2012 Honey Harvest

Those who predicted a drought for 2012 were certainly on the mark. The beans and corn are close to being truly scorched, and most of the grass in the area is parched into remission already. I’ve been fortunate with the strong bloom in white sweet clover and trefoil that had just enough moisture to provide quite a lot of nectar in my area. The biggest honey flow came after a two-inch rain followed by +90F temperatures.

I’ve just returned from a faculty development seminar on “Ruin and Revival” in post WWII Germany and Poland, so this required leaving the bees for about two weeks. I try not to be gone for more than ten days in the summertime, but I managed to arrange the hives well enough to have a bit more extended absence. It’s true that some hives could have used an additional box of space, but it was pretty satisfying to come home and fill up the truck with honey boxes. Here are 140 boxes that are quite heavy:

The limit for our flatbed is about 130-150 boxes–otherwise the bed gets too close to the tires to feel very safe going over bumps in the road or railroad tracks. On the back of the truck you can see the fume boards that we use to push the bees down from the honey supers, and on the right (just behind the cab) you can barely see the blower machine that we use to evacuate the remainder of the bees that didn’t choose to run away from the fumes. The fume boards have worked great in the hot sunny weather.

My yields have varied somewhat. A few yards have averaged 150 lbs, and then I’ve got a couple of smaller yards that are late splits and produced half that amount of honey. This was a year when the big honey came before some splits were at full force. Other splits that did not have any queen issues were able to produce as much as the doubles.

Still, it’s good to get some kind of crop off all the hives in any year, so I don’t have anything to complain about. My understanding is that a lot of Iowa has not had the kind of honey production that has occurred around the Cedar Rapids area. There is still some time, and I can see some honey coming in–but it has definitely slowed down from what happened during the past month. We will see if it will keep coming during the next two or three weeks. Then it will be mite-treatment season once again……

As for the traveling, I don’t have much to share that is remotely related to bees or agriculture. So, I shall randomly choose a wall theme. Here is the pleasant experience of Krakow’s medieval wall–now providing a comfortable shadow for your outdoor dining experience:

And here is part of the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall, showing a much more hopeful depiction than once existed in that place:

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