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You can pick up bits and pieces in the Commercial forum. The Honey Householder starts 2 pound packages every year. He sprays combs full of syrup, and starts the packages on these combs. He will then make splits of the hives, and often shakes packages for the local hobbyist beekeepers too.
And still produces 100-150 pounds honey average for 800+ hives.
I am not doing things 100% exactly like The Honey Householder, so my results may be different.
He is on flat farmland, with sparse patches of trees. I am in a heavily wooded area with tons of hilly scrubland, pasture, and some cultivated fields.
He uses mature dark combs many years old. I am running natural cell/small cell combs, with the combs being light and fresh.
I am feeding pollen supplements. Householder doesn't feed any pollen.
Householder heats his syrup, so he can spray a thick syrup into the combs. I use a fruit tree sprayer, and have to use thinner syrup to get a good spray.
Householder spaces his 1 3/8 frames equally spaced. I am using 1 1/4 frames squeezed tightly together. This allows me to have 9 frames plus a feeder. He has 9 frames with no feeder, or 8 frames with a feeder.
I topped off the feeders today, added a 15% Global patty to each hive, and I added a second deep box. The second deep box also has a feeder, and the outside combs were sprayed full of syrup, while the middle combs are empty and ready for the queen to start laying in. I plan on splitting these hives in about 3 weeks.
I didn't record today. It was too windy, and all you could have heard on video was wind noise.
so this is "extract all the honey and blow out the bees in the fall"?
In years past Ron has blown the bees out and let them die. This year, he is selling all the blow bees. He has a buyer lined up who will be ready to take the bees when the last honey is pulled.
While I am planning on extracting all the honey from these hives, I do plan on attempting to overwinter these hives. When I do the last pull of honey, I plan on removing the excluder and leaving a deep box with all 10 frames of comb sprayed full of syrup. (And maybe a hive top feeder too) I plan to do this around the end of September which gives the bees a little time in Oct. to cure down the syrup. I will monitor stores for the winter, and if necessary, I can add another box of syrup filled frames later in the winter.
I recall Ron posting on this. If you use the Beesource search function and search by Honeyhouseholder I bet you could find the details of his method....From the House's mouth so to speak.
Ron has mentioned bits and pieces here and there. I've made the trip up to help Ron a couple times, and he is mentoring me with these hives.
Those are some nice looking hives. Spraying syrup in the frames where the bees need it really does make differents.
It's been 4 weeks and most hive have 7-8 full frames of capped brood. A full week of new production. Start spliting the heavy hives this week.
You better hurry up then Tom. Ron wants to do splits tomorrow, and I think I am in charge of bringing morels again this week, and it is looking like a short mushroom season. Only half a bread bag full again this week. I don't know how many more weeks I'll be finding them. I'm starting to find dried up ones, and not many fresh mushrooms.
Last weekend I made six 4 frame splits from these 4 hives. I used 4 frames of capped brood, and added a mated Wilbanks Italian queen in the splits.
These 4 hives started as 2 pound packages have now eaten about 7 pounds of 15% pollen Global Patties per hive. I ran out of the 15% patties but had some 4% on hand, so this time around the hives all got 3 of the 4% pollen patties.
The first hive I opened is the only hive that had any patties left. The other 3 hives had completely eaten all the patties, and removed all scraps of paper even.
I tried to leave a minimum of 3 or 4 frames of brood in each of the parent hives.
After 7 weeks, four 2 pound packages have now turned into ten hives with a minimum of 3-4 frames of capped brood in each hive.
I checked some hives today. One of the 6 splits is getting hammered by chalkbrood. I'd say less than 10% of the brood is getting sealed up. I saw several grub size chalk larvae, and I was even seeing quite a bit of dead C-shaped larvae.
I did find 2 queens in the hive, so I suspect the bees are in the process of swapping out queens.
Even if the bees do get straightened around, it will likely take them too long to get built up to adequate strength to do much.
I do not anticipate getting any honey production from this hive. This is just one of the intangible parts of real life beekeeping that affects the end result.
I did not have my camera with me, so I did not shoot any video of this hive.
I finally got around to getting video of the honey pulls edited and uploaded to YouTube.
I am in a state of rapid expansion, and drawn comb is always in short supply. For my supers, I put 2 or 3 drawn combs and the rest undrawn frames. After the first pull, I had more drawn comb to put back on the bees. This is a big part of why the second pull was so much better. That and the bee populations on the splits were larger as the season went along.
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