It has been an up and down year weather-wise. Our spring started off quite dry, but by the end of May and into June, we started receiving periodic rains and many warm sunny days. Late summer, we received lots of rain! This year, all trees, shrubs, and other vegetation bloomed profusely. Our hives were able to produce large quantities of nectar and pollen throughout most of the summer. It wasn’t, however, warm enough in early September for a good golden rod flow.
We tried a new method for making up splits this year. We started by adding a second brood chamber to our strong colonies in late spring. Once the second brood chamber was full of bees, we divided these colonies into three. The two new colonies were placed into double-nucleus boxes (two five-frame colonies in a ten-frame box, divided with a partition). These new colonies will be used to replace any winter losses we may have next year.
We were pleased with the success of our queen rearing this summer. Each of our three queen cell builders produced approximately 500 queen cells! We sold some queen cells and introduced others into local mating-nucs and isolated mating-nucs on Thorah Island. One round of mating on the island had a best-ever 94% success rate!
We harvested honey in two rounds, one at the end of July and the other in mid-September. The minty flavour of basswood nectar is prominent this year.