Beekeeping Blog

Honey Flow Prospects 2021

We are pushing surplus boxes out of the building as fast as we can manage in hopes of catching the major honey flow. The intro image shows one of our flatbeds that took a nosedive into an underground spring as one of our crews was en route to a supering destination. We hooked up two trucks to heave it out. It was one of our simpler rescues over the years.

It appears that the main honey flow is underway. While I tend to see the majority of the annual crop arrive in July, we were getting very nervous because June seemed to be nearly ideal for surplus honey collection. It had a strong clover bloom and excellent heat of 85-95F. I can only guess that it was actually a little too dry for the plants to secrete nectar because we had the best June foraging temperatures that we’ve seen in the last decade. We fortunately got some substantial rain that gave us a second chance at a 2021 crop, and there are signs of progress.

Here is a single that got overfull with honey before supering. There weren’t many in this condition, but we found some!

And here is one of the earliest boxes of true surplus honey that we spotted around ten days ago on the southern end of our operation. It was my first sign of hope that we might not get skunked on the 2021 crop.

Seeing the earliest boxes of honey is a miracle every year.

At the least, the bees have gained a ton of weight and are in better shape for the next month. We are expecting a big cool down of 4-5 days with significant rain. Then it is supposed to heat up again. As long as we get back above 80F next week, I think we are going to make some kind of real crop.

We are almost a month behind our usual supering schedule in eastern Iowa because I prioritized intensive mite control and hive splitting for an extra few weeks. It also meant rolling the dice on missing the crop if it came early. Luckily the honey prospects are showing up later, so we didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot on that front. The Lynnville side of the operation has had all their surplus boxes out for a few weeks working on our more traditional management calendar (though the honey didn’t come in June over there either).

As usual, I’ll end the post with hope that things are going to turnout okay! In roughly one month I’ll be able to report if we filled many honey boxes. Best wishes to everyone else’s beekeeping efforts in the meanwhile!

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