And this is what I did....Along with the help of my husband, we donned bee hats and veils, gloves, long sleeve white shirts and long pants. We took a smoker, hive tool, frame lifter, bee brush, large plastic tub and a large towel to the beeyard. I very gently smoked the entrance to the hive and opened up the top. The topmost super contained sourwood honey. In a period of 3 weeks the bees had drawn comb and made and capped honey in 6 frames. The remaining 4 frames were completely drawn and contained honey, but were not completely capped. Using my frame lifter, I removed the 6 frames, one by one, and brushed the bees back into the hive. As the frames were cleared of bees, I handed them to my husband who put them in the tub and covered them with the towel. Didn't want to create a robbing incident and we were successful. I then removed the super with 4 frames left and started on the second.
The second super contained much darker honey. This was tulip poplar. All 10 frames were filled and capped. We decided since we were in the hive, we'd continue. I didn't use anymore smoke and I continued lifting frames and brushing bees. We were successful in removing all 10 frames, although towards the end the bees were getting QUITE TESTY and who could blame them. I was taking what they had worked so hard for and I felt a little guilty. The only incident came just as we were finishing. Two bees got up underneath my veil and one stung me on the side of my eye. I guess it served me right. (I think I will invest in a hat and veil that attach to a jacket. That way the bees can't get in. Might be a good Christmas gift. Hmmmm.)
It took a while to get all 16 frames to the garage for ovenight storage, but we managed a few frames at a time. They were heavy!
This is what I did with the honey. I extracted the 6 frames of sourwood and 4 frames of the tulip poplar. I'll post on that later, but I used a crush and strain methed and it was very simple.
I added 6 frames back to Walter using only starter strips of wax. To Ora I gave 6 frames of the dark honey and filled in with 4 frames, again, only containing starter strips of wax.
When I inspected my hives today, this is what I found.
Of the 4 new frames in Ora, the workers have drawn comb in 2. Lots of pollen in those cells. There has been no activity on the other 2 frames, but our honeyflows are over. The sourwood is long gone and our weather is getting cool. For the winter, Ora will have 16 full frames of honey.
The bees in Walter have drawn comb in 4 of the 6 frames I added but there is no pollen. They've also finished capping the 4 frames of sourwood I left. It's there for them for the winter. Walter will have 14 frames of capped honey. My goal was for each colony to have 60 pounds of honey to overwinter and the bees have accomplished this and more. I don't think I'll have to feed this year. Also, no more wax foundation. I had to see for myself, but the bees don't need it. They know how to draw comb.
I'm holding this frame with my frame lifter, a tool I like very much. I don't smush bees when I use it. I also wear gloves because I feel more comfortable and I don't want to risk being stung on the hand and dropping a frame of bees.
When I was working the hives today, I noticed there is still quite a bit of pollen coming in. The colors are white, yellow and orange. I'm not sure where it's coming from, but obviously the bees are still finding things in bloom. I also saw very few drones. Our weather is supposed to be very fall-like this week with 40's for morning lows. The drones days are numbered. I might do one more hive inspection before the cold gets here, or maybe not. I'm a very hands-off beekeeper and so far it seems to be working very well for me. My bees know what they are doing. Life in an organic garden :)
If I've bored the pants off anyone who might be reading, I'm sorry, but I had to get this all down. I have to be a better recordkeeper!