Summertime Extraction – delayed
The ever-present rain at the end of 2022 and early 2023 impacted the hives in our apiaries. The rain caught us by surprise in that the best did not have the amount of honey we would have expected for the Spring/Summer season of honey extraction.
In my December 2022 La Nina and Its Effects on Bees post, I discussed our fantastic rain experiences in the ACT and NSW, which have provided the region with a surge of flora growth. The same excellent rain experience is not making it any easier on the bees, though, given the rain washes the nectar and pollen away!
We popped the lid on several hives at our apiaries to assess which hives were strong for honey extraction. We found the bees have been unable to collect sufficient nectar and pollen for the Spring/Summer season. With the wet weather subsiding, we now must wait a little longer for our honey, which looks to be around March/April.
It appears we are not alone in this situation. Commercial beekeepers in adjoining regions are experiencing similar delays with their honey extractions.
We have also found the cooler temperatures and the wind-driven cold blowing in from the NSW snowfields are playing with the bees, too. Peter told me our bees are unhappy when the temperature drops below 12ºC, rarely leaving the hive, except the brave ones.
I learnt today, the bees will not die unless their body temperature drops to 5ºC. Knowing these figures, I now understand how the bees currently manage the temperature fluctuations and intermittent weather we are experiencing in the ACT and NSW regions.