January 28, 2011
The cold weather has broken and mild weather has settled in. The winter sheds ventilation system is working well. The primary fan has been running past idle, amping up during the day and my secondary fan has been purging on and off throughout the afternoons. They have been able to keep the indoor temp steady at 4-5 degrees.
The bee activity hasnt quietened down any. Yet there is not alot of bee drop, so I am not worrying about it. I do have a couple of hives that are bulging from the entrance that seem particularly agitated. They seem to be sending off drifters more often than the rest. Perhaps they are stress with disease? I dont know. But I am going to mark them and see how they fair in the spring. As I read past postings here, I notice I have commented on a hive with much the same symptoms last winter. That hive had no bees left as spring approached.
Posted by Ian Steppler at 09:57 AM | Permalink
January 18, 2011
I have been wintering bees indoor for just about 8 years now, starting with 30 hives, and now wintering all my hives. I really like wintering them inside, mostly because of the sense of control I seem to have during these cold months. But also because I use to hate pulling apart mouse infested winter wrap!
This year I have noticed something I dont remember noticing as predominantly other winters. My bees arent silent. There is a quiet roar in my wintering room. And that accompanied with the occasional bees flying out. Kinda got me worried, but I have also noticed the bee drop since Christmas has been minimal. So its not like they are all leaving the hive in distress.
I dont know why they are a little noisier than other winters. Except for two things. This year I am keeping the temp warmer, 4 degrees C instead of 2 degrees. I am currently dropping the temp down to 2 degrees to see if it makes any difference. Second, I kinda think I put in some real big hives. I winter in doubles (for many reasons) and many of the hives have bees bulging out of the entrance. So that make me wonder if I have enough feed on for them. I fed them 4 gallons of feed, and they have lots of honey in the two boxes, I really doubt they are hungry. Nosema and Tracheal levels have tested next to zero, but my varroa mite levels are around 3% averages. I have noticed deformed wing virus in the fall, but nothing now in the wintering shed.
Posted by Ian Steppler at 05:23 PM | Permalink
January 15, 2011
I have started renovating my honey house. My intention was to cover the walls and ceiling with tin, but after digging into the walls, I made the decision to completely redo the whole inside of the building. In the last 10 years, I have modified the building every time I increased the business or bought a new machine, so the whole inside of the structure is pieced together. Stripping the whole inside out also allows me to look at any structural problems that I need to attend to. All in all, Im going to end up with a real nice facility. Im going to redo all the electrical to code and im going to include proper plumbing with heated water. This will help me certify the facility with CFIA.
Posted by Ian Steppler at 02:37 PM | Permalink