Monthly Archives: April 2010

April 2010

April 12, 2010

Spring Work

Got the bees out on two great flight days.  March 27, 28 th.  I split the work over two night, because I just cant do all that work in one night, even if I wanted to.  I had a great forecast to plan with and was able to manage my work load easily.

After a bit of a sleep in, I would wander out to the out yards to take a peek.  What a beautiful sight.  Only a feeling a beekeeper would understand.  Total bee flight, thousands of bees flying for the first time in 5 months.  The smell of bee poop hung heavy in the air.  What a great smell, what a great sound!  It took a day for the bees to gather themselves and they actively reached the soy flour barrel to gather the only source of protein available.  Tree bloom is weeks away, and nothing else to forage on.  So I provide a protein supplement to keep the bees out of the neighbours yards.  I helps stimulate the queen, how much, I cant really say.  But it sure works well keeping them out of trouble, and keeps my phone quieter!!! 🙂

My losses are higher than I would like to see.  After the first round, where I mainly pulled out dead hives and protein patty feeding, I was running a 24% death rate.  Anything 2 frames and under I listed as dead.   Yet I still hung onto some to see if they would survive. NO.  Now, two or so weeks later, I am in the second round medicating and feeding patties.  I have a vorra mite problem, so I am treating with Apivar.  I am also feeding a second Manitoba made protein patty.  Something I usually dont do, but cant help myself but feed these hungry giants!  As I go I am pulling another 1% from my yards due to queen problems or dwindling.  Solid 25% loss for the winter of 2009.

Once I regroup my pallets, and fill in my dead spots, I can forget about the high loss.  Then i am going to have to work like a dog to keep ahead of these hives.  I have 350 queens coming Middle of May.  By the way the hives are responding to the weather, they will be nicely into swarming mode as I get to them.  I might have to do an equalization round beginning of May just to keep the hives at bay.  WHAT A PROBLEM!! 🙂  Read my journal last year at this time.  We had just gotten the bee out of the shed at this time, and kept pulling dead from the yards right till June,…

What a difference a year makes,

I am renovating my bee hive equipment.  With the purchase of this new lift and truck, I am customizing my equipment to make the best use out of the machine.  I have been commercially beekeeping of 10 years now, tied all the equipment out there, mismatched everything together, and figured on a way I would like to manage thing from now on.  I have reached my work load limit at 600-700 hives, so instead of spending the time on operation expansion, I am going to put that energy into operation makeover.  Many beekeepers have mentioned on my scrappy look.  I dont like those comment.  I take great pride in what I do.  But as Dad says, appearance doesn’t matter, its your performance that counts.  If I can make over my operation to make my work more efficient, and make my operation look better visually, I could kill two birds with one stone.

Anyway, I just picked up some equipment from a neighbour beekeeper who specializes in building boxes and frames.  They custom dipped some tops I made.  Great guys, good beekeepers.  Took the time to talk and exchange ideas.  Hope to keep in touch with these guys more often.  They are real progressive and they seem to have alot of ideas on managing our hive health problems.  It takes beekeepers to solve problems for beekeepers.  !

Anyway, thing look on the up and up here.

Beeman out!

Posted by Ian Steppler at 05:05 PM | Permalink