Montana Ag Network: The sweet taste of honey

Posted at 9:14 AM, Jul 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-30 11:14:12-04

CHINOOK – Honey is something many of us enjoy every day, whether we put it in our tea, cook with it or just eat it straight.

Bear Paw Apiaries in Chinook are collecting the honey through a process called extracting.

“The machinery uncaps them, runs them through, spins them, so that the centripetal force takes the honey out of the comb.”

But it took a lot of work to get to this point as these “busy bees” work year round.

“When we’re done with our honey production here, we’ll get them ready to go back to California. We probably won’t start til right after Thanksgiving…

Before they were brought back to Montana in the spring, these bees were helping farmers in California.

“The need for pollinating the almonds down there, which they see a 60% increase in their almond production. So, a lot of the farmers, well they all want, bees on their almonds so they can get the biggest crop that they can.”

These bees also help other crops by pollination, but the number of bee colonies are decreasing.

“Going through the winter months, you’ll see more of a bee loss and that’s where a lot of the problem, it’s something that’s happening during the whole summer…there’s parasites on them like growmites, trach mites, trying to treat an insect on an insect is a little bit of a tricky deal.”

But Bear Paw Apiaries found a way around it.

“The problem is we can’t carry those same bees all the way through the year and we’re, as basically as a farmer that we are, we’ve learned to increase our numbers to give us what we need to do on our business basis.”

Anderson says the snowy winter actually helped the bees by creating more plant growth. however, it does put more work on the team.