My latest facebook post reads:
It is with great disappointment that I announce that Friday, the 14th of April will be the final order-cut off for this season. With a very, very hard start to the season, a hot, dry Summer, combined with recent weather events, the bees will need all the honey they have on board to remain strong and healthy through Winter. Beekeepers all around are feeling optimistic about next Spring, given the rain we’ve had of late, but there’s little left to do in the coming months but keep the bees well fed, warm and dry. Supply is limited and therefore large orders may only be part filled, but the sooner you let me know what you’d like, the better I can serve you! A big thank you to everyone who helped me and the pesky bees get through this season so far!
I do hope I look at this blog post in a year’s time and say “Wow, we did it tough last season”!
Being at the mercy of the seasons is all part of being involved in primary production.
Although the Malieta Honey Hives themselves were unaffected by flood, wind or rain in the onslaught brought by ex-cyclone Debbie, you only have to look around to Logan, or into the Tweed Area to see the damage flood waters can do.
In the end, the best I can do as a beekeeper is protect the interests of my bees – and that’s to make sure they are warm, dry and well fed. Being well-fed means leaving as much honey in the hive as possible – which means harvesting for sale comes to a stand still.
To put it into kilograms, a strong productive beehive like the ones found in Malieta Honey, will consume around 100kg of honey in a year. And to get 100kg of honey, the bees need to bring in five times that amount in nectar.
So, for a single beehive to be survive the year, they need to have access to at least HALF A TONNE of nectar.
Of course, anything over that amount can then be harvested by the beekeeper. If the beekeeper takes too much, the bees will literally starve to death during the Winter season (or any other season with no nectar available) if they are not fed supplements.
It is Malieta Honey’s policy to avoid feeding sugar syrup at all costs, so in line with that policy, retail sales of honey will cease after the 14th of April until next season.
This doesn’t mean a holiday for me as a beekeeper though. It’s now time to start building and painting in preparation for what is hopefully going to be a great Spring!
Stay warm and dry!
Lionel and the pesky bees.