I went around 9 hives today, carrying out inspections and placing wet supers back on the hives for the bees to clean, and hopefully refill with honey. A wet super is the term used for a super full of frames that have had the honey extracted from them, and have remnants of the honey still in them.
The hives were all in good order, except one that appears to have gone queenless. There were however, several emergency queen cells in the hive. All the cells were capped, so I could not tell if they were all occupied, but I broke the majority of them down and left just two of the best looking ones. This will lessen the risk of cast swarms due to several virgin queens emerging around about the same time.
There were a couple of full supers, mostly capped, which are almost ready for extraction. With the wet supers going on, this will hopefully encourage the bees to refill them with honey – if we have a bit of rain to bring on some nectar.
Once all that was done, I returned home and started jarring the first batch of honey from this years crop. I do not have enough jars, as I have a lot more honey than I expected, so I will order another 250 jars next week.
I have a stainless steel 100 litre honey settling tank which I purchased from Abelo in the UK, which my honey is decanted into as it comes out of the extractor. 100 litres is about 140kg or 308lb of honey. The honey is left for a couple of days for any air bubbles and tiny particles of wax to float to the top, where it is skimmed off leaving lovely golden honey ready to to be placed into jars.
I design and print my own labels using Brother P-Touch editor and a Brother label printer, I like the simple black and white labels as they are not overstated. I also prefer the hexagonal jars, with matching gold coloured lids with a honeycomb pattern and bees on.
Hopefully, I will be able to sell a fair few jars, and then I’ll be able to reinvest on more beekeeping equipment.