It’s that time of year again. Each year around tax day, I add honey supers to my hives. It’s no exact science, but I like to keep honey supers on my hives from, roughly, Tax day to Independence day. The bulk of the Spring and Summer blooms occur during that time period so my bees get an opportunity to work the best blooms and store away honey. Usually this process works well and I harvest several hundred pounds of honey. I see some variance as you might expect…some years I get 200 pounds, some years I get 500+ pounds…either way, a good bit of honey
I harvested the honey last weekend with high expectations as the grass around me was green and trees and things seemed healthy. Unlike my friends elsewhere in the country, we have had a good deal of rain so things are growing well here in WV. Imagine my surprise then when I cracked the first hive and found only a frame or two of capped honey. I repeated this same scenario in hive after hive. The bees seemed mostly in pretty good shape but I found very little honey.
A sudden mini-panic set over me as I closed up the last hive….something is wrong! As I pondered it, my only conclusion is that our late frosts, cool spring and abundant rainfall came at the exact wrong time on my ridge top apiary and it left me with a poor honey crop. As confirmation (I need this now…it hurts my heart you know…), none of my fruit trees bore a single piece of fruit. My sorghum crop flopped. In general, it was just bad I think. As I mentioned, the bees look good so I have to blame it on the weather. That line of thought settled me down. I was so frustrated though, that I barely took any pics of the harvest this year. Instead, please enjoy this picture of my cat…the internet loves cats, right?
We processed the honey and all-told, we got around 60 pounds of honey. That’s 10-20% of normal so you can see the problem here. Unfortunately, that means I am already sold out of this year’s honey crop. Not a great way to pay for hive repairs or new queens. Alas, that is the life of a beekeeper I suppose…
The only other thing that is noteworthy is this cool Marbled Orb Weaver spider I found outside one of the hives. He was a pretty thing. I tend not to mess with stuff around the hive. I figure everything has a purpose…well, except mosquitoes and ticks…those things just suck. Anyhow, a pretty spider always goes a long way to brighten my day too! Next year, we’ll hope my new spider friend brings me good luck and a better harvest!