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Honeyrun Farm produces pure raw, honey, handcrafted soap, and beeswax candles in Williamsport, Ohio

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vox clamantis in deserto

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

Another one for the beekeepers.

 Feed me!

Feed me!

Farmer Bill, followed by many, loved by many more, thought last week's post had enough merit to share with his admirers. So I'm thinking there may be a few more beekeeping eyes present at the moment, and I don't want to waste the opportunity. (With the usual blog blather.) Make hay while the sun shines, right Farmer Bill?

It's time to feed those bees! Vox clamantis in deserto. It means, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness."

(Impressive, huh? You didn't know I could speak Latin? Sure, why, all the time back at Dartmouth we used to get drunk and have wild Latin parties. Good clean Ivy League fun, just for cacat olim, et giggles.) 

A voice crying in the wilderness. Aside from trying to sound smarter than I am, I referenced that bit of Latin in my last post because sometimes it feels like the preaching and drum beating falls on deaf ears. No, not exactly deaf ears, maybe beginner ears. And truthfully I'm right with you. I didn't know the importance of summer mite control and feeding protein until learning the hard way- years of watching my bees dwindle into fall. And of course I have gleaned some good tips from commercial beekeepers who are always ahead of the curve. At huge expense, the commercial guys are feeding protein!

Why? Because the bees need it. If you haven't noticed, July and August are horrible pollen months. Just stand at the hive entrance and watch what little comes in. And I sometimes wonder if what little is coming in, is actually benefitting anything...

It seems a little absurd, being the middle of summer and all, but we're in a pollen dearth right now. The days of weedy fields and diverse forage are long gone. It's clean mono-crop as far as the eye can see.

You can do your bees (and yourself) a real favor by giving the girls a few pounds of protein. Whether it be in block form that you have to cut, powder form that you have to mix, or the easy, lazy way of feeding patties. They're expensive, but I like the patties.

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We feed a lot of them.

I've learned that during this mid-summer dearth, the more, the better. They need something to help build brood until the coming goldenrod. Ideally, every hive will get four or five pounds. But what makes it hard is you can't feed it all at once. Hive beetles can get bad when the bees take longer than a week to finish the patty.

We start in August with two pounds, and continue making it around to the bee yards right up until the pollen starts flowing again in mid September. If the bees have made a lot of honey, it means a lot of lifting. A workout! You have to place the protein where it's needed- between the brood boxes.

It's all about nutrition. Recently there have been some great articles in American Bee Journal. 

Not ideal, all this work and expense, but definitely worth it based on what I've seen. The bees are bigger, stronger and fatter by fall and they'll be ready to take advantage of that beautiful goldenrod flow.

Or go out and gather you buckets of tasty goldenrod pollen...

Either way, your bees will go into winter much stronger. Between controlling mites and feeding protein, a little TLC right now can pay big dividends later.