Hivelights: That’s a Wrap
It’s hard to bee-lieve that another bee season is behind us. When I reflect back, I feel proud of all my accomplishments!
I rode a roller coaster of ups and downs during my spring struggles and ended up with very healthy, booming hives at Vialoux Village. I even expanded and now manage a second bee yard at Pepperloaf Place!
My eight-month Nucs & Knowledge program was a success with several new beekeepers feeling prepared and ready to start their journey with their own hives!
My intern program was a great exchange of hands-on learning opportunities in the bee yard for work days that helped me immensely!
Both programs brought together some amazing people. It was a genuine pleasure to get to know everyone and our relationships continue to grow.
Queen rearing was so much fun and continues to provide me with independence in my apiary! Queen Fanny was a fabulous choice and her daughters carry the same lovely traits as their mother!
I added four new mouth-watering flavours to the small batch blends of craft honey and also found the cutest little gift boxes to display them perfectly!
I rendered all my cappings wax and hand-poured more beeswax candles to add to my beautiful collection. They are even ready in time for holiday purchases! Phew.
Now it’s time to catch up on life and dream about my future goals. I feel like I’m moving towards them, one day at a time.
It always comes back to following my passion and letting my heart (and the bees) guide my way!
Beeyard Basics: Mite Control
Winter bees are plentiful and my hives are heavy with food stores for the upcoming winter!
While that’s good news, varroa mites are always a concern, especially going into winter. Having healthy bees and a low mite count are vital during this time.
The first time I fully understood the threat of mites was when someone described it to me as if there was a parasite the size of a teacup on my neck, eating my flesh. When the organism finally falls off, the open wound it leaves behind would be about the size of a walnut, leaving me open to infection often resulting in death.
Mites increase tenfold, so a hive can be taken over with an infestation very quickly. There are a few ways to keep an eye on their numbers including an alcohol wash, sugar roll and a screened bottom count. Ideally, it’s best to keep the mites to under a 2% threshold in the hive.
You can lower your counts throughout the season by giving the bees brood breaks, removing drone comb, breeding mite resistant queens or re-queening your hive. Even so, treatments are necessary to protect our precious honey bees from this external parasite.
The three main options are to treat: organic acid (formic, Oxalic, hop beta, thymol), synthetic pesticides/miticides (amitraz) or in extreme cases you might need to euthanize your colony.
Personally, I treat in late fall with an Oxalic acid dribble method after the last of the brood has emerged. This is because those tricky little mites like to sneak in the cell, just before the bees cap it, and that’s where they reproduce. So some of those last cells can have several mites hiding out!
My mite counts were super low (often none) until beginning of October when numbers crept up to an uncomfortable level. After weighing my options and getting opinions from some trusted beekeepers I made a decision to stick with my treatment plan.
The number of mites did lower again after a few days, so likely the highest counts were when the last of the brood were emerging, as were the mites and the were actively cleaning them off.
Now the bees are all tucked in their winter boxes, made from rigid styrofoam held together by lumber. There are insulation cushions inside which are simply roofing insulation wrapped in tywek paper. Ventilation is key so there is no build up of moisture in the boxes.
They will cluster together and shiver their wing muscles to generate heat, taking turns on the outside. They keep it about 25 degrees celsius throughout our freezing temperatures.
And that’s that! I’ve done my best and have triple checked that I didn’t miss a step. Now I get to catch up on life and plan for next year’s bee season!
Buzzworthy: Holiday Gift Ideas
These small batch, hand-poured pure cappings beeswax candles provide a soft, warm glow for your burning pleasure. So many shapes and styles to choose from!
Simply CLICK HERE to order online.
The new craft collection is now available in gift boxes! Choose from the mouth-watering blends below:
Tea, fresh baked buns, stuffy heads and sore throats
Morning toast, oats, baked bree, apple slices
Scones, granola, yogurt, ice cream
Hot & Spicy
Cheeses, meats, veggies, bagels
Grilled burgers, cornbread, potatoes, pork chops
English muffins, tea biscuits, cereal, nuts
Combing Soon: Farmers Markets & Deliveries
ST. NORBERT FARMERS MARKET (map)
- Sunday, November 14 / 10 am – 2 pm
- Sunday, November 28 / 10 am – 2pm
- Sunday, December 12 / 10 am – 2 pm
ST. ADOLPHE XMAS MARKET (map)
- Saturday, December 4 / 10 am – 2 pm
DELIVERY DAYS (limited available)
Deliveries for the Winnipeg area:
- Friday, November 19
- Friday, December 3
- Friday, December 17
CLICK HERE for more information.
Sweet Beesus: Recipes Dripping with Goodness
These no-bake scotcheroos cereal bars are chewy, crispy and downright irresistible. Combining honey, butterscotch, real chocolate, creamy peanut butter, sea salt and rice krispies — oh so good!!!!
- 1 cup Prairie Sweetheart Honey
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 cups crispy rice cereal
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped*
- 1 1/2 cups butterscotch morsels
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
- optional: sea salt for topping
- Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. No need to grease the parchment. Set aside.
- Combine honey and granulated sugar in a medium or large saucepan over medium heat. (Larger size because we’ll add the crispy rice cereal in the next step.) Stirring occasionally, bring to a gentle simmer. Allow to simmer for 1 minute without stirring. Do not bring to a rapid boil– that’s too hot. After 1 minute of simmering, remove from heat.
- Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract until combined, then stir in the crispy rice cereal until it’s all completely coated.
- Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Using a rubber spatula, gently spread mixture to fit the pan. Very gently press the mixture down into the pan. Do not pack it down with force, just lightly press down so it’s secure in the pan.
- Combine chopped chocolate, butterscotch morsels, and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until it’s melted together. Mixture will be thick. Spread evenly over bars. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt, if desired.
- Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days. Lift the scotcheroos as a whole out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares.
- Cover and store leftover squares at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: Freeze squares in layers between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a freezer container for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
- Chocolate: Use 1.5 four ounce “baking chocolate” bars found in the baking aisle. You can use semi-sweet, milk chocolate or even white chocolate. Do not use chocolate chips, as they contain stabilizers preventing them from melting into the proper consistency.
Adapted from Kellogg’s
Video: Learning and Growing
It is so important to keep an open mind, and always be learning and growing.
I find it fascinating how many approaches there are to beekeeping. Experimenting and learning what works best in your bee yard is part of the fun.
I’m super excited for my 15-month master beekeeping course at Cornell University led by Dr. Tom Seeley starting this January!
I look forward to next bee season, especially for the many life lessons the bees like to show me during every hive check.
A big thank you to Dwight @i1creative for producing this awesome video. Hope you enjoy!