Beekeeping in Vermont...

Things are winding down and ramping up at the same time. I don’t know if you have noticed but the mornings are much cooler, some trees are starting to turn, goldenrod is starting to brown, but APPLES are peaking. We’re heading towards the final weeks of the 2012 active beekeeping season and if you’re like me you’re thinking about when to treat for mites (or if to treat), deciding about feeding, wondering if the bee population is sufficient for the winter, pondering if the colony will survive at all, speculating on how cold and long will the winter bee, even hoping the wooly worms are wrong this year. With these mental games being played there is also one real tangible activity that remains to occur.

Yes it’s late summer extraction time! And it looks to be a good one. For Heavenly Honey Apiary we’re hoping for another 300-400 pounds. If this happens we will have collected nearly 900 pounds this season. THAT WILL BE OUR BEST YEAR EVER! We also provide extraction services for other beekeepers and the need there is also strong. I’m seeing yields about a ½ pound per frame greater than last year. This may not seem like much but over 40 frames it’s another 20 lbs. of honey which for a new beekeeper is tangible. I like this time of year especially with new beekeepers. The look on their faces as the honey exits the Maxant 20 frame extractor dropping into a clean white pail is one of relief mixed with joy. The relief that they actually got honey and the joy to know they made it through their first (or second) beekeeping season.

So as fall approaches we wind through extraction season and finish preparing the colonies for winter keep in mind it’s not time to sit back and wait for spring, but instead read as many bee books you can, come to the VBA winter meeting during the Farm Show 2013, pick the brains of your local (old) beekeeper, and dream about how much more honey and bees you want for next year.