Winter work continues

Some of 40 new supers.

Some of the 40 new supers.

On the list for 2013 is getting a bunch more hive equipment ready. Thanks to the strength of the honey sales from fall 2012 more deeps and supers could be purchased without going into the RED. Due to all of the other stuff that has been going on I chose NOT to make my own hive ware this year. I hope that next year at this time there will be less going on and I can make this stuff myself to save some money.  Right now I just can’t do it.

Medium and deep frame construction.

Medium and deep frame construction.

Fortunately I’m not depending on bees for my livelihood. It is not feasible to make this my sole form of income and I am fine with that as long as the bees at least support themselves.  Currently they are at least paying their own bills.  The number of production hives will be between 20 and 30 in 2013. All hives will need between 4 and 6 supers a piece. For more specifics on putting frames together see Getting Framed from February 2012.

That unheated garage is a hard place to return to night after night. While out there I usually will have a glass of home-made wine and listen to some podcasts. One that I recommend is from The Beekeeper’s Corner. Kevin approaches beekeeping subjects from multiple angles. His presents good information and you can tell he is on a quest to figure out what will work best for his beekeeping operation.

A podcast that I feared had gone the way of the dodo is the Organically Managed Beekeeping Podcast. After a long lapse Craig released an episode on 12/31/12. I was glad when I saw he had put out some new content. I will be the first to say that the word “organic” like “natural” when used in reference to beekeeping immediately puts me on guard, but Craig’s podcast is really good. He has done some interviews that anyone thinking of treatment-free beekeeping really needs to listen to. I highly recommend the three part series from 2011 with TheFatBeeMan. His episodes are packed with information and sometimes you can benefit from a second or third listen.

Keep in mind that some of the opinions expressed in these podcasts may differ from your own and/or mine. You may hear about treatments and maybe even some feeding. Instead of focusing on differences in opinion I enjoy listening AND LEARNING from both. There is enough divisiveness in beekeeping already. Don’t believe any beekeeper solely based on their word, even “experts” who have books out there, but you can take those ideas and test them yourself. After testing you may find value in said ideas or you may determine they won’t work for you. You never know unless you try.

So what have you been up to? Spring will be here before you know it.
Do you have any podcasts you recommend while I toil away hour after hour out there?


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10 Responses to Winter work continues

  1. Thanks for the podcast recommendations. I’m checking them out now.

    I’m also about to start box and frame assembly myself. I had to clean out my messy garage first though. I ordered some boxes and frames from Kelley Bees, just to see how they compare to the ones I’ve been buying locally. Part of my order arrived yesterday, the other part should be arriving today.

    • Jason says:

      Bill – I have ordered from Kelley’s many times. There was an order problem with them this year, but they made it right after a phone call. I will buy from them again. I really like their foundationless frames and cannot believe other suppliers aren’t selling them.

      My garage was clean…. now it is filled with assembled stuff again…

  2. Jeff says:

    Thanks for a great post with all the links! I have already listened to 3 podcasts and watched a bunch of FatBeeMans videos, he has a bunch of great information.
    I’ve got all of my boxes assembled now, I made and used the simple box jig that Michael Bush uses, and it worked real well. next I’m going make a frame jig like the one in this video and start assembling frames.
    I can aready see that I’m going to be making a lot more of this stuff next year and probably for many more years to come.

    • Jason says:

      I have built more each winter since beginning with bees. It gets a little addictive. Having more than just 1 or 2 hives gives you a backup plan. You are always apt to lose a hive or two. Having more than a couple gives you more chances to screw up and learn a lesson along the way.

      An air compressor along with a nailer or stapler is a great thing to have around if you are going to be building several hundred frames.

      good luck

  3. Mil says:

    I was happy to see that Craig was back too. Sounds like he’s had a rough year. And thanks for the reminder to listen to Kevin’s podcast as I haven’t in a while. Although I don’t always agree with Kevin’s approach to beekeeping, I still learn a lot from his podcast and it always gets me thinking.

    Have you heard the podcast from Gary and Margaret in New Zealand?

    Bee-wise, assessing how much the shade factor played into the demise of Hive 3. Since I live coastal, getting enough sun in my area is always important.

    • Jason says:

      Yes it does sound rough, went though it about 10 years ago. Has a way of setting you back a couple years. I have written Kevin several times, but never gotten a reply. As you stated his show always gets me thinking.

      I will be downloading the Kiwimana podcast and listening to it. Thanks for the recommendation.

      I am still a little confused as to shade or sun best now for my hives. I have colonies represented by both situations and don’t know for sure which the bees prefer. The only site where I think shade has been detrimental is in one of the places I have SHB. SHB are currently in two locations. One is full sun, the other full shade. Right now the full sun bees have fared better, but winter is not over yet.

      Sooner or later those little buggers will be in all of my hives. I want to find out which situation suits the bees the best before then.

  4. Mil says:

    I just read an article where someone mentioned they thought hives in the sun did better for SHB. I wonder about that too. I visited some hives in Hawaii that were in the sun, but then again, it is very moist there too. I wonder what the “magical” weather formula for SHB is.

    I am sorry to hear you have SHB in your area. That sucks…

    Did you listen to Kiwimana?

    • Jason says:

      First off yeah it sucks. SHB were most likely sent here in a package of bees from Lord knows where. Other beekeepers near that little pocket must have em. I have seen them in bee trees that I have cut-out 3 or 4 miles from there. Some of the bees there are coexisting with them.

      I would agree with the article on full sun being better for bees. From what I have been able to determine SHB prefer moist damp dark conditions. Places that don’t get a lot of wind and just kinda hold on to humidity.

      I have hives at another apiary close to the one most heavily infested. There I have hives in full sun that have had SHB and built up strong and were doing well going into winter. I am anxious to see them. In the most SHB affected apiary both hives that remain are powerhouses. I didn’t have a good plan to harvest the honey from them since they have SHB in there. I don’t want to spread them around. Both hives are 4 deeps high. Going into winter both had the top 2 deeps full of honey and awesome numbers. Both hives also had varroa that were untreated. If they can make it against those odds they are my kind of bees.

      When I go check them in March there will be a blog post about em.

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