What do beekeepers do in the offseason?

They take some holidays then get ready for the next season of course!

They take holidays in the winter time because they’re way too busy to do this in the summertime. July and August are the busy months for the apiary. In the winter beekeepers build bee boxes and make plans for the next season. Hopefully, they sell some honey too!

So what have I been doing?

Jeff and I took a look at what we accomplished last year and made a plan for this year. Basically, we’ll be building up our apiary from about 100 hives to 160 hives.

I went to the Saskatchewan Beekeepers conference in Saskatoon in December.

I’ve been selling honey through the website. We’ve sold some at the Christmas Market in Wakaw. We’ve also sold through word of mouth. My son and daughter-in-law are the best at this. They’ve sold half of our jarred honey for us! We have comb honey advertised on Kijiji right now too. You are really getting a deal if you buy the comb honey through the blue heron garden website right now because it’s half the price of what we are asking for it on Kijiji. The Kijiji price is still a fair price for the comb honey though at $10 per clamshell.

When people hear how good the quality of our honey is it really isn’t hard to sell. It’s raw and unpasteurized which means the health benefits from the honey are still there. Our Canola honey is some of the highest quality honey that you can get so it is very good. We also have alfalfa honey which is even better! Alfalfa honey is better because the crystals are smaller so when you taste the honey it is smoother, like silk on your tongue.

When you buy store bought honey you lose beneficial enzymes and bacteria due to pasteurization. Store bought honey also goes through an ultrafiltration process that removes pollen and other beneficial substances as well. In my opinion and the opinion of every one of our customers, store bought honey just doesn’t taste as good!

Anyways, selling honey isn’t all I’ve been doing. I’ve been building bee boxes too! Last year we bought all of our extra boxes but this year we’re building them ourselves. Which will save us a lot of money?

First of all, I wait for a sunny day so that our solar panels are getting a lot of power so that I can use it for the air compressor and those high powered tools.

I’m getting pretty good with those high powered tools! I let the guys cut the pieces first with the table saw, I haven’t done a lot of this kind of work. Jeff might say I’ve never done this kind of work, haha. Which to be truthful when it comes to the table saw, I haven’t. Also, it’s a little disconcerting when the older beekeepers tell me how many fingers they’ve cut off, and if you’re lucky they can be sewn back on! Really, I’m not kidding there! And I still run the risk of putting a high powered staple through my hand! They say it burns like a son of a gun when you pull it out!

So I’m careful. No injuries yet.

Lucky for me I have a father-in-law who has some experience in manufacturing and safety and who built me a really nice jig to build bee boxes with for my birthday.

Isn’t that what every girl wants for her birthday? A tool to help keep her safe from high powered 2-inch steel staples going through her hands, haha?! It’s pretty amazing and works really well. It’s basically a low workbench with parts on it to help support the bee box parts while you’re working on them.

We have 400 boxes to build, 40 baby nuc boxes, many lids and bases (I’m not sure the exact number) so I really do have my work cut out for me. It’s true, haha, the pieces are cut out and ready to go! Oh, I guess I didn’t mention the 4000 frames we have to build too which shows you that beekeepers can keep busy in the wintertime. Which means I should get busy and get working!

Bye for now,