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Summer of Turkeys

| 9/27/2010 9:48:16 AM

The growing season is almost over up here in northwest Pennsylvania. All that’s left is a final squeeze of honey and a harvest of buckwheat. It was a good year.

Temperatures were above average, and the rain seemed to come just when we needed it.

beekeepersIn July we took about five gallons of honey from the bees. It is now September which is usually a good month for the honey crop but it’s been cold and the bees are not working very hard. However, we must reduce the hives and get them ready for winter, so we’ll take what they have.

Brother Duane’s been great with the bees. I’ve been hearing horror stories about how many colonies folks have lost. The State Inspector lost 90…all he had. And he told me of a commercial keeper who lost 1700 of his 1800 hives. A visit with two neighboring beekeepers revealed they both lost all of their colonies last winter. Virtually every one I’ve talked to had great losses.

Last year we went into winter with six hives and came out on the other side with five. Duane divided some hives, captured a swarm and we now have eight. Three of our hives swarmed again and we gave them to our friend Dave who came out of winter with just one hive. He’s had hives for a few years now and never harvested any honey, so this gave him a boost.

He now has four good colonies and harvested about four gallons of honey a few weeks ago. Duane tended Dave’s bees all summer and even helped hand crank the extractor to render the honey.

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