Beekeeping in Manitoba
Beekeeping in Manitoba is somewhat unique. Our beehives are in wintering rooms almost 6 months of the year. In spring, two months are spent prepping hives for the honey flow and then two months in the fall prepping for winter.
This gives us roughly two months when the honey flow is actually going. However, when it’s on, it’s booming. A large hive can make 15-20 plus pounds on a perfect day, and they can make upwards of 300 pounds per year. However this is not our average as you always have hives that are struggling or just average. Typically, an average year is 200-225 pounds per year.
Golden Bee Apiaries is located in south central Manitoba and in a typical year, we see a variety of flowers. In spring, we get a short dandelion flow which gives the bees enough nectar to make it to the big summer flow. Our summer flow is mostly canola with a mix of clover. This makes for a sweet, light coloured honey which is a local favorite. After then main flow is done, there is alfalfa and other late summer wildflowers. This honey is also somewhat darker than our summer honey.
Beekeepers use many methods to keep and maintain bees. There is not one ‘perfect’ method and each has advantages and disadvantages. Some use no queen excluders while others prefer to keep the bees in the bottom box. Some beekeepers use 8 frames and some have 10 frame boxes.
On the Canadian prairies, 10 frame brood deep brood chambers are the preferred method and then 9 frames in the honey supers. This gives the bees extra space to build thicker honey frames. These 9 frame honey supers can be very heavy weighing up to 85 pounds when full of honey. Although many beekeepers winter their beehives in two boxes (double broods) we winter them in singles.