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 hard 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?
The 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!
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.
We 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.
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.