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Make Way For A Million Honeybees

Rogue Honeybees 19 Original Colonies Mead Rogue Farms Hopyard Independence OregonWhile there’s been a lot of news lately about the declining number of honeybees, we at the Rogue Farms Hopyard are fortunate enough to be bucking the trend.

We’re getting ready to add another 100 hives to our original 19 colonies. 100 new hives, 10,000 honeybees apiece. That’s a million more bees about to land on our doorstep.

And they’re all coming this week.

The starter hives, also known as nucs, are coming from Old Sol Apiaries of Rogue River, Oregon. Rogue Beekeeper Josh Cronin met the founder of Old Sol at beekeeping conference last fall. Cronin was impressed with how Old Sol has carefully bred a variety of queen bees that are better adapted to life in Western Oregon. (Most commercial queens are raised in Hawaii.) They’re hardy, able to better withstand our cold and damp winter and spring seasons. They’re also disease and pest resistant.

A nice bonus, Old Sol’s founder John Jacob is a former Rogue. He worked at one of our pubs to pay his way through college.

The job of installing these 100 new starter hives will keep Cronin busy 24 hours non-stop.

So where will the 100 additional hives be placed? We'll place them alongside the Willamette River. That's a prime spot for the honeybees to forage on wild summer blackberries. They can also fly across the river to forage in the wildflowers of the Ankeny Wildlife Refuge.

A photo from last spring when Josh was adding super boxes to our hives near the entrance road.

The day begins with a 204 mile drive from the Rogue Farms Hopyard to Old Sol Apiaries. Cronin wants to get there when the bees are still flying. That allows him to inspect each of the nucs to make sure there’s a healthy queen and plenty of nurse bees.

After the foraging bees have returned for the evening, Cronin and Jacob will load the 100 starter hives into the back of our truck and Cronin will return home about 11pm. But he won’t be going to bed.

During the overnight hours, while the bees are asleep, he’ll install the starter hives into our permanent hives. The new honeybees will wake up in the morning in their new homes, ready to begin exploring the Hopyard as they forage for nectar and pollen among our hops, rye, roses and pumpkins.

And then, Cronin gets to take a nap.

You’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of his labor next fall when we harvest the Rogue Honey and begin brewing new batches of Rogue Farms 19 Original Colonies Mead and Honey Kolsch.

Click here to see more about the Rogue Farms Honeybees.

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