Escapes are not without their drawbacks. From time to time a queen gets through the excluder. Typically skinny queens and virgins are the trouble makers. I find the obvious ones in the yard and sort them back down but the ones I miss show themselves in the hot room.
1400 boxes in today, the next set starts tomorrow. A good day in the honey house today. 14 barrels from 210 boxes, a fully trained crew and no glitches. The honey tested 18.5 to 18.7 all day long. The amount of wax produced today took me by surprise, where did it all come from, I had none last week! First signs of robbing in my yards today…hive covers come out tomorrow on this next set…yay…this will be the first time in my beekeeping career that I’ll be managing robbing during first pull. Canola is done, alfalfa is getting cut, and my ditch flowers are being mowed and sprayed out. Time to start moving hives around.
Sometimes I feel as if I can’t figure what’s going on inside the hives because it seems that I miss read what’s going on all the time. It’s not that I miss read what’s going on, it’s just things change so fast that it’s hard to keep up. I’ve been obsessed with moisture lately, last week finding nothing dry top to bottom, very little cappings 20.5% and higher. This week everything is dry nothing under 19% (so my samples tell me) and cappings everywhere. I wish I could of started the pull last week, my forklift scaled today’s loads at an average of 72 lbs per box. It’s no wonder my guys are having trouble maneuvering those 5 box stacks. With honey in the honey house I decided to split the crew and run some boxes through the extractor. I wanted to use today as a training day. But malfunctions ceased production and sent the whole crew back to the yards… Here in again, I spend so much time maintaining my extraction equipment to have failures the day I want to run!! …minor glitch… Even the first load I put in the extractor had a frame blow out and nearly wrecked the real… Hmmm. Tomorrow I hope to have a better start, and we don’t stop til it’s all done…
Putting up the last yard setting escape boards. Wet honey and wet yard access delayed the pull and forced me to build towers, which looks exaggerated when setting boards. This is the reason we spent a couple days levelling the pallets in my yards, top heavy hives will tip if not level. 400 boards are set to start the first round of 1400 (two empties under the escape), after two nights we will pull boxes free of bees. Spot checks are showing most hives have cleared after the one night. Tomorrow we start pulling boxes in, afternoon we start the extractor, then we don’t stop til the first pull is all in.
Put up 8 yards today
In a couple days I’m going to split the crew as soon as honey boxes hit the honey house. The arm is creaking, these boxes are heavy.
Late start, dry honey, full boxes, no ruts, sunny forecast.
Gilbraith Farm Services came in today and put up our barley silage. Swathed yesterday, piled by this evening. There is no otherway to put up feed. All we put up dry now is our straw bales
Its amazing how fast things can change. After the rains yesterday my honey tests showed steady at 20%. Cooler dry air followed and my hives dried 2% overnight. Top boxes went from 22.5% to 19%, overall samples at 18.6%. The honey pull is a go…except, my truck is down. Yard ruts snapped my rear leaf spring suspension. Another major set back. I’m hoping to have things fixed tomorrow, pull starts … Tuesday.
The swarm, quite the risky strategy to establish a new nest. We caught this one yesterday and moved it back to the apiary. If Carrie had not captured it, the bees wouldn’t of had a chance to relocate and the exposed bees would of had to endure today’s wet windy weather. Bees manage risk very effectively but within their strategy they take huge chances. The problem is there is no way of predicting chance. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Farming runs along the same lines of managing risk and taking chances to collect the rewards. And like honeybees casting out a swarm, the factors are completely out of our control and leave us at natures mercy. In this business we have to be on top of things at all times. Managment, hard work and making good decisions determine how much of that risk we can channel into prosperity. It is also nessisary to accept loss as part of this business . “If you didn’t love it, you’d hate it”
My sampling shows my honey as too wet…so I wait. My plans were to start setting escapes tomorrow but before I begin the pull I like to sample the yards to get an idea of what’s going to be coming in. This morning I spent a couple hours sampling a bunch of my yards very throughly. I desperately want to start the pull as all Beekeepers know time is money, and I know most Beekeepers have already begun the pull…but I can’t find any honey samples under 20% ranging as high as 22.5%, very little cappings. We can thank the relentless humidity for all these summer time woes. My frames are full, but glisten in the morning sun. My boxes are heavy which encourages me to start the pull but the honey is too wet. I’ve used up most of my busy work jobs around the honey farm. Frames are built, the farm has tapped into my crew for some needed general farm labour. I have given my crew the day off tomorrow along with the weekend. I hope Monday shows better moisture test results. Not very often I give days away this time of year…it’s driving me nuts. The first main flow is at the beginning of its end and with this production delay my first pull timing is way out of whack. So what am I to do..???, well, I’m taking the day off with the family tomorrow.