In other words, expect more of the same for you and me …so I’m continually thinking of ways to adapt my bee operation.
Let me give you a couple of examples:
My daughter’s (the boss) honey business has competitors in the local health food stores…but she was telling me the other day that she’s heard reports of their (her competitors) honey fermenting…not surprising considering the weather we’ve had…this is a serious problem. But to address this isssue of high moisture content in our honey, we’ve experimented with installing a de-humidifier in the beehouse a couple of days before honey removal. Now it’s easy to get our honey under 17% moisture content…and high moisture content is of no concern. And you should see how the bees react to the de-humidifier…they love it…as if to say “thank you” for making our job easier.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, our commercial operation didn’t even own a refractometer…our honey was always dry…even when capped only 20%…how things have changed!
A local commercial beekeeper that’s a great guy and an excellent beekeeper told me recently that he had to supplementary feed his starving beehives this spring (it was cool and dragged on) to the tune of 40 tons of sugar. And this fall he had to do the same (X2) to prepare for winter…so his input costs start to skyrocket. Meanwhile our insulated beehouses shield the colonies from those cool nights (nights have always been cool here) and the following patterns of cool, damp days (which is new). Very little spring or fall feeding is done…I call those beehouses “Tiny Print Beehouses” because of the lower input costs…no BTUs disappearing into the night sky.
These “adaptations” that I refer to often are not discovered by design…more by accident.
Beekeepers… as a group…have to be close to nature and it’s cause and effects otherwise husbandry goes out the window. And in my country, I’m somewhat skeptical that politicians…and many scientists…would have the awareness to guide me in adapting to climate change.