GERMANTOWN – When some retired snowbirds pack up their issues and head for hotter weather conditions and birds commence their migratory flight south, the Werner spouse and children packs up their company and moves to sunny Florida.
The Germantown beekeepers handle 4,000 hives in 100 places in 7 counties. Chris Werner who commenced Indian Summer time Honey Farm again in 1982 suggests by spreading the hives out in excess of this sort of a massive location they are able to get benefit of the large wide range of crops grown in various weather situations. This year, for occasion, he says some parts were being parched and dry till just lately although other parts experienced an abundance of rain.
Every single year they send out a few of truckloads of hives to California the place there are much more crops in have to have of pollination than the indigenous California bees can deal with.
In Oct, they pack up their spouse and children and their remaining bees and migrate to central Florida.
Werner claims, “We drive back and forth,” explained Werner, adding that it requires seven semi loads to get all the bees down there.. “Our purpose is to have them all in spot in advance of looking period and Thanksgiving so our drivers can be back property with their people.”
Bees are transported in a trailer protected with monitor to make it possible for for air movement and to continue to keep the bees awesome.
Werner defined that Florida is a widespread desired destination for honey farmers to go through the winter months so that they can continue to keep their bees healthier and elevate queens for other farms.
Bees need just as considerably food items to transfer and winter season in Florida as they would if they had been to continue to be up here in the cold, he mentioned.
“We get really a bit of feed in them, we haul them down on semis, and they will devote a peaceful time period of time in November, December, and early January in Florida,” Chris spelled out, “By late January we get started the approach of dividing them into nucleus colonies and creating mobile builder colonies and we raise new queens.”
The most difficult component is the go every calendar year. When Could rolls about, they provide the bees again to Wisconsin. May possibly by the commencing of August are very occupied months due to it being the key honey production time in the point out. During all those first months of creation the Werner spouse and children harvests up to 12,000 lbs . of honey a working day.
They do process and industry some honey in Florida but not as significantly as they do in their Germantown facility where they have an on-farm retail store and also serve as the sole provider of honey to Sprecher Brewery in Milwaukee for use in their sodas.
Werner has been in the honey business enterprise most of his lifetime. He previously labored on a Saukville dairy farm and experienced prepared to get into dairy but instances were challenging for dairy farmers in individuals decades and he was inspired to search into bees instead.
He credits his mentor Margaret Ahlers of Honey Grove Ice Product and Apiaries at West Bend for significantly of the encouragement he has received above the years. Known as “the honey lady”, Werner says she has taught him a great deal. He also characteristics learning a great offer from Gary Oreskovic of Honeyland Farms at Saukville.
Werner is a previous president of the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association and says it has been very helpful meeting honey producers from all over the condition and sharing suggestions in dealing with the difficulties of bee-keeping.
Mites have been an challenge for numerous yrs as have been the fears over sprays and insecticides made use of for pests on crops that can also be hazardous to bees.
He doesn’t see an concern with pesticides now, nonetheless. He states usually complications with bees are additional connected to management troubles.
Werner has discovered, even though, that in extra the latest many years, late time flowering plants like golden rod and asters never seem to be to be creating as a lot nectar as they at the time did. This creates complications for beekeepers who obtain it needed to deliver far more complement feed to bees heading into drop than they once did.
“We have so a lot of questions about these items and we are nevertheless studying all the time,” he mentioned.
He describes his bee preserving company as substantially the same as any other form of agriculture: they seed a crop in spring and harvest it through the summertime. Werner says they are dependent on other farmers’ crops to thrive.
Beekeepers rely on superior weather problems just as other farmers do. He claims ideally spring really should be amazing and moist followed by a dry summertime.
“Bees should really have damp ft and dry heads. That takes place with heat nights and humidity on the plants and dry air so they can fly,” he pointed out.
Large rains will clean nectar out of flowers and also will make it tricky for bees to fly.
Indian Summertime Honey Farm not too long ago hosted tours for homeschoolers in the spot wherever they ended up taught about the honey organization starting with the bees all the way to the buyer.
Werner’s spouse, Becky, spoke with the group. She and many of their seven young children get the job done at the organization alongside with five other employees.
She informed the young children that when performing with the bees it is critical to wear a confront mask. Even so, if people will not bother the bees, generally the bees won’t trouble them possibly.
When harvesting honey, employees strive to be in and out of a bee lawn inside 40 minutes. In purchase to get the honey, they use smoke produced from wood pellets and prolonged leaf pine needles located in Florida.
Becky says the smoke moves the bees out of the way as they do the job and does not hurt the bees. The smoke “predominantly annoying” so the bees focus on the smoke as a substitute of what the human beings are undertaking.
“Most days we don’t get stung, but if bees do sting it swells and goes absent promptly,” she explained, pointing out that there is certainly a massive honey bees and other folks like wasps and hornets that could assault. “Honey bees normally won’t sting except they feel threatened. They are too busy performing.”
The male bees referred to as drones, do not sting. The worker bees, which are feminine, do sting. The queen is the only one particular bee who can lay eggs. Each hive is made up of just one household with its very own queen.
Pupils also noticed a hornet’s nest which is established employing a paper-like substance that could never ever maintain honey. Honey bees in the wild make their hives in a shielded region. They make wax and shape it into hexagons to healthy more cells in 1 smaller area.
The Werners say their main concern in Florida is building and elevating queens which are in demand from customers by other bee keepers. For a range of causes, honey production varies from 75 kilos to 100 kilos for every hive. They imagine some of that has to do with the queen.
Queens are made by feeding a woman bee royal jelly. Werner points out that some honey producers will sector the royal jelly but they do not mainly because it is additional precious to them for developing queens.
For the duration of the tour the college students also saw how the loved ones procedures the honey and then outlets it in 55 gallon drums, every single holding 660 pounds of honey.
Numerous of them brought alongside glass jars to fill in the on-farm store exactly where the Werners offer honey and other bee relevant products and solutions.