Monthly Archives: October 2009

October 2009

October 29, 2009

Fall Preparation

We have basically gotten most of our major work done, harvest, land work, manure spreading and hive feeding.  We have a tremendous amount of work to do.  Looks like it may be busy here right up to Christmas, and that’s not including all the daily cattle work.

Anyway, I haven’t had much of a chance to work with the bees these last few weeks, other than making a couple rounds shifting half full pail to use up syrup.  I have to group the hives, strap them and clean up and bring home the feeder pail.  I also have to clean out the winter shed and get things functional again.  That will not take too long; maybe a week, then I can start bringing them in.  I am just about done siding the house, so in a couple of days, I will get to work with the bees and not stop till they are in.  My goal is to have them inside and close the door by Second week of November.  The long range forecast looks okay for temperature, but iffy on moisture accumulation.  We shall see how thing work out.

Posted by Ian Steppler at 04:38 PM | Permalink

October 15, 2009

Fall feeding

The production year run well into September which delayed fall prep considerably.  Good weather had fallen on September and brought the crop harvest in like normal fashion, but late.  As with the honey production, the crop production was excellent.  Best of yields and best of qualities.  We worked and managed to get most of it off before the foul weather returned.  Luck had been on our side this harvest, we had very little problems.  Started drying 300-400 acres to start, and ended not having enough bin space needing to send quite a lot to the elevator to finish off.  Not much of a problem to complain about, I tell you.

But anyway, the hives being fed up were quite heavy with alfalfa honey, yet they took down the feed very well.  I winter my hives inside in doubles, for many reasons.  It’s not typical around here, mostly single operations here.  I got some medication into them and made a second round in the beginning of October to finish up some syrup and feed a few lighter hives.  Cold weather set down and kind of stopped the feeding to the most part.  I am hoping the weather will improve, because I’d like to have the syrup cleaned up and settled in before cold sets in.  I still need to group, strap and bring in my yards.  Allot of work ahead of me.  I also have to clean out the winter shed.  It’s funny how much crap gets thrown into a place that’s open and not being used.  At least I will not have to build the shed this fall.


Posted by Ian Steppler at 08:41 PM | Permalink

Summer Production

What a season!  What a funny year,

We started supering our hives middle of June, right through into July.  Things again got off to a slow start, and the canola seemed to drag along with its nectar flow.  We waited til almost August to start our first pull, about a week and a half later than normal, and I wish we had started sooner.  The first couple of days of pulling were okay, the boxes coming in 35lbs of honey average, but then we got a shot of rain, and some heat.  After that, the flow kicked into high gear and blew us away!  Boxes coming in 10-20lbs heavier than just a few day before.  Our hives were full right up and we needed to turn the boxes quick!

Our crew worked very hard, we pulled 60000 lbs. in two weeks time.  Pulling one day extraction the next, and so on.  We never stopped.  By the end of the week and a half I checked on the returned empty two boxes to find them full up again!  We quickly made a supering round adding a box, and got right back into rhythm in a weeks time.

Second happened nearing the end of August and proceeded right into September.  The honey flow at this time was still going on nicely, we were able to remove the boxes without fighting any robber bees.  This year the canola flowed right into September, with sunflower and alfalfa along side.  We decided to put another box on, being late in the year and crop harvest quickly coming, because when the honey is there we have to take it.

It was a good decision, we brought in full boxes ending our honey season on a good final few extraction days.  One thing to note is with so much canola honey coming in so late inthe year we had trouble with granulation.  Seemed like it didnt take longer than a couple of weeks on the hive before we had hardening problems.  It caused us loss in production, about 10% I figure, enough that I had to allow robbing of my boxes to get it out.  My near by yards collected the honey from the boxes, so in turn I got it back when I pulled the yards.  its something I dont like doing, but it worked out very well.  I learned alot about robbing behaviour by do this, and in a way I was able to work around the robbing supers in front of my honey house being able to continue with the harvest in normal fashion.  By understanding their habits I was able to proceed with my work quit easily, although it did annoy my hired guys a bit 🙂

All in all, the harvest was a good one.  My honey graded EW, and W primarily leading up to LA on a few lots.  No buckwheat at all.  I had a few yards near fields of buckwheat, to bring in not a bit of nectar.  Who knows what to expect in this business!  I ended up with 105000lbs honey in the barrel, which makes me proud of the work we all accomplished.

Posted by Ian Steppler at 08:29 PM | Permalink