2020 Brings a Beautiful, Bountiful Honey Harvest

2020 Brings a Beautiful, Bountiful Honey Harvest

Happy news in a crazy year

My honey bees have been amazingly successful this year, establishing strong colonies and packing away far more honey than they will need to carry them through the winter. Last year, I took only a little honey for the family and had no surplus to sell, but this year they've already given me three times my 2019 harvest, and they're still hard at work making more. The weather and wildflowers in Jackson County, Missouri, have had a banner year, and the bees have made the very best of it.

This light-colored, delicate floral honey of spring and summer is a real treat to enjoy as we head into autumn, when the worker bees will be foraging nectar from fall flowers and making a darker honey with a woodsier essence. I expect the clover flowers, fruit tree blossoms and lindens in our neighborhood contributed plenty of nectar to this all-natural honey that has brightened up my 2020. (Click to shop.)

I've also happily settled on the variety of honey bee that best suits me as a backyard beekeeper. Both my hives are now New World Carniolans with queens descended from the breed Sue Cobey established in 1982. In Latin they're Apis Mellifera Carnica. They are serene, industrious, hygienic and hardy. I'm also doing an increasing bit of gardening — always with an eye toward feeding the bees in dry times of dearth, when they're glad to find any pollen or nectar they can use. My sunflowers are blooming now.

Here is an illustration of the honey colors typical in the United States and their names according to the US Department of Agriculture.

— Mary de Zutter Barron, Kansas City, Missouri, September 7, 2020