Like most stuff at Greensgrow our hive boxes were hand-me-downs. We keep our bees on a lot across from the farm. We have 4-5 hives that live on a green roof. We don’t keep them accessible to the public because they have stingers. But on a sunny day, you will see them gathering pollen from the flowers in the nursery and in our gardens around the farm and doing their work, pollinating inside the high tunnels. In the fall we harvest their honey and sell it as “Honey from the Hood” at the farmstand.
Bees need a variety of flowering plants throughout the spring summer and fall, and they like most to visit the plants with smaller flowers heads, think Queen Ann’s Lace not Tulips. Our bees are not placed right in front of a big field of flowering clover of course so they have to work a little bit and search for a wide array of flowers. This produces a very unique and complex tasting honey.
Bees can travel about two miles in any direction in search for nectar. They don’t fly much when the air temperature is below 55F. They hibernate, feeding on the honey they have made through the coldest months. In the store you might see honey labels with a variety of different plants listed, Orange Blossom, Clover, Blueberry. When you see these labels it means that that honey came from bees that were placed near that type of flowering plant. A farmer might higher in bees to ensure good pollination on his blueberry crop, and then that honey is usually sold as “Blueberry Honey”.
You have probably heard about colony collapse disorder, have we lost bees? Yes we have but it is unclear if it is due to CCD. The cause of CCD is not definitively know though the most likely causes are GMO crops with pesticidal genes and environmental stresses like over development and habitat loss.