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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thoughts for 2013

Well, yesterday I sold the last of my honey from 2012.  What a great honey year it was inspite of the drought.  I believe Aaron has a few bottles left, with at least one needing to be delivered.  I'm not 100% sure how much honey I harvested, but I believe I bottled around 260 pounds with profits going into more equipment.  Beekeeping can become an expensive hobby, especially when you look at buying frames.  While the wood to make a hive box isn't too expensive, the frames are over $2 a piece.  So, a beehive with two deep supers and two honey supers will cost just under $100 just for the frames!  At present, I am assembling 20 deep hive boxes to expand the apiary this year.  Next, I need to make 10 more bottom boards, inner covers, and telescopic lids.  That should give me the opportunity to expand to approximately 25 hives.  Next I need to build more honey supers to maximize honey production.  If all goes well, I hope to produce 40 gallons of honey in 2013.  So, what does one do with 40 gallons or 480 pounds of honey?  Expand markets!  Ah, but let's not put the cart before the horse, because it is still winter, it is actually snowing as I type, and the bees have to make it through winter yet, and now is the time that some face starvation....time to feed!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hive Box Assembly

Prepping for the 2013 bee season.  The other day, my grandson Elijah was helping me cut wood for the new deep boxes.  Here you can see where my son Aaron and I have been assembling some of the 20 boxes to fill with bees this spring.

Winter Update

Well, I haven't written here for a while, and I need to give a winter update.  Unfortunately, two of my week hives died out earlier this winter.  Also, Aaron's hive died out is a bit of a mystery because he had lots of honey, but the dead bees were in a section where they had eaten all the honey.  I'm thinking they got stuck there when a cold snap hit.

Plans are in gear for this coming season with goals for expansion of the bee operation.  Elijah wanted to become a beekeeper this year, so we spent last Sunday building his two deep boxes, and cutting out the pieces for 20 deep boxes for me.  We are looking at expansion to around 20 hives through swarm captures, splits, and queen rearing.  I will need to replace almost all my queens this year, so a focus on successful queen rearing is a big part of the plan.  I also broke a gear on my extractor, so I will try to find a part this spring. 
In addition, with a larger operation I will need a honey house and an integrated honey processing system.  That will take a fair amount of financial investment, so I am counting on Queens and honey sales to help with that endeavor. 

With yesterday's snow and ice, Spring feels like it is many months away, but I am counting on an early Spring similar to last year.  According the US Farm Report we will have a continuation of the drought, but it is not suppose to be as severe.  We will have to wait and see how the nectar flow pans out.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A New Beekeeper

Our grandson Elijah wants to become a beekeeper, so we made him a deal....we will help him, but he has to make his own hive!  Step one is completed...2 hive boxes cut and assembled.  Next is bottom board, inner cover, lid and painting.