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Rogue Honeybees, Healthy And Busy

The New York Times story about another massive die-off of honeybees has a lot of people talking.

Here at Rogue Farms Hopyard, we’re scratching our heads over the news. Are we just lucky, or are we doing something right?

Rogue Honeybee

A Rogue Honeybee foraging for pollen and nectar in April.

The first sign that something might be wrong came early this year when California Almond growers found themselves desperately short of honeybees. At the start of the bloom, they had only 500,000 honeybees, when they needed three times as many.

And then, the New York Times followed with its bombshell that many beekeepers reported winter losses of 40% to 50%, which may be the worst winter on record.

Here’s the situation for the Rogue Honeybees:

Rogue Beekeeper Josh Cronin uses a smoker to calm the bees when he opens the hives.

Rogue Beekeeper Josh Cronin uses a smoker to calm the bees when he opens the hives.

  • We lost two hives over the winter, about 10% of our 19 hives.
  • Before the days of Colony Collapse Disorder, winter losses of 10-15% were normal.
  • We will easily rebuild those two hives this spring, and will add 100 new hives in May.
  • Honeybee populations naturally cycle up and down throughout the year depending on how much food is available and weather conditions. Summer populations can be three to six times bigger than winter populations.

Truth is, we’re in no position to judge commercial beekeepers or the farmers who rely on them. The crops we grow here at the Hopyard either don’t need pollination or self pollinate. Our bees have a wide variety of wild and domestic sources of food, including hazelnuts, cherries, roses, pumpkins, raspberries and wild blackberries.

We raise honeybees for one reason only – to make honey for our Rogue Farms Mead, Honey Kolsch and any other honey based beers or spirits that we can think of in the future.

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