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9642 Randle Rd
Williamsport, OH, 43164

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


Fair Weather Beekeeping

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

What a wonderful week!


But it didn’t start very wonderful. Cold, wet, clammy, the bees were nasty. I was on a mission of mite treatment.

This involves splitting every hive body,


checking brood and colony health, then putting the acid pads in. You can see how much the bees appreciate that acid.


It’s a quick job. I almost got 600 done in four days. And it’s also a necessary job… mite-free bees in September should equate to healthy hives in the winter. But it’s not a fun job. Especially when it’s cold and the foragers are all hanging around with nothing to do. When I pop the lid and start splitting boxes, they quickly discover a purpose in life: sting the crap out of that guy!

I took quite a few stings on Monday and Tuesday. And the bees were so angry hitting my veil, I could barely hear the radio. It was obnoxious.

Treating a yard takes about 20 minutes, but it’s not a hard thinking 20 minutes. Sometimes I like to live in my mind, but this week, what with the hurricane and the politics, I opted for the truck radio. It’s sort of fun to do a yard with Ari Shapiro (NPR), then do the next yard with Rush Limbaugh.

No, it’s more than fun. It’s an experiment in human psychology— same news… but pick the universe you’d like to inhabit.

mmm… maybe that doesn’t quite describe it. Yesterday I was telling sister Becky about my station flipping antics. She summed it up nicely— “Isn’t it just the difference between fact and fiction?”

Yes, that’s another way of putting it…

By Tuesday afternoon, things started to look a little better.


This week was the first of the goldenrod! By Wednesday, with a little sun in the recipe, the orange pollen started to flood in. And so too the nectar.

When the bees are drying goldenrod nectar, you smell it from a distance. A warm, musty, dirty-sock aroma that you instantly recognize from ten or fifteen feet away. It’s lovely.

Early in the week, with the smell just barley wafting, I shook a frame. A few drops:


By midweek, the cells were starting to fill, and you could see the new white wax on the edges.


And by Friday, sunny and hot, you could pop about any lid and instantly see that we’re going to have a fall honey crop. This was the week! The week we’ve been waiting for.


How amazing it is! Just a few days with the right combination: strong bees, dry weather, heat, and bloom.

The goldenrod is our September savior.


And I realize something about myself. I’m a fair weather beekeeper. Yes, I’ll still do it when the weather’s crappy. And yes, it still beats any other job I’ve ever had. But I don’t enjoy it, I don’t relish it, until the sun comes out and the flowers bloom. When the bees are busy, I’m happy.

And I’m pretty sure they’re happy too. If it’s possible for insects to have emotions. At least they’re not angrily pecking at my veil. By Friday with the goldenrod in full bloom, you could practically work those hives in a t-shirt. Everything gets a lot easier.

And much more productive.