Pulling frames of fresh capped honey from a few of our bee colonies yesterday never felt more rewarding. This year has been a challenge for our bees and our honey operation. The nectar flow never happened here this Spring. We lost colonies of bees and the ones that remained were in decline.
Usually Spring is a time of year when the bees are building up their stores of pollen and nectar; in response the queens pick up their laying of eggs and the colonies explode with young worker bees that are eager to bring in the Spring nectar. This year got off to a very bad start. Instead of harvesting honey we were having to supply feed and pollen patties to our bees to allow them to build back up after their decline. Instead of selling honey we invested thousands of dollars in purchasing 20 new colonies to get our colony numbers back up. These new colonies came in small 5 frame boxes (called nucleus colonies) that needed to be fed and built up until they could be transferred into full size 10 frame boxes. We kept most of these an hour away at our expansion beeyard in north Hernando County. All this to say, we put a lot of time and resources into our bees this year! Now that our colonies are finally building up and producing honey, it never tasted so sweet!
We have had a late Summer nectar flow kick in that has been a welcome surprise. I’ve been having a tough time keeping up with some of our strongest colonies, as it seems they are bringing in nectar as fast as I can stack honey supers on top of them! Some of those 5 frame nucleus colonies we bought back in May are now 4 boxes high, that’s 40 frames of bees and honey!
We recently went through our colonies and pulled 5 boxes of the first honey to be ripened to share with our customers who have waited so patiently. For now we have 1 and 2 lb. jars available. If all goes well we will have gallons available after the Fall honey comes in which is usually late Oct. One of our strongest colonies is also working on drawing out and filling a box of comb honey for those who enjoy biting into fresh honey comb in our jars of chunk honey. Things are finally looking up this season for Harris Honey and we invite you to celebrate our harvest with some fresh, local raw honey drizzled over a hot biscuit with butter.