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Country Discussion Topics
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Drought is ruining honey harvest
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Tom A    Posted 08-13-2002 at 04:08:42       [Reply]  [Send Email]
This spring was a good one for honey, my hives all stored up lots of honey and I had dreams of a record harvest.

Noticed a few weeks later that the bees were a little "testy," and quick to sting--ok, more than "a little," I was starting to look like a pin cushion. Didn't think much (enough) about it though.

Have discovered that they've been eating all the spring honey before I could harvest. Found out it is apparently happening all over the mid-Atlantic, as the drought has reduced available nectar in the fields the bees have to eat something so they're eating the honey they've already stored.

Not good, it looks like we'll get no honey harvest and also have to feed them just to help them survive the coming winter. Oh well, next year *will* be better, right?

Tom A

bob    Posted 08-13-2002 at 05:52:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
Tom, how is the price of honey now afew ywears ago it was real bad. Our processing plant here in Sioux City was laying off people and not doing good. They have a new plant so will be around for a while . All the small oper. have sold out here lot of it shippedin

Tom a    Posted 08-13-2002 at 06:07:28       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Price has stayed about the same as when I started back in '89 or '90. I sell entirely to local customers who prefer buying straight off the farm from somebody they know, so I can sell a a few cents higher than in the grocery store. My cost of production has about doubled over the last 5 or 6 years as the mite problem has grown, and with a stable price it isn't easy to make much.

Big problem is that U.S. beekeepers are competing with foreign imports--much of what folks get in the grocery stores is from China, Brazil, or Argentina or somesuch. They can produce much cheaper than we can, and folks may be willing to pay a few cents more for local, but only a few cents.

ol henry    Posted 08-13-2002 at 17:02:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
hello Tom
For the last few years I have not seen near as many wild bees as I used to, I used to see them quite a lot when I was squirrel hunting, it was pretty common to find a hive in a tree. are the mites the reason for the decline?

Tom A -- probably    Posted 08-14-2002 at 03:29:17       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi Ol Henry:

The mites are now in all 48 contiguous states, and they have basically killed off all the wild honeybees, and have made a pretty good dent in the managed colonies, too.

In Maryland the last few years, hive losses have run around 30%-50%, and that's for the bees that are being managed. The wild bees haven't had a chance. I've seen some discouraging reports lately on the failure to breed a mite-resistant bee, so I think we may see fewer and fewer as folks get out of the business.


bob    Posted 08-13-2002 at 07:49:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
I agree . But this is in every thing we buy. I did get a set of floor mats made in USA tho. darn near wore out a car trying to find them tho

rachel    Posted 08-13-2002 at 04:36:21       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi Tom, sorry to hear about the bees. I am planning to start a hive next spring, as part of our grand plan to be self sufficient by retirement. I never realized how badly drought could affect the bees. Makes sense, no flowers , no honey. Looks like I need to do research and learn a lot before next spring. And, yes next year is always better in some way or another. The hobo, Rachel

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