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Our Honeybees California Vacation

At Rogue Farms we’re used to getting up before the sun. But today began especially early, as we loaded up our 7,140,289 honeybees for the start of their California vacation.

Bees To CA 1

Our bees will spend the next couple of months pollinating an almond orchard near Tracy, California. That’s a 600-mile drive to the south, and an early start was necessary because we want to arrive by tonight. The less time on the road, the less stress on our honeybees.

Bees To CA 2

Moving 7,140,289 bees isn’t simple. The hives were carried four at time on a forklift, then carefully placed on the truck.

Bees To CA 6

Checking the hives to make sure they're safe and secure.

Checking the hives to make sure they’re safe and secure.

Why go to all this trouble?

Winter is hard on honeybees, even in a temperate climate like the one here at Rogue Farms. It’s not warm enough for the bees to leave their hives this time of year and, if they could go foraging, there are no sources of food for them. This is the time of year that honeybees are most susceptible to diseases and Varroa mite infections, the biggest killers of colonies.

Here’s what awaits them in California.

Almond Blossoms

California almond orchards in bloom.

Our bees will arrive just in time for the start of the pollinating season in California’s massive almond orchards. The warmer weather will give our bees ample opportunity to forage among the billions of almond flowers. Instead of shivering in their hives, they’ll be feeding themselves and building up the population of the colony.

A honeybee on a comb covered with almond pollen. Photo from Oregon State University.

A honeybee on a comb covered with almond pollen. Almond pollen is rich in protein. Photo from Oregon State University.

Our honeybees will return to Rogue Farms by March, just in time for the start of the spring nectar flow. They’ll feast on a buffet of cherry blossoms, garden flowers, and flowering maples. Soon afterwards the nearby apple orchards will bloom, along with wild blackberries, raspberries, wildflowers, clover, Dream Pumpkins and Rogue Farms jalapeños.

By the end of summer, our honeybees will have sampled all the flavors of the Wigrich Appellation. The honey they produce for us will be the true taste of the terroir of Rogue Farms. It’s what you’ll taste when you try our Honey Kolsch, 19 Original Colonies Mead, Marionberry Braggot and Rogue Sodas. They’re all brewed with honey from the Rogue Farms honeybees.

But first, we’ve got to get our bees through winter safe and sound. Considering all they do for us, some extra work on our part so they can spend winter in California is worth it.

roguefarms grow the revolution

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