Summer Time

It is mid July, and we are in the beginning days of our summer dearth in MA. That is a time when very little pollen and even less nectar is coming in. Currently, the Basswood (Linden trees) is finishing their bloom, and the bees are bringing in a little pollen from grasses and minor wildflowers.
As commercial beekeepers, we are always looking for the bloom that will sustain and nourish our bees. I know it sounds like a broken record when we talk about the loss of Purple Loosestrife. But, there was a time when Purple Loosestrife was abundant and in bloom during July and August. It was like a beekeeper’s utopia: The bees in full flight gathering copious amounts of nectar and pollen, drawing out wax in new honey supers, with colonies needing a step ladder to reach the top, full supers of honey for us to harvest, and abundant reserves for the bees to consume during the winter months. What is so disheartening to all of this, is that within the wetlands space that Purple Loosestrife once occupied, now grows Phragmites, also an invasive plant; a reed that has no value to pollinating insects or other wildlife. So, what was the point to do all of this without seeing the whole picture, and not having a realistic perspective of the whole ecosystem? The intentions to restore fragmented ecosystems back to a date in time of whenever? It is noble, but is it realistic? Increases in population and development pushes available pollinating insect’s forage to smaller plots of undevelopable land and disturbed soils, where Buckthorn, Russian Olive, Black Locust, Spotted Knapweed, Purple Loosestrife, and few other wild flowering plants thrive. These plants are vital for a healthy bee population. Honeybees and other pollinating insects have come to rely on invasive plants that have adapted to the fragmented and altered landscapes. Perhaps, it is time for less human intervention and more adaptation to our ever so changing environment.

Bee well,

Andy

A bit about pollen.

Every season we harvest a limited amount of pollen from our hives. The pollen traps are only kept on the hives for a few weeks in the Spring, and again for a week or two in August and September. Pollen is the protein source for honeybees and other pollinating insects. This past spring, due to the prolonged cold, we felt it was necessary to limit our pollen collection time, so our bees could utilize the needed protein. To date, we have harvest a limited amount of pollen. Therefore, we will not be offering fresh bee pollen in its nature form this year. If you have been using and benefiting from our infused honey, please continue to use that product.

Making the connection.

The New England bee season is in full swing. The bees are back from apple pollination in
MA, New York, and New Hampshire, and they are now settled in our MA beeyards. Bees
are looking great, building up quickly, and many hives are already exceptionally strong

Unloading bees at our homeyard in Holliston

Beeyard in Holliston


colonies. We are currently getting into the rhythm of honey season; placing honey supers
out, and getting the bees well equipped with plenty of space to bring in that amazing
MA honey! The Buckthorn nectar flow is on, and it is keeping our bees busy. Black Locust
came in quick and ended with rain knocking off the delicate flowers.

Our season in Massachusetts to produce honey is getting very short. It all happens in
about six weeks; from mid May to the first week in July. After that, it dries up until
August, when Button Bush, Goldenrod and Clethra open up; but they may or may not yield
nectar. Purple Loosestrife was the perfect plant to fill in that gap from July till
September, and to keep the bees well fed and building. Unfortunately, Purple loosestrife
is an invasive plant, and several years ago, numerous state, town, federal, and other
environmental groups started bringing in beetles from Europe that naturally fed on Purple
Loosestrife. Since then, we started seeing a loss in our honey production, and change
on the health of bees going into winter. We have not seen a good flow of nectar and
pollen from Purple Loosestrife in about six years.

Beeyard in Sudbury

Beeyard in Sudbury


Making the connection between flowers (nutrition) and bee health: Insect pollinators need
to have a successive source of protein and carbohydrates thru out the growing season, to
over-winter and prosper the following year. Purple Loosestrife starts blooming end of June
to beginning of September. Bees start raising winter bees in August. So, these plants gave
the bees the needed nutrition for winter build-up. With the eradication of Purple
Loosestrife, our bees and other pollinating insects have lost a rich nutrition source.
Now, Phragmites, which is also an invasive plant with no nutrition relevance (pollen/
nectar), has taken over the wetlands that it was previously filled with Loosestrife.
I will be writing more on this subject in the coming months. Right now, we are trying to
keep-up with the bees, and doing our rounds thru our beeyards.

In Georgia, we made a good crop of Gallberry Honey. Unfortunately, Tupelo did not yield a
crop this season due to the flooded rivers and sloughs.

Bee well,

Andy

Honey is in the air…

Well, things have really come along in Georgia. With a crew of four, we have been making numerous hive “splits”, which is beekeepers lingo for dividing one colony into two colonies. All our nucs are stocked with bees, and with young, well mated, vigorous queens. Thankfully, the Titi flow is over, and we have some time to pull the honey out of the broodnest to give the young queens needed space to lay eggs in. Every year the Titi seems to come in a little different. Last year the first bloom got hit with frost, and the secondary bloom secreted nectar that gave the bees the needed carbohydrate to build new comb and strengthen the colony. This year, the Titi started out slow and steady. Then, when the warmer temps hit in early April, it was like a water tap opened up, and the hives filled every cell with nectar. When working these colonies and moving frames around, nectar was dripping out of the comb and onto our pants and shoes. By the end of a day, we were sticky with Titi nectar.
Currently, we are in a dearth in Southeast GA, meaning no nectar is coming in. The next flow will be from the Black/Sweet gum trees, swamp Tupelo, followed by Gallberry and Palmetto. These flows look extremely promising due to the water levels on the nearby rivers. The Ogechee Tupelo trees are getting their feet wet, which is necessary to yield Tupelo nectar, and the Gallberry bushes are primed with good ground moisture to get the main honey flow started.
Blueberry pollination in Georgia is over, and soon our bees will be headed back to northeast to begin pollinating apples in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York.
As our bees in Massachusetts start to bring in their first loads of Maple pollen, the fragrance of brood rearing fills the beeyard air: “it is finally spring”.

Bee well,

Andy

Wishing Spring

With Spring just around the corner,we are excited for the coming of the warmer weather.Good looking queen Spring is a time of growth and bee development. With some of our bees in Georgia, the warm weather is a great benefit. Our bees have been harvesting a steady flow of pollen from Maple, Willow, Titi, and our hives are growing steadily. We are seeing great hive development; our operation is in full stride, making splits and raising queens. Some of our hives are pollinating some 300 acres of organic blueberries.
But this warm weather of early spring dries the underbrush and fields rather quickly. Fire danger level is extreme. We experienced a small setback on Veterans Day, when a fire broke out in a field at the home yard. Luckily, the wind pushed the fire thru the field, burning the grass under the bee pallets quickly. Sparks from a bee smoker, coupled with very dry grass and an east wind, got the fire going extremely fast. Our crew acted quickly in saving a number of hives and containing the fire. We learned from this event, and steps have been taken to improve our fire prevention throughout our fields.
Our bees in Massachusetts are still entrenched in the snow. We’ve had a few warm days, which allowed our bees a few cleansing flights, but for now our bees remain inside. When the warm northern Spring does arrive, our bees will be in full flight, gathering the first pollen of the season from skunk cabbage, and the more important, Maple tree bloom.
With Spring comes a pollen filled season, and for those suffering with bad allergies, we’d like to recommend our Infused honey. All our honeys are unfiltered, therefore containing small amounts of pollen. Our Infused honey is our Massachusetts wildflower honey infused with extra pollen and propolis harvested from our hives. The result is a thick, nutty taste honey, loaded with pollen and propolis. Customers that have tried this honey product have given us positive feedback. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
All of our honeys are raw, unfiltered, Kosher PARVE and Kosher for Passover Certified.

Bee well,

Evan Reseska

Georgia weather and our bees

The weather in Georgia is currently overcast with a slight drizzle, and Andy Reseska who is currently in the southern state, can even see his breath in the cool air. Yesterday was a much better day for bee flight, with the temperature in the high 60’s. Lately, with this cold weather over most of the country, the bees have been flying a few days per week, collecting pollen from the maple trees that is high in protein. The bee colonies have begun brood rearing, and will be building in population over the next few months . Georgia blueberry pollination is a few weeks away in mid February.

We move some of our bees down to Georgia in November and December to escape the cold northeast, and to give them a headstart . This time spent in Georgia is a great benefit to our bees as the warmer weather allows for us to build up the colonies and make ‘splits’. ‘Splits’ is a term used by beekeepers when we divide one colony into two colonies, and we re-queen the newly made hive allowing us to grow our operation. Furthermore, the forage in Georgia is greatly beneficial with a great deal of nectar and pollen laden flower buds for our bees to harvest from.

Our Bees that have remained in Massachusetts are hunckered down for the cold, and time will tell how they have faired. We left them with plenty of honey stores to keep them fed, and populations looked good when we last checked on them in early December.

CSA Honey Share

What is a CSA?
The acronym CSA traditionally stands for Community SupportedAgriculture.  For us, it means Community Supported Apiculture.  No matter what, a CSA is a socio-economic method of reaching the community directly to distribute locally produced farm products.  In our case, we offer honey as well as candles directly from our apiary.
In our Community Supported Apiculture, customers buy in just like with a farm’s CSA.  Payment to the apiary is made ahead of harvest ensuring both the customer’s receipt of a portion of the honey crop as well as the beekeepers funding for the year’s supplies.  The act links the customer and beekeeper by financial investment, allowing the two to know each other on a more personal level as well as a responsible one.  This is a terrific way to not only acquire real value, but also pitch in and help with local, sustainable beekeeping.

Our honey CSA is a bit different.  Since honey is harvested en masse and stores indefinitely, the crop is not distributed on a weekly basis or expected to be consumed within a week.  The price on the share is set in a way that allows for you to ultimately pay less on our products by virtue of paying up front and in full.  You receive a share of honey and candles at pick-up day that are meant to last for a long time.  A bulk acquisition of honey also secures you from any later price hikes that may occur due to the impact of a short crop, supply increases, etc.  In addition, at the pick-up we all get to meet and come face to face!  For us this is important.  We want to know who you are.  We want to have your feedback and input!  Beyond being connected to us, our CSA, like all CSAs, is about acting with the community to mitigate and bond over the risks of the industry.  A purchase of a honey CSA is as much about a show of support and faith, as it is about goods or nutrition.  At a time where apicultural stability and bee pasture are at threat, a purchase of our honey CSA is a loud voice affirming our honeybee’s importance to the region’s agricultural community and our natural environment.

Our CSA share consists of:

  • 3 – 2lb jars of our Massachusetts Wildflower honey
  • 1 – 9 oz jar of our Massachusetts Clethra honey
  • 1 – 8 oz Infused honey
  • 1 pair  of 8” hand–dipped beeswax tapered candles

PRICE: $ 80.00

PICK-UP DATE: NOVEMBER 2nd, 2013

PICK-UP TIME: 9AM – 1PM

PICK-UP LOCATION: 229 LOWLAND ST., HOLLISTON, MA (OUR WAREHOUSE)

THIS ITEM IS SOLD OUT FOR THIS SEASON.