Monthly Archives: July 2012

July 2012

July 31, 2012

July 2012

Summer Employment,
General  beekeeping labourer
Starts Immediately Ends labour day
50-100 hours of work
8-5 hours Monday – Friday and occasional Saturday
$11/hour

Job description as follows,

Prepairing frames for extraction
Bee yard work

Must be self motivated and willing to work comfortably around bees
Contact Ian Steppler
204-435-2491 stepplerfarms@hotmail.com

Posted by Ian Steppler at 07:07 PM | Permalink

July 29, 2012

July 2012

Im just over half done the first pull now, with 2/3 of the hives pulled off and the honey house full of full boxes.  The first trailer is full and ready to go on Wednesday Aug 1st, and Im planning on filling it again for delivery on Aug 10th.  As long as things work as I have planned, Ill have over two loads of honey off the first pull.  This would be a first for the farm but we shall see how things work out.  The main canola flow has just about finished with fields hanging on here and there.  The flow has shifted towards a strong alfalfa and sunflower flow, with fields of buckwheat waiting its turn.  I have not been back to some of my first yards for a couple of weeks because of a total lack of replacement boxes, but today Im going to try to make a round and shift boxes as needed and make an assessment on the volume to come during the second pull.

The way I figure things here on my honey farm is the first pull brings me the main volume of high quality honey for the year and usually brings me about the same amount every year.  There is alot of canola planted around here and as long as the rain comes, my boxes come in full.  There is a saying, the July honey flow will make or bread a beekeeper.   The second pull determines whether or not Im going to get a bumper crop or not.  If the flow carries on from the canola into the alfalfa sunflowers wild flowers those boxes will come in full and could bring just about as much as pulled from the first flow.  The third flow is icing on the cake.  If I can bring in a box at the end of the season, Im happy.  That is why I like to see buckwheat fields grown in my area.  If I can get a good buckwheat flow, I can sell this honey for a premium.  So by the looks of my year so far, my first flow is good, and it looks like nectar is coming in off alfalfa and sunflowers.  So I have to get these boxes back out asap!

Our crops are turning nicely.  By the looks of things, we will start cutting canola in a week or so, and our wheat fields will be right behind it.  Actually, it looks like we will have to cut all 3000 in the same week!  Swathers have been lined up so we have the capacity and our combines are lined up ready to go.  We bought another 9600 JD combine from a neighbour and plan to sell off the older 7720 this season, but if its not sold by the time the combines hit the field, we may just find another man to run this machine as well.  That will keep Adam hopping on the truck! Ha

Posted by Ian Steppler at 10:52 AM | Permalink

July 24, 2012

July 2012

The pull is going very well so far. The boxes are coming in full of honey and the honey is extracting very well. It has been a little frustrating during the first half of the pull running with so few boxes on hand to turn over onto. Nothing I cant manage but slows things up a bit. I have been having swarming issues in my larger double chamber hives. Im getting tiered of catching swarms. So many bees, and again, short on boxes. I have stacked them 5-6 boxes high but could of easily added a box or two on top of that. That and I have had them work alot of foundation out this year, two frames per box. Also I think some of the swarming problems are related to older queens. I am noticing in the swarms that I happen to catch, the queens are laying very poor brood patterns and get replaced quick. I would prefer a superceedure in these hives but Im not the one who decides what happens in the course of nature! Anyway, besides the swarming the pull has been running very well. One thing Id like to comment on is how impressed I am with running singles through the honey flow. I have to mention all my singles are new queens, so id expect high performance, but these singles sure pack away the honey! I have had to leave my escape boards on for three nights to clear the bees where as usually I only leave the boards on my double hives for one or two nights. But after three nights nearly all the bees are gone. The canola has just passed and the sunflowers are blooming. The clover is close to ending and the alfalfa is in full bloom. I have down graded my estimated yeild down a bit because of the swarming but overall it still looks strong. According to my plans, Ill be done my first round by Aug 4th and then right into the second to get all this canola honey out of the comb

Posted by Ian Steppler at 12:24 PM | Permalink

July 15, 2012

July 2012

The farm has received a total of 75 mm rain within the last three weeks. With the temperature so hot, this moisture is welcome and it feels like we are living in a green house. The crops look great, the pasture is staying well ahead of the cattle and nectar is flowing into the hives. As I remove lids of the bee hives, nectar drips off the lids! What a fantastic sight but my hives are filling and need more space. The Canola bloom is between a number of stages right now. Anywhere from finished to 2/3 finished to just getting going. In some places I will have another two weeks of canola bloom. The sunflowers and alfalfa is just starting to get going which starts the next stage of the flow with buckwheat fields scattered here and there. With this recent moisture Im sure these later crops will produce a honey crop, but I never know. Sunflowers, alfalfa and buckwheat always seem to follow nectar production patterns I have yet to pick up on! Time will tell, but Ill be ready for it. I set the escape boards Friday to pick up today to extract tomorrow but the rain has delayed our work. Tomorrow we pick up the first of the yards and the honey pull starts! I have been busy in the honey house working to register it with the CFIA. The inspector has been out and had identified a few things that I needed to attend to before I am able to register, and from there I will continue to upgrade and improve my facility to achieve full compliance. It will be a work in progress and the inspector is very fussy but this improvement in my honey house facility and in my honey house operation will bring a higher standard to the honey I produce.

Posted by Ian Steppler at 08:18 PM | Permalink

July 07, 2012

July 2012

For the last five days I have spent time with the fam at a cottage on Lake of the Woods. What a nice place. I pretty much spent the whole time boating kids around fishing and swimming in the nice warm waters. The weather was great, and I was able to kick back and totally relax with out any thoughts of the farm. A rest well needed. Before I got away I was scrambling to get all my work done. The crop was starting to bloom, the bees were busting and honey was coming in faster than I had anticipated. After a ridiculous two week work schedule, all my yards are moved and all my hives have been supered. Right now every box I have is out, and by the looks of things today, Im going to have to start my extraction in a week or so. Being so short on boxes this year I happened to find some honey boxes for sale and with this purchase Im using these boxes to turn over during the pull. That purchase helped take some of the pressure off and helped plan for a July 15th extraction start. I dont think I remember honey coming in quite this fast before. All 4000 frames or so are close to being worked out already, the combs are full and my nucs even need another super! The crop is nicely into its bloom and with the rain that has nicely dropped here, the crop is expected to fully flower, so it looks like I could have another three weeks of canola bloom. This week my attention turns towards the honey house.

Posted by Ian Steppler at 12:13 PM | Permalink