August 20, 2012
Within the next couple of days all my boxes will be off. As I had anticipated, the boxes are coming in lighter as I near the end. Most all of the second pull is alfalfa honey which is coming in very dry. Most of the honey is coming out of the frames but the boxes still remain with a bit of honey in them. A neighbour emailed me a solution to the problem with heavy dry honey. He has installed a tub steamer into his extractor to help moisten the honey and allow for proper extraction. With honey coming in @at 17%, a bit of steam does not cause any MC problems. Though I had planned to install one myself, I didnt have a chance too, so now I still leave a bit of honey in the frames. Next years project! During my second pull, as I strip the boxes from my hives, I have been returning to my single arrangement yards to feed them. I have only been feeding them a gallon because I dont want to plug the nest yet and there still is drags of alfalfa honey coming in but he feed was well needed with most all hives sitting on only a frame of honey if that. In most of my hives that queen has an established 8 or 9 frame brood nest leaving room for little honey stores. Im still adjusting to single management, which requires alot more attention to the nest then does doubles. I have had to spend alot more attention to the flow while pulling off this last honey. With doubles, there is little chance of starvation while pulling honey regardless if there is a flow or not. Im finding with singles, I have to be certain I have nectar coming in while I strip off all their stores. Not only that, but because I have had to feed in the middle of August, I have had to watch for flows to start up again as rains spot the country side. I have one particular area I might be supering up again, with the area receiving half an inch of rain. hardly enough to get a strong flow going and its getting later into August now, and unless the flow is strong Ill just leave the nectar for winter stores. The bees winter very well on alfalfa honey. If We were earlier in August I would be concerned about a plugged brood nest. Worry worry worry. With doubles, I pulled the honey just before harvest, left them a box and went combining for a few weeks. Come back in September, stripped the boxes and fed. Anyhow, wheat is coming in and looks good. Most all the canola has been swathed and we think it looks good. the combines will tell. It has been many long hour harvest days so far while we take advantage of this harvest heat. Its hurting the canola a bit as it cures but its sure makes for beautiful combining days ! Adam is steady on the semi trucks, so if that tell you anything, harvest is going well.
Posted by Ian Steppler at 05:51 PM | Permalink
August 12, 2012
I have a lot of plans to improve my operation. One being a larger honey house. Another being a replacement of all my old boxes. But after working this year I think its time to up grade my wax handling equipment. The old spinner Im using is not only galvanized and outdated but is on its last leg. I am also getting tiered of skimming wax from my sump, tanks and barrels. My current wax handling system requires extra work that I do not need during this busy time of the year. I was considering just replacing my spinner with a newer one but I wouldnt be relieving my wax chores this way. So, I am considering making the investment into a complete honey wax handling system which involves new auger, pump, heat exchanger and spinner. This system sends all the honey and wax through the spinner separating all wax from the honey leaving clean honey in the tank and dry wax in the barrel. The set up cost is more and the unit requires daily maintenance but alot less work than what Im doing now. Im going to tour some facilities this winter to view their set up and get ideas.
Posted by Ian Steppler at 11:29 AM | Permalink
August 08, 2012
And just like that, my honey flow is over. So frustrating but nothing I can do about it. I was having a good pull off second cut alfalfa but most all of it has been cut leaving me with no fields to forage on. As I had anticipated, but held in denial, farmers cut the hay before the harvest came in. I had been emailed the other day from a neighboring beekeeper who was telling me they are going to start feeding in a few days or so, along with most everyone else south of here. Looks like I will be following suit to ensure these singles do not starve. Yikes, feeding early August! What is with that! So, my anticipated volume of my honey crop yet again changes. Im pulling full boxes of honey from my second pull still, and as I proceed I expect the boxes to get lighter. Now my attention turns towards stripping the hives down and getting feed out. There are still hives near seed fields and buckwheat fields that I noticed the flows are still going, but also noticed some hives near some standing second cut fields that have stalled with their work. The dryness here has probably caught up with us to. I am glad to have gotten that email from my neighbour. It shifted my attention away from the harvest field back to the progress of the bees. Harvest has gotten underway and things are looking good so far. The crop is coming in fast and we have all machines running full out. The wheat is dry and the canola is just coming ready. I have spent hours on the combine already and expect to be running machines in between my bee working days. Busy times ahead. Now just to keep ontop of things will be the trick!
Posted by Ian Steppler at 07:42 PM | Permalink
August 05, 2012
I have all the boxes pulled now to finish the first pull with two days of extracting remaining. I have been running 20 barrel extraction days so Im expecting another 30-40 drums to extract which spills into my third semi trailer! Im starting my second pull on Tuesday. It has been a few weeks since my last visit and they need space desperately. The alfalfa is flowing and the buckwheat has just turned on its tap. The trick now is to try to keep it separated from the rest. Harvest is just around the corner. The swathers will hit the fields early this week. We are scrambling to get things ready but soon enough we will be in the full out focused routen of harvest days. The crop is coming fast, and that usually means long days. This will be one of our earliest harvest starts.
Posted by Ian Steppler at 04:59 PM | Permalink