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Tobias41

The New "2017" Beekeeping Post :)

9 posts in this topic

@Gigima Like Sue said - the old Beekeeping post was pretty old, so here is a new one with updates!

So I decide to take a whole year to read and learn about bees, since my October 2016 post, I have taken multiple online courses through my local college extension program, and I have joined not one but multiple bee clubs including the State beekeeping organization. Additionally I have another set of classes coming up in January of 2018. 

Additionally there are tons of groups on Facebook as well, just be careful with those as some groups do not take kindly to "new-bee" questions.  Also I would suggest that when you look for a club, do not get discouraged.  The first club I tried (the closest one to my house) I did not like - since then I have found a more friendly group of folks that are open to my ideas "different" style of beekeeping. 

Personally- I do not care if I get honey or not, I am hoping to help the polinators in my garden and I too simply love bees! That being said I have found out that taking honey in a strong hive is needed to keep the bees producing clean comb and for them to have plenty of space (and not go looking for a new home :))  I have decided to go with a hybrid hive which is a combination of a Kenyan Top Bar Hive that uses Langstroth frames, commonly referred to as a "Long Langstroth" or a "Horizontal Hive".  I chose this method as it disturbs the bees the least and the traditional Langstroth hives, well there were multiple factors that I did not like and this type of hive seems to be the preference of the more organic beekeepers, even though there is no such thing as organic honey. (a later debate :))

The verroa mite is one of the main concerns that I have as well, and is the reason that many hives do not make it through the winter.  My plan is to try multiple "natural" methods to keep the verroa mites at bay, and it is one reason I have chosen the above hive, as there are some experts that believe that foundation-less frames (when you let the bees build the size cells they want rather than a man-made size) might help control Verroa mite populations. However if it turns out that I have a Verroa mite infestation, I will treat, but only when needed... I also hope that if I have to treat I will not need to use the traditional mite-away strips which contain pesticides...

The big update is, I have ordered 2 packages of bees, and I will install them in their hive in March of 2018! I am absolutely in a full panic about this- as even though I have really done my homework, over a year of it,  I cannot believe I am actually going to do this! Yikes! Somehow buying the bees has made the whole thing real to me.  

Also for those of you who might be concerned I have also gotten epi-pens to keep on hand should anyone need them and I will of course be marking my property... I have a fenced in yard, but I still want anyone to be aware.. 

The traditional Italian Honeybee which is what I will be getting is pretty docile, unless you are taking their honey, they pretty much could care less.  In fact I have learned that a swarm, though menacing, is actually when they are least likely to sting, as they are more interested in surrounding the queen and finding a new home that fighting. 

 

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Thanks for the update Tobias.  It sounds like you have done your "homework" and are ready to start your own hive.

As a child, our neighbor had hives and it was interesting to watch him extract the honey from the combs.  I enjoyed chewing on the honeycomb.  I have always liked honey.

I don't think anyone around here raises honeybees, but I do know that until the bumblebees appear in the spring, my summer squash are slow to produce fruit.

Good luck and enjoy your new hobby and I hope it turns out to be all you hope.

ETA:  As children both husband and son had nose bleeds I think due to allergies.  Son's pediatrician advised us to "smear" the inside of his nose with honey on the tip of out small finger after a bleed (local would be best).  Amazingly he did out grow it.  Now GD has occasional nosebleeds and they are reluctant to use honey.  Of course I tried it first in my own nose to see just how yucky it felt.  No problems.

Edited by SueSTx
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There is a local apiarist here in town who harvests honey twice a year....wonderful product. DD likes honey on her cornbread, I use it with lemon in a tea for colds....

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6 hours ago, Tobias41 said:

@Gigima Like Sue said - the old Beekeeping post was pretty old, so here is a new one with updates!

So I decide to take a whole year to read and learn about bees, since my October 2016 post, I have taken multiple online courses through my local college extension program, and I have joined not one but multiple bee clubs including the State beekeeping organization. Additionally I have another set of classes coming up in January of 2018. 

Additionally there are tons of groups on Facebook as well, just be careful with those as some groups do not take kindly to "new-bee" questions.  Also I would suggest that when you look for a club, do not get discouraged.  The first club I tried (the closest one to my house) I did not like - since then I have found a more friendly group of folks that are open to my ideas "different" style of beekeeping. 

Personally- I do not care if I get honey or not, I am hoping to help the polinators in my garden and I too simply love bees! That being said I have found out that taking honey in a strong hive is needed to keep the bees producing clean comb and for them to have plenty of space (and not go looking for a new home :))  I have decided to go with a hybrid hive which is a combination of a Kenyan Top Bar Hive that uses Langstroth frames, commonly referred to as a "Long Langstroth" or a "Horizontal Hive".  I chose this method as it disturbs the bees the least and the traditional Langstroth hives, well there were multiple factors that I did not like and this type of hive seems to be the preference of the more organic beekeepers, even though there is no such thing as organic honey. (a later debate :))

The verroa mite is one of the main concerns that I have as well, and is the reason that many hives do not make it through the winter.  My plan is to try multiple "natural" methods to keep the verroa mites at bay, and it is one reason I have chosen the above hive, as there are some experts that believe that foundation-less frames (when you let the bees build the size cells they want rather than a man-made size) might help control Verroa mite populations. However if it turns out that I have a Verroa mite infestation, I will treat, but only when needed... I also hope that if I have to treat I will not need to use the traditional mite-away strips which contain pesticides...

The big update is, I have ordered 2 packages of bees, and I will install them in their hive in March of 2018! I am absolutely in a full panic about this- as even though I have really done my homework, over a year of it,  I cannot believe I am actually going to do this! Yikes! Somehow buying the bees has made the whole thing real to me.  

Also for those of you who might be concerned I have also gotten epi-pens to keep on hand should anyone need them and I will of course be marking my property... I have a fenced in yard, but I still want anyone to be aware.. 

The traditional Italian Honeybee which is what I will be getting is pretty docile, unless you are taking their honey, they pretty much could care less.  In fact I have learned that a swarm, though menacing, is actually when they are least likely to sting, as they are more interested in surrounding the queen and finding a new home that fighting. 

 

Thanks so much for the update and for reviving this topic! Not all of our local bees make honey somI might not have the problem but it sure sounds interesting according to all you’ve said. 

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I grow predominanty for birds and bees- This past autumn the scarlet sage was busy with honey bees because its one of the very last things to continue blooming until hit with a hard frost- The scarlet sage is very easy to grow, this was my first year growing it- It withstood drought conditions- Ive read it can winter over in milder climates because its a tender perennial- But eventhough winter isnt mild here Ive packed around the base of it with leaves to see if I cant get it to winter over -- also pruned it to about 4 inches-

I wish EVERY beekeeper the best of luck because bees are so important- I dont eat much honey but use it with vinegar to heal wounds- 

Any thoughts, anyone, on shipping honey bees all over the US to pollinate orchards and farmland where it seems there arent enough bees to do th  job locally?

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In the past I've read where bee keepers would rent out their hives and place them in others fields and pastures to do their jobs.  But with the current use of pesticides, that has gone by the way side also.

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2 hours ago, SueSTx said:

In the past I've read where bee keepers would rent out their hives and place them in others fields and pastures to do their jobs.  But with the current use of pesticides, that has gone by the way side also.

In Australia this is still very much a thing. I have seen huge trucks filled with hives drive past on the way to orchards this past spring. It is great to see. 

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3 hours ago, SueSTx said:

In the past I've read where bee keepers would rent out their hives and place them in others fields and pastures to do their jobs.  But with the current use of pesticides, that has gone by the way side also.

Actually this is still a large business, and crops like almonds depend on beekeepers leasing hives not to mention fruit crops, etc. In fact, a few years ago, when hive absconding became a large trend (bees all leaving a hive for no "apparent" reason or all dying) commercial bee leasers lost about 1/2 of the bee population, so much so the almond crops the next year were impacted driving prices up.... 

While learning about beekeeping, the most interesting and scary fact I have learned is that pretty much all beeswax, and for that matter all honey have some amount of pesticide in them as there is no way to have 100% organic honey (you cannot control where the bees forage :)

That worries, me alot- and even though my garden is almost 100% organic, with the exception being the 10;10;10 fertilizer I use on the roses and the trees - I think this next year I will try a good compost instead. I also have been debating about going organic as a rule, and I may be doing that sooner rather than later. 

 

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For my vege gardens, I've been leaning more toward manure and humus and less to the bag of 10-10-10 but m ground is so poor I have to amend it every year.

I've also been using less pesticide to protect what few bees we do have and sharing with the bugs unless there is a major infestation of squash bugs, then I powder the bugs instead of spray the whole patch.  Planting marigolds close by has helped with that also.  I pick the tomato horn worms by hand.

 

Edited by SueSTx

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