Preparing for Winter

Over the last several weeks, Worth and I have been filling our frame feeder with a solution of 1:1 sugar water.  We have also treated our bees for Varroa and Tracheal mites with 3 courses of formic acid.  Varroa mites are everywhere, except Australia, and spread in the beehive beneath the brood cap where they attach to the larvae.  Formic acid vapours penetrate the brood cap to kill the mites without leaving any residue in the beehive.  If left untreated, the Varroa mite could weaken and wipe out an entire colony. And… according to my handy Bee Health App developed by Dr. Medhat Nasr and the Alberta Apiculture Team, the Varroa mite is responsible for the transmission of many bee viruses.  When working with formic acid, we use respirators and gloves as it is corrosive and smells nasty.



Getting the grass down and thinking about expanding the bee yard for next year.


Over Thanksgiving weekend, Worth and I wrapped our hive for winter and left a pollen patty for backup and for when the honey stores grow low.  We will wait until the bears go into hibernation before we disconnect the electric fence.

We are planning to expand our bee yard to 10 hives next year and have worked to clear our gently sloping site of young poplars and the remnants of a decaying barn.  We felt almost like vandals as we broke apart the logs that had been carefully chopped and painstakingly fitted together so many years ago.   The long, crudely constructed, rusty nails that held the disintegrating wood in place, still offered resistance to our efforts.  We imagined how these settlers bravely broke the land to eke out an existence and we thought…  how fortunate we are that they came before us.





The leaves are all gone from the trees now but we hope to get the posts in to expand the electric fence around the bee yard before the ground freezes.  With a bit of luck I will have another post with some photos of some posts!

In the mean time… Worth and I are VERY EXCITED to have the opportunity to attend our first Bee Economics Course on November 5th, right here in Edmonton!  The instructors for the course, Making Money from Honey, are veteran beekeepers Ron Miksha (author of the Bad Beekeeping blog!)  and Neil Bertram.  They are coming from Calgary and we are really looking forward to meeting these guys and hearing what they have to say!!

More Activity at the Ranch

Through September and October the wildlife activity around the hives seems to have heightened with our performers engaging in a variety of activities.  I am not sure what attracts them to this particular piece of the property, but our trail cam captures images almost every day.




Moose frequent the area and seem to come out mostly at night. Or… hide from us during the day!


Maybe… the attraction is the tender, newly grown grass after we have gone with the weed wacker.


Two little whitetail bucks are sparring in preparation for the upcoming rut.  In the weeks to come, the fight will be much more serious as the bucks establish dominance in an effort to claim territory and have first rights to breeding.


This mature buck wasn’t quite ready to step away from the bush line.  Looks like the two little guys (above) will have to wait for a couple more years before they will be serious contenders!