We had very cold weather in December,January,February and now it's March and guess what we are having really cold weather again. I was in to put pollen patties in my hives, temp was plus 8 so I took a chance and while I was there I seen what I believe was eight dead hives. I'll know more later in March when it warms up if they are in fact dead. Some times bees can look dead and are not so we'll see by the end of march or maybe first of april if in fact they are dead. Not an ideal way to start the new season but start we will so nothing to do now but wait.
This summer I had 6 cases of AFB, this happened to my best hives. It kind of sucks but it's something that happens all the time in the bee business. We use the fall to plan for next spring when all things are possible and nothing bad is ever going happen to your bees. I have discovered that the bee business can go bad really quickly and that you need to be on guard at all times but at the same time there is nothing I would rather do. I plan to go from 30 hives up to 70 in the spring of 2014 this coming spring/summer , saying that there are many things that could go wrong this winter. I believe the steps you take right now can make or break the winter loss problem by having healthy hives going into fall.
The first week in june had me looking over my bee hives trying to figure out how many hives would be put into the blue berry fields. Spring had been hard on my bees with massive die off caused by cold wet weather and bees that seemed to be full of disease causing slow growth in my bee yard. However as of June 5th 27 of a possible 33 hives went to the blue berry fields. Some bees seem to do well in blue berries but most suffer, lack of pollen cause bees to shut down and by the time the bees come home the queen has stopped laying the hive can have more disease and is in really bad shape. Bee keepers can keep there bees at home but for some of us bees are a business and the money pollination brings in is important and helps us pay the bills. I spoke to a bee keeper that insists honey can make you every bit as much money as pollination and you end up with healthier bees in the end and you can grow your farm faster with healthy bees. I will be considering all these things over the summer and ponder what to do next spring........See ya in the fall.
April turned out to be a big learning curve kind of month and as it's turning out May has a lot in common with April. You cannot foresee all the mistakes your going to make, you just hope that they don't destroy the future you had in mind when you started your business in the first place. Pollination takes place in June for three weeks sometimes four, the goal of commercially minded beekeepers is to have your hives ready for the blueberry fields but because of the slow start I had this year it's putting an important part of my business in doubt as my bee population is not where it should be for this time of year. Getting into business is not for wimps and I know that, so I should not be supprised when I hit bumps in the road, the only question I still have is do I still have a chance at making a possible income from pollination for 2013. The other problem that has developed this spring has to do with my queens, as packages died because of cold and wet weather some of my queens have also died because the packages did not cover and protect the queens. I guess I now know what can go wrong with bees in spring time, "I will survive this ". I may need a part time job until the numbers improve but it has only made me more determined to do this business even with the bad start this is my future and I will succeed. Maybe I'll try crowd source funding as a potential source of investment.
The night we picked up the bees was cold and wet and I could not imagine a worst night to start my business and to make matters worst I was given advice by my wife I choose to ignore. You see there was a question about my tunnel cover being able to cover all the bee packages that would be put in the back of my truck and she said maybe we should take a tarp just in case. Now a wise man would have said "no problem I'll go get it "but what I said was no" I think the tunnel cover will do the job we don't need a tarp". We arrived in Nova Scotia early so we decided to spend time at Tim Hortons with some other beekeepers exchanging ideas and making plans for the future. At 11:45pm we finally received word from our contact at the airport, the bees had arrived it was time. Once at the airport it quickly became clear to me that the tarp I said we would not be needed was in fact very much needed and because of a very bad choice was going to have a very big impact on my future. We loaded the bees as best we could and with a gap on both sides of my tunnel cover we headed home. We arrived home at 5:45 am on Saturday morning and because of the cold and wet weather I parked the truck with the bees in a barn and went to bed. Because the weather wasn't going to let up I installed the bees Saturday afternoon and waited to see what my choice of not taking a tarp was going to have on my future. Two weeks later I have lost 16 packages of bees that got wet on the way home and died, it took two minutes to make the decision not to take a tarp and two weeks to see the results. The journey continues.
It is February 15/2013 and I'm just now receiving my beehive material that I expected to receive in Jan some times not good...not good at all. We have a snow storm coming our way not at all bee weather but it does give me time to try and catch up. I have one hundred and fifty hive boxes to build and fifteen hundred frames to get ready should be a lot of fun. I can't wait to get started hopefully everything goes well there is a lot to do in short time wish me luck. My bee order has also been placed four pound packages should get me started right their coming in April. Well it's getting late so by for now.
My wife has run her own business for just about twenty eight years, some years have been good and other years not so much. When I started thinking about jumping into the business world I got to wondering if this was the right move for me or not. I have always worked for someone else and been told what to do and when to do it. I'd go home with nothing else to think about but working for yourself is not like that at all, my wife did warn me but I didn't listen. So one of my very first business ideas was about how to sell honey I have been told that advertising advertising advertising is key to selling in all its many forms. But my idea is just a little different from the usual form of advertisement and since I 'm new to all this I 'm too new to know if this is a good idea or a bad one. My idea is to ask for sponsors, these people would be guaranteed at least 12 bottle of honey as part the sponsor package before any honey is sold to outside customers. They would also have their names placed on the hive and given a picture of the hive and bees for their home. I wonder......... good idea or bad.
I'm a cnc operator or I was until the big wave in Japan swept away my companies contracts and my job. The big question after the wave was,what does a 57 years old out of work former employee do next. Well for me it was a job cutting meat for a friend and I would likely still be there if it weren't for the fact that the meat shop had financial problems and closed about six months after I got the job. Next came upgrading my license from a class 5 to a class 3, this was it "my new job" was to be as a truck driver maybe even go out west to make my fortune but alas no one wanted my services as a meat cutter or a truck driver. In the back ground was a lot of talk on tv and in the newspaper about the lack of bees and beekeepers. I always enjoyed bees so I started looking into the commercial side of bee keeping, was there a job to be found here or just another lost cause. While I did my research I went ahead and purchased five hives to educate myself on bee keeping as a potential new job and much to my surprise I found I enjoyed looking after the little creatures who knew. So now with my business plan finished and submitted I received news a week or so ago that the bankers also think my latest idea has merit and have agreed to finance Ken's Honey Bee Farm.