Wyoming is a beautiful state replete with mountains and prairies. There are large expanses of nothing but rangeland – and then mountains. The Rocky Mountain Range looms to the west of the ranch, with Laramie Peak overlooking the hives, and was a major landmark for the settlers moving west on the Oregon Trail.
Though beautiful, the climate can pose significant challenges to a beekeeper. These challenges contribute to the fact that Wyoming is the least populated state in the nation.
The summers in Wyoming can be blissful, but the harsh winter weather can be inhospitable for the honeybees if they are not cared for properly. In order for bees to survive they need to be carefully monitored and cared for through all four seasons.
The winter wind and bone chilling temperatures are cause for special considerations. When the bee’s are off duty for the holiday season, the hives are moved to a barn facility for protection from the harsh weather - but even this measure is not foolproof. It is imperative that each hive has an adequate food supply and is protected from predators. In addition, the winter is a time for experimentation with wax and honey products.
During the Spring, time is spent making sure the hives are properly queened and are thriving. Honey flows occur during the spring, summer and fall depending on the floral bloom. During these times honey production is at its peak. This is a time when we leave the bees alone so they can do their work. The saying “busy as a bee” is a gross understatement when talking about the honeybee's job. During the day there is constant motion outside of the hive and beyond. A foraging bee will travel up to six miles from the hive to get its raw materials. We never want our workforce to waste energy flying six miles - so the hives are located adjacent to areas of concentrated floral bloom and adequate water.
Always the workers, honeybees will make more honey than their colony needs – all we do is simply remove the excess and sell it to you. When the available boxes are full of honey, the beekeeper provides more boxes for the bees to fill. It is hoped that each established hive will generate at least seventy pounds or more of honey per season.
The filled frames are transported to the honey house where the work is performed. The frames are uncapped (wax sheeting is removed) and then placed in a spinning machine. The spinning of the frames makes the honey come out of the combs. It is then pumped into the honey tanks. Honey must be kept warm (not hot) so that it will flow. From the honey tanks, the honey is either bottled immediately or put into storage containers for later bottling.
The honey in the tanks may still have small pieces of wax, bee parts, and propolis in it. Propolis is a resinous substance collected by honeybees from tree buds and used by them to fill crevices and to seal and varnish honeycombs. So, when the honey is bottled it flows through a mesh cheese cloth type of material and strained before it goes into a bottle. This removes any excess debris, resulting in a pure, raw, natural honey for your table. Straining honey is different than filtering honey. The filtering process may remove the pollen and other honey nutrients. This is a labor intensive process and must be done under controlled and sanitary conditions. This product is not filtered or pasteurized.
Taylor Johnson LLC is licensed and inspected.