Monthly Archives: November 2012

November 08, 2012 – bringing hives in for winter

 

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The truck can carry a maximum of 80 double hives or 120 or 160 single hives at a time. You wouldn’t believe the buzzy roar sound that comes from a truck load of bees!

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When loading the hives up in the fall, as I move them home for winter, I will drive from yard to yard picking each pallet up and securing the hives on the truck deck for transport.  Usually when I’m picking the hives up in the fall, the days are cool and the bees are not flying.  This allows me to work all day without having to worry about bee flight.

102_2193Here is a pic of the stacked hives in the wintershed.  As I tuck the hives away for winter they will stay here in complete darkness until spring arrives late March. I’ll stack the hives 4 to 6 pallets high. I have the shed filled to capacity this year wintering 1013 hives. Some singles, some doubles, some nucs. All the hives are on migratory pallets with migratory type lid so stacking is tight and quick.

 

102_2191Here is a pic of me unloading the hives to go into the shed. I use a New Holland LX465 skid steer and unload 8 double hives, 12 single hives at a time.

 

102_2186I pick the hives out of the yards with the use of my Ezyloader. Things go very quick as I have been making up 120 single hive loads.

November 07, 2012

One thing I do not like about this business is the uncertainty we have with the survival of our wintering hives. Too many factors at play every year and we as beekeepers are at the mercy of mother nature and can do very little about it. I cant help but worry about my hives this winter. I was VERY happy with the way the hives looked going into the shed but I cant ignore the fact that they have not had a cleansing flight since the beginning of October. If they do not leave the shed until April 1st, they will have been without flight for 6 months. If the hives are not in tip top best of shape, they will likely not survive that long of time kept in confinement. Bees are very resilient, I have no way of knowing whats ahead of me until the bees are set out.

November 06, 2012

I am getting my work force together much earlier this year than other years. I am hiring more workers to complement the new facility and the projected 1000 hives for next season. I have advertised for help and so far filled a couple positions and have had some interest from off shore. Im considering going off shore but I want to advertise locally for another few weeks before I start any out of country hiring process. Either way Im going to secure a good work force and I am already making plans for my next years beekeeping season. Ill be running this ad in the local papers and a few farm papers for about one month.

General Beekeeping Labourers Wanted for Spring & Summer of 2013 (6). We are looking for 6 applicants who are interested in working on a medium sized honey farm in the Miami Mb. area during the summer months of 2013. Pay $11-$15/hr. Email stepplerfarms@hotmail.com for job descriptions and positions available.

November 03, 2012

Andre won Champion Heifer and won Reserve Champion Bull at the Manitoba Exhibition yesterday in Brandon. I brought the family and we all enjoyed watching the shows. Our animals looked excellent in the ring and we were happy with the way the animals looked in the barn. It has been a few years since I had been to one of these events and I noticed Andre is getting quite talented with grooming up the animals for the show. We sat with the kids beside Andres cattle stall in the barn and watched him and Katie dress the animals up. It is just like fixing up girls for a fashion show. We did our best to stay out of his way as we watched the animals get prepared to be showed. Perhaps one day one of my kids will help Andre with his cattle shows,.?

The weather turned foul as we drove up and we ended up stayed in Brandon for the night. The kids did not mind at all, for it meant water slide time! It was the right decision and we enjoyed our stay. Took us a couple of hotels to find room!

November 1, 2012

Hives are in, the year comes to an end! I finished moving the hives into the winter shed this afternoon and had about 20 hives worth of extra space. I have not done a final hive count yet, but from my previous notes, I put away 950 hives which were in double, single and nucs configuration. All my hives are now on migratory pallets with migratory lids so stacking is quick and tight. Feels good to be done once again! I have a few house keeping things to do on the winter shed still, and I have a bunch of surplus equipment that needs to be stacked away so another days work and the year will come to a close.

I am participating in the MASC hive mortality insurance program again this year. This is the reason why I need to do a final count on my hives. Looks like the premium has gone up this year which in not good. This insurance is very expensive which is compounded with an extremely high deductible. Looking at this program I doubt I will get my money back on the premium. But as my insurance broker had mentioned, this is a cost sharing program between two levels of government and the producer. This makes the insurance premium affordable and their intention is to help manage un-manageable risks. So, I’m paying a premium of around $2500 to cover me for a guaranteed $100,000 after the deductible. Many producers,like myself, are getting caught up in the high deductible, but they have to realize what a total loss event could cost them.

Andre is once again in Brandon for AgEx. He has put together another grouping of our best show animals and has put them on his own show string. It definitely requires alot of experience and it is a tremendous amount of work but showing animals is worth it. Andre is managing a registered herd, which is being used to raise breeding stock. Showing our animals is a great way to demonstrate the quality and caliber of our herd. This kind of work goes a long way in drumming up business for our bull sale. Im pulling the kids from school tomorrow and we are heading up to watch the show. Its important that the kids see Andres cattle show. These kind of farm experiences provide a greater depth of our kids attachment to the farm. That’s what its ALL about!