmos, nasturtium and hollyhocks - none of which seem of interest to the bees. The mornings are misty and there are fine droplets of dew beaded along the many spiderwebs which are less detectable in the hot summer. The roses, crab-apple and honeysuckle hang with the weight of fruit. The sun is much lower in the sky and the shadows longer but it is still nice enough to have lunch in the garden most days.
At Kenwood the focus has been on sorting the colonies out for the winter and tidying up. The uniting of Hive 1 and Hive 3 was fine. No queen, brood or eggs found in either brood box so we removed the worst frames reducing down to one brood box and one super and added a frame which had eggs from another hive. It is too late for the workers to produce a fertilised queen as there are no drones left but the action of focussing on producing a queen cell will keep them calm and gives us a week to think about what to do next
Other Bee-related activity
The Association Honey Show looms. I tried out the honey cake recipe thinking that the oven temperature was rather high - it was. Despite lining the tin there was a faint burnt aspect to the bottom edge. I will reduce the temperature by 10 degrees for the competition entry and double line the tin. I am not sure that using a loose bottom tin helps but let us see. If it is awful then I will save myself the embarrassment of entering it - no doubt the boys will eat it like they did the first one.
I have painstakingly processed the wax cappings from the honey extraction - beautiful and white and nicely cleaned up by the bees last week. I washed them in rainwater, picked out any dark flakes, melted and filtered the wax twice to remove any remaining debris then candle time. Only enough to make a slim moulded candle not enough to make dipped candles. Then to my horror only enough wick to make two or three candles when my plan was to make four and choose the best, matched two! No time to put an order in and Candlemakers Supplies did not have the might wick width.
After careful processing I have three beautiful candles. Now to trim the bottoms, trim the wicks to an identical length and polish them with a white silk cloth (that is what the experts do). The only fine pale silk I have is a pair of posh knickers ..............................