"The only way to live is to take vengeance on winter and strife." Mary Winslow
I like a clean honey house. Clean and orderly. So I look forward to the day when it's warm enough to take a broom and mop to the accumulation of winter tracked-in dirt and detritus and get the honey house ready for the season.
Today was that day. It's not just a clean fetish, though, the Honey House is multi-purpose: it's 'beekeeping central', where I keep all equipment and supplies, as well as the place I extract, clarify wax, and pack and ship. So the 10' x 18' space not only has to be disciplined but flexible, too. The secret? Wheels. Everything is on wheels so I can easily pull everything out from the wall to check for pests and to clean. It also allows me to reconfigure the space depending on where I am in the yearly cycle. The wire shelving units with their sturdy wheels that I found at Uline are key. I have two four-shelf units that are specifically for beekeeping equipment. I keep the extra inner covers, queen excluders, Imirie shims, robbing screens, gloves, hive tools, strapping, clean wax, my drill for creamed honey, and so on.
I use the other two shelving units for records and other paperwork as well as packing supplies such as jars, lids, labels, hangtags, and gift bags.
I keep the extraction tools and strainers in the uncapping tank, also on wheels. Honey supers and extra brood supers are piled on wheeled wooden trays I found at Dadant. I've never seen them anywhere else, but I love them. I have five. When I don't need them for supers (when everything is in use in the bee yard) I use them to stack filled honey supers for extraction. I can roll them to the uncapping stations and then to the extractor, keeping the floor from getting too sticky (and saving my back).
My wheeled extravagance is a bright red lifting table. I store my extractor on it when not in use, but during extraction, I put my honey tanks on it at it's lowest level so they're easy to fill, and then I use the hydraulic foot lever to raise them for bottling. It's all about the back.
But getting back to cleaning. Other than the mud I tracked in during my two visits for oxalic treatment this winter, the place wasn't too bad. No sign of ants, mice or spiders. I never have had a problem but I do worry about pests finding a way in. The organic standards do not allow for any poison traps, which is why I'm slightly obsessive in the fall, making sure the place is spotless and there are no opportunities to infest.
So I hung up some new cleaning log forms (also a requirement for certification), wiped off my whiteboard ready for this year's calendar, and headed home for chicken pot pie, newly picked asparagus with a miso-butter sauce, and a glass of chilled Riesling.