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Keeping Our Honeybees Happy At Rogue Farms

This week, we’re helping the Rogue Farms honeybees prepare for the spring nectar flow, one of the most important times of the year for bees and other pollinators.

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During the spring and summer flows, honeybees have an abundance of flowers from which to gather nectar and pollen. There’s so much food available to them that they can’t possibly gather it all. But they try.

A Rogue Farms honeybee on a daffodil.

A Rogue Farms honeybee on a daffodil.

The queen kicks up egg production, making more foraging bees to gather the nectar and more workers to process it into honey.

The population of a hive grows quickly during spring. The colony needs as many bees as possible to collect nectar, make honey, and store it.

The population of a hive grows quickly during spring. The colony needs as many bees as possible to collect nectar, make honey, and store it.

What they want from us is space. More room to raise the brood, more room to store honey. We provide it for them by adding extra boxes to the hives called supers. The honeybees fill up the lower boxes with honey first, then work their way up into the supers. They’re like the attics of a hive.

At Rogue Farms, the bottom two boxes is where the queen lays eggs and the brood is raised. The top one or two boxes are supers which is where the bees store surplus honey.

At Rogue Farms the bottom two boxes is where the queen lays eggs and the brood is raised. The top one or two boxes are supers.

A metal grate called a queen excluder separates the brood boxes from the supers. It blocks the queen from going up into the supers and laying eggs, but allows the worker to pass through and pack away honey.

Placing a queen excluder between hive boxes.

Placing a queen excluder between hive boxes.

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Then adding the super on top.

Honeybees are so industrious they make far more honey than they actually need. Come harvest, we gather the honey from the supers, but we don’t touch the lower boxes. That’s so the bees have enough honey to make it through winter, and we use what’s left over to brew our Honey Kolsch and Marionberry Braggot. Our honeybees eat first.

So far we’ve added excluders and supers to the healthiest colonies. The others need more time to build up strength. For now it’s best to leave them alone.

Drop by Rogue Farms this weekend and see the 7,140,289 Rogue Farms honeybees in action. When you’re done, enjoy one of the award winning beers we made with their honey. See how we Grow The Revolution from Bees To Bottle.

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