Feb 12

End Of An Era

What goes up must come down. I hated to see the old barn come down. We had advertised the barn for sale for more than a year with no real interest at any price.  Even at $500 or best offer. (See the link for pictures before the tear down)

So it came time to take it down ourselves.  Even after cutting all the cross braces it proved too much for my little Kubota tractor and nearly proved to be too much for the neighboring farmer’s tractor.  At one point it was standing only by 6 posts and still wouldn’t fall.  But our persistence won out and with one final crack it came crashing down.   It was amazing how strong the structure still was.   On the other hand we found many completely rotted sections of posts and beams confirming that we really had to take it down and repair was not a viable option.

It wasn’t a complete loss though.  We were able to sell the slate to a company out of Columbus and salvaged the aluminum siding from the south side and heavy copper wire from the grounding rods.  Made nearly $500.   Also gave away whatever anyone wanted to haul off, beams, siding, etc.  At this point we still had a lot of work to remove all the debris from the site.

[Note: This post is from the fall of 2010.  It’s also been one reason I’ve been behind on my posts.]

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/journal/end-of-an-era/

Feb 10

Vanity 800 Numbers – A thing of the past?

Lately I’ve encountered a number of companies advertising only their 800 toll free number (800, 855, 888, etc.).  Numbers like 800-BUY-BEES, 800-GOT-HONY.   While these numbers may be easy to remember or even catchy they could be frustrating your potential customers.   I know they are frustrating me, particularly when the vanity number is the only number you see on the advertisements.

Why?   Every try to dial one on a smart phone?  The letters on the phone don’t match up to the actual phone number behind the vanity number.  Last time I just gave up and called someone else, the time before that I had to do a web search to find a picture of a normal phone where I could see which number matched which letter.  They may be easy to remember, but can be terribly difficult to actually use.

It’s also 2012.  Long distance is not nearly as expensive at it use to be.  Plus more and more people have cell phones, internet phones, skype, magic jack or unlimited long distance plans.  Many people end up paying the same with the 800 number as they would with the normal long distance number.  So the value of a toll free number is minimal for many companies.   I personally only have received 2 requests for my toll free number in the past 3 years. (including both honeyrunapiaries.com and etcsupply.com)

I’m not sure this is a rant about poorly thought out marketing (by advertising the vanity number first), or with companies that fail to get with the times and realize free social marketing will gain you far more customers than a badly advertised and hard to use vanity number.   It is 2012 now after all.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/rants/vanity-800-numbers-a-thing-of-the-past/

Feb 08

Unseasonably Warm Weather

We are just a week into February and we have yet to have the really cold weather one expects in Ohio for January and February.  We really haven’t had a prolonged period that has been below freezing.  Last week we had a few days in the upper 40s and even a day that broke the 50 degree mark.  It’s still winter, right?

While the bees are doing well, I’m beginning to become concerned that the bees will use their winter stores up too quickly and starvation will be a real issue come March.   It’s still too early to worry too much, but come March 1st I’ll have to make a point to check hive weights, and recheck them every couple weeks.

The forecast for the next 10 is much the same with highs in the 30s, except of course for Saturday and Sunday when I don’t have to work the day job and planned on working in the unheated garage.  Isn’t that always the case?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/unseasonably-warm-weather/

Feb 06

Website Updates

I’m working on redoing the entire website using the wordpress engine.   I’ve simply outgrown the old software and wordpress has evolved significantly over the past several years.    I don’t really care for the current look and will hopefully be changing it over the coming weeks.   Any feedback (good or bad) is welcome.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/journal/website-updates/

Feb 02

Long Break

It’s been entirely too long since I’ve had a change to post any updates here.  Beekeeping and life in general was just too much to do and have time to update the website.  My wife complains that I can never say no… and I suppose it’s true to a point.  I’m now also secretary of the Ohio State Beekeepers Association.  Not that I really needed more to do.

The past 3 days have been unseasonably warm with temperatures around 50 degrees.  The bees have been flying heavily and only one inactive hive was seen at the house.  It’s still much to early to tell how well the bees faired over the winter, we still should have a good 2 months of cold weather.   Time will tell.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/long-break/

Apr 20

Cold April

This has had to be the most consistently cold April that I can recall in the past many years.  The next 4 days aren’t looking much better either though it’s actually on the warm side compared to the past few days with highs that only were in the mid 40s.

Typically we would have nearly half our mating nucs out in the field and would be on our 3rd grafting cycle.  But we are only on our first cycle and if it stays too cold or wet this weekend it may be a complete bust.  Interestingly this was the first time I’ve every had customers call and ask if we could delay package bees because of the cold weather.

I just hope this cycle breaks soon…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/cold-april-2/

Feb 13

Swarm Removal on the Ohio State Association Website

The Ohio State Beekeepers Association website is getting a bit of a face lift with new content, event calendar and more.  And we are happy to announce they have added our swarm removal look up to their website. (Ok, I did have a hand in it since I’m also their new webmaster).

This does mean however that if you also sell honey, bees and supplies you can safely link to the state associations website swarm removal page without redirecting your clients to a potential competitor.  Though honestly if anyone considers me a competitor I’m flattered,  I don’t have enough time in the day to compete with anyone and my queens, nucs and honey sell out well before the demand runs out.  Frequently this means I’m searching for other reliable sources I can refer my potential customers to because I don’t have the stock or inventory to help them.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/swarm-removal-osba/

Feb 11

Beekeeping in Style

So what do you picture a beekeeper wearing… a boring white suit of course, often dirty and stained up with propolis and dirt.  I’ve mentioned to my wife before that I though there might be market for more stylish suits, particular with all the new hobbiests starting beekeeping these past few years, many of them women.  So what should I see in the latest issue of Bee Culture?  Colorfull bee suits offered by Blue Sky Bee Company.   Guess I’m too slow again.   Still might be market for suits with patterns, and I don’t see a jacket being offered yet.

My daughter would love these suits (she’s a style freak).  But for myself, I’ll stick to my jeans and boring white jacket, if a wear a suit at all.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/beekeeping-in-style/

Jan 31

2011 Beginning Beekeeping Workshop

The Northwest Ohio Beekeepers association will be giving a beginning beekeeping workshop January 19th at the OSU campus in Lima, Ohio.

This workshop is designed for people who would like to get started in beekeeping, those who have had previous beekeeping experience and want to get back into beekeeping, or those who just want to know more before taking the plunge.

Topics covered will include basic honeybee biology, races of bees, package bees versus nucs and where to get bees, how to start a hive, new and used equipment, keeping bees in a residential setting, feeding, inspections, swarm control, disease and pest  management, producing honey and other hive products and overwintering. Information on package bee, nuc and equipment vendors will be available at the workshop.

When: February 19st from 8:30AM to 4PM

Cost: $25 – Includes book and one year membership to the association.

More details can be viewed here:  2011 Beekeeping Workshop

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/2011-beginning-beekeeping-workshop/

Jan 19

Petition to Ban Clothianidin

Not long ago in a bee sized version of the Wikileaks leak,  a beekeeper “leaked” an internal EPA document to the public the clearly shows the pesticide “Clothianidin” is toxic to bees.  Yet in spite of their own findings they chose to ignore the facts and instead based their decision to allow the sale of this pesticide based on a small flawed study.  This study assumed, among other things, that bees can’t fly more than a few hundred feet.  Even my 2nd grader was able to find this flaw in the study.  They also assumed that bees only will visit the closest flowers to the hive (also false).

Is this the cause of CCD and vanishing bees?  Probably not, but widespread use will have significant negative impact on the honeybee population and is just another problem commercial beekeepers struggling to stay in business have to worry about.

So Fresh and the producers of Vanishing of the Bees have started a petition urging the EPA to ban the sale of this poison that threatens bees.   You can view the petition and other information on the EPA memo and CCD here:  Petition to Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides

Permanent link to this article: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/blog/beekeeping/petition-to-ban-clothianidin/

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