We are loaded! A big THANKS to Dennis, Mara and Lara. We reset the foundations for hives 1 & 2 yesterday.  This was a big deal as hive 2 kept leaning and was quite unstable. We also swapped hives 1 & 5 – hopefully this will increase the bee population in hive 5, as the bees returning to hive 1 will actually find hive 5 in its place, and many will acclimate and make hive 5 their new home. In addition, we removed the queen excluder from hive #1, and hopefully that will encourage more bees to go up into the super and start working it (making bees wax and filling it with honey).

The BIG news is that in addition to all that, we also weighed hives 1, 2 & 5.  Weight is the main indicator of how much honey is in a hive. This is critical as hives in this area need at least ~ 60 lbs of honey to survive the winter.  I bought a cheap luggage scale, and we strapped the hives to it one at a time. The scale went up to 110# which I figured would be plenty – NOT!! Two hives pegged it to error as they were past the max, and one hive weighed 75#.  Assuming the empty weight was ~ 20# including the straps, two hives weigh 90+, and the other about 50#+. This means all hives should have plenty of honey by Fall to survive the winter.  Alright! We won’t harvest any honey this year, but we will bee well positioned to harvest next year.

On a more somber note, my family and I went to the Butterfly Pavilion this past weekend, and they have big displays about bees.  In fact, they manage about 40 hives! The lady I spoke with is a beekeeper of 10 years, and she said they have survival rate of only a dismal 30%  :(. So, we’ll see.

Here are some upcoming activities – please come out and join us. Tons of fun and really cool and guaranteed to bee really fun!

Tentative Date


Sept 22, 23 or 24 (warm day)

Add reducers, do final mite count, add frames of honey to augment if needed

Oct 20, 21 or 22 (warm day)

Add mouse guards, install foam insulation around outside

Nice day in Nov

Assemble new frames with foundation, repair old ones. Melt wax in solar wax melter.

Monthly Nov – Mar

Inspect hives on a warm day – check for activity, heft test (feed if light), pop top only if above 50.  Will not remove frames.


Prep equipment, and ensure we have spare deeps ready for splits.

LAte Mar / Early April weather dependent

Split hives as needed to avoid swarming. Rotate deeps top to bottom. Heft test.


Relocate hives so more trees fit in orchard. Reset all foundations to solid ground (wood chips move as they decay – unstable)

Hope your tomatoes are as delicious as ours!

– BeeRad

Update:  OK, so I weighed an empty hive and it is actually about 45#. So the big hives have at least 65# of honey which is not quite as much as I originally thought but still way more than enough.  We’ll likely need to add some honey to the two smaller hives. And I guess I need a larger scale!


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