The past 12 months of weather have been brutal for farmers in North Carolina. Asheville airport (AVL), which averages 45.57 inches annually of precipitation, reported a record-breaking 79.36 inches of rainfall - almost double the usual annual total, and more than double what downtown Asheville at 36.99 inches, usually sees. Because the Smokey Mountains create a rain shadow, Asheville is usually the driest place in North Carolina. The wettest is The Highlands area with a normal precipitation total of 84.5 inches. Interestingly then, the driest and wettest places in N.C. are within fifty miles of each other.
Killer Bees Honey is located near Gorges State Park which puts us between Asheville and The Highlands. Our elevation in Lake Toxaway is 3500’. Orographic lift causes significant rainfall on our mountaintop apiary. Last December, we had 7.80” of rain in one day; 18.05 inches overall for that month.
Let’s all take a moment to reflect on the fact that climate change is a hoax.
… time’s up (in more ways than you can imagine).
The hive girls of KBH suffered greatly. Massive rainfalls not only limited flying time, but the violence of the rain washed out pollen and nectar from the flora. This caused trees like tulip poplar to shut down bloom production. Honeybees that last June should have been filling supers with honey, were starving and had to be fed sugar water. We use cane sugar, not corn syrup to feed, but nothing can replace the antimicrobial, antioxidant and general nutritional value of local nectar. Hives which really are “super organisms” were in distress and collapsing. We did not harvest any honey in 2018, preferring to let the bees keep their limited supply for winter and still, we lost 60% of our hives. We faired better than many beekeepers however, as those that were shortsighted and harvested the minimal honey their bees produced lost entire operations.
But the past is another country. We don’t live there.
Last month, Killer Bees Honey purchased forty “nucs” and thirty packages of bees from Georgia and South Carolina. Combined with our over-wintered surviving hives, we will have nearly 100 colonies in four different apiaries. Thanks to the beekeeper's wife, we have partnered with some incredible people and organizations. All share the same passion for conservation and improving the quality of our natural resources. They are:
- Skyterra Wellness Retreat
- Friends of Panthertown
- Area 52 (classified location)
- Killer Bees Honey Farm/Apiary
The isolated locations of these out yards in both the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forest’s guarantees the purity of our honey. Having said this and in keeping with our brand, all honey from the four different locations will be analyzed for purity of content and floral sources. The results of which will be published in their entirety on our website as soon as they become available.
This spring has been warmer and drier then 2018. Three days ago, the tulip poplar and black locust trees began to bloom two weeks early on our mountain top. I believe nature is playing a bit of catch up from a disastrous 2018. Killer Bees Honey has positioned several million tiny pollinators throughout Western North Carolina to assist in the effort. Let clear skies and strong tail winds follow them in all their sorties.
(The above photo depicts a NOAA approved weather station located in our apiary)