A few weeks ago I treated my hive with HopGuard II for mites. I haven’t used this before, and it seemed like a good choice for a topbar. I was also happy that I didn’t need to worry about honey in the hive when being used. I’m hoping that it works well for this season.
But then I had a thought…what if I planted hops to grow around my hive? Would that have a positive effect in keeping the mites in check? I haven’t seen anything out there about such a thing, but I couldn’t convince myself that it would hurt, so I bought some.
I ended up ordering ten rhizomes of Liberty Hops. For my friends that are beer makers, Liberty is a triploid variety bred that is crossed between a female Hallertau Mittelfrüh and a downy mildew resistant German male hop. The variety was developed in 1983 from the USDA program at Oregon State University and released in the US in 1991. Of the four triploid Hallertau Mittelfrueh varieties released, Liberty most closely resembles the Hallertau Mittelfrüh.
Pedigree Triploid from Hallertau Mittelfrüh and German aroma male hop
Aroma Mild, slightly spicy, floral
Alpha Acids* 3.0 – 5.0 %
Beta Acids 3.0 – 4.0 %
Cohumulone 24 – 30 % of alpha acids
Total Oil 0.6 – 1.2 ml/100g
Myrcene 20 – 40 % of total oil
Humulene 35 – 40 % of total oil
Caryophyllene 9 – 12 % of total oil
Farnesene < 1 % of total oil
We built a frame around two of my hives and planted them so that they will grow up the frame on cordage. I’m hoping that in the winter, I’ll be able to cut the binds off the rhizomes and leave them on the frame to act as a windbreak for the winter. Of course, we will have harvested the hops before that.
Hops and Honey…oh what is one to do with that combination?! I’m keeping fingers crossed for a decent first-year harvest so my son can help me make a batch of Honey Wheat Ale for the cold winters months!
Keep your fingers crossed for us!