Rogue 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.
– The workers are feeding the new queen through the excluder.
– 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.
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
This weekend we noticed the Rogue Ales Risk Barley emerging from the soil. The Risk Barley was planted just a couple of weeks ago in preparation for the 2013 Summer Harvest. Pictured below are what the shoots look like.
You can still see the kernels
We also raise cattle at the Rogue Ales Barley Farm. That’s Tygh Ridge in the background. It lies north of the farm and protects it from the winter wind storms of the Gorge.
A freshly plowed field with irrigation wheels
The Rogue Farms GYO Dream Pumpkins have been harvested! Rogue Ales Pumpkin Patch Ale will be available worldwide in a new orange painted 750ml bottles in Fall 2012. Rogue is dedicated to saving the terroir of Oregon hops, pumpkins and barley one acre at a time, by growing its own. YouTube Video: http://youtu.be/-ub6NoWXbac
The hop harvest may be over, but there’s still plenty to do around the Rogue Farms Micro Hopyard. Last weekend Rogue employees, families and friends harvested this year’s crop of GYO Dream Pumpkins for our Chatoe Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale.
The Pumpkin Rogue Pickin’ Crew
If lugging around hundreds of big orange orbs sounds like hard work, you’d be right. But with everyone pitching in, the load didn’t seem quite so heavy.
Everyone helped load the pumpkins into the truck.
The 77 mile drive from Independence to Newport, OR begins.
Just as soon as we were done loading the Dream pumpkins onto the truck, we immediately set off for the Brewery in Newport, Oregon – which is a 77 mile drive away. Check back later today to see how we cut, roasted and pitch them in the brew kettle.
The GYO hops at the Rogue Farms hopyard in Independence are ready for harvest, and you know what that means: Wet Hop Ale. Freedom Hops were hand picked by Rogue Brewmaster John Maier this week. A 98 minute drive to our brewery in Newport, Oregon later, those still wet hops were added to the brew kettle to make Wet Hop Ale. Keep your eye out for it in the coming weeks!
Rogue Brewmaster John Maier inspecting the hops at the Rogue Farms Hopyard in Independence, OR.
Hand-picking the Freedom Hops.
98 minutes later: pitching the wet hops into the brew kettle at the Rogue Brewery in Newport, Oregon
The finished product.
Stay tuned on updates on our Dream Rye Harvest at the Rogue Farm in Independence, Oregon- it’ll happen any day now!