Honey Harvest! — August 2022

The honey harvest is filling up our barrels, and we are happy to report that 2022 went better than 2021. The lovely comb above is another blue ribbon effort that came home from the Iowa State Fair! We still have a lot of work to do before the whole crop is cleared, but we are pretty deep into the process and know the bee world will keep turning. We were pretty nervous in early July because not much surplus was in the boxes. This year we gathered substantial honey in August, so some locations will have two good harvest rounds instead of just one or none. That will warm a beekeeper’s heart every time!

This image came from our first day on the harvest route. It was a beautiful day when we discovered several yards had performed much better than we anticipated!
Here is a yard on pollinator ground that started doing very well in early July — soon after this picture was taken, the honey started to add up and the pollinator mix exploded into a beautiful sight!
And here is a pollinator property just when it came into bloom! A beautiful place!!!

Our beekeeping rhythm has changed quite a lot in the last few years. Right now we are simultaneously harvesting, extracting, and carrying out parasite controls. For almost twenty years we used thymol/Apiguard as the primary late summer mite control. That required us to clear all of the honey boxes and stop trying for surplus honey starting in early August. Now we use an organic acid treatment that is food safe, so we are able to control mites and continue to collect late honey if we have the good fortune of an August or early September flow. That approach has benefited us a lot this year! I dare to say we have a new system that is proving more effective for mite management and for honey production. Pretty much nothing works all of the time or forever, but I am hopeful that we are making a breakthrough in 2022 that will keep us going and do a lot to elevate our longterm potential as a company.

In the shorter term, we are happy to have some good boxes of honey to extract and the bees appear to be healthy. Our next step is to finish the harvest and make sure our parasite control measures are working as intended with lots of testing. Then, perhaps, we can close out the year more happy than nervous! Away we go!