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

Adam Ebert’s Tales Beekeeping

All Aboard! Off for Sunny California

We are making the leap into the world of migratory beekeeping this winter.  On Wednesday we loaded up the girls to spend the winter in northern California to prepare them for the almond pollination that arrives in February.  They should arrive at their destination today, and then they will be able to fly in temperatures in the fifties.  Back here in Iowa the temperature range is falling a bit, with temps hitting the teens and twenties overnight.  We hope the warmth helps them cruise through winter!

Ready for a Net!
Strapping Down: 2000 Miles Is Quite a Journey!
Andria Bids “Happy Winter” to the Bees!

A large part of the pressure to ship them was tied to the extremely wet fall and all of the effort we put into boosting them up for the winter.  They didn’t really have much flying time since early September.  That could make for a very long winter, so the odds of having old bees that might collapse sometime January-April seemed unacceptably high.  There are risks that go with the long journey too, but we’re doing our best to improve their odds.  We will go out in January and see how they’re looking for the almond buildup.  More to come soon!

By |2018-12-07T17:06:40+00:00December 7th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|0 Comments

Another Bee Building Please: New Construction 2018!

Big happy news from bee land–the first parts of a new building for the Mount Vernon property arrived the other day!

The expansion in our apicultural pursuits has overwhelmed the storage space over the past few years, so our friends at Wick Buildings and Path Construction have the posts and form material to get the floor in place before extremely cold weather descends. Then the rest of the structure can go up with reasonable security even if the weather deteriorates.

I get a kick out of these semi tractors with fork attachments.

Dual Purpose Tractor: Forks On!

Off the Trailer and Soon to Assembly!

We’ll keep sharing updates as the building takes shape!!!

www.eberthoney.com

By |2018-10-25T16:59:17+00:00October 25th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Another Bee Building Please: New Construction 2018!

Ladies Load the Ladies!

Last week some of the bees got pulled from several yards. Here are Andria and Wynne proud of loading them up and strapping them down! Nice work!

Peaceful Bees Loaded Up!

And we are still feeding awfully hard. It’s incredible how much support they need after being shut inside for weeks earlier than usual. Temps are only hitting the 40s and 50s right now. So far they’re taking their supplements well. Be strong and stay populous! This photo shows some great populations that are also gaining weight. It’s good to see some return on our feeding blitz! We hope to say it was all worth the labor by the time spring rolls around!

So Many Mouths to Feed! The Beekeeper Life!

By |2018-10-22T03:53:30+00:00October 22nd, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Ladies Load the Ladies!

Warm Syrup and Happier Bees!

We finished the latest round on the bee circuit last Friday. That did involve getting the truck stuck at one location at the bottom of a long hill, but fortunately the landowner was near at hand with his tracked skid steer from our friends at Caterpillar. That was a very short term holdup, and I didn’t have to worry about the bees longing for their carb infusion for several more days. This pallet is looking quite nice as we get them fit for winter and pull the Apiguard cards.

Toasty Fall Bees

The highs are only 40s-50s Fahrenheit these days, so feeding will slow down somewhat in hives that don’t have a strong population. Indoor heating tanks or dropping an immersion heater into the tank is very helpful for the bees to ingest and store their gift food. This year I got a couple of IBCs that I can keep warmish.

Climate Control is Our Friend!

Andrew Loves Empty IBCs!

There are basically two more rounds with the bees before everything is shipshape for 2018, but things look fairly solid so far. As usual there are a few locations that raise some doubts, but as long as we get another round of healthy brood they have a good chance. Their condition after one more month will suggest our odds a little more clearly.

www.eberthoney.com

By |2018-10-14T17:12:57+00:00October 14th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Warm Syrup and Happier Bees!

Hungry Hungry Bees!!! Bobcat to the Rescue!!!

We are in another week-long stretch of excessive cool precipitation. A few days ago it was decent enough for some moderate pollen collection, but not really an opportunity for the fall flood of proteins that make late brood rearing a well-nourished operation. This is the first fall where I’m regretting not putting out pollen patties a few weeks ago. Here is one of the ladies bringing home the bee bacon:

Yummy Yummy–But it May be a Tiny Tim Xmas

Since it is wet again, we just have to do everything possible to boost the food supply for these girls as winter nears. It’s slow going, but right now we’re pulling around the Bobcat with the syrup pump in order to keep them going and keep them alive with hope for spring. We park somewhere solid and let the loader take over to reach the bees without tearing up the property or getting stuck. It is one of those years where I feel bad for bees with keepers that refuse to feed them supplementary carbs. Without some help, there is going to be a massive die-off among bees that have endured this weird wet cycle during late summer and autumn 2018. Here is what’s going on in our yards to do our best to keep the bees out of the graveyard.

Wynne Loads Up for the Rescue Mission!

Tanner Rolls in with the Sweet Stuff!

Eat Up and Stay Warm!!!

A dry spell is supposed to commence toward the end of the week. I hope it lasts long enough to enable a speedier round of caretaking. We also need to assess our post treatment mite status to determine our course for the remainder of the fall. Away we go!!!

www.eberthoney.com

By |2018-10-07T18:09:24+00:00October 7th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Hungry Hungry Bees!!! Bobcat to the Rescue!!!

Harvest Concludes and the Syrup Pump Lives!

The syrup pump from the previous post has rejoined the mission to save the bees. After several journeys back into the yards, I believe we are able to trust it to help prepare for winter during the upcoming weeks. I bought it used as part of a package deal several years ago and only needed to change the oil up to this point, so I suppose an operational blip is okay. Hopefully a new belt and drive pulley will be the last of its 2018 needs. The cool drizzly days have continued, so the hives are going to need a lot of support to provide healthy bees in spring. There aren’t many flowers left now even if the weather turns favorable. Hang on bees, we’re coming to help!!!

Proudly Repaired and Operational! Pump On!!!

Extracting is also wound up for 2018. I held back a few boxes to have something to run through the uncapper for a tour this week, but otherwise a day or two of cleanup is all that remains before we close the books on everything harvest related. It’s always incredible to imagine bees working so hard that we can fill up barrels of honey. Here is Wynne using the loader to weigh one on a platform scale when we needed to have its net content calculated. Not a terribly efficient system, but it beats buying a really expensive scale or driving to the coop’s scale several miles down the road.

Bobcat Making Life Easy Yet Again!

In the meanwhile we will be out saving some bees. This is Tanner my new Saturday sidekick!

Tanner approves of this population on his 1st day!

By |2018-10-02T16:25:54+00:00October 2nd, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Harvest Concludes and the Syrup Pump Lives!

Hot Chocolate and A Good Day 2 DIPA

The other day I dropped into the well-loved brewpub in Solon, Big Grove Brewery, and saw that our honey had been put to good use by their brewer. He concocted the cleverly named and quite tasty Good Day 2 DIPA. I complimented his good work 🙂 We’re hoping to put honey from the bees we placed on his dad’s property in the next round of brews!

The syrup pump also decided that it might be a good day to die this past Friday…. Does anything look off here?

Something Fishy All Up In Here

The Source of All Those Mysterious Metal Pieces!

At least the old pulley came off easily, so hopefully Menards can supply the right part this afternoon and get us back in action. We had several inches of rain to start September, and many of the hives are very light—still lots of brood and strong populations but little sustenance to withstand any kind of dearth. The last several days brought warmth and sunshine, so they’ve maintained themselves on goldenrod but could use some proactive feeding attention to keep them safe from nature’s whims.

Andrew is also getting into the autumnal mood with an exploration of local hot chocolates–not something in his repertoire until this month 🙂 This was his very first, served at another fine honey-using establishment in Cedar Rapids called Brewhemia.

Autumn Arrival Calls for Hot Chocolate!

By |2018-09-16T15:53:42+00:00September 16th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Hot Chocolate and A Good Day 2 DIPA

The Wheelbarrow Bees–Silly Swarm!

As the bees move into the brood boxes for the rest of the year following harvest, there are always a few that don’t take kindly to their rapidly reduced real estate. Who wants one or two deep boxes after being all stacked up for a honey crop??? Alas, it’s important for fall management and forthcoming wintertime conditions to pull down the boxes. Not many swarms occur despite the rapid shift in available space, but here is one that took up residence on the side of a wheelbarrow!

A Questionable Place to Settle, Silly Swarm!

A Cozier Home–They Happily Obliged to Enter!

Bees are generally quite docile in swarming situations, so there was no need for protective equipment on this little mission. Since they were totally exposed with lots of rain on the approach, I am happy to know that they’re not chilly and drowned. Many thanks to the landowner for letting me know of their attempted escape!

In a week or so I will make sure the queen is laying eggs in the new abode! Adios bees!

www.eberthoney.com

By |2018-09-02T15:36:20+00:00September 2nd, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on The Wheelbarrow Bees–Silly Swarm!

Save the Bees 2018!

September 1st! It was a very productive week. Most of the honey is off the hives, and most of them had one or two mite treatments in August. I’ve had much greater success with hive strength and overwintering if we begin the major knockdown in August rather than September. If it waits until October, I assume that there will be more bees dead than alive by January. Hopefully we stay the course and keep the bees happy and healthy!

Here is Wynne wielding the magic pest purging Apiguard syringe! (Ironically it is not not one of the mite treatments involving synthetic chemicals despite the syringe’s image more associated with pharma-type substances.)

Bye mites! Happy Healthy Bees in the Making!

Without swift parasite control this time of year, there can be a remarkable crash from overflowing hives like the ones above. Now is the time to ensure strong clusters for next spring. Right now we’re facing a week of rain, so I’m hoping the forecast is at least partly wrong. There are still a few more yards to save and some more barrels of honey to harvest. I have not been real lucky in missing undesired rain lately however.

Here is a recent load coming off the truck!

Pallets and Forks make Unloading Joyful and Restful!

We have two or three days of honey to extract in the building, and then we’ll need to press on whenever the weather permits.

By |2018-09-01T16:52:14+00:00September 1st, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on Save the Bees 2018!

A Honey House Surprise!

We continue to truck along with the 2018 honey harvest. The barrels are filling as the pressure mounts to stay on top of the parasite loads. As we were working in the extracting room yesterday, I spotted some pink “honey” in a frame we uncapped for the extractor. My first thought was that the bees had discovered a pile of overripe watermelons and sucked the juice from them…that has happened before. Upon looking a little closer, there wasn’t just some pink sweetness poked into those cells! Our new recruit tasted it and suspected that they plundered a pile of jelly beans! Somehow those bees got some melted down candy into their hive lives!

The Bees Got Jelly Bean Jollies?

Pretty soon I will go down to Muscatine melon land and see if some of our other bees went for the fruit rather than the candy!

In the meanwhile we will keep harvesting away! Here is our new recruit Wynne keeping after the work!

Wynne Lives the Honey Life!

She is also learning to cart around 700 lb barrels. Impressive!

Conquest of Barrel Tipping Technique–No Small Feat!

By |2018-08-25T16:23:55+00:00August 25th, 2018|Beekeeping Blog|Comments Off on A Honey House Surprise!