When I began spreading the word about my honey CSA program this past January, I envisioned for the month of April, my 14 beehives to be buzzing and boiling over with honey bees. The sad reality is that just 2 of the 14 hives survived the winter. Why, you ask? A few of the queens failed, in others the cluster couldn't break because of the 20 below temperature to move to more honey for energy. The rest of the hives suffered a loss due to a malfunction with an emergency feed. The "candy board," which is to be solid, ended up melting on the bees and destroying any hope of them seeing the month of April. Their death is something that I caused, which upsets me deeply! A tough learning curve to be on, but it taught me an unforgettable lesson.
Now its time to reconfigure the use of the extremely valuable CSA money. The original plan was to purchase the equipment, seed, and supplies needed to convert my 33-acre farm into a honey bee paradise! I researched a special clover seed mix, tailored specifically for honey bees, figured exactly how much I would need to sow 10-15 acres, I had 5-acres of sunflowers in the mix, as well as 3-acres of wildflowers. Wildflower seed, believe it or not, is super pricey! It costs over $300 to plant just one acre.
So plan B is now to replace the stock of honey bees that I lost and take care of my CSA members. That is a priority. Within the week, I plan on purchasing up to 10 full hives, that are survivor stock from the local area, from a beekeeper that is getting out of the business. Due to the fact that the hives are costing way more than the total CSA money totals, I have a few special individual that are helping to off set the cost, which is very humbling. I cannot thank them enough!!! I also ordered 5 nucs (nucleus coloy), which are just a 1/4 of a hiive, compared to the full hives I am getting off of my local friend. I was able to order that special clover seed mix, but reduced down to 8 acres. I frost sowed the seed back in late February by hand. I already noticed it sprouting!
The goal now is to pray for steady warm weather so the apple and locust blossoms will not see frost and to move the full hives to farm by the end of next week, if not sooner. I am pushing for a spring honey harvest, something I have never done. We will soon see what His plan is.