I hooked up with Rick from Rick’s Bees through Facebook last night and gave him a link to my recent Killing Bees Special Report. Being the Resident Professor of Bee-ology, Rick was kind enough to place an update on his blog at www.ricksbees.com. You can link directly to his update here.
In his post, Rick indicated that the bees have not had a chance to get out do what they do best (pollinate and make honey) due to our wet spring and summer. As many of you who have been following SSG on Twitter (@tomgarette) know, we have had over 32 inches of rain so far in Minnesota this year, and that is more a year’s worth of rain already. That includes a storm that dropped over four inches in one day. Yikes! We have had flooding all over the state and had the President here last week checking out flood damage.
Of the 12 hives, Rick indicated that 10 of them are going well. Eight of them are strong enough to produce honey, and the other four are not quite there yet. They need to grow their numbers and get a stronger hive before Rick harvests honey and/or winter sets in. As I learned from Rick, numbers are critical as we go into winter. The more bees that are in the hive, the better chance the hive has to survive our frozen tundra. The bees generate heat which keeps them snug, safe and sound when our temperatures drop to -25 degree Fahrenheit (or even colder).
Rick and Cindy were recently interviewed for a local paper, and I have included a link to the article here. At the tail end of the article, Rick discusses Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is the abrupt disappearance of bees. Rick’s hypothesis is that it could be a “combination of mites, disease and chemicals.”
Rick and I have also discussed modern farming techniques that create “food deserts” for bees. A food desert is created when fields planted in one crop that blooms once, leaving no future food sources for bees. Planting a variety of bee-friendly plants will help with this. These are topics that Rick and I will have to discuss in more detail in a future article.
One thing Rick mentioned in his update was collecting video and photos of the various hives in action. Granted, he would post this for backers of his successful Kickstarter campaign, but perhaps I can bribe him with some mead (made from Rick’s Bees honey, of course), preserves and salsa to get some video on the SSG site.
How about it, Rick? Could SSG get an exclusive?