Kia ora all you lovely bee supporters!
I know I shouldn’t say this, but, this season was a BEAUTY for Waikato beekeepers at least. A friend of mine said that in the 30+ years she has been a beekeeper this was by far the best year ever. Everything flowered like there was no tomorrow, which of course is what a drought does – it was hot and no rain for at least three months, so the bees were in bee heaven.
When it came time to harvest, the honey was literally oozing out of the boxes. Tom my 16 year old and I took all the honey supers off the hives around our home sites. It was seriously hot work especially working in all our bee gear in temps up to 30 degrees. Some of the boxes were so heavy we had to lift them off together.
Because none of us have seen a season like this we don’t know what’s going to happen next. Will the bees collapse in a heap from all the work they have done? Do they think there won’t be any food to gather next year, hence their hard work this year? Will it be another season like this last one? Who know??? That’s the fun of being a bee farmer.
This year is also the 100 year celebration of the National Beekeepers Association. The NZ Beekeeper magazine has been covering the decades leading up to the present – some interesting snippets have been;
In the war years 1939-1945 – the shortage of honey tins and petrol caused problems and in 1941 there was no petrol at all so the bees had to fend for themselves that year.
Beekeepers were required to give 70% of their crop to the war effort
1943 – the Germans were using honey as an ointment in Red Cross hospitals
DDT caused serious bee deaths in Hawkes Bay after it was sprayed onto flowering apple trees
1953 – Mr A Lowe ( father of George, and including Sir Edmund Hillary ) said “ I believe that these boys toughness can be attributed to the fact that they both eat honey.
Farmers introduced and spread manuka blight to try and kill manuka. By 1956 manuka was resistant to it. Now farmers are planting it back onto marginal land.
The honey I have given you all this year is from our Parawera paddock sites. It is very thick – the bees have obviously dried it well. It is very very luscious!! It must be because of all the flowers in your paddocks! As with all our honey, it is in its raw state, bees wings and all ( just kidding it has been filtered once ) it hasn’t been heat treated nor creamed, so over time it will harden. It might pay to pot it into smaller jars now if you want to liquefy it back again later.
Lastly thank you for keeping an eye on our bees. We had a site stolen this year ( we weren’t the only ones – some also had their honey crop stolen ). If you do see anyone who is not me near my hives please don’t hesitate to contact me.
And remember – keep that wee patch of gorse!!! Thanks!!
PS: if you need more honey – just ask!