Bottom Supering

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Here’s a look at the first of the the 2016 harvest. In the next few days this nectar will be capped by the bees and ready for extraction and bottling. All natural, raw and unpasteurized. We at Ames practice natural beekeeping. Which for us means that we do not use synthetics whatsoever in our hives, no antibiotics or nerve disrupting miticides. For information on our practices, and organic beekeeping see: What is Natural Anyways?. Our property is also 100% pesticide and herbicide free, which reflects in the taste and quality of our honey. More importantly than all of that is that our bees are not numbers in a spreadsheet, but rather are treated with respect and managed closely. We only take excess honey from them, not honey from the brood chamber which the bees need for their own health.

We hope that everyone enjoys tasting it as much as we did “making” it.

This honey in particular comes from our McGrath Lake Apiary (pictured) and will be shipping out to pre-order customers in Ottawa and Nova Scotia.

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Supering

A quick note on our “supering” technique at Ames.

We use a technique called bottom supering. Which means that when the brood boxes are completely full and almost overcrowded with bees, we add a honey super above and when the bees have drawn comb and filled 50% of it, we lift it up and place another super underneath it, this continues till either we begin honey extraction, or until there are a maximum of five supers per hive. Anything more is too heavy and too high to be properly managed. We find this technique works really well at encouraging the bees to store their extra honey in the supers rather than the brood box. If we were to place the empty supers on top, the bees are more likely to ignore it, and store their honey below which can cause a lack of space to lay eggs and maintain hive population.

We also use something called a “queen excluder”. This is a controversial subject in beekeeping circles. The queen excluder is a metal or plastic grid which allows workers to pass through, but not the queen. this way the queen cannot lay eggs in the supers designed for honey. Some beekeepers believe this slows honey production, but we have not seen this happen.

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