Why did the Malieta Honey season end so early ?
The Great Summer Dearth
For most of the Eastern Coast from Gympie, Qld down to Byron Bay, NSW there was a dearth (no nectar or pollen available) from around the 20th of November, right through to Mid February.
The Iron Bark in our area failed.
About 3/4 of Malieta Honey’s crop comes from this species in Late Winter – through to Early Summer. Unfortunately, these trees barely flowered at all.
Heavy Rains Late Season
With colonies weakened from a very harsh Spring/Summer, they built up again in Early Autumn, but the torrential rain and flooding from Ex-Cyclone Debbie as well as other rain troughs literally washed most of the tea tree honey crop onto the ground.
Limited Honey Stocks at Season's End
Lionel always leaves approximately 25kg of honey on every hive at all times – this is so he never has to feed his bees sugar syrup. So, when the nights started to cool, and the season ended – the bees were in good condition, but honey stocks were all but gone – and the last few customers snapped up what was left for their toast!
The Dreaded American Foulbrood
Many beekeepers in the Greater Brisbane Area experienced the fatal (for bees) American Foulbrood. This bacterial infection forces the beekeeper to euthanise their bees to stop the spread. Sadly, one of Malieta Honey’s apiaries in was in range of the spread (at Birkdale). The loss of these bees had a massive impact on the viability of that particular apiary.
(image source and credit: http://www.afb.org.nz/burning-afb-colonies)
Learn more on the Facebook Group “AFB AWARE GREATER BRISBANE”
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There’s always next season!