The weather has proved quite problematic over the last several months, with another rain period unexpectedly this week. Did you know that on average it takes a flower 3 days to recharge the nectar it provides to attract pollinators? This means that every time it rains, it sets honey production back by 3 days. Think how many spaced out rainy days we had over September, October and November…
This means that the bees have been much slower to increase population sizes for the summer season, and honey production has been very poor. Also, early summer plants are effected by the rain fall, delaying their flowering cycle with weather that is closer to winter than spring.
This year was expected to produce a decent Jarrah season, after two years of very poor flowering. Unfortunately, across the state, while the Jarrah is flowering, it is mostly opening flowers dry – no nectar. All four of our Jarrah sites have failed this year, and the feedback from other Beekeepers, is that their sites are similar. It is very energy costly for a tree to produce flower dry as it there will be no pollination for that flower. Dry flowering often occurs in mid-late summer when we have had extensive heat waves and nectar drys out during development or the nectar literally evaporates at opening. This season, we think it may be related to the very dry winter in 2016, which effects the biennial (every 2 years) Jarrah flowering patterns.
So, in terms of medicinal honeys, we will be relying on the Red Gum/Marri harvest of mid-summer and any Jarrah we can source from our trusted Beekeeping partners. We are looking into sourcing more Karri, which tested at a medium level this year, and some Mallee from the Goldfields. Stand by everyone!
The bees themselves are quite happy and healthy, ticking along nicely at their respective sites. Our urban sites have done very well over the last month or so, with an exceptionally beautiful showing of Jacaranda trees. We have even managed to cut Jacaranda comb over November/December much to the delight of the people who managed to grab a piece. We still have some of this light, thick and very perfumey honey at the Maylands shop!
Stay tuned for some exciting January workshops at Maylands – including:
Candle Making Classes
Kids Holiday Classes