Hive Inspections and Harvests – 2016 and earlier

These are the early years of our beekeeping adventure.  Over the years, the NaplesBees apiary has grown. Our corresponding annual honey harvests have grown from just a few pounds to hundreds of pounds. Below are highlights of the many changes over the years.

NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest – October 5, 2016

10/5/2016 — Yet another small harvest from our apiary’s various hives. We collected about 30 pounds of capped pure amber colored honey. The honey is very sweet but definitely lighter in color than the immediate previous harvest, proving once again, so goes the flora, so goes the honey. We used our home made honey comb press again to extract and then filled 60 of our 8oz bottles. As we always have done, the honey comb is pressed to squeeze out all the honey and then the honey goes only through a strainer and then directly into bottles. This results in the freshest and most nutritious honey that nature’s bees can deliver.

Small honey harvest from various hives.

Small honey harvest from various hives.

NaplesBees Apiary Hives #1 euthanized

8/31/2016 — One of our larger hives was euthanized today. When we removed the hive from a compost bin (Removal 5) back in 3/11/2016 they were thought to be OK, but may have been more aggressive than what we normally see. Sometimes aggressiveness is hard to judge on a removal because, after all, you are dismantling their house and no bees are ever happy with that. However, our last honey harvest (8/3/2016) that involved this hive revealed the bees were overly aggressive and were attacking my suit and gloves by the hundreds. Good beekeeping means keeping good bees (non Africanized genetics). The decision was made at that point to euthanize the colony. Requeening was not an option we wanted to do in this case. Today, with a bin of soapy water and spraying with soapy water solution the hive was destroyed without any chemicals. Although necessary, it was sad to do as it was a very large hive (probably 30-40K bees) and a honey producer.

NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest from Hives #1,#2,#7,and #9 – August 3, 2016

Bucket of honey harvested before bottling
5 gallon bucket of honey harvested before bottling
Click on for larger view.
56 pounds (112 8oz bottles) of honey bottled and labeled. Click on for larger view.

Honey press setup that extracted all of the honey.
Honey press setup that extracted all of the honey.

-NaplesBees Apiary Status as of July 5, 2016
7/5/2016 — Some of the hives in the yard are really getting busy and populated. I’m amazed at the bee sounds and nectar/pollen smells that now envelops the apiary !! Click on any picture for a larger view.

busy_hives_3 busy_hives_4
busy_hives_2 busy_hives_1

NaplesBees Apiary Status as of June 17, 2016

6/17/2016 — We did a quick inspection of most of the hives in our apiary. Hives #2 and #7 showed their super(s) were about maxed out so an additional super was added to each. We expect to be able to harvest some honey in another couple weeks.

NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest from Hive #4 – May 14, 2016
5/14/2016 — We harvested 16 pounds of dark amber honey from one brood box on hive #4. Honey colors vary naturally and depend upon the type of nectar collected to make the honey. This harvest was not planned, but an inspection showed the second brood box of two had a lot of capped honey which was comb bound among multiple frames. This was caused by not having 10 frames in the box and also because of too much of a gap between frames. The bees built a lot of frame crossing comb containing honey. Although difficult to remedy, we decided to bite the bullet now and remove the honey bound frames and rebuild the box with a full 10 frames so the bees will build more manageable combs. In the below picture of the bottled honey, notice how dark this honey is compared to an earlier harvest bottle on the left. We used our homemade comb press shown below to extract this very viscous honey. It effortlessly reduced a bucket of honey comb to a flat 1/2 inch disc of wax, ready for melting and refining. We like to harvest honey only when below the 18% moisture content, and a refractometer reading gave a 17.5% moisture content of this collected honey.


16 pounds of bottled dark honey. The lighter bottle on the left is from a previous harvest. This is a good example of how different flora affects the honey color and taste.


A brood box size frame packed edged to edge with the capped dark honey.

harvest_5_14_2016_b harvest_5_14_2016_c
Click on the picture for a larger view

NaplesBees Apiary Status as of May 13, 2016
5/13/2016 — We are down to 9 hives, having lost a few small swarm recoveries that did not survive relocation. Two of the nine remaining hives required some brood pulled from stronger hives which we did on 5/10/15. These two hives need to make a queen to survive. The BeeCam is positioned on one of these two hives for a while to closely monitor the bee traffic. Our goal is 9 strong hives going into the nectar flow. Just in the past few days, bees have been observed returning to all the hives with pollen sacs full, mostly a white or light brown looking pollen.

NaplesBees Apiary Status as of April 8, 2016
4/8/2016 — All hives are doing great. A couple days ago we had one of our established hives swarm and I was able to capture that swarm and today an inspection showed the nuc has a nice looking queen. Also, all the recent removed hives from various locations (4 in total) are doing very well…… a little surprising as I expected one or two of them not to survive. If things continue well we should have 8 hives going into the season. It is exciting to see the new hives’ queens !!!

NaplesBees Apiary Hive #1 is no more – October 28, 2015
10/28/2015 — Hive #1 started showing less activity at the front entrance for about a week and we inspected it today. The hive has been essentially abandoned and we will harvest the left wax. The hive appeared healthy and active early last month when we harvested 6 frames of honey. We may never be able to tell what caused the sudden colony collapse.
NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest from Hive #4 – October 14, 2015
10/14/2015 — We harvested another 21.5 pounds of golden honey from one super on hive #4. We used our recently constructed homemade honeycomb press. It’s makes extracting much easier and gets every last drop of honey out of the comb. See pictures of the press on the Gear page.

NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest from Hive #1 – August 7, 2015

8/7/2015 — We were able to harvest 6 capped frames from the supers of hive #1 — about 16 pounds. We made a new back label to comply with the Florida State requirements for honey bottling.

NaplesBees Apiary New Queens in Hives #7 and #9 – August 1, 2015
A short video of a couple new home raised queens in two new hives we have started. The first part shows a yellow dot marked queen in hive #9 and the second part shows the unmarked queen in hive #7. The marked queen in hive #9 appears to be immature, and, if that does not change, we may need to try to replace it.

NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest from Hives #1 and #6 – May 28, 2015
5/28/2015 — We were able to harvest 4 fully capped frames from the supers of hive #6 and hive #1 — about 14 pounds.
Caged queens (click on picture for larger view)4/22/2015 – 4 new Italian queens were obtained from
and have been placed into new hives that were built from frames from hive #1 and hive #4. The new hives are now known as hives #5,6,7, and 8

Caged queens
(click on picture for larger view)
NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest from Hive #1 – Apr 10, 2015
4/10/2015 — We were able to harvest 5 fully capped frames from the super — about 13 pounds. 5 partially capped frames were left for the bees to finish.
NaplesBees Apiary Hives #1 and #4 Queen Verification
– Jan 31/Feb 1, 2015
1/31-2/1 2015 — Below is a short video of Hive #1 queen going about her labors. Both hives’ queen were found and the brood frames have lots of brood indicating the queens are productive and the hives generally appear healthy.

NaplesBees Apiary Inspection of relocated hive – January 3, 2015
1/3/2015 — All the WildFlower beekeepers took time out to inspect the super of the recently moved hive. The bees appeared to be happy and productive, giving confidence that the bees are settling into their new location fine.

NaplesBees Apiary Hive #1 inspection and queen verification on December 31, 2014
12/31/2014 — Hive #1 was inspected and the queen was located. A super was added as the bees seemed to need the space. The above is a short video of finding the queen:

NaplesBees Honey Third Harvest on October 18, 2014 and Fourth Harvest on December 21, 2014
10/18/2014–Third honey harvest. We seem to have very happy and productive bees. This time from the supers of hive #2. Total take was around 39 pounds of honey and abut 1.5 pounds of wax.

bottled 39 pounds of honey
bottled 39 pounds of honey from this harvest. We only strain the raw comb honey and bottle. Using a refractometer to check the moisture content before harvesting guarantees the honey’s moisture content is at or below the recommended 18% moisture level. In this harvest we measured the honey to be 17.5% moisture level.

Honey display for a breast cancer fundraiser
Honey display for a breast cancer fundraiser

One and half pound block of wax from the honey combs that contained the honey of this harvest.

Above is a 3 minute condensed video of the 10/18/2014 honey harvest from hive #2 It is with great sadness, that we have to report the end of our hive #2 shown in the above video. Sometime during the early weeks of December, 2014, while we were on vacation, the bees started abandoning the hive, and by December 20, all the bees were simply gone, with little evidence of dead bees present. They may have left because they had too much hive space as we left the two supers on going into December. Sometimes too much hive space is as bad as too little relative to bees leaving for a “better” location. Over 19 pounds of capped honey and 1 pound of wax was left behind and was harvested December 21, 2014.
NaplesBees Honey Second Harvest on August 4, 2014

8/4/2014 — Second honey harvest from the supers of hive #1 and hive #2. Total take was a little over 30 pounds of honey.
NaplesBees Honey First Harvest on July 6, 2014
First honey harvest only from the hive #1. We got about 11 pounds from around 5 or 6 frames that had honey on them. Our first full hive inspection since the addition of the honey supers.



At the very beginning, just when we were getting started, we had a couple nucs and after 10 weeks as new beekeepers this is what we had:

Hive #1


This is Hive #2, the calmer but weaker hive