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Posts tagged ‘bees’

Hive Splitting: Hail to the Queen

To make more honey, bees need more space, which means we have to split the hives. Check out how we do it.

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Taking Care Of Our Honeybees

Autumn is one of the busiest times of year for the beekeeper at Rogue Farms.

There’s no more wild sources of nectar and pollen for our honeybees to forage and soon it will be too cold for them to leave the hive. So in the next few weeks our beekeeper has 7,140,289 mouths to feed, medicate and shelter before winter arrives.

The bees took care of us this spring and summer by pollinating our crops and making the honey we used in our kolsch, mead, braggot and sodas. Now it’s our turn to take care of them.

Honey Harvest

A scene from this year’s honey harvest at Rogue Farms.

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Bees Latest Buzz

Honeybees Rogue FarmsRogue Farms knows bees and will soon be building more nucs to add more colonies to increase honey production.

Nuc is beekeeping slang for nucleus, a small group of workers, drones, a new queen and a mini-hive with enough food and brood to get them started on becoming their own colony.

Beekeepers buy nucs to add more colonies and increase honey production. Or they may build a nuc from one of their current colonies. This splits the hive and prevents swarming.

Either way, the key to a successful nuc is making sure the new queen gets along with the workers before she’s introduced. A special device, called a queen excluder, separates the queen from the rest of the hive until it’s clear that everyone is getting along.

Rogue Grows Bees

Good signs:

–      The workers are feeding the new queen through the excluder.

Bad signs:

–      The workers are trying to kill the new queen – also known as balling the queen.

–      The workers are producing emergency queen cells, which means they’ve rejected the new queen and want to produce one of their own.

Whether a nuc is a success or a failure should be obvious in about eight days. After that it’s okay to remove the excluder. And then after about a month, the new colony can be moved out of the mini-hive and into a regular one and begin foraging and producing honey.

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The Buzz On Beeswax

One of the byproducts of the Rogue Farms Honey harvest is beeswax – lots of beeswax.

The Rogue Farms Honeybees produce beeswax for a variety of reasons. One of them is to cap off full honeycombs and preserve the honey as it mellows and ages.

Slicing the beeswax off the honeycombs.

When our Rogue Beekeeper, Josh, harvests the honey, he first slices off beeswax caps from the honeycombs. That’s what allows him to extract the honey in the spinner. But that’s not the end of it for the beeswax. This week, he melted it, strained it to remove impurities and then let it cool into solid blocks.

Beeswax has another life beyond harvest. It’s used in soap and candles. It’s also used to build what’s called honeycomb foundations. These are honeycomb designs that are stamped into beeswax, framed and put into the hive. They become the foundation for the new honeycombs the bees will build the following spring and summer.  A place to keep their brood and store honey that we’ll harvest again next fall.

Rogue Farms 19 Original Colonies Mead is brewed using 5 ingredients: Rogue Hopyard Honey, Wild Flower Honey, Jasmine Silver Tip Green Tea Leaves, Champagne Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water. No Chemicals, additives or preservatives were used.

Click here to watch the Rogue Farms Honey Harvest YouTube Video

Re-Queening the Hives

Rogue Beekeeper Josh re-queened some of our hives recently. He discovered some of the hives didn’t have queens and others had queens that were failing to show proper leadership.

The bottom line as far as we’re concerned – not enough honey.

So change was needed. So Josh and his friend Andy headed out to the hives and did what had to be done.

Oregon Honey Bees

Step One: Josh looks for the old queen. When he finds her, she is summarily dispatched with a quick pinch.

Step Two: The new Queen arrives in a small cage.

Step Three: The cage is inserted into the hive.

Step Four: The worker bees nibble away at a sugar plug that blocks the entrance to the cage. It takes a few days for the bees to eat their way through. This gives them time to adapt to the new queen.

 

 

 

Scenes from the Hop Farm

Enjoy some photographs of this week’s happenings at the Rogue Farms Hop Farm in Independence, Oregon.

Rogue Farms Hopyard Hop Cones

The hop cones are soaking in the warm weather and getting bigger every day.

Oregon hops

Free Range Chickens

Nancy, one of our free range chickens, hatched 12 chicks this week!

farm chickens

Another chicken of ours snuck into a cubby in the Farmstead Brewery and tried to roost.

Oregon Pumpkin Patch

Our Dream Pumpkins are starting to grow at a steady pace.

oregon pumpkin patch

Our Pumpkin Patch, nestled against our growing aroma hops.

Oregon honey bees

Our Rogue Farm Honeybees are buzzing around collecting pollen inside the growing pumpkin flowers.

Have you heard the buzz?

If you didn’t know already, the Rogue Farms Micro Hopyard is home to 19 colonies of honeybees. Check them out with these photos!

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