The last fortnight we have endured temperatures in the late 30s, and beekeepers have lost weight. Who needs to sit inside a sauna when you can work outdoors in Mid Canty wearing overalls? Fire risk is high. Yesterday was a shock to the system for humans and bees, with the temperature plummeting, reaching a maximum of only 13°C by mid- afternoon.
Those travelling further afield to chase the mānuka dream will be lucky to recover costs. The clover flow has been minimal, and some hives will not have a honey crop. Some hobbyists will choose to leave their ‘crop’ on the hive, instead of feeding sugar. The clover price remains low. Extraction plants, unless there is a major beech dew yield, will close early.
Above is a photo of honey bees working a magnolia flower in my garden. Interestingly they weren’t working the pollen whilst stamens were attached upright on the flower; they were waiting for stamens to fall off into the petals before harvesting to pack their baskets (pollen sacs).
- Maggie James, Canterbury Hub Committee