THE BEEYARD REPORT
All of our grafted queens are sold. We had a
jump in demand during August. We could have grafted one more cycle
but we didn’t think we needed them. Adam let some of the
queenless nucs draw their own cells. These aren’t queens
we would sell but I don’t mind trying them ourselves. Now,
we have a lot of queenless nucs we need to combine with the few
queens we have left. I think these will turn into doubles. We
have a lot of bees in the mating yard. My original plan was to
try wintering nucs but that’s out the window now.
I’m not real sure how many queens we did.
The numbers aren’t very large. We started out with 25 mating
nucs and built to 105 at the peak. I know how many we sold but
we didn’t keep track of the ones we used ourselves. I would
be surprised if the total was much over 200.
It’s not unusual to lose yards, but this
summer is the first time I lost two within two weeks. People at
both locations got stung and wound up in the hospital. That didn’t
leave me with any options.
Moving bees is not my favorite job. We put the
first yard on pallets and loaded them with the Swinger. Of course,
this took a lot longer than anticipated. It was quite dark by
the time we got to our new location. There were no lights on the
Swinger so I had Alex watch the forks while I picked up the pallets.
We got the bees unloaded and started to drive out. At this point,
we discovered that the dew had fallen. We couldn’t get out
with the trailer. We unloaded the Swinger and dropped the trailer
so we could go home. Casey’s was still open in Montezuma
so we stopped for ice cream.
We left the second yard on bottom boards and
moved them to an existing yard. That venture only took about three
We used to stack empty supers in our warehouse.
The problem was that it gets hot in there. We were trying to use
moth crystals to keep the moths out. The heat would cause them
to evaporate in a few days. It turned into a wax moth paradise.
A couple of years ago, we started putting the supers on pallets
and taking them to the yard where we keep our drone mothers. There
are five of six colonies in that location. There seems to be enough
bees going through the stacks to keep the moths out. We lose a
few boxes to the moths but it hasn’t been a problem. The
only supers the moths get into are the ones with a lot of pollen.
The other big change is that we are now taking
credit cards. I had been looking for a low dollar deal for some
time. There are a lot of fees they can zing you with in addition
to the actual transaction fee. It was hard to digest all the information
the potential providers gave me. In the end, I gave it to Alex.
He got it set up. The initial investment is much less that I thought
it would be.
One Sunday night I showed Adam how to process
cards. The next day was a route day for me. When I came home,
I found out Adam had sent 250# of wax to a furniture maker. I
wouldn’t have had the stones to ask for the money he got
out of that wax. It was quite a windfall.
The end of the season is in sight. Pay attention
to your mite load. We prefer to treat in the spring so we know
we are treating bees that are going to live. Sometimes the load
in the fall doesn’t allow this. Most of the yards we have
tested are in the three to seven range on ether rolls. One was
ten. We will probably have to treat that one. 50% to 70% of the
mites can be in the brood. Ten mites on an ether roll of 300 bees
is 3%+. It can be over 6% within two weeks when the brood emerges.
If it doubles again in the next brood cycle, trouble is at hand.
We have found the mite population may stay at the same level but
you have to monitor the load to know where you are at.
People somtimes tell me their treatments work
but they didn’t check the mite load either before or after
treatment. They don’t know if they needed to treat of if
the treatment they used worked. Stay on top of this. It’s
no fun when the bees die.
Submitted by Phil Ebert