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A Hard Day’s Night And A Million New Honeybees

Rogue Grows Bees

You can feel it everywhere on the Rogue Farms Hopyard. A new level of energy. Almost electric. A buzz you might say.

It’s one of the unexpected pleasures of adding another million honeybees to the Rogue Farms Apiary.

The honeybees arrived in the dead of night after a four trip from their former home at Old Sol Apiaries in Rogue River, Oregon. Rogue Beekeeper Josh Cronin drove down there the previous afternoon. About sunset, when the honeybees returned to the hive for the night, Josh began carefully selecting the 100 starter hives he’d bring home with him. His primary concern – finding a healthy queen bee with no signs of disease.

Josh pulled into the Hopyard about 3:00am with a trailer load of starter hives.

Josh pulled into the Hopyard about 3:00am with a trailer load of starter hives.

After the long drive back to the Hopyard, he immediately got to work placing the starter hives into their new spots along the Willamette River. Some were overflowing with honeybees. Josh placed them right away into the hive boxes he built over the winter so the bees would have enough room and not swarm.

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A typical starter hive, known as a nuc to beekeepers, comes in a cardboard box. There are about five or six frames to a nuc. They’re removed by hand and placed a full sized hive for their new permanent home.

Working in the darkness, Josh wanted to complete the job while the bees were asleep. He had another dozen or so nucs to place when the sun rose the following morning.

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The starter hive boxes can be used as temporary homes. But unless the new honeybees are placed in regular boxes quickly, they will outgrow the starter boxes and swarm.

When Josh put the final nuc in place, he’d been awake for 33 hours.

The end of a very long day and night.

The end of a very long day and night.

Look for our new Honeybees the next time you visit the Hopyard. You’ll find them foraging in the wildflowers along the river, the wild blackberries along the edge of the hop rows, and if the pumpkins are flowering you’re sure to spot them there, too.

Rogue Honeybees by the numbers.

  • From a spring time population of 1.2 million, we’ll have more than 8 million honeybees at the peak of summer

  • The bees will produce a crop of 4,633 pounds of honey.

  • The honey will harvested in late summer and early fall and will be used to brew future batches of 19 Original Colonies Mead and Honey Kolsch.

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