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No Small Dreams
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Graceville, Queensland, AU
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Graceville, AU

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Splitting off bee colonies

Project: No Small Dreams

Posted by Tim Auld almost 13 years ago

My first attempt at splitting off a colony and introducing a new queen - a success!

It's been a while since I've provided news here of my horizontal top bar bee hive. So a brief summary is in order. First, the size of the colony has grown dramatically - through winter. Secondly, it's been producing large amounts of honey and wax. I've been harvesting every 3 or 4 weeks because the bees just fill out the space so rapidly, although I have a feeling I should leave it longer and let them fill and mature the combs more completely. In any case the previous harvest secured 7.5kg of honey from 3.5 weeks, an annual rate of 111kg. Much more than I expected.

During the week a new client called and asked if he could populate his hives with my bees. I agreed, and so on Saturday we opened up my hive and took out brood and honeycomb, enough to start off his colony. I did the same for the second bee hive I built which is going to another client. We each had a queen and so I pressed my cage into the wax of a comb, crossing my fingers that the queen got out and the workers didn't kill her.

Along with the two nuc colonies, each with two bars of honeycomb, I harvested 3.5kg of honey and 260g of wax. I estimate that was a total of about 9kg of honey, giving an annual rate of somewhere around 175kg. I don't yet know how much production fluctuates by season so I can't say what an average year will yield, but this has far exceeded my expectations, even if it is a good season.

Needless to say this is more honey than I can consume. I've given some to friends and family, donated some to fundraising efforts for the Brisbane Permablitz network, and selling the surplus to the cafe whose herb & veggie garden I maintain. My name is on the menu now!

This morning I opened up the hive and like clockwork she had escaped and was prolifically laying eggs. I was very happy. This producing food business really is good fun.

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Comments (2)

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Mark Brown
Mark Brown : facinating story Tim - well done. It is a very rewarding and productive occupation.
Posted almost 13 years ago

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Millie Hrdina
Millie Hrdina : Good work! Great photos! Inspiring - I'm still on the fence with regards to bees. Thank you for share your experience.
Posted over 12 years ago

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