I think beekeeping has got to be one of the coolest hobbies I could have ever discovered. (Did you know? We have three backyard beehives at our Vermont Bed and Breakfast.) Spending time outside, watching the truly awesome activity of the hive, and then there’s the whole honey harvest – it’s just incredible! Add to this great mix the concept that I’m actually doing something to help our environment?! Just doesn’t get much better!
Today’s high is inspired because today was the day that we removed the surplus honey from the hives. All three of our hives had died late this past winter (probably due to a sudden cold snap after the bees had dissembled from the cluster that had been keeping them warm). And then the replacement bees we ordered came late. Very late – mid-June. So while any beehives that had survived the winter had been working since April, and even other newly purchased bees (that were delivered on time) had been working since mid-May, our bees were nearly two months behind. I was grumpy and not so optimistic about the season they’d have. Fast forward to today.
Of our three backyard beehives, one has not prospered. Without knowing exactly why they were struggling, I just did my best to nurture them along, providing pollen and honey to give them energy and strength. Today, this hive proved strong. It is not populated enough to give me any honey, but with a little continued assistance from me, I think it will be strong enough to make it through the upcoming winter.
This post was written Sept 5, 2014, by Julie-Lynn Wood, innkeeper and beekeeper.
By contrast, the other two hives, despite their slow start, have been rocking it! If you’re not familiar with beekeeping, surely you at least know that bees make honey. Bees make honey because they eat honey. And lots of it. A beehive needs about 80 pounds of honey to survive a Vermont winter. (Eighty pounds is 66 of those familiar little teddy bear squeeze jars of honey!) But bees are like hoarders, they just keep making more and more honey, even with they have enough for themselves. Enter the beekeeper. As summer winds down and Autumn rolls in, beekeepers check on their bees and remove any surplus honey. Sometimes, sadly, there isn’t any. But most years, the bees have made more than they need. This year, our bees made lots more. We’ve only done the first step of the honey harvest by removing the honey from the hive, and it isn’t until the next step of removing the honey from the honeycomb itself that we’ll know precisely how much honey we have. However, it seems that each hive, in addition to its own 80 pounds of honey, has made us 60 pounds of surplus honey. That means 120 pounds of honey for us! And that means … we’ll have SWEET Christmas presents this year!
Anyone who knows me learns quickly that I love beekeeping. Honey or honey. But that said, the honey sure does make it even better!
In just one week, on Saturday September 13, 2014, we’re co-hosting (with Goodman’s American Pie of Ludlow) our annual Vermont Golden Honey Festival here at the inn in Proctorsville. You should come by and check out the local, raw honey that’s for sale, as well as the SO MANY bee-themed products – honey apple pizza, beeswax lip balm, honeyed jellies and baked goods, beeswax furniture polish, headbands with bee fabric, honey wings and honey mustard, scarves with honey inspired colors and so much more. For more information, give us a call (802=226-7744) or check out our facebook page by clicking or by searching VT Golden Honey Festival. It’s going to be a ton of fun!