Beekeeping, Gardening and Quilting in Eastern Wake County, North Carolina

Friday, July 31, 2009

Brushy Mountain E-Flyer

I get an e-flyer from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm about once a month or so. This month Shane Gebauer, General Manager, writes about feeding your hives and for some, the terrible honey year.

I have been speaking to beekeepers up and down the east coast and most agree that this has been a terrible honey year. It was a wetter than average spring, and continues to be so in the northeast. I harvested the spring crop in June and averaged just 8 pounds per hive. Granted I left some behind to get the bees through to the sourwood flow. I now have no sourwood and honey which was left has been consumed.
Certainly, there are areas that are doing better, but for the most part its the same story. The reason I mention this is not to express my disappointment in the honey crop, but rather to warn of insufficient reserves in the hives. Right now I am feeding because they don't have, nor can they make, enough honey to sustain the colony, let alone get it through winter. Nutrient is one of the most under-recognized factor in colony health. Be sure your bees are not hungry bees.

This is the main reason I left so much honey on the hive for my bees. I don't want them to starve and I don't want to be feeding them now. I have four very strong hives - we'll see how it goes for the remainder of the summer.