Spring in the Western North Carolina mountains begins for bees at the end of February, when the first pollen of the red maple tree appears. Unfortunately, a late snow storm arrived last March and burned the flowering red maple at its peak. The subsequent freeze killed off nascent wildflower blooms which reduced the nectar flow and caused all our hives to go into distress. We ended up supplying the hives with extra honey supers (boxes) which we store if the need arises.
We always leave each hive 50 lbs. of their own spring wildflower honey. Wildflower honey is rich in nutrients and enzymes to keep the bees alive and healthy during the winter. The health of the hive and the bees is our first priority. Due to the storms, the freeze, and the reserves we kept for the bees, the 2023 spring honey flow (wildflower) didn't leave much honey for our customers. And, as most of you discovered, our sourwood flow in the summer was equally negligible.
I believe a good beekeeper is nothing more or less than how he manages his hives. This winter has tested me, as we have lost many of our colonies. I’m not alone. Many beekeepers I know in WNC had similar losses. In addition to the abysmal spring last year, we are most likely dealing with another repeating issue —the ever-evolving Varroa destructor mite. I’ll have a better battle plan to combat them this year. It will still be an organic method, but more aggressive in application. If our diligence works and the weather cooperates, we hope to have our pure, unadulterated and chemical-free wildflower honey available by the end of June and our sourwood honey at the beginning of August.
We at Killer Bees Honey thank you for your continued loyalty and support which means everything to us and the Hive Girls. Despite all the knowledge gained from books and experience, beekeeping is still a profession whose most precious assets are hope and faith. Here’s wishing you and your hive a hopeful, healthy and humming New Year.