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.

Admiring the swath at sunset

My combine and trusty grain truck,
finished for another day

My Dad, my friend and my boys, enjoying a quiet harvest evening

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
Combining alfalfa seed on the same big field that is shown being cultivated back in April 2017
Photo by Gene Pavelich Photography

Notice the wide row spacing of 24 inches as the field is combined

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.

My good friend Robin’s pride and joy, a 600 hp Kenworth truck

Time to market grain and plan alfalfa seed movement.
**Long Lake Trucking moves most of our grain.

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 nests are stripped of their larvae with bee punching machines to harvest loose cell cocoons. The loose bees are bagged and stacked.
Nesting material is 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


More loose cell cocoons

More loose cell cocoons