It’s a bee-utiful sunny day here! Bill has been sorting honey supers that we pulled off the hives back in the fall. Some are just empty foundation that the bees never filled and some are ones we extracted. They are sorted into 3 different groups; foundation, #2′s that are not perfect combs but are still usable as honey supers and #1′s that are nice evenly drawn combs that we can use in the brood chamber. I have been taking pallet loads up in the field where we store them and stacking them up. We store all of our supers outside on bottom boards with a queen excluder under them to keep the mice out. Last year when I had to do this there was like a foot of snow and it was 4 degrees out. I am loving this weather!
I finally have had time to work on updating our Bee-Cam. I installed a new high resolution camera…it’s not streaming but it’s better than what I was using before. Click Here to view it.
Some new evidence on what may be causing or at least contributing to CCD (colony collapse disorder) – Click Here.
It has been an odd year as far as the weather goes - today it is warm and raining here in northern Pennsylvania. And the weather is mostly to blame for the worst honey production in United States history. Because of the very poor production honey prices are going up and we are having to follow suit, not only because of the increased honey prices, but also because the cost of the containers we pack honey in have been increasing all year long. We hope these will be the only increases in 2012.
I wish you all a Blessed, Fruitful and Sweet as Honey…New Year!!
I have been busy doing the yearly inventory the past couple of weeks as well as getting the 2012 price sheets and delivery schedules made up. So much to do this time of year.
It certainly doesn’t feel like Christmas here with the warmer weather and tons of rain and it is definitely going to be a very muddy Christmas! But even with the mud and gloomy weather I am looking forward to spending time with my oldest daughter who is home from college.
I hope everyone that reads this has a Blessed Christmas…and yes I said Christmas not Holiday…a big to all those people who don’t want to offend someone by saying Christmas. Ho, Ho, Ho – Merry Christmas!
Wow…I didn’t realize how long it has been since I posted anything…guess I was even busier than I thought I was.
We finally finished extracting and it was a pitiful year, we only averaged around 50 pounds per hive. We left a lot of honey on the hives as many of them were very strong and looked like they needed it. Hopefully they all make it through the winter, although that’s not likely, but we would love to have a year were we only lose a few hives and not like 100 of them like the last couple of years.
We have been working on bottling honey to replace inventory that was nearly depleted. My hands are getting some nice calluses too from putting lids on the jars, since we have been putting an average of around a ton of honey all into jars with every batch we bottle. We have sold out of chunk and cut comb honeys as well as Tulip Poplar, and some sizes of Tupelo. None of which will be back in stock until late spring or early summer if at all, depending on production. We are even running low on beeswax. Demand for the bee products is either increasing or the supply just isn’t there…I would say both.
I have started doing inventory and it isn’t any fun. I wish everything was computerized so I didn’t have to go out in the cold warehouse and count everything 1…2…3…4…5…6…etc. I have been doing the inventory by myself for 25 years now.
My daughter had something amazing happen. She is in college and is a member of a church group that wants to go to New York City on a missions trip to help the needy. It is sponsored by a national group and costs a substantial amount of money per student to cover hotel, travel and food expenses. Well she was having a hard time raising enough to go and was feeling depressed about. She finally posted on FaceBook what she was doing just a few days before the money was due. Well her prayers were answered when a long time friend of mine saw her post and offered to pay for the entire thing. What a blessing it was and she is so excited to go…I guess God really wanted her to go. She is one of the most giving, loving people I know and I’m sure she will be able to help someone in need to feel a little better around Christmas. I’m proud of you girl!
Starting today we are accepting orders for package bees and queens for the 2012 season. You can either have the bees shipped to you or you can pick them up at our location. The tentative pickup days are; Saturday, April 21st or Saturday, May 5th, these dates may change due to weather conditions or other factors beyond our control. I will post related information on the package bee page and here when I receive it.
We finally were able to get out and pull the honey off the hives. It only took us four days to get it all done and we worked in all kinds of temperatures in those four days. The first day we pulled was cold and most of the bees were down which made it easy to pull the honey supers
off the top. The second day was cool and windy and the bees were really grumpy. The third and fourth days it was almost too warm to be comfortable in our bee suits…but we got through it. This year there were four of us working; Bill, Allen, Collin (my son) and myself and once the four of us got into the “grove” things went very smoothly. We did see 3 bears in a corn field only a stone’s throw from the last site we pulled honey from…hope they stay away from the hives!
Al has started extracting our stuff today, so in a couple of weeks we will have some numbers. Some of the hives did very well but because we started nearly half of our hives with packages this spring we expect the per hive average to be down from last year…we will see.
We have been working on extracting a lot of local beekeepers honey also. Some have done exceptionally well and others not so good, just like every year.
I think it won’t be long and we will all be paying to send and receive emails. I got an email yesterday from the people that host our website saying that they will no longer be supporting email directly from our website, because the cost of upgrading their system was too great, but I have to wonder if the FCC isn’t trying to push all the little email servers out so they can collect money from the larger providers…guess we will see. Come to find out to keep our @draperbee.com email addresses we have to pay a yearly subscription…nice…NOT! So rather then wait for the service to expire I spent today setting up our new emails with Google. Good news we get to keep all of our @draperbee.com emails, bad news is that it is a hugh pain in the butt! I had to make so many changes that it took our website offline for a few hours today but I think everything is up and working now. I still need to tweek some of the setting but so far so good. To make matters worse we lost phones and the internet for a couple of hours this afternoon for some reason too…when it rains is pours!
And here today was a beautiful day and we wanted to head out and pull some honey…didn’t happen. This has to be the latest we have had to pull honey. I am afraid now that a lot of the honey will be crystallized when we try to extract it…hopefully I’m wrong. Maybe tomorrow we will get to pull at least a couple of sites.
The last couple of weeks have been a little rough. Our driver had an accident last week on the way home from making deliveries. The van got totalled and he broke his leg. This is the second roll over we have had in less than 2 years. The first being with a load of bees in the van, fortunately this time he was empty. Bill is picking up the replacement van today…I guess it is a green one.
I didn’t have much time to post anything last week, partly due to the van wreck, but mainly because of a 720 piece comb honey order I had to cut. I spent many hours getting it ready. I will have all of the comb honey used up by the end of the week.
We still haven’t pulled honey off of the hives yet as our truck is having problems and no one can figure out what is wrong…when it rains it pours and yeah we have had plenty of rain too. Hoping next week will be a winner!