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The Beehive: The honey harvest is under way; bees become protective

Brett Kent uses a hot knife to uncap a frame of honey. Below Brett works with 20 uncapped frames in the extractor. (Submitted photo)

Welcome back to the Beehive.

The honey flow has slowed and the bees are sensing the end of the season. How do I know that the bees are sensing the end of the season? As we started harvesting the honey, we notice that the queens have slowed egg laying and the bees have been back-filling the brood chamber with honey.

The bees are also becoming very protective of the hive. It is at this time of year that the bees will defend the hive in earnest.

It won't be long and the bees will decide that the drones are of no use during the fall and winter months, so they will kill the drones and carry them out the front door and dump them.

The bees have figured out that they will save some critical honey stores if they get rid of the drones in the fall. This is just one more thing that makes you realize how smart these little critters are.

As I mentioned earlier, we have started harvesting honey for about the last ten days. We are seeing that the honey production is down from previous years.

Now, I have to say, that we are very grateful that we have a crop to harvest. Brenda and I have increased the amount of hives that we have, so our honey production looks to be in line with what we harvested last year. We will be harvesting honey for about another week.

Once the honey has been extracted, we will begin to get the bees ready to survive the upcoming winter.

Next time I will include a picture or two that shows the honey extraction. We will also talk about how we plan to winter our bees this year. If you have any questions, please e-mail us at ssmith@parkrapidsenterprise. com.

You folks take care, as always, thanks for your interest.