Beekeeping Blog

It’s Not Over Yet! Honey Flow 2019 (and a kayak!)

We left the honey flow scene for a bit and escaped to visit family out in Colorado. It turns out that Andrew is a respectable fledgling kayaker!!! I think the odds are good that he will remember this outing 🙂

I was excited to come back and see how the bees fared in our absence. Prior to departure we got plenty of boxes on the hives to make sure there was plenty of room for the most bounteous flow they could manage. Overall it looks like we continue to make progress. The massive clover bloom is a remnant of what it was a few weeks past, but areas that were mowed have bounced back in the ditches and yards. Trefoil is a similar story.

When we landed back in Cedar Rapids, it was around 70F and wet. Apparently there was an unexpected +1″ rainfall that gave us a helpful drenching during a two-week stretch of temperatures that have mostly ranged 90-100F without much rain. Soybeans are most likely to yield during their early bloom (before their own leaves close the canopy) after a fairly heavy rain that is followed with +85F temperatures. As I mentioned in the last post, soybean blooming patterns are variable this year, but the next 10-14 days will cover the bulk of the bloom in our area. The potential is strong.

Another flower that is doing quite well right now is bee balm. I am fascinated to see how well it is doing–I’ve mostly regarded it as incidental and not a significant foraging flower in our region. I suspect the pollinator initiative is making the difference because it is now gradually moving into ditches and landscapes that were not necessarily planted in a pollinator program. Here’s an image from yesterday afternoon:

One of several impressive stands of bee balm on this hillside.
An Italian and a Carniolan foraging together 🙂 🙂

I always hesitate to quantify the crop until it’s in the barrels, but it’s clearly going to be decent at minimum. For the first time since 2012, we got good heat in June and July–exactly the recipe to give us the best odds for a better than average honey year. In several weeks we’ll know our exact harvest results. Right now we’re pulling cut comb as it gets capped, and the extractors will start spinning in the next week or two as well.

2019 comb dripping before packaging. Always a happy sight!

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