Posted by Isaac
Do you ever see an object and take pause? See something that takes you to another place and time?
A few times a month I come across these frames with a stamped date. I love them. For a couple reasons. They range from 1997 to 2005, and for me, those were turbulent years. Emotionally intense years with sky high peaks (literally and figuratively) and some dark valleys. I guess I wouldn’t trade it for the present. The memories are enough. Let’s see, 2002, what was I doing that year… bouncing between Ohio, Colorado and Mexico… both gainfully employed and ski bumming… trying to figure things out… trying (and failing) to figure out women…
Little did I know, the very next year Jayne would come along. I still haven’t figured her out, but she did light a candle in the darkness.
Bees weren’t even on the radar in 2002. But I bet I know the guy who put that stamp on there. This is the second reason I love these frames. What was he doing in 2002? In what state was his business? What was he thinking? Was he worried about honey production or pollination, or mites or weather? And what was he doing to mitigate?
It had to be one of the three: Jim North, Dan Grant or Joe Blair. During those years the majority of the beehives in central Ohio were owned by one of these old men. I’ve now known them for years and I love to speculate about the bee days of old. Joe died in 2010, but I do see Jim and Dan at least once a month.
These guys can talk. They’re beekeepers. They have hours of old time stories, and every now and then at a bee meeting or even here in the honey house, I’m the lucky recipient. And I’m not always patient. In truth, it’s hard for me stand and listen when I’ve got something else going on. But I’ve learned that I’m better for it. (Plus, it’s polite.) There are nuggets of wisdom floating in all that talk. Beekeeper secrets.
Now that we’re finally seeing the beginnings of a spring honey flow,
I’m happy to think back on a bit of wisdom Jim imparted on me. It’s kind of a common sense thing, but I wasn’t doing it. I wasn’t really taking advantage of our short but intense spring flow. Here it is, the big secret: bees put honey UP.
Meaning, put your brood nest high in the boxes, right below the super. The bees will fill the super first when the nectar starts pouring in. Keeping in mind, you wouldn’t want to do this for a fall flow, but in the spring, you’ve got plenty of days left for the hive to adjust itself.
Let me show you using a couple nucs to fill some dead-out holes.
If you’re using double deeps to overwinter, go ahead and put that nuc in the top box.
If you can do this a week or two before the flow, and if the nuc is strong enough, those bees will explode into honey production mode.
Put on a queen excluder to force the egg laying down.
And put a super above to catch all that incoming nectar. (cross your fingers)
Bees put honey UP.
I know, something so commonsense is not really a secret, but it took hearing it from Jim. He’s been beekeeping for decades, knows our weather and our honey flows, and knows how to take full advantage.
And this week it all started to fall into place. We got the heat and we got the sunshine.
Our lovely invasive honeysuckle has bloomed in full force.
And our black locust also decided that this was the week.
All this, combined with some acquired knowledge, and we may just make a little spring honey.
Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?