NaplesBees Apiary and Honey…….Backyard BeeKeeping in Naples, Florida, USA
Hive Inspections and Harvests
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.
8/3/2021 Another oil pan refresh Vegetable oil in the bottom board pans was changed on the current 23 hives in the apiary. With the high bee numbers this time of year, the hives are producing a lot of trash droppings through the screening into the oil pans and most of the pans were past due for the cleaning and fresh oil.
6/11/2021 Honey Harvest A harvest resulting in about 216 pounds of sweet medium dark amber color honey was bottled in to our special order one pound bottles. The honey came in at a refractometer reading of 17%, which is perfect. The harvest was a little slow coming this year, probably due to the very dry weather for the previous months. The hexagon pattern on the sides and bottom of the bottle gives it texture and character, and the valve type top allows drip free honey dispensing while always maintaining an air tight seal.
216 one pound bottles of medium dark amber color from our latest NaplesBees honey harvest. Click on picture for a larger view.
6+ pounds of wax collected from this honey harvest.
4/14/2021 Another oil pan refresh A change of the vegetable oil in the bottom board was done on all 21 hives. Also the need for more supers on the hives were checked and a few were added. Some of the hives are getting close to the 80% build mark on the top super, but I held off adding another and will check again in a couple weeks.
2/9/2021 Another oil pan refresh Another change of the vegetable oil in the bottom board was done on all hives. The oil helps trap hive related pests, but eventually the oil is soaked up by hive debris and the pan needs cleaning and fresh oil.
1/16, 1/22. 1/29/2021 Varroa mite treatments A 3 week oxalic acid vaporization varroa mite treatment of the brood boxes on all hives was started and continued weekly for 3 weeks. All supers were removed during the treatments.
11/22/2020 Another oil pan refresh Another change of the vegetable oil in the bottom board was done on all hives. The oil helps trap hive related pests, but eventually the oil is soaked up by hive debris and the pan needs cleaning and fresh oil.
11/13/2020 Honey Harvest A harvest resulting in about 178 pounds of sweet medium amber color honey was bottled in to our special order one pound bottles. The hexagon pattern on the sides and bottom of the bottle gives it texture and character, and the valve type top allows drip free honey dispensing while always maintaining an air tight seal.
Click on picture for a larger view.
9/10/2020 Another oil pan refresh Another change of the vegetable oil in the bottom board was done on all hives. It was needed as the bees had been busy and dropped lots of comb flakes, etc, and had pretty much soaked up all the oil. That minimizes the pest trapping effectiveness of the oil pan.
7/2/2020 Honey harvest First honey harvest of the year gave 170 pounds of honey and seven pounds of wax. The bees do an amazing job of producing amazing looking frames of delicious capped honey. The processed frames were placed away from the hive for the bees to remove any of the residual honey……. nothing goes to waste!!
Typical frames from the honey supers showing that classic capped honey that is so delicious.
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Three 5 gallon buckets of medium amber harvested honey each weighing 60 pounds
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The processed frames and supers are placed near the apiary for the bees to clean up.
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6/4/2020 Another oil pan refresh Another change of the vegetable oil in the bottom board was done on all hives. It was needed as the bees had been busy and dropped lots of comb flakes, etc, and had pretty much soaked up all the oil. That minimizes the pest trapping effectiveness of the oil pan.
3/6/2020 Another oil pan refresh A change of the vegetable oil in the bottom board was done on all hives. Besides the pest trapping reason, the vegetable oil pan gives a good indication of the health/activity of the colony in the last few months.
What you see in the picture is an examples of what normal and healthy hive activity should probably show in the oil pan. Because of winter month delay, the pans show what accumulates as of 4 months which is a longer time span because of the slow activity winter months. In the summer, the shown amount of debris can happen in less than 2 months and I usually end up changing the oil at least that often.
The yellow spots are pollen and the striped pattern follows the most active frames the bees are on. I didn’t see any significant hive beetles or moth larva, which is very good. If you saw a lot of dead hive beetles or wax moth larva then there could be some problems with the bees being overwhelmed by the pests.
Click on picture for larger view.
2/19/2020 Wax Harvest I finally got around to rendering the wax left over from a few of the most recent honey harvests. When we do a honey harvest, the honey comb left over from the pressings is laid out on large trays and the bees quickly clean it up of any residual honey. During that process they will powder the wax as they search for every little bit of honey. The wax is then ready for melting and straining in to one pound blocks.
25 pounds of one pound blocks of beeswax recovered from a few recent honey harvests.
11/7/2019 Another Honey Harvest An inspection a week earlier revealed a lot of capped honey was available in about 8 of the apiary 20 hives. The honey was a medium light amber color and very sweet. This time of year, the flora available generally yields a lighter amber color compared to the darker amber summer honey. All together, 226,75 pounds of honey was harvested and bottled in one pound bottles within a few hours to preserve all that is good in local raw honey!
click on picture for a larger view
10/21/2019 Another oil pan refresh Another changing of the vegetable oil in the bottom board was done on all hives. Besides the pest trapping reason, the vegetable oil pan gives a good indication of the health/activity of the colony in the last few months. Over the years I have honed in on what the pan should look like after a few months with a normal pan showing a nice even layer of flakes of wax, pollen, and other hive debris. Today’s inspection revealed no problems and strong hive activities.
8/26/2019 Cane Toads Caught these two huge cane toads sitting in the apiary feeding on the occasional bee. This is the first time I had seen these around here although they are a common invasive toad in Southwest Florida. The picture below shows them in a 5 gallon bucket after being euthanized by freezing.
click on picture for a larger view
8/6/2019 Oil pan refresh Another changing of the vegetable oil in the bottom board was done on all hives. The pan collects all the debris, mites, hive beetles, etc that falls through the screened bottom board and get trapped in the oil.
7/30/2019 Honey Harvest The second honey harvest of the year was done today. The apiary provided a honey harvest of 178.75 pounds. We bottled only one pound squeeze bottles. The honey is medium dark amber and very sweet. A significant amount of uncapped honey was seen and left in the hives since we only remove fully processed (capped) frames of honey which results in the very best honey for our bottling. If the bees can finish processing the uncapped honey, we might be able to do a third honey harvest for the year and still be able to leave enough honey for the wintering bees use.
5/16/2019 Oil pan refresh A changing of the vegetable oil in the bottom board was done on all hives. The pan collects all the debris, mites, hive beetles, etc that falls through the screened bottom board and get trapped in the oil.
4/18, 4/25. 5/2, 5/9/2019 Varroa mite treatments A weekly oxalic acid vaporization varroa mite treatment of the brood boxes on all hives was started and continued for 4 weeks. All supers were removed during the treatments.
3/6/2019 Honey Harvest 3/6/2019 – The first honey harvest of the year was done today. Because of the relatively warm winter, the bees were productive and provided an early honey harvest of 141 pounds. We bottled mostly 8 ounce bear jars and one pound squeeze bottles. A little over 7 pounds of wax was obtained from the melted down comb. The left over wax from the honey removal process is spread out in a large tray for a few days and the bees will eagerly remove any residual honey and leave the wax pristine — nothing goes to waste!!!
Swarm Traps are busy!! – 9/26/2018 9/25/2018 – A couple swarm traps (actually just a couple empty brood boxes) that were mounted high up on the wall of the garage adjacent to my apiary are now packed with bees. They both were empty a few days ago. Today I loaded the brood boxes up with frames and will let them settle in and eventually move them down to the apiary stands. Click on the below picture for a larger view.
NaplesBees Apiary Florida Hives Exploding – August 24, 2018
8/24/2018 – WOW! All of the hives in the apiary are exploding in numbers. The nectar flow is on !!
Click on any picture for a full size image or video of the hives
NaplesBees Apiary Florida State Inspection – July 23, 2018
7/23/2018 – Being a registered state of Florida beekeeper and apiary, our hives are subject to state inspections and today was our day to be inspected by a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services agent. The Apiary Inspector District 14 agent arrived this morning and spent several hours going through most of the hives looking at the brood box frames and general bee population for any potential disease/bee problems. The apiary passed inspection and the hives were observed to be very active with the ongoing nectar flow in full force. We learned a lot from this valuable visit and appreciate the visit and information shared.
NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest – July 11, 2018
7/11/2018 — I completed the second harvest of the year from the NaplesBees apiary today. It took a couple days (in between a few thunderstorms/lightning) to remove and extract 275 pounds of honey (five full 5 gallon buckets). About 7 of the hives had at least one full super of capped honey. This harvested honey came in at a refractometer reading of about 17.5%. I filled mostly one pound bottles. Again, the new and improved electric motorized press was used to extract the honey.
NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest – May 1, 2018
5/1/2018 — We started the honey harvest process from the NaplesBees apiary today. It took a couple days to remove and extract 305 pounds of honey (almost six full 5 gallon buckets). This is, by far, the largest honey harvest we have done. Almost each hive not only had capped honey but also full frames of uncapped honey which was left for the bees to complete. The harvested honey came in at a refractometer reading of 17%, which is ideal, and was a dark bronze in color and very sweet. 8, 12, and 16 ounce bottles were filled. We were delighted with our new and improved electric motorized press used to extract the honey.
NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest – July 21, 2017
7/21/2017 — We did an NaplesBees apiary honey harvest today from apiary hives located at our Golden Gate estates location. About 108 pounds of honey was extracted, which is the most we have every gotten in a single harvest. Only about half of our 16 hives here had harvestable honey quantities because a lot of our hives are younger and smaller. The honey was a medium dark amber color and very sweet.
NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest – July 14, 2017
7/14/2017 — We did an NaplesBees apiary honey harvest today from our Naples Airport hives located at the Collier County Mosquito Control District Headquarters. It was the second honey harvest from the hives at the airport. The honey was a much lighter amber color than the previous harvest of a few months ago and at about 18% refractometer reading. About 40 pounds of honey was extracted. We used the improved “motorized” honey press and it worked great…. it did a much better job of rapidly squeezing all the honey out of the harvested comb and required zero manual effort. An interesting point to note about the airport hives is that the smaller of the two hives that I thought would not survive was found to be doing very well, ie, showing lots of bees and brood and requiring the addition of a super.
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NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest – May 9, 2017
5/9/2017 — We did an NaplesBees apiary honey harvest today that also involved one of the hives located at the Collier County Mosquito Control District Headquarters at the Naples airport. It was the very first honey harvest from the hives at the airport and the second of the season for our apiary hives. All together we extracted 90 pounds of very dry and viscous honey. We spent a full day harvesting and another full day extracting (pressing) and bottling. One thing I noticed on this particular harvest was the lower moisture content of the honey. I always check each harvest multiple times with a refractometer. The CMCD hive honey showed a 16% moisture content and the apiary hives honey showed a 17% moisture content. 16% is the lowest I have ever seen and I guess that can be attributed to the relatively dry winter we have had. Anything 18% or lower is ideal, but the lower the number the more viscous the honey is. Too high a moisture content can cause eventual fermentation on the honey, which is something normally not desirable. From my reading over the years, 16% is only normally common in the southwestern states.
This honey harvest resulted in around 180 bottles of honey.
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NaplesBees CMCD hive inspections – April 7, 2017
4/7/2017 — Today we inspected the two hives I placed down at the Collier County Mosquito Control District Headquarters located at the Naples airport. From the last inspection over a month ago I knew the smaller hive’s queen was not doing well and it has not improved. I will probably remove the hive on the next visit. However, the other hive is huge and is doing fantastic with a couple supers packed with capped honey. Mark and I decided to add yet another super (the third) to this hive and leave for now the existing supers of honey so that we can combine the harvest of this honey with my next harvest at our NaplesBees apiary. Doing it all at once is a lot easier. A careful inspection of the lid and each honey frame revealed no hive beetles or wax moths and plenty of bees. Credit goes to beekeeper Mark and all the CMCD crew !! Thanks also go to Robin, CMCD Public Relations Specialist, for the great photos.
Mark and Ron at work……
Each super frame was packed with capped honey
The “Holy Grail” for a backyard beekeeper !!
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NaplesBees Apiary Honey Harvest – February 24, 2017
2/24/2017 — Today we did a 42 pound medium size harvest of rich golden honey. The end result was 84 of our 8oz bottles. From actual opening of the hives and putting the honey into the bottles was only a matter of a few hours. Moisture content was measured as slightly under 18%, right where we want it to be. Our bees have once again produced something very special !!
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84 8oz bottles of our golden honey from the NaplesBees apiary.
Happy Honey Harvesting
Full frames of capped honey… the holy grail of honey harvesting.
Full frames of capped honey
Click here for the beekeeping adventures in 2016 and earlier