Freshly washed jar lids air drying on my kitchen table.
Work is sometimes a pleasure. Preparing to bottle an ample honey harvest is truly pleasurable work. It is the reward for all of the spring labors on the bee hives.
We had another honey harvest on Monday, August 5. We only visited 2 locations with a total of 4 hives but we harvested about 70 pounds of honey. Two of these hives are located between apartment houses on lower Queen Anne Hill near Seattle Pacific University (98119) and two are located in a private back yard near downtown Bothell(98011). Both locations have been exceptionally productive. The Bothell location makes sense but the apiary shadowed by apartment houses on lower Queen Anne breaks all rules of locating bee hives. It is well protected by a fence and a locked gate but it is shaded all day long and the bees have a near vertical take off and landing pattern.
One of the Bothell hives produced lots of honey despite being queenless. We have remedied that situation with a Buckfast Queen. We are trying some survivor bred queens in hopes of getting a better bee hive, a better honey harvest and better winter survival. We had to have this queen right away because when we harvested the Bothell honey, the bees came out of the hive and sat all over the hive about 4 deep alarming the homeowner. She was purchased from Corky Luster of Ballard Bees for $40. This is a high price to pay for a queen but she comes with impressive credentials and we were in immediate need. Queenless hives do not behave in a normal or predictable fashion.
Friday, we are expecting 3 queens in the mail from Oregon bred by Old Sol for gentleness and heartiness ($28 each). The Post Office was not thrilled to hear that we were expecting a shipment of bees but they are cooperating. The last queen we mail-ordered rode around in the mail carrier’s van all day. The Post Office is supposed to call when the bees arrive so we can pick them up. She arrived alive at out mailbox and is doing a good job repopulating a queenless hive.