Spring is coming (we swear it is!)

Our home hives after a snowstorm

Our home hives after a snowstorm

There may still be snow on the ground, but any day above freezing gets beekeepers dreaming about spring – and we’re counting the days!

In late fall, we wrap the hives to protect them from the cold and the wind – and cross our fingers that they’ll still be with us come spring.

During the long, dark winter, the bees form a tight cluster around their queen – their sole purpose is to feed her and keep her warm. The colder it is outside, the tighter the bees cling together, shivering their flight muscles to create warmth.

About this time of year, the queen will begin to lay eggs again – and the bees will maintain the brood nest at 35C (regardless of how cold it is outside). These first new worker bees will emerge in mid-March and the population will continue to grow in preparation for spring. The first major sources of pollen are maple, oak, and willow blossoms. The first spring nectar comes from dandelions – so please leave them for the bees (at least until other flowers begin to bloom).

We put 21 hives into winter and we’re happy to say that all 21 of them are still alive as of today, when we snowshoed out to make sure they were still standing after last night’s wind storm. We’ll continue to check on them every couple of weeks to ensure they have enough food and that their entrances aren’t blocked with ice and snow – the rest is up to them.

As the bees begin their spring preparations, we beekeepers are also making plans and getting ready. We’re taking inventory of our equipment and ordering boxes and frames to be built over the coming months. We’ve always sold out of honey by December every year, so we’re also ordering nucs (small starter colonies of bees) to ramp up our production and replace any colonies we may lose between now and spring – but these new colonies won’t produce full crops of honey till next summer.

If you want to ensure you don’t miss out on our 2019 harvest, you can sign up for our CSA program. You can choose from four packages offering our raw, local, small batch honey and handmade 100% beeswax candles. You can also get guaranteed access to any of our special edition products (such as our Winter Honey) and even spend a day one-on-one in the beeyard with us, helping us work with the bees.

Thanks for your interest in and support of our small business – we look forward to seeing you this summer!

Natalie, Dan, Alaska, and the bees

Natalie Comeauwinter, spring, CSA