With the goldenrod just blooming, it was time to go back into the honey bees for the first time since closing them up for the long, hot summer months.
I went for my biggest hive, which gave me 150 pounds of surplus honey and on which I left one medium and two shallows of honey to get them through. They had the equivalent of one medium and one full shallow of food left. I drove down, cleaning up excess burr comb along the way, remembering a bright idea I had that ended up causing more burr comb for my first re-entry, leaving an Imry shim atop a queen excluder mid-hive.
The bottom brood chamber was mostly empty, it seemed. No brood. But knowing bees shut down for the summer and the queen begins to relay once food starts coming back into the hive, I went through a few random deep frames, and then saw where most of the action was, three out from the end. The frame before it greeted me with the first pockets of fall bee bread, packed in from the new goldenrod flow. There she was, one of my beautiful black amber queens I fought to keep from swarming, successfully, who repaid me with so much delicious honey. She had just begun to lay once again, and I was delighted to not only see her, but this frame of larvae and eggs surrounded by lots of royal jelly. My bees were doing well.
I limited my time to just this one hive. One of my new goals is to rediscover the joyful aspects of beekeeping. It's so easy to let the chores, responsibility and worry pile up but when you do you lose the joy of it all. I repaid these wonderful honey bees with some much needed house cleaning, downsizing and a couple of oxalic acid glycerin sheets in-between the brood chambers.
I checked off a card-size inspection form I'd made but never used, putting down my joyful first note for fall atop that screened inner cover.
Tom Davidson is the owner and beekeeper at T's Bees.
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