Monthly Archives: October 2013

October 28, 2013

I went out to a few yards today and took a random sampling of my hives to check on my late fall varroa mite levels.  Im pleased with the way my hives are looking, they all seem to be holding a good solid cluster.

I went out to a few yards today and took a random sampling of my hives to check on my late fall varroa mite levels. Im pleased with the way my hives are looking, they all seem to be holding a good solid cluster.  I tested a 0% mite load.  The sampling took 5 min, testing 12 hives per yard.  I’m holding off on the late season Oxalic acid treatment this year.

Take note: This is the wisest $20 I have spent in this business yet
Take note:
This is the wisest $20 I have spent in this business yet

 

October 27, 2013

The electrical is going to get done tomorrow, and Tuesday I plan of fussing with a few details inside the wintering room. The plan is to start moving the bees in Wednesday.    That will be my final round for the year.

The electrical is going to get done tomorrow, and Tuesday I plan on fussing with a few details inside the wintering room. Then to start moving the bees in Wednesday. That will be my final round for the year.

October 24, 2013

Ceiling fans installed, ventilation hoods in place

I have installed ten ceiling fans, which will run at a low to medium speed all winter to ensure proper air mixing within the rows of hives.  By having the extra circulation capacity, I have the ability to ramp up the fans to blast air down onto the hives keeping them content during warm periods later in winter.

I built hood extensions out of used oil barrels which have a series of baffles inside to eliminate all light from entering the building.  I have hoods inside and outside of the building.
I built hood extensions out of used oil barrels which have a series of baffles inside to eliminate all light from entering the building. I have hoods inside and outside of the building.  One vent will be closed off during most of the winter, and opened up when increased air flows are required.

 

October 23, 2013

We woke up to snow a few nights ago, you'd swear it was Christmas morning around this house !

We woke up to snow Sunday, you’d swear it was Christmas morning around this house !

This weather sure feels like bee moving weather.  Its a bit early on the calender but these conditions are perfect for moving hives.  I have not finished preparing my wintering shed yet, basically waiting on the electrical.  Looking at the forecast I’m thinking the bees can come in anytime now.

With the silage piled in the yard, and with the pastures finished off, we are hauling all the cattle back into the yard for winter.  We have put them out on 500 acres surrounding the yard to field graze which makes for quite the sight, cattle everywhere!  The guys are busy hauling straw off the fields so that the land work can finish up.  One more week and we should have all the bales in and land work done.  Adam has started hauling out our contracted grain and will be hauling steady for the next couple of weeks.  Yard(s) maintenance has begun as we re-shape the cattle yard and fill in the holes.  We are planning on bringing in nearly 1000 yards of shale before freeze up.  Soon as the bales are in, the flat decks are parked and the gravel trailers are hitched on.  Its IMG_0293hard to pick priorities this time of year when all the jobs need to be done before freeze up.  The only thing we can do is keep those tires rolling and not break our work pace quite yet…but then again, when do we?

October 16 2013

IMG_0250The silage crew showed up yesterday afternoon and brought two harvesters with them!  We hitched one of our semi trucks onto a trailer to help try to keep up with the scrambling fleet as we continue to pull off a very heavy corn crop.  The fields are wet thanks to the rain the day before and is making for a bit of a challenge travelling, but we staffed one man on the yard tractor to help keep the trucks rolling.  The yard is an absolute bee hive with activity and I should know because I’m a beekeeper!

Two silage harvesters, six silage trucks and four packing tractors running flat out!

Two silage harvesters, six silage trucks and four packing tractors running flat out!

To add to the excitement of the day we also had the privilege of providing a farm tour to a Russian delegation with interest of developing a “North American” commercial livestock industry in their area of the country.  These people were here researching management strategies in developing workable farms and all the supporting infrastructure needed to maintain a healthy cattle industry.  It was a very interesting visit as we spent the noon hour talking about our farms.  Andre spent most of the day touring them throughout our facilities and was able to build a nice healthy relationship with the group.   Within the group was an actual investor “farmer” who is actively in the market looking for cattle to buy into his farming operation.  Who knows, perhaps we will be shipping our sought for breeding stock over seas this winter once again.

Our bee work continues as we pack away bee equipment, pull feeder pails and prep the bee yards to move the hives into winter storage.  We have a bit of work in the wintering room ( hot room ) to get done before we can move hives in, so as soon as the yard work gets done focus will shift on getting the wintering facility up and running.

October 15, 2013

IMG_0237We have started making our final round collecting pails and filling in empty spots. Virtually all the syrup has been consumed and the hives seem like they are settled for winter.  Because I use a solid two hive pallets, I have to disturb the colony by breaking it off the bottom board to move it into the empty spot.  We are getting a good glimpse of the hive`s fall time condition as our work is random and we can get a good assessment from peering under the cluster.  These two pictures show what I`m seeing in every hive we have opened up so far, about three or four per yard.  Big solid clusters, no sign of dwindling, no discarded chewed up larvae on the front entrance and no sign of DWV at all.  It appears my spring treatments have worked as planned.  This is the time of year poor hives start becoming very obvious be it from disease or from poor queen performance.  I am very please with the condition of my hives this fall.  My assistant and I work very casually during these nice fall time days, no deadlines to meet, just work to get done.  Very relaxing.  

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October 12 2013

Flooring is down, just a bit of finishing baseboard work, bit of plumbing and the office area is ready for use!

Flooring is down, just a bit of finishing baseboard work, bit of plumbing and the office area is ready for use!  The vinyl flooring cost me only a few hundred bucks as I was able to barter a good deal on good quality roll ends.  This flooring will help keep this area clean and provides a professional looking staging area for my workers and guests as they enter the honey house.  Clean foot wear before entering the extraction facility!

Brought home our new silage loader tractor

Brought home our new silage loader tractor yesterday.  40km/hr road speed made for a quick ride.  This tractor has a two and a half yard bucket which will fill our mix wagon quickly.  PLUS this machine has a nice cab, as opposed to our cab less crawler we were using last winter to load silage.  

Drying down our last batch of grain.  Last night we were able to sleep tight throughout the pouring rain.

Drying down our last bin of grain. Last night we were able to sleep tight throughout the pouring rain.

October 10 2013

Wax moths infestation

Wax moths infestation

Over the last couple of weeks we have been spending time around the honey house yard picking up the piles of bee stuff, organizing and storing it away for winter.  Beekeepers are cursed with an abundant amount of equipment needed throughout the year and this equipment tends to get piled through out the yard as the season progresses.  I try to pick everything up at the end of the year, purge and put things away so that my yard does not turn into a heaping junk pile!

We have spent the last few days scraping up culled summer hives to get them ready to store for winter.  We have been noticing a little bit of wax moth damage between some of the frames.  Why I left these boxes in the corner of my honey house I don’t know, especially when I have a refrigerated trailer they could have been put into.  The brood comb I stored for the summer in the reefer has had no wax damage thanks to my intermittent monthly freeze outs.  The reefer has made storing brood comb over the summer season possible.

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Bees packed to the outer corners of the hives

Bees PACKED to the outer corners of the hives

October 9 2013

Custom combining for the neighbours.  Its like a bee hive of activity out here today with combines scattering the country side.  Over the past three days we have been able to help three neighbours get caught up with their combining.

Custom combining for the neighbours. Its like a bee hive of activity out here today with combines scattering the country side. Over the past few days we have been able to help three neighbours get caught up with their combining.  Everyone is in good spirits as a good crop is being brought in.  Unless someone else asks for help, I’m rejoining the work with my bee crew to prep the hives for winter.