Ebert Honey LLC: Lynnville, Iowa Phone: 641-527-2639 Email: EHoney@EbertHoney.comMt. Vernon, Iowa Phone: 319-430-3514  Email: Adam.Ebert@EbertHoney.com

Power-up Bee Season!

Off we go into the depths of harvest season! Now we’re getting a bit of rhythm and fatigue all mixed into the seasonal recipe. Here Andrew is making a run at some of the honey pallets with the jack. We spent a good thirty minutes moving around pallets this morning 🙂

Here Comes Andrew!

Got It!!!!

Now we just have to fill those pallets up again with stacks of honey! Today we brought home another good yard, and I’ll aim to get some more this weekend while the warmth and good-humored bees are cooperating. Watch-out bees…Sammy is equipped with a blower of magnificent force!

Jet-pack Sammy!

By |2018-08-11T03:07:05+00:00August 11th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|0 Comments

Honey House Bounty & Antics!

A Lovely Frame for the Cowen Uncapper!

We have some wonderful frames like this one that make every load of the extractor provide quite a lot of honey. Let them spin!

Andrew woke up the other day and asked, “Hey Daddy, want to go extract for a little while?” Little did I know that he wanted to get his stool and run a few frames through the uncapper for the first time 🙂 I liked that he selected his bib overalls for this activity!

Andrew Steps Up for Uncapper Duty!

Down the line Sammy does the clean-up scratching and scraping 🙂

Wax Away! Honey Be Free!

Quality control is essential:

“Mmmmm, yummy!!!” 2018 seal of approval!

www.eberthoney.com
www.ebertbees.com

By |2018-07-29T15:25:14+00:00July 29th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|0 Comments

Harvest Begins! Honey Season 2018!

We squeezed in the first load of honey pulling yesterday!  There were some very heavy boxes on this load, so it will be fun seeing how many barrels we get filled up from this first effort.  It is rainy and cold today, so we have a good afternoon to see if the extracting equipment is going to cooperate.

A Load O’ Honey!

Here is a very pretty section of cut comb from the fresh harvest too!

The Most Delicate Caps in All the Land!

Thanks Loyal Bee Truck!

By |2018-07-19T17:14:39+00:00July 19th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Harvest Begins! Honey Season 2018!

Here comes harvest!

Andria’s Impressive Pallet–Many Industrious Bees in the Air!

 

Good news, there are quite a number of hives that gathered a few boxes of honey already.  Harvest should start this week.  Then we will know if the extracting equipment is really ready to run–at least it is cleaned up, plumbed together, and looking primed for action! Monday or Tuesday the first boxes should come home.  It has been a few years since we turned over honey supers twice in a season.  A few locations are still not performing, but the majority in eastern Iowa appear to have some kind of respectable crop.  Right now we’re moving into a period that often involves a lull in nectar production as the clovers and trefoil wind down in the next 7-10 days.  We did get some rain over the past couple of days that should help spur the yellow flowers of later summer into a good vegetative stage.  Then we will have to hope that the flowers pop and the heat returns at the same time. Fingers crossed for a two-pull honey season!

Surely all will go well with Alex’s cat Oliver watching over us!

Oliver, Pride of the Pella Bees!

Maybe the chickens will smile on us too.  They sneaked in and helped Sammy sort some cut comb frames in the warehouse a couple of weeks ago!

Hopefully some of these cut comb boxes are now getting pulled out in the field.  At least a few boxes should come off and head for the extracting and packaging room this week.  Most of them need another good flow to get done this season.  I sure hope it arrives!

By |2018-07-15T14:35:48+00:00July 15th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Here comes harvest!

Very Sweet Heat!

I passed the recent week of rain in a fairly anxious state. The clovers were just starting to yield when several days of significant deluge and cool temps struck. Some hope remained with higher temps in the forecast with less rain. Our dreams seem to be coming true, if only we can hold the trend for a couple more weeks! Everything is blooming right now. Basswood is winding up, clovers are strong, and soybeans are open. There is not going to be any strategic staggering of the main floral sources in summer’s peak, so we need to make hay (honey) right now.  I saw uniform progress in surplus collection on whole pallets for the first time this summer. Check it out!

White Uncapped Wax Means Honey Coming Fast

The heat is wonderful. June heat is the key to having above average yields most of the time. Today it probably got steamier than the bees really wanted however–temperature control was definitely a priority.

Steamy Bees: Heat Index 106F Today….

We humans have Dairy Queen at our disposal whenever respite is needed!

Adam & Andrew Ice Cream Party!

Oh, my favorite lilies are blooming too 🙂 Good week 🙂

Lovely Lilies

By |2018-06-30T03:23:36+00:00June 30th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Very Sweet Heat!

For the Love of Milkweed and Sharks!

Milkweed entertained me when I was several years old, in the usual toddleresque and destructive manner. It seemed fascinatingly odd that the firm little leaves oozed milky white fluid, so of course many of them were sacrificed for my entertainment. There seemed to be plenty of them around. A couple of decades later, it didn’t look like much milkweed survived the era of powerful herbicides and its own longer-term perception as a fairly invasive weed that irritated Midwestern row croppers for many generations. I still come across a fair number of people that had to hoe them out of soybeans as children, and that memory sometimes limits their interest in the milkweed propagation that has taken priority amongst the pollinator lovers of recent years.

Lately it appears that there are a lot more milkweed in all kinds of settings. I was somewhat amused to watch in-town gardeners cultivate a few milkweed plants to five-foot heights as they navigated the transition from pesky nuisance to cultivar. As a beekeeper, the occasional milkweed was an undoubtedly welcome sight, but it also seemed as if people were trying a little too hard for little effect. Now it appears that they were successfully nurturing the first steps in a much stronger public identity for our monarch-sustaining species! The pollinator-friendly landscape is becoming a social and ecological force that may prove one of the more successful popular movements of my lifetime. We’ll see if it continues to grow and acquire long-term impact, but the past several years are encouraging. I have also been converted into one of the milkweed huggers:

Welcome to Bee Land–Weed Eater Submits!

 

Milkweed Culvert, Year Three!

 

Milkweed Explosion in the Flower Garden! Did Somebody Drop a Pod When I Wasn’t Looking?

Some of the milkweed are blooming right now, and the others will open soon.  Naturally it has rained for a week and plummeted in temperature.  June does that to us quite often…gives us a tease of a honey flow and then obliterates all traces of progress in the hive.  Ah well, at least we know July won’t be a fearsome drought, so a gift of heat and continued bloom will still do the trick for 2018.  We’re on the brink of when the usual honey flow commences.  Hopefully our milkweed friends get to contribute if some warmer weather returns.

As we await our apicultural fate, I advise you to watch out for sharks….they’re everywhere!

Andrew’s Sharky Self-Portrait at a Hy-Vee Honey Demo

 

Andrew Bosching his “Big Wood” as he calls this screw-pocked box

By |2018-06-23T21:52:25+00:00June 23rd, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on For the Love of Milkweed and Sharks!

Chilly Flashbacks 2018

The newly distributed bees in the last post reminded of some of our earlier adventures that did not get shared earlier this spring–or extended winter as it turned out.  Generally images of bee transportation in an Iowan late March don’t have snow as the featured background. I guess they are still pretty in their way!

Bobcat Unloading Hives 2018

All Unloaded, Thanks Bobcat!

March was also not the end of the snow….I think there were roughly a half dozen subsequent experiences with the fluffy white stuff in the first half of April.  It was a good year to be young 🙂

A Happy Late-Season Snow King

By |2018-06-17T17:21:02+00:00June 17th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Chilly Flashbacks 2018

Go bees go! June 2018

The bees are moved out and boxed up.  There were several locations that caught a good flow off of black locust this year–and even if some of it stayed in the brood chambers, there were also a good number that made excellent progress in a box or two of surplus.  It has been several years since the weather cooperated decently with that first leg of the honey season, so I will count that as an auspicious event.

Here is one of the last yards we set up as June got underway.  It’s in a really pretty spot on the northern end of our circuit, including a pond about forty feet opposite the direction that the photo captures:

Duck Pond Bee Site 2018

It has bothered me a bit that my painting proclivity declined during the past few years as we got things built up for the future, so we tackled that mission anew on a pretty summer day!  Here Sammy is communing with the bees as she restores the appearance and integrity of some brood boxes 🙂 I can’t figure out a good way to insert the Facebook video, so you can check out the buzzing by clicking here! 

Sammy Restores Brood Boxes 2018!

In the meanwhile, Andrew is making sure that the truck seat does not get away….strapping up the interior of the F250 is a recent pastime of joy.  So far I have been patient with the great jumble of straps that also results from his precise security measures:

Andrew Ratchets Away!

By |2018-06-16T18:18:00+00:00June 16th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Go bees go! June 2018

Beautiful Bee Pics! Spring 2018

Looking back at my pics from spring 2018, I see a few that caught my attention when I was out in the field.  As I mentioned in the last post, there were some tiny, tiny clusters this spring after the long winter. This one had twenty bees and a queen.  It is remarkable that they raised any brood at all with such a nominal number of heat generators in the nursery. I think this queen got transplanted into a queenless colony where she gained more support.

Tiny Cluster and Queen 2018

After the dandelions came along, the brood picture got uniformly more encouraging:

Beautiful Brood 2018

Very quickly–within about a month–we went from a chilly dearth to the possibility of cells

An Extra-Extended Queen Cell

And here is one of the fun sights I get to spot once or twice a year: two queens coexisting during supersedure.  One of the queens here is harder to spy, so there is a little bit of “Where’s Waldo” challenge in this one.  Good luck!

Two Queens During Supersedure

By |2018-06-10T16:18:55+00:00June 10th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Beautiful Bee Pics! Spring 2018

The Triumphant Return: Bee Land 2018

Hello from Bee Team Mount Vernon!

Mount Vernon Hive Inspections–Happiness In Tow!

Well here we are in June! It was a long wait for both a new blog platform and for spring to arrive.  The winter bees essentially had to live an extra month before they got warmth and pollen in mid-April to revive their populations.  Not all of them made it through the additional trial, and I saw more tiny surviving clusters than I’ve ever witnessed in past years.  Happily the flowers have returned after a super-speedy explosion through the blossoming of dandelions, fruit trees, and locust.  Now the clovers and trefoil are opening up, though we’re not quite to peak bloom yet.  The warmth has been more promising for building up good crop potential this year.  Northern Iowa has had more rain than they want, but my location in eastern Iowa is actually slightly dry.  We will see how the balance of weather and bloom shakes out yet again.

This year I have a new recruit on the bee team….Andrew has his bee suit!  Folk buying bees during the past couple of weeks may have witnessed his early-life smoker prowess!

Birthday bee suit 2018

We decided not to make Andrew do all of the work, so there are a few other folks around to help as the picture at the top of the post suggests 🙂

I have quite a number of pictures built up from the last few months of being blogless, so I’ll try to bring everyone up to speed whenever the mood strikes!

For now, I hope everyone in the Midwest is surviving swarm season!  I fortunately got through our hives in the nick of time….though it meant catching a couple of swarms as they were departing and splitting a few hives with cells toward the end of May.  Here was my joyful swarm catching opportunity from a couple of weeks past. They both stayed in the boxes that nabbed them! I’ve only lost one or two old queens with her bees so far this year.  A late spring helped me come out on on top this time around.

Post Swarm and Tree Swarm; May 2018

By |2018-06-09T20:00:38+00:00June 9th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on The Triumphant Return: Bee Land 2018