BeeGeorge Honey, LLC
Oh my, I fell behind at these semi-annual postings!
2019 has been another great year.
I’m in an odd situation due to two years of back to back record crops. I’ve got more honey than I have markets to sell it in. I’m looking for some additional retail outlets (farm stands, grocery stores, other stores), reasonably nearby on the eastern shore or Annapolis area where I can retail some honey.
Nucs are fun to work with and watch grow but they are a ton of labor hours. I really need to get into each nuc every couple days to stay on top of things. The 2019 nucs built-up very quickly and I had most of them out the door in April and the first week in May! That is unusual as most years they aren't ready until the middle and end of May. Customers were surprised and elated to get them so early.
My bees looked great all year long and produced a bumper crop. The hives were, by and large, healthy and bursting with bees, which unsurprisingly, is the key to getting a good honey crop.
I’m also reducing the number of hives I keep in each yard. This expands the number of yards and trips taken aka “work”. As a honey producer, I always want more flowers (nectar sources) than I have bees. In other words, I don’t want my hives to have to compete against each other for flowers. Finding the right balance is an iterative process. I find that the longer I have hives in one area, the better the hives do (long discussion). Also, the number of other neighborhood bee hives changes and I need to adapt to changing conditions.
The honey harvest went very smoothly except that I had trouble with both of my extractors. I kept them working but it was a little nerve racking. Once I pull the honey frames off of the hives, I cut off the wax capping (uncapping) sealing in the honey. The uncapped frames are placed in an extractor which is a vat that spins very quickly. Honey is thrown to the side of the vat and bottled from a value on the bottom of the extractor.
Anyway, I’m sitting on a mess of honey. If you know a good market, nearby that can move some product … please let me know. Type your paragraph here.
Honey = 100%
Anything Else = 0%
Yucko and Stinky. Spring 2020 was just unacceptable and ungood. (Maybe you can tell that I’m less than happy with the weather).
February was nice and warm, early March was great, later March was ok and BAM (sound of broken dishes) April stunk! Cold and wet.
Did I mention cold? Big hives didn’t have a problem and grew accordingly but small hives, trying to build up really suffered. Not only was there insufficient forage… Not only was their few acceptable hours for flying… Not only were those hours clouded too much wind and too much rain… (am I complaining too much?) I’m writing in early May and it’s still stinking cold, much too cold for bees to work.
So what happens is that bees have to keep their young (eggs, larva and pupae) warm. This is still true on warm days but it doesn’t take much effort to heat the brood nest, a large brood nest, when it’s nice and warm outside. When it’s cold, the bees have to spend most of their effort on warming things up inside.
If there aren’t a ton of bees to perform these tasks, they can only keep a small brood nest warm. What isn’t kept warm, freezes. So the queen is laying eggs like a fiend only to have her brood freeze every evening. Repeat process.
Either the constant stress further weakens and stresses the hive or eventually they slowly build their way toward a large enough population that can support a larger brood nest. Hope that’s not too confusing.
Yes, hives still built up but it was a lot rougher than it needed to be. Ok, I’m done complaining. Don’t even ask me where the flowers are.
Honey Bee update Fall 2018
You wouldn't think so but it turned out to be a good year. With extended cold spring that went well into April and all the rain, all the rain, I didn't have high hopes for the honey harvest. The bees surprised me with a good crop. Almost all the hives had boxes full of honey. Normally, a high percentage of the hives just don't produce an excess crop. Not this year! Also the hives just looked very healthy enabling them to take full advantage of the available nectar.
Cross your fingers that everyone stays healthy and happy over the winter.
So the good news is that I've got lots of product. By the way, if you are a vendor/retailer who wants to sell my honey, let me know!