Cleaning out the syrup tanks…last minute job.
Not the most popular boss today 😬
Sheds holding at 9 degreesC, ventilation fans purging and the ceiling fans on high. It has not been cold enough to remove the entrance reducers, the bees need a bit more air. For the most part the hives sit motionless. I ran the broom around this afternoon and collected quite a pile. Cold weather ahead should bring the room temp down.
The season nears completion, my final honey staff layoffs happen December 2. Over the last two months I’ve shifted two guys to cattle farm yard construction and maintenance projects. Ive kept one worker back with the bees and in the honey house to work at bee related jobs and maintenance projects. The work has pretty much wrapped up and it feels good to be caught up for the year. As one farm enterprise nears completion another farm enterprise starts to ramp up. Our livestock winter work staff has now all filed in and our winter work shifts have nicely started. Andre is showing cattle at Agribition in Regina promoting our December 12 on farm Fall Female sale. He brought an outstanding female show string which will be available at our sale. Yesterday Steppler Miss 145C placed Reserve Champion Charolais Female in the First Lady Classic at Agribition 2016. Feather in his cap, for more information on our “Piece of the Program” Female sale, December 12, flip over to the Steppler Farms Cattle page here on our website. Farm PR is exhausting, I’m sure Andre will be glad to get back home and back to regular routine.
I had an interesting chat with a neighbour in regards to CO2 levels in his wintering shed. He had bought a CO2 monitoring device and has been monitoring everything from his office to every room in his wintering facility. His main shed is at 950ppm but his other shed is at 3500ppm. The conversation lead to optimal CO2 levels and where that equilibrium is at. 1700ppm seemed to be the common wisdom passed onto us by someone else…
CO2 is an important factor when wintering honeybees. They use it as part of their dormancy control and maintain a certain elevated level of it within their insulating shell, 1700ppm had been suggested.
So in regards to maintaining an indoor wintering rooms c02 levels, high levels will obviously harm them but trying to maintain levels comparable to outdoor levels might just be a wasted effort.
More importantly is the wintering room air circulation. Too much air movement within the room can disrupt the hives CO2 sheid and interfere with dormancy. Turn those ceilIng fans down too much and pockets of deadly gasses will form within air layering. In the spring I blast my ceiling fans to help keep those bees in their hives and it works well. The strategy through the main period of winter I need to pay more attention on Is to focus on air mixing without disrupting the clusters insulating c02 sheid.
I think it’s time I start monitoring CO2 levels and stage my mid winter exhaust fans according to CO2 levels aswell as temp, but also pay more attention towards interior air circulation and not over mixing the air
The beehives are stacked away for winter. Today I closed the door, it will open again in March/April. The exact count is 1099 singles and 424 nucs. My room is pretty much at capacity, 22 square feet per hive. I might have to add auxiliary fans into my air intakes just to help increase ventilation airflow. On Saturday night our farm was without power for three hours. I wandered down to my shed to check on the hives. The room was silent except for the quiet humming roar of the approximate 25 million bees sitting contently in the quiet darkness. This business still simply amazes me. Another years work tucked away for another year.
Second day picking hives. A job I enjoy. A casual work pace to finish off the year, and seeing each hive as I load them. Everything appears as it should.
It’s hard to believe an open air nest could fend off bees and wasps through out the fall, but this resilient swarm did. Not only did it fend off robbers, it held off ants…amazingly and impressive. Not a damn thing I can do for this hive other than winter them exactly as they are and deal with the cluster in the spring! Luckily the cradle fork did not skewer the nest, it just caught the edge…