We are in our second year of beekeeping and what a year it has been. Similar to gardening, the season started off with us full of hope about the potential bounty of honey we would enjoy come fall. As any gardener knows however, things rarely go as planned when you are dealing with the forces of nature.
Earlier this spring, the boys successfully installed two packages of bees into the hives and we waited to see how the new bees would do. It was not long before we figured out that one of the hives was failing. The queen had not survived for some reason and no new brood was present. I installed a new queen to try to help them get established, but she also turned out to be an ineffective queen, mostly laying drones (the worthless males) instead of worker bees (the industrious females).
Our last desperate attempt to save the hive was to get rid of that queen and place a frame with eggs from the functioning hive in the failing one in the hopes that the bees would make a new queen. Unfortunately, the bees were unsuccessful and the hive was a total loss.
With one hive left, we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. As the summer progressed, it was clear that the remaining hive was not doing as well as the bees did last year. Periods of cool weather and bouts of rain slowed their progress significantly.
We finally got around to harvesting our honey for the year just recently.
Jesse removed the frames from the honey supers one by one.