Boy-oh-boy is it dry. We haven’t gotten any real rain here in Sussex County, or northern NJ for that matter in about 3 weeks. This doesn’t have much of an effect on the bee’s health, but it does on the plant on which they forage. Honey is nectar and nectar is the product of soil moisture and sunlight, with little soil moisture we are expecting a below average harvest this year.
To the bee-keepers that read this blog: you should start planning on an earlier harvest because is this dry spell continues, we will go into a full nectar dearth, and they will start eating the honey they made. It would be wise to harvest and then feed them sugar water during this time. Feeding sugar stimulates the queen to continue to lay and will allow you to have a large population for the fall flows.
Does the smoke have an effect on the bees? This is something I have been asked a lot the last couple days and well, my answer is “I don’t know”. I’ve been reframing from doing any inspects of colonies so to let as little smoke into the hives as possible. I imagine they aren’t letting too much air into the hive. The hives that I did open, I didn’t notice any difference in the way that they acted.
Here in New Jersey, I see the forest service with a “Very High” warning of fire, so I worry that something can spark here, and we will have hives in the way of the actual flames. This was the case with a fire in warren county a couple years ago. I had bees within 3 miles of flames, and it was stressful. As we move into the Anthropocene this will become more and more of an issue, or maybe we will have a couple years of intensity that isn’t welcomed while our forests change.
It is a unique time to be alive for sure as I don’t know any historical case from which we learn. I do see it as yet another reason, covid being the first, to support your local farms and farmers. We work with a couple farms in Northern NJ ether as places at which we have hives or that carry our honey. Take a look at the Store locator to find a store near you if there is not a store near your let me know with whom I should be working.
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