In the August News Letter you were briefed on the removal of the honey crop and conditions it must be in at the time of removal. It is always wise to check the moisture content with a refractometer and if you don’t have one have someone that has one check the honey. Sometimes honey will gain moisture after it has been removed from the hive.
There are several ways to remove the honey from the colonies. Any way you go about it is certainly hard work. From as many as several colonies to a great many, I have found it was best to us a bee-blower. We made a scissor like frame to hold the honey supers at an angle in front of the hive that made the honey. Then with the bee-blower the bees were blown right back into the front of the hive. The bees quickly go into the hive.
We found it desirable to place all the supers containing honey to be taken on the lids beside each colony by first removing all outer lids and inner covers. Leave all colonies uncovered and if you have time and wish to take a few minutes break just do so and within a few minutes many of the bees will go from the honey supers back into their own hive. Then, blow the bees from the honey and all the while leaving all colonies uncovered. You will not realize what happened but there will be no robbing from one colony to another and there will be NO BEES robbing the supers of honey that you just removed. Leave uncovered as you drive away from the apiary and by so doing there will be scarcely any bees left in the honey. And as was previously stated cover honey supers if you are traveling far especially on dirt or gravel roads.
In some cases you may find that the open cells of honey are just as dry as the sealed cells. If there is high moisture in any case the bees must dry it OR you will need to provide a means of drying it such as in a drying room or in a room that is quite dry with a dehumidifier working.
During the month of August some examination of colonies must be made and a determination made as to what colonies may be in a condition to save and prepare later for winter. It is a good time to tell if the brood pattern is good and solid or whether the queen is failing.
More Fall Management later.
Glen L. Stanley