The Goldenrod is Starting to Bloom in the Beeyard

| 9/16/2014 9:11:00 AM

Tags: goldenrod, honey, beekeeping, native plants, North Carolina, Tia Douglass,


When those golden heads start to open up, it is a sign for me to make one last harvesting visit to the hive. If there’s any “available-for-people” honey left, now is the time I take it. There are three reasons for this rationale: (1) I don’t want any goldenrod honey in the honey I sell. Some people actually do like it, but when it’s in the hive, it stinks to high heaven and I’ve never been able to get it past my nose! (2) It (and aster honey as well) crystallizes at record-breaking speed. Although I don’t mind crystallized honey (it spreads like peanut butter!), lots of people don’t like it and I don’t want to sell them honey that won’t make them completely happy (3) The girls love goldenrod and its highly nutritious, so I let them collect all they can to overwinter on!

Beekeeping in Fall

So with any luck, I’ll do one more honey harvest and then switch over to my fall/winter inspections. In the fall the queen slows her egg laying and the bee population declines to ensure that the foodstuffs will be sufficient to make it through the winter.  The fewer the bees, however, the harder it is for the girls to defend against interlopers.  So fall is the time for pretty frequent checks for varroa, food store progression, etc. It is also the time robbers such as yellow jackets, hornets and wasps make their move on unsuspecting, weaker hives.

The saying goes, “Take your losses in the fall,” and I totally agree. It’s better to take two weak hives and combine them than to try and carry them through the winter struggling.  There’s more chance a combined hive will make it to next spring when they will again build up and you can split them back out into two hives!

Greenhouse After Hurricane ArthurSummer Problems in the Beeyard

It’s been a tough summer. Way too much rain! And when you live in the Original Down East of North Carolina where you’re only three feet above sea level to begin with, it means a lot of soggy days wearing fisherman’s boots, not being able to cut the grass, and even though your veggies are in raised beds, pretty crummy yields. The beans, radishes, lettuce, peppers and potatoes put on a pretty good harvest but my cabbage plants, squash and tomatoes were a disaster!  I’m hoping the monsoon-type rain will stop soon. I still haven’t put in my winter garden and pretty soon it’ll be too late.

To add insult to injury, Hurricane Arthur hit us as a category two and for the first time in my life in NC it wasn’t the surge that got us (very little water with Arthur), it was the winds! Four days of cleaning up branches and limbs — and my greenhouse was flattened!  What a heartbreak! And now they’re forecasting a killer winter! Up go the hoop houses!

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