Apiary Progression 2012 Due to mechanical difficulties (a blown out drive shaft on the truck) we got a late start on the big day. Ideally, we would have picked up the package bees in the morning and transferred them to the new hives while the sun was shining. Instead, we risked moving the bees at night. Looking back this was not the smartest decision of the season. This picture was taken after midnight. These bees got brand new equipment, so they had to work extra hard to build their wax comb and didn’t have any honey from the summer before. Next spring will be a lot easier for the bees because they’ll have the honey comb already there and they’ll have honey left to eat. Because they needed something, I fed them sugar syrup from jars. You can see the uneven development from one hive to the next. The tallest ones had strong queens and lots of active bees, the shortest ones plodded along all summer. On all brand new equipment, the short hives performed about how I anticipated they might. The tallest hives surprised me with unexpected production levels. I wasn’t expecting to harvest any honey, and in the end I got to harvest twice and still leave ample supplies for the bees to eat all winter. These hives look really tall for two reasons: 1. We combined the weak and the strong ones so instead of twice as many hives at half this height, their powers are combined and they’re a little taller. 2. After extracting honey, there is still some residual honey on the frames so we put them back on the hives for a couple days. The bees will clean it all off and move it down into their living quarters, then I can take the empty, clean boxes and store the for the winter. The hives are wrapped in black tar paper to take advantage of the sunshine in the winter. Bees eat honey and move around to maintain an internal hive temperature around 90 F. Haven’t seen many pictures of the beehives yet? Here they are, from the installing new package bees way back in April, through the summer, and all the way to winterizing them with tar paper. Each picture has more of the story.