BANGOR – Can you hear the buzzing? The number of licensed beekeepers have almost tripled in the last decade.
A man of many titles. Peter Lyford not only is a Maine representative, but a business owner and a bee keeper.
“How I started is from Harold Swan and I ordered a box from him. A package has about five to six thousand bees in it and a queen. I brought it out and dumped them in a hive with some instructions, that’s how I started with my first hive,” said Lyford
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Maine’s honey production increased 25% in 2015. The weather conditions allow for more honey.
“The weather that we have this year has been fairly good for them and they are getting out. They have lost insulation value without the snow packed, so the winter have been rough for them because it’s been windy and cold,” said Lyford.
It is important for bees to do a cleansing flight, while the weather is warmer than previous years. The fluctuation is still too much for the bees, causing some who have tried to die.
“Bees are having the natural problem of insects that are attacking them, loss of habitat, I am sure climate change is making a big difference in them,” said Lyford. “Places like we’re increasing bees for the production of honey.”
There are over nine hundred residents who are registered as beekeepers with over nine thousand hives. Seventy-six thousand of them entered the state for crop pollination.
“What I would do is come in on a good day, while they are working and open the hive. I would see what there is to brew and make sure the queen is in good health,” said Lyford.
“I would make sure the bees are not getting ready to swarm. In other words, half of them leave the hive,” said Lyford.”I make sure they have enough room and if they don’t and they are bringing in a lot of nectar, I can start putting some of my supers on. To make the excess honey that I am going to harvest.
According to Lyford, it is bad for bees to swarm because when they swarm, the population is cut into two.
“You don’t have the feel force to go out into the field and collect them all,” said Lyford. “You don’t have the force to cover the brood up. It’s detrimental to the hive.”
Honey production in 2015 brought in a total of four hundred-seventy thousand pounds.
According to Lyford, last year he had a pretty good deal. He made about 55 gallon pails. Which is about 60 pounds to a pail.
“I think it just shows what Maine can do with maple trees and honey bees and Maine honey. You know the foreign honey that comes into this country. Usually it’s cheaper but not as good as what we have here. I think it’s right in the parallel,” said Lyford.
“Bee keeping has been so easy, you can keep bees and we’re in downtown Bangor, really just about,” said Lyford. “You can keep them here or in the rural country.”