October 30, 2011
Finally getting around to siding my honey house. The tin I’m using is some stuff we bought off a neighbour for a bargain. It looks decent and will do the job nicely.
I am loosing the wintering shed for next winter. My brother has bought another yard and will probably be selling his old one. Great news except that is where I winter my bees. So plans are in the works to build a wintering shed @ my home yard. This is pushing my plans ahead a few years so again I am going to be busy building this coming summer.
I’m going to build a multi purpose shed. It will act as a winter shed through the winter months and act as a hot room storage room through the summer months. It provide me with the space I need all season long. My plans are to keep the extraction room as it is and only use the new building as a hot room through the summer. The extraction facility has just been renovated and will work for the time being. My plans are to build an extraction room onto the new shed in 5-10 years with the purchase of a new honey and wax extraction system. I’m not ready for that investment yet and Iam content with the extraction system I have now.
I like staging my growth. It keeps my investment lower and helps maintain a steady work pace through out the years. I’m very excited about the new investment into the honey operation. It will make my yearly work a lot easier.
So for right now Im siding the existing honey house. I want to finish this up this fall so that I can build the new facility right into the existing one.
Posted by Ian Steppler at 10:03 AM | Permalink
October 23, 2011
My videos are not uploading. Im am going to have to try something different, perhaps through Youtube. Ill try to get things going this next week.
These are videos of the Ezyloader in action and how we are managing the honey pull. I have another honey house vid but will not have it ready until Christmas or so when I get a chance to edit
Posted by Ian Steppler at 09:07 AM | Permalink
October 22, 2011
The bees look great. I have hives 2 boxes of bees clustered up ready for winter. They all took their syrup down well and I have yet to see a DFW bee ! This grouping of bees look promising. The days and nights are acting more like fall weather now and it will be just a matter of time before winter arrives. I might bring the bees in sooner this year . I think the bees are content and I really don’t want to battle the snow. I’m going to start bringing them in the week of November 1.
As I type this, a thunder storm rumbles over head dropping a blast of rain. Its end of October and here is a full out thunder storm. Its kind of indicative of the weather this year, off beat.
Let me ponder about our weather over the last year or so. 1st we got a blast of snow in November 2010, a good 2 feet of it, and it stuck around without a mild break right into April. If that’s not a long drawn out winter I don’t know what is. Then we entered into a spring from hell. Cold wet windy. So wet that I couldn’t reach most of my yards to set hives out into until middle of June. Cool spells that kept the bees from flying and made hive work almost impossible. I had 350 queens sitting in my closet waiting to be introduced for well over a week. Then MN’s tap turned off and the sun shone for the next 3 months with record breaking heat, little wind, no humidity and enough rain to just keep the crops going. A summer a beekeeper could only dream of, and a honey flow that exhausted me. Boy the bees responded well to that hot summer weather, what a great summer! That summer lead into a great fall which allowed the bees to nicely pack away the feed and allowed us to casually catch up in our work.
The season felt so unpredictable but while looking back at it, it couldn’t be more predictable the way it came. Cold winter lots of snow, cold spring with lots of rain, hot summer with long days, mild fall with lots of sun. I don’t know how to explain it other than calling it off beat.?
My Easyloader worked well this year. I had a full experienced crew on it this year and we worked out all the kinks on pulling honey. We were blasting through 7-8 yards on setting and pulling days without starting the day early and without ending late. With a honeyhouse crew, more boxes and a larger facility I could easily double my operation pulling honey with this arm. I am completely comfortable and satisfied with this way of pulling honey.
Through the honey production season I came about a few snags that I didn’t anticipate. First was in the spring, during the cool wet season of April May and into June. I set my hives out late, there were many many days of cold wet weather, the wind blew, and I had a hard time getting any of my hive work done on a timely basis. My treatments were late, my split was drawn out and my queens sat in my closet for a week on average.
But as June came around, BAM the bees exploded into growth. Up to then they didn’t need or want much supplemental feed. Then all of a sudden they had no honey left in the hive. second week of June and I’m full out feeding the hives. Usually I’m supering at that time but with nothing in bloom and the bees demanding food I made 2 round 1 gallon each hive.
Then, just at the end of the second feeding as I was pulling off the last of the pails the volunteer canola flowers came into bloom and BAM, they needed space now. I worked right into supering, quickly made the round within days adding 1 box to all my hives. Five days passed since I had started supering the hives and 40-50% of the hives were packed full of honey. I made another round immediately fully supering the hives right up. The quickness and immediate need for space is one thing I haven’t experienced before, and that surge of the honey flow didn’t stop until we had a cool spell in the beginning of September.
That full out continuous flow caught me right off guard. I had decided to extract earlier this year to try to help prevent granulation and yield more honey. It worked great, other than I could not keep up to the amount of honey coming into the hives every week. I started 1 st pull @ 18.5% with a good 75% of the boxes being full. I was ending 1 st pull in a weeks time with everything plugged @ 16% MC. I was getting everything out as quick as possible. All my boxes went back out and within a weeks time everything was plugged again @ 17% MC. So we had no break between 1st and 2nd pull where as we turned all the boxes in 10 days again. At that time the canola fields were starting to end their nice long bloom, so I decided to super 2 boxes to finish off. With the overwhelming heat of the days and nights the bees again plugged those boxes to finnish off 3rd pull. I then sent more boxes out to catch the September flow, and caught some buckwheat honey. For some reason I was caught off guard when the honey flow slowed as we entered into September. the nights cooled down to normal and the days were not as hot as all of the summer. I guess I was in production mode and with the consistancy and duration of the summer flow I wasnt stopping until the nectar stopped. The cool weather stopped the nectar flow, we stripped the boxes and got into feeding.
The flow just didn’t end, I was in extraction mode the entire season. If I wasnt takeing boxes out I was bringing them in. We worked well into most evenings supering hives and spent alot of weekends in the yards an in the honey house.
I dont know if I left honey in the field, probably did, but I collected as much as I possibly could with the equipment I had on hand. There is only so much that can be done in a day, and when that day leads into 2 months exhaustion sets in. Normally we run the productive season with breaks in between. This year was a dream season, even though I was so tiered I was enjoying every minute of it.
Posted by Ian Steppler at 06:12 PM | Permalink