Mr. Combover keeping it sharp with his always-present mis-matched socks. Looking good.
We’ve got some great news to share. Both of our hives (officially Number 1 and Number 2) have made it through the winter. We obviously don’t want get ahead of ourselves here, but the weather is already warming here in San Francisco and our first deep dive of the new year has proved a success. Both queens are active and laying eggs, though hive number 2 (the hive that previously swarmed and raised a new queen) seems to be the most hearty of the bunch. Check out a quick vid below of the visit. You’ll see how dark brown the comb on the brood frames is as opposed to strictly honey-capped frames!
We’ve just completed the photography of the 2012 season packaging for Black Tar Honey! Many thanks to Gillian Bostock for shooting the 2oz. apothecary bottles and 6oz. jars and also to Sticker Mule for the killer label printing job. The jars and labels have never looked so good! Stay tuned, there’s much more to come in the new year!
PS. You can check out the work over at www.cameronewing.com for other packaging related design projects.
We rarely talk about the work that goes into maintaining an urban beehive outside of the hive itself. One of our many winter duties is to sweep the roof and clean up dead bees.
As the hive culls its numbers into the winter months, dead bees accumulate on the rooftop in the tens of thousands! Of course, out in the wild they simply return to the earth, but here in the city they pile up quick!
Here’s a peak at Mr. Combover doing the dirty.
In our continued effort to figure out how to best prepare the hives for winter, we brought over resident bee expert and design ninja Boon. We went through hive #1 and things are looking pretty good, aside from the mold on the outside of the supers which will be painted over the winter. Numbers are dwindling in preparation for the winter and the honey stores are looking great, so we’re feeling pretty good about things there. There’s still loose talk about harvesting one of the supers to reduce the space the bees need to keep warm. Hive #2 is also continuing along. Still limited to one super, we’re crossing our fingers that they’ll storm the winter months without any issues! A few pics below of the visit.
Check out all the dead bees in front of the hive!
We added the entrance reducer today. This is a first step towards winterizing the hive.
The advantages are that less cold air can enter the hive, as well as reducing the risk of robber bees having easy access to raid their hive.
What are robber bees you ask?
As the pollen gathering season ends, hives and swarms of bees may be desperate for food and will often seek out weaker hives they can raid and steal honey from.
An entrance reducer will help protect your hive since there is much less space for robber bees to enter and leave through – thus easier to defend!
We have recently visited the hive just last week and everything seems to be going well as the weather is getting cooler, and wetter, in San Francisco. Hive No. 1 is still thriving but beginning to cull its numbers in preparation for the winter. Hive No. 2 is limping along. We think the young queen isn’t as hearty as we would have liked. Fingers crossed they make it through the winter.
Next steps—brush up on how best to winter our hives. Having lost our bees last winter we want to make sure we don’t repeat any mistakes. If anyone has any keen wintering advice for us, please let us know!