Monthly Archives: April 2016

April 29 2016

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Into the dust, the farm is in full stride. The land is in perfect condition, corner to corner, and when we get these breif opportunities we run the machinery nearly around the clock. With pre seeding burn off ahead of the drill, our zero till drill provides us the ability to pass over the land (that had been fully prepared last fall) with seed and fertilizer with no disturbance to the land, locking in moisture and minimizing field work.

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Our tender truck makes quick work loading fert and seed during fills

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Today we set up “doner” hives.  I have 15 nucs sporting 1/2 a frame of brood with a good queen which need a boost.  I’ve taken these nucs down to one of my spring holding yards.  These hives are set up with newspaper (slow merger) under an excluder (to keep the queens separated) and with the nucs on top.  After a few hours the hive will chew through the newspaper slowly merging with the nuc up top.  In a few days I will return to strip the nucs off which will have been nicely boosted with bees.

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Reconditioning our brood box equipment.  Whenever we are not working the yards I have my staff work continuously on preparing for the split.  Equipment is scrapped, reconditioned and sorted into units which will be built into splits.  I’ve been painting some of these boxes as they go through to try to freshen things up a bit.  There is a lot of work to do.  Seconds go out next week.

April 27 2016

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My apiary has been temporarily satisfied with feeding. Today we finally finished the second round with patties, strips and syrup. A good stream of pollen came in today and it was refreshing to see.  Warmth is desperately needed to allow theses bees to work a full day and open up their brood nest.  I’ve pushed back my spring work plans by a week.  A bit more time is going to be needed to pull what I want off these hives.  Next week we will start equalizing the yards, pull down the boomers and boost the struggling…that is if the weather allows us to…

April 24 2016

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Yum yum yum yum, the bees moving up and taking the syrup down. The continued cold wind is keeping the hives close to the yards. Providing syrup and protein patties is all we can do right now as we wait for warm weather
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My nucs are falling back a bit and starting to look nothing special. Three frames of bees and a frame of brood… this weather is not allowing these hives to move forward.  Half a pound of patty consumed, today I’m adding a second half pound.

April 22 2016

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Only 2 boxes from last year… Buggers

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I have my melter cooking again to render down box scrapings and to render culled frames.  I love the smell of wax cooking in the honey house.  I also have my guys carry a pail with them while working the yards to save hive scrapings.  It’s a bit of a pain collecting scrapings but all that bother instantly turns into $$$ when poured into blocks.  This is a pic of wax poured from this weeks rendered old brood comb and brood box scrapings.

April 21 2016

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Pulled out the 1 gallon feed pails. Cool weather makes for short work days and the bees need feed. Bought these at BeeMaid, I like them because with the screen the syrup is easily accessible to the bees and with the smaller sized pail that spring time drip is virtually eliminated.

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April 20 2016

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I pulled the pin and started pail feeding today. These hives are hungry as brood rearing has geared up and resources are being stretched to its max. My hives are in need of a general syrup feeding and I’m not getting the open feeding weather needed to satisfy my hives thirst. Pails are going out this second round. I’m sending two guys to work ahead scrapping top bars and then following with feed pails, my apiarist and I are working inbetween with strips and 2nd patties.  The hives look robust and these girls are frantic as they fly miles to gather fresh abundant tree pollen.

I got my latest nosema counts back today.  I’m finding these results interesting.  To recap, winter testing results show composite sample counts ranging from 17-25m with samples peaking at 70m spore counts from sick looking hives.  First flight on March 11 dropped those overall counts by 10m, a fumagillin treatment group purged nearly all.  Results from my second flight sampling (current results) showed samples, regardless if treated or not, purged the counts testing in the range of 2m counts. It appears not only has the bee hives been able to harbour high infection levels through winter but the hives have also been able to effectively shed the nosema ceranae infection to a manageable level WITH AND/OR WITHOUT treatments.

Just a few comments;

  • Ceranae is being managed effectively by the bees.  Harbouring high levels in the gut through winter confinement and effectively shedding nearly all of it during the first few flights
  • a fumagillin treatment immediately dropped spore counts
  • the bees effectively shed the nosema ceranae infection without a treatment after time
  • i have observed practically no behaviour symptoms from hives harbouring high levels of nosema ceranae (20m spore counts)  through winter confinement
  • severely infected hives (70m spore counts) dwindled and died with messy hive fronts
  • all these tests and observations are with a varroa mite count of 0.02% but with lingering levels of virul detected

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April 19 2016

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Livestock Herdsman Wanted

Steppler Farms Ltd. is seeking applicants interested in working on a medium sized pure bred cattle operation located in SW Manitoba near Miami.

Full time position, 8-5 Mon-Fri, extended irregular hours during harvest and calving.
Starting wage $17/hr, hiring immediately

Applicants must have experience with:
-daily feeding and understanding of ration formulations
-identification, diagnosis and treatment of cattle ailments
-familiarity with livestock medication
-calving duties
-operation of heavy equipment (tractor, baler)

Applicants must be self motivated, physically able, familiar and comfortable working around cattle. Applicants must have a valid class 5 drivers license-class 1 licence an asset.

Accommodations are available;
$500 per month plus utilities, country yard, 3 bedroom house, full basement, garage.

Send resumes with references to:
Andre Steppler, Livestock Manager
Steppler Farms Ltd.
Box 7 Miami MB R0G 1H0
1-204-435-2463
stepplerfarms@hotmail.com
www.stepplerfarms.com

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April 18 2016

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We spent the day in a cold cloud today which kept us from the bee yards.  The guys continued box/frame scraping to keep busy.  We are cleaning up this year’s dead outs and all the shake out brood boxes collected from last year.  The frames are scraped, tidied, and then stacked either on the honey frame or empty frame pallet.  This allows us to make an inventory of what we have and helps us build uniform brood boxes later.  This job…probably…is one of the most hated jobs on the honey farm…which is great because the most hated jobs offsets the preferred jobs nicely.