The Summer Rush
July has been a busy month for me. The July Open Hive Day was another great experience. We peeked in each of the hives, which all were queen-right and seemed to have healthy populations. We also managed to spot the queen in hive "C", who has been quite elusive, and marked her. Now all three queen are marked with a nice yellow dot on the thorax to make them easy to spot.
Yellow is the international color code for queens born in years ending with a "2" or "7". Not only does marking queens make them easier to spot, but it can be the only way to track your queen. Otherwise, you may not be sure that the girl you see in your hive today is the same one you saw a couple of weeks ago. Often, this doesn't matter to the average beekeeper, as hives can re-queen themselves quite seamlessly (and often do). For teaching purposes at TLC apiary though, it can be handy to quickly identify the queen. Also, I am working to select the best stock in all of the yards I manage to potentially go into a breeding program. Without marking, tracking performance becomes impossible.
In mid-July, we finally pulled off honey from the hives at TLC (as well as my other hives). All three hives managed to produce a surplus of honey, with hive "B" being the star performer. I promise to bring some honey out to the next Open Hive Day for tasting.
Now that August has finally rolled around, I find myself in Burlington, Vermont at this year's Eastern Apiculture Society conference. This is my first year attending EAS, which is a weeklong conference and the largest gathering of beekeepers in the region (over 600 this year!). For those of you interested, I can fill you in on what I pick up at the August Open Hive Day on the 25th. For those of you who wish that you could have made it, I have good news. EAS 2013 will be held right here in West Chester, PA! It's an honor to be hosting an event like this right in our own backyard, and it may turn out to be the biggest EAS yet. I hope I'll see you there next year.