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Portrait of Jon-2

I met Jon at Bennett’s Honey Farm where he was participating in the annual Honey Harvest Festival in Fillmore, California, USA. Jon was a tile contractor for Stoneware Tiles in Northridge, California, USA. He did beekeeping as a hobby. Jon grew up in San Fernando Valley, California and remained there his whole life.

Jon had 25 hives; two in his his backyard, five in Agua Dulce, two in a lavender farm in Grapevine, ten in an avocado field in Somis and 5 in Fillmore. He was re-queening the Fillmore hives because they were Africanized.

Needless to say, Jon did a lot of driving to take care of the bees. He originally thought it would be a great retirement activity but quickly learned it was to take much of his time. Jon planed to reduce his colonies by selling them.

We spoke about ways to reduce colonies and Jon said that another way to reduce the colony is when a colony dies. “There is a lot of that going on these days,” mainly to the varoa mite. “A 20% loss has been the traditional acceptable loss of colonies for 50 plus years. With varoa that loss has been much higher. Due to close monitoring, treatment (formic acid), and luck my losses have been quite acceptable,” said Jon.

We also talked about how to increase colonies numbers. “In Spring you can take a strong colony and make four or five out of them. What you sacrifice is you won’t make honey. But you will make more colonies.”

It’s a way to plan for the future. It’s how people replenish their colonies.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.