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Giving Thanks for our Honeybees

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This week we’re reminded to give thanks for our 7,140,289 Rogue Farms honeybees, without whom we wouldn’t be farmers.

The bees took care of us this spring and summer by pollinating our crops and creating our award-winning proprietary wildflower honey for our Marionberry Braggot and Honey Kolsch. Now it’s our turn to make sure they are ready for the winter.

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For the second consecutive year, Honey Kolsch took home the Best in Show award at the Honey Beer Competition.

When we harvested our honey, we only took it from the supers, smaller boxes on top of the hives that hold the surplus of honey the bees won’t need during the winter. The bees won’t leave the hive for the next few months, so we added supplemental sugar syrup to the hive to make sure they’ll have more than enough food. During the winter, a colony can eat up to 60 pounds of honey.

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Brewmaster John Maier helping with the honey harvest.

We’ve covered the hives to provide them with shelter from the Oregon rain, moved them out of the flood path, and given our bees medicine to fight off two of their biggest threats: Varroa destructor mites and fungal disease.

Although the temperature outside may be freezing, the center where the queen will spend the winter remains between 90-93 degrees Fahrenheit. The bees create heat by “shivering” their wing muscles to keep the queen warm.

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We won’t open the hives again until the temperature outside reaches above 55 degrees.

We miss them buzzing around the farm already, but are looking forward to spring. They’ll be welcomed out of their winter cluster to orchards full of cherry blossoms and acres of Prickless Marionberry flowers.

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A Rogue Farms honeybee pollinating a Prickless Marionberry blossom.

The Chatoe Rogue Tasting Room at Rogue Farms in Independence is closed for the winter, and will reopen in the spring.

Tours of the hop farm will still be available by appointment. To book a tour in advance, contact cheryl@rogue.com.

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