It’s been an amazing good year for Deer Creek Apiaries! We have nearly doubled the amount of active hives heading into fall, and it been a record year for honey harvesting.
The most enjoyable aspect of this year has been the mentoring of new beekeepers. This spring, we offered the opportunity to mentor anyone who purchased a nuc from us. Along with mentoring, we decided that offering an on-site inspection and feedback on their colony's health. Three customers took us up on the offer, and I can honestly say, I came away a better beekeeper! I firmly believe that when you help others, you usually get back twice as much in return. This has been the case with our beekeeping this year.
Recently, I have had the opportunity to conduct Varroa mite inspections with two new and solid beekeepers. Marty and his wife bought a nuc from us this spring, and asked for assistance in conducting a sugar roll mite count.
Our tests determined that one hive had a zero mite count, while the other hive located just five feet away had 4.3 mites per 100. What a dramatic difference between the two!
Both hives had received Mite-Away strips on the same day, and both had the same amount of opened and capped brood and bees. So how could there be such a dramatic difference between both hives? Chances are that one colony had located and robbed honey from another hive located within two miles which had a bad infestation of varroa mites.
Those mites hitched a ride back to Marty’s hive and started breeding mites in the open brood. Our solution was to apply another package of Mite-Away quick strips and schedule a follow up mite inspection in three weeks.
This season, I have had the opportunity to share my passion of honeybees with Anita C., a new and enthusiastic beekeeper, who is also an active-duty servicemember. Anita has displayed a real passion in learning about beekeeping by not only maintaining her own hive, but by volunteering numerous hours to help us manage our seventy-plus hives.
Since this spring, Anita has observed and helped in the harvesting and extracting of Black Locust honey and assisted in the monthly hive inspections. In one season, she has gotten to experience firsthand the tell-tale signs of a healthy hive, a diseased hive, and failing queens. She has also learned how to identify a colony preparing to swarm. She a has learned how to count bees and how to manage hives in order to get maximum stores and brood production
In addition to all of that, Anita also helped apply two types of Varroa mite treatments and even learned how to conduct an alcohol wash test. What an incredible way to start your first year of beekeeping!
So let's hear from you! How was your beekeeping season? What challenges did you face?