As we mentioned last time in our last blog post, our bees are overwintering in southern Florida, where they can fatten up on the nectar and high-protein pollen from the Brazilian pepper tree. Of course, we can't just leave them to fend for themselves. There's still a lot of work to be done if we want productive beehives when the spring comes. Robber Bees At the end of the Brazilian Pepper flow, we pulled much of the honey they produced and brought the hives down to just one honey super for storage. We have to move as quickly as possible...
Winter has finally come to Florida, and it's time for all of our hard work preparing our hives to pay off. Our bees are extra vulnerable at this time, but we've done everything we can for them. The rest is up to them.
We overwinter our bees in south Florida, where the warmth keeps them active throughout most of the winter months. The initial Brazilian Pepper bloom gives our bees a great head start for the cold months, but we have to monitor them carefully (especially the queens!) to make sure they will survive the winter and thrive in the spring. A good flow here means even our weaker hives should be able to come back and do just fine through the winter.
The late summer period is one of our least hectic, but most crucial times on Register Family Farm. With nectar production down and bee populations up, we have to focus less on making honey and more on the survivability of our hives. We're introducing new queens and making sure they're correctly mated so that they can lay a good pattern of workers and drones. A mistake here could spell doom for the hive.
As the honey season progresses, the bees continue to target the ever-changing nectar and pollen sources as some plants are done blooming and others are just beginning. This time of year, Register Family Farm is working largely in the agricultural areas of northwest Florida making cotton honey. Most nectar-producing plants in our area only bloom for two to three weeks. The cotton honey flow, though a low volume producer comparatively, can last for more than a month. This allows for a nice change of pace as we are coming off of the popcorn flow and the hectic cycle of; move, super, pull, extract, move of the last few months.