Hi Kids ( and all the wannabe kids )
30 second intro..
I'm Shlomo Silverman in Grenfell SK Canada, live on 12 acres surrounded by alfalfa pastures. I'm 52 yrs young, and work off farm as a tradesman in the underground mining industry.
On the farm I raise Dexter hand milking cows, my Good Wife Shoshi tends the chooks for eggs and meat for us, and we are jointly developing 3 acres of market gardens ( Zone 2B), a 1/2 acre hops field and a 1 acre U-pick berry patch. I studied horticulture/ arboricuture in a previous career.
I eat Kosher/Organic where possible and I'm a heck of a good cook and meatcutter/sausage maker with suitable facilities to do so.
I'm quite knowledgeable about solar power, LED lighting and "alternate" energy mostly to reduce our personal consumption of grid utilities (to try to save what little pension money when and if I ever have any).
I spend a good deal of time at Torah study, and in the winter, I cut gemstones and make shiny metal things that women like. We are currently renovating the bathroom in the house.. I dislike plumbing and barn roofing...
I was introduced to beekeeping in about 1984, and knew I wanted to do this back then... it took a long circuitous route to get there, kids had to grow up, life had to settle down... but I may have the makings of a nice operation showing up here with all the alfalfa fields around us, and my ability to focus and spend some time developing....
On to bees.. the big topic here is cleaning old wooden-ware...
One of the previous owners named AJ Diebel here in Grenfell SK ran a very successful honey busy-ness for years back in the 20's to the 50's. When we bought the farm from the guy that bought it from him....the wooden-ware was mostly well kept dry under a roof in the loft of the barn, and with minimal rot. I finally got around to moving and cleaning up some of the wooden-ware, and so far, I have about 14 Supers with frames etc scraped clean. Oy.. My aching body LOL... I have about 20 more sitting on the floor beside the workstation that I set up for this task mostly in good condition, and with a bit of mix and match, I can probably get about 7 good hives of 3 supers each with base and lid.
I have a another stack that I dug out of the attic of the tractor barn this afternoon of 43 Supers with frames, lids and bottoms. There is another stack of about 15 supers in another building, with frames, bases and lids that are less than desirable. I may just burn them all.
I've probably burned about 30 boxes so far that were just so rotted it was not worth even looking at, maybe I should have kept the frames?
I found about 3 apple boxes full of "Gleanings"
magazine from the 30's and 40's, and there is about the same of some other beekeeper magazine out there as well. I found a couple of cases of the 1Kg cans with lids and his farm name on the cans.. real nice touch...
OK, so once I have these things scraped down and cleaned up well, I'm considering something I saw on a website someplace about AFB treatment, by immersing the units in hot 10% Sodium Hydroxide ( NAOH) solution for 10 minutes as a sterilant to clean them up That should kill any moulds or bacteria on the wooden-ware and remove any clumps of old wax residuals that I may have missed scraping. Suggestions... comments???
I managed to source 50% NAOH solution for this, in 40 Litre carboy for less than 50 bux.. suggestions on how to dilute and use this would be appreciated....
I was thinking 1/2 a 50 Gallon barrel for immersion.... and then low pressure wash with hot water for a rinse and air dry in the sun to remove any residual NAOH. Maybe immersion in cold water for a few minutes with a good scrub brush would suffice.. (I'm MSDS educated.. so goggles and rubber suit appropriate...)
Then a coat of paint on all required paintable surfaces ( as per Beekeeping for Dummies book!
) Your comments and suggestions are welcome as to paint type and what not to paint if the Dummies book is wrong.. do I paint the base sides?
I currently don't have any further plans for bees this year, although I am a bit anxious to start with about 4 hives, I don't know enough about it at the moment to feel comfortable jumping in yet. Maybe by May or so, and if I can find some Nuc's locally in Saskatchewan, then I'll jump in with both feet and fly by the seat of my pants like everything else around here..... In the mean time, I have about 4 weeks of daily scraping and burning scrap laid out in front of me in the shop. I sorta think I'll just get them all cleaned this year and do a lot more reading and asking questions before I get hives, unless someone can convince me that I wouldnt kill too many bees by just jumping into it.
I have a former professional beekeeper mentor at work, that is overjoyed to coach me about methods and timing.
I'll tell you a story now kids...
2 years ago when I wanted to begin this journey, I called the Saskatchewan Beekeepers Association or whatever they call themselves and I inquired about training courses and introductory materials....paraphrased... the basic line I got was something like this:
Them: Oh, your grandpa and your dad didnt raise bees and you dont know anything about bees?
Me: Yes that is correct.I'm looking for an introductory beekeeping course so that I can learn about beekeeping for personal education. I'd like to be introduced to the industry and learn how it works and other things like that, I got wood, and want some bees but dont know how to go about this, where to start.. I'm looking for an introduction..
Them: I'm sorry, we dont have anything like that, and unless your family had them way back in the day and you grew up with bees, then you are SOL, because this business is passed down through the families and good luck to you....you'll just have to try to find some NUC's, and get a book and do it on your own... so sad too bad.. good luck and have a great life...
I dont know if things have changed there in the last couple years, but somehow I doubt it. Saskatchewan is the Ozarks of Canada...So this is my introduction to beekeeping.. I've got the book(s) in pdf, found a forum and I know how to type about 70 WPM... my shift at the mine is 1 week in, 1 week out.. so when I am home, I'll be typing.. responders beware...
May you all develop Hives..