Can you Bee-lieve it?

A row of beehives Happy Thanksgiving! I am rejoicing in the grace of God poured out on us this year in respect to our honeybees. We were able to harvest enough wildflower honey to supply our big family until next year’s harvest, and still have some to sell. The bees stayed semi-busy through the part of the summer that is often dry. Toward fall, however, I realized that some of the hives really needed more food supplies for winter. I fed them back some of the valuable harvested honey as well as some sugar syrup and Extracting honey in July 2009now they seem healthy and sufficiently prepared for winter. The honey was valuable, but I am committed to giving the bees what is best for them.

Color grading the honey (these buckets are only partially full) I heard a different story from other beekeepers. Some of my beekeeping friends reported no honey in their hives at all and little to no harvest. “I wish I had started feeding my hives a lot earlier” said one. When I went to the state meeting I heard the same reports from other beekeepers. My gratefulness for what God had provided was increasing. Then I began to hear about the honey crop nation wide. I read reports like “second poorest honey crop in the beekeeping history of Iowa”, and “in most parts of the country, a horrendous year for honey production”, and “perhaps the lowest estimate of a honey crop ever”. The most recent report was that “some are saying this may be their poorest honey crop on record”. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits..."Yikes! We might not have harvested as much as we would have liked, but I am feeling very grateful that God has blessed us so much. I was happy to hear that despite the low honey harvest in general, the overall health of honeybee colonies is reported to be good. It sounds like most beekeepers are carefully looking out for their bees.

Beehives in late February: "C'mon you can make it!" There is always hope for next year. “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

8 Comments

  1. Mrs. G November 27, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    Hmmm…Interesting information! My husband’s uncle is a beekeeper–I wonder what his year was like; he’s been doing it for years, and still is at it in his late 80’s, although I bee-lieve that he now has other family members taking over. Ray Nicholson is his name. Thanks for the post.
    Mrs. G

  2. Donald Staddon November 28, 2009 at 6:10 am #

    Praise the Lord Michael. Truly “all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies” (Psalm 25:10). May the Thanksgiving spirit continue.

  3. Allen P. November 28, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    I don’t know what a “normal” harvest would have been for us, as we just started this year with two hives. We were awed by what we got, though! We certainly appreciate the fact that we can “grow” our own honey. Even when we think we have had a poor year, we still realize that God has richly blesses us with what we *do* have!

  4. Michael November 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm #

    Mrs. G, thank you for your comment – if you find out how Ray’s year was, I would be interested to know. By the way, where does (or did) he keep his bees?
    Wow Allen, I’m happy to year that you actually got some honey in your first year! Good stuff isn’t it! I hope the hives come through the winter well. Do you do anything special to insulate the hives up there in NY, like black wrapping or lid insulation?

  5. Dana December 1, 2009 at 6:20 am #

    Michael,

    I am one of those who had to feed their bees heavily. So will you have any honey left to sell or is it all gone. If you have any left I would like about 2 quarts (or 2 whatever bottles it is in). I got 2 from Steve, but will need a couple more before spring.
    Congrats on the deer and on Daniel’s bible competition win!

    Dana

  6. Crystal December 3, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    Praise the Lord for giving y’all such a ‘sweet’ harvest 🙂
    I hope the price of honey doesn’t dramatically increase on account of the nation-wide poor harvest. I use it a lot – chocolate chip cookies, bread, pudding, etc…

  7. Michael December 11, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    Hi Dana, we have a little honey to sell in pint jars. I can reserve a couple for you.
    Crystal, I’m glad you like to use honey. It’s a smart choice. I think demand for local honey has increased the price even more than the shortage of honey has. I have gotten $9/pint and I know some people are paying $12/pint. (Nice to be on the selling end when that happens.) 🙂 After all, keeping bees the right way is very demanding so getting a better price for the labor makes it more worthwhile.

  8. Michael March 1, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    It’s official now: 2009 was the worst U.S. honey crop nation-wide on record.
    Prices are also high, but I’m glad consumers are smart enough to buy the real thing – USA local!
    It’s a good time to get into beekeeping, especially if you live where average prices for honey are the highest: VA, OH, KY, WV, and NC.
    http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/Hone/Hone-02-26-2010.pdf

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