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Help Rogue Farms Grow Honeybees

Part three in our series, Beekeeping 101.

Hive Splitting-051815-0001

Rogue Farms honeybees return to the hive from foraging.

There’s no doubt honeybees and other pollinators are in trouble. US beekeepers lost 42% of their colonies from spring of 2014 to spring of 2015.

To the beekeepers credit, the overall number of colonies has remained steady for the past several years. But with losses mounting, they say they can’t keep going on like this much longer.

So how can you help the honeybee and other pollinators? Here’s the Rogue Farms National Pollinator Week guide to making a difference.

Plant More Flowers

Chamomile flowers in the Rogue Farms Revolution Garden.

Chamomile flowers in the Rogue Farms Revolution Garden.

The best way is to plant more native wildflowers, trees and bushes that produce pollen and nectar. Honeybees need both to survive.

  • Plant a variety of species that flower at different times of year. You can grow flowers from spring through fall with some planning, and the bees will appreciate having food sources available through the seasons.
  • Plant native species that are more resistant to pests and diseases.
  • Avoid or reduce the use of pesticides. If you must spray, do it late in the day after pollinators are done foraging. Also, keep the plants healthy so they can more easily resist pests on their own.
  • Don’t freak out over honeybee swarms. Swarms are harmless if you keep your distance, and they’re a sign that the hive is healthy. Call a beekeeper who’ll capture the swarm and find a new home for it.

A honeybee swarm at Rogue Farms. Swarming happens when a hive becomes overcrowded and half the bees leave to find a location for a new colony.

The Xerces Society has a ton of information about what to grow in your part of the country.

Bee-Friendly Plant Lists
Wildflowers for Pollinators
Pollinator Conservation Resource Center

What Is Rogue Farms Doing?

Hive Splitting-051815-0043

Our honeybees were so healthy this spring, we were able to split several hives and add more colonies to our 1,200-acre Rogue Farms apiary. This is how we grow more honeybees.

  • We send our 7,140,289 honeybees south to California every year where they spend the winter months in an almond orchard. Almond pollen and nectar are very nutritious and our bees don’t have to be clustered in the hive to keep out Oregon’s chilly and wet winter weather.
  • We grow a diversity of food sources for them. The Rogue Farms honeybees pollinate our Dream Pumpkins, Jalapeños and Prickless Marionberries, so we put their hives right next to those fields. The honeybees also forage in our neighbors’ apple and cherry orchards in spring, as well as the gazillions of wild blackberries, clover and other flowers that bloom in the fields during summer. Finally, we seed acres of wildflowers just for the bees.
  • When we harvest honey, we only gather from the top boxes of the hive where the surplus honey is stored. We leave behind what’s in the lower boxes so the bees can feed themselves.

branded hives

We want our honeybees to be healthy and happy. They pollinate crops for us, and provide the honey we use in our mead, kolsch, braggot and soda. They take care of us, so we take care of them.

Come out to Rogue Farms during National Pollinator Week and see how we grow honey, beer, spirits, ciders and sodas.

roguefarms grow the revolution

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love what you guys are doing. You guys have my respect.

    June 19, 2015

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  1. Help Rogue Farms Grow Honeybees | Rogue Farms | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

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