Our Operation – September to April

September

Grain harvest commences in late August and continues through most of September.

The first frost usually arrives around September 10th here in Saskatchewan.

Straight-cutting a wheat crop

Photo by Mark Higgins
Straight-cutting a wheat crop

The grain truck awaits another load

Photo by Mark Higgins
The grain truck awaits another load

October

Often alfalfa seed crops are harvested in October.  My combines have modified concaves for extra threshing and need to be finely tuned to do a good job.

Typically by October 31st the ground is frozen bringing fieldwork to an end.

Photo by Gene Pavelich Photography
Notice the wide row spacing of 24 inches as the field is combined

Sunset at the end of the day’s harvesting

Photo by Mark Higgins
Sunset at the end of the day’s harvesting

November

X-ray of bee cocoons done at the Brooks Cocoon Testing Centre.

X-ray of bee cocoons done at the Brooks Cocoon Testing Centre.

Leafcutter bee samples can be professionally x-rayed to provide live counts for marketing purposes.

 

Bright yellow alfalfa seed

Bright yellow alfalfa seed

Time to market grain and get our alfalfa seed cleaned and bagged.  We direct market our alfalfa seed and deliver seed to customers across Western Canada.

Bee cocoons and the larvae found inside

Bee cocoons and the larvae found inside

December

Cold weather (-20C) brings the humidity in the warehouse down. When the humidity is below 30% nest splitting commences. If the blocks are split and punched prematurely the delicate cocoons tend to crush in the extraction process, killing the larvae inside. When the nests are split and stacked flat they ready for punching.

Cutting the straps off a pair of bee nests

Cutting the straps off a pair of bee nests

Split nests ready for punching

Split nests ready for punching

Stacked, empty nests waiting for re-banding into doubles

Stacked, empty nests waiting for
re-banding into doubles

January and February

The nesting blocks are stripped of their larvae with cocoon extraction machines which harvest loose cell cocoons. The loose cocoons are bagged and stored at a cool temperature to maintain dormancy.

Styrofoam nesting blocks are put back together with straps and stacked ready to go back to the field.

 

We have described and illustrated the twelve month cycle for our alfalfa seed and leafcutter bee operation.

All these steps have to be completed in order to produce the blocks containing larvae which become your Backyard Pollinator.

A pair of Pinamatic bee punching machines

A pair of Pinamatic bee punching machines


Handful of loose cell cocoons, yellow ones are cut flower blossoms

Handful of loose cell cocoons, yellow ones are cut flower blossoms

Close-up view of a nest being punched

Close-up view of a nest being punched

 

Close-up photo of bee cocoons

Photo by Mark Higgins
Close-up photo of bee cocoons