2019 Honey Crop as of Jan 2020
I have good stocks of honey left from last year. I have wildflower, clover, sunflower and purple loosestrife honeys. I also have a lot of comb honey left. I have enough honey left so that I won't run out before the 2020 honey crop begins. I have bees on order for this year and I hope to have another great year. I averaged above 90 lb per hive, honey and comb honey.
Package bees and Nucs are on order. I am getting some RusianI-Italian hybrid packa ge bees from Heritage Honeybees, Sullivan, and some Italian hybrid nucs from John Rogers, Baraboo. I have one overwintered hive. I hope to have an exceptional year because I know what I did wrong last year to keep my bees from mite free and what to do this year to fight the mite infestations. I will be using Apivar strips in the Nucs and packages as I receive them and organic acid treatments (Apigard and all summer followed by more Apivar.
My bees are doing fine. no losses to mies or anything else. Some of my bees didn't arrive until mid May but those nucs built up quite well and I added broood to boost them from early package bees from Heritage Honey. So I have 34 colonies of bees spread out in 6 locations. 15 are home here working the neighbors buckwheat fields, about 40 acres of it. Cool weather and rain has moved in for a few days so the bees will be staying in but more good weather is expected. I finally got back to the farmers market on Saturday Sept. 5. I will be there for nice days thru October so my regulars can stock up. I also sell at Eugster's Farm and weekly sales there are better than 3 hours at the DCFM. Sales from home have been good and I have ]been making some deliveries into Madison. I hope to get back to my artwork this winter.
I am checking hives and they are looking very good for overwointering this year. These Russian and Italian hybrids are quite resistant to the mites and my regular mite treatments with a variety of materials have been successful. I hope to have 30 colonies to overwinter.
I have 18 strong healthy hives to go thru the winter. My bees are mostly young Russian /Italian hybrids. They have received regular mite treatments during the year and are now done with the last treatment of,Apigard.
I have just closed up the hives with a small opening on the bottom and some have small openings on the front of the bottom hive body. Some hives have small breaks on the edges but these will be covered. Each hive has a fibre board on top of the inner cover then a 3 to 4 inch screened box of celulose insulation. In a few weeks I will wrap the hives in a 24" wide by 1/4 " insulating, silvered bubble wrap so it covers the m edge of the inner cover. This weekend it will be in the 60's so I don't want to wrap them just yet. I have not fed them and am relying on their honey reserves to get them thru to March. A few hives are a bit short of reserves. and will be fed.
My efforts last year fighting the mites have paid off and I now have 10 hives here that are doing great. During last week's warm up I hauled in 7 hives that died leaving lots of honey which I managed to place on top of each of the good hives which are boiling over with bees. I had warmed the frames on my warming box so they don't get the "cold shoulder." I still have more honey I can give them during the next warm up if they need it.
The hives that died were empty of most of their bees and I would guess viruses got them or the queens had perished and the rest gave up by December. I have one hive at another location that I have not checked yet this winter.
I harvested about 2000 lbs of honey from 23 hives last year. I did not have a very good year for comb honey. Either weather or the work of the Russian /Italian hybrids resulted in poorly finished comb honey frames. They just did not want to cap off the bottom half or third of the cut comb frames.
I ordered replacements for the lost hives, going with Italians from California this year. I hope to run about 25 hives to fill my customer's needs for great honey.