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Does anyone keep honey bees?

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
My husband has wanted to be a keeper of honey bees forever and I think if he gets out of the military (medically retired) he is sick and injured...it would really help him. Kind of theraputic in ways for him to handle and be gentle to creatures and take care of them with my help obviously. Anyway he has said he would really like to some day. I know that there are so many positives to having bees and I am hoping he gets a chance to do that. What sorts of resources or reading do you keepers of bees recommend?
post #2 of 47
post #3 of 47
testing
post #4 of 47
Sorry. I just wrote and rewrote 2 long posts that wouldn't post. aaargh.
very condensed version...

I started with Dadants First Lessons in Beekeeping. Pretty good starter- but my greatest resource was a mentor.
I found a couple of links that may be helpful for you...
http://www.chattahoocheebeekeepers.com/ This club is based in Columbus which I think is near you.
http://www.gabeekeeping.com/index.html Georgia Beekeeping Assoc
You might be able to get connected with a mentor through either of these groups.

A few cautions...
Hives can be pretty heavy and there is a lot of lifting and bending required to take the hive apart to check on the bees. If your husbands injuries are neck/back/shoulder-related, he may need to find some creative solutions with leverage or "beekeeping assistants". Also, as a beginner, I found some of my encounters with the bees to be pretty stressful. They get more aggressive as the season progresses. Got a bit dicey with a billion angry, protective bees swarming my suit, diving into my screen and trying to climb ender my ankle elastic. That was a fun day.... If your husband is experiencing any PTSD, that aspect of keeping may be a challenge. I'm probably not as brave as your hubby-- so it may not be an issue for him at all I got stung pretty badly early on and had difficulty avoiding dumping lots of adrenaline into my system each time after... Lot's of "flop sweat"...

I don't want to discourage you, though. I don't want to overemphasize the negative. Having the hive has been so rewarding and you can't beat fresh raw honey and beeswax. Just wanted to give you some things to think about.

Great luck to you both
Keep us posted

Sass
post #5 of 47


We planned on having them last year but it didn't work out. We are going to try again this year.

The funny thing is *I* sorta "started it" I was the one that first brought up the idea but then started having reactions to stings. This will leave DH doing ALL the work since I now can't risk being anywhere near them LOL.
post #6 of 47
Find an old beekeeper if you can! Most older folks who keep bees can help with the confidence and experience no book can give you, and someone close to your home can help you with the specifics of your climate and conditions.

Look for associations, clubs or co-ops in the area. All the reading is still essential! It's just great to learn from a mentor.
post #7 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sassafrass94 View Post
Sorry. I just wrote and rewrote 2 long posts that wouldn't post. aaargh.
very condensed version...

I started with Dadants First Lessons in Beekeeping. Pretty good starter- but my greatest resource was a mentor.
I found a couple of links that may be helpful for you...
http://www.chattahoocheebeekeepers.com/ This club is based in Columbus which I think is near you.
http://www.gabeekeeping.com/index.html Georgia Beekeeping Assoc
You might be able to get connected with a mentor through either of these groups.

A few cautions...
Hives can be pretty heavy and there is a lot of lifting and bending required to take the hive apart to check on the bees. If your husbands injuries are neck/back/shoulder-related, he may need to find some creative solutions with leverage or "beekeeping assistants". Also, as a beginner, I found some of my encounters with the bees to be pretty stressful. They get more aggressive as the season progresses. Got a bit dicey with a billion angry, protective bees swarming my suit, diving into my screen and trying to climb ender my ankle elastic. That was a fun day.... If your husband is experiencing any PTSD, that aspect of keeping may be a challenge. I'm probably not as brave as your hubby-- so it may not be an issue for him at all I got stung pretty badly early on and had difficulty avoiding dumping lots of adrenaline into my system each time after... Lot's of "flop sweat"...

I don't want to discourage you, though. I don't want to overemphasize the negative. Having the hive has been so rewarding and you can't beat fresh raw honey and beeswax. Just wanted to give you some things to think about.

Great luck to you both
Keep us posted

Sass

Thank you :-) . I will have to do most of the lifting which I am ok with totally...his is a back thing. Basically he has a bunch of issues with it but we think his pain is from benign tumors and such which can be fixed supposedly. We arent sure if thats the only thing but we're still working on a complete diagnosis.
He said that he really wants to do this for many reasons but we will also have crops at some point which I know how handy bees are to have around for that too. I'm probably going to be doing a lot of the work myself but I am on board too when the time comes.
post #8 of 47
Good timing on this thread!

I have now read one book on beekeeping and I plan on going to look at some used equipment in a couple days. I don't want to invest a lot of money, but I think this something I really think I would enjoy doing.
post #9 of 47
post #10 of 47
Anyone on here using a top bar hive? I'm looking into that and it looks like it would be more reasonable for me. I love the idea of it being cheap, no heavy lifting, and more natural. I keep hearing from people that plan on trying it, or love the idea of it, but not many that are currently doing it. I saw it in the last issue of Mother Earth News and I want to know more about it. I guess I'm just going to have to break down and buy The Barefoot Beekeeper.
post #11 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by atobols View Post
Anyone on here using a top bar hive? I'm looking into that and it looks like it would be more reasonable for me. I love the idea of it being cheap, no heavy lifting, and more natural. I keep hearing from people that plan on trying it, or love the idea of it, but not many that are currently doing it. I saw it in the last issue of Mother Earth News and I want to know more about it. I guess I'm just going to have to break down and buy The Barefoot Beekeeper.
yes the top bar hive is what we are considering as well whenever we leave here and have a new place. The only thing stopping us from starting at this point is our neighbors are close and I know for a fact people would kill our bees here with pesticides etc. they kill everything here @@.
post #12 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by hippiemommaof4 View Post
The only thing stopping us from starting at this point is our neighbors are close and I know for a fact people would kill our bees here with pesticides etc. they kill everything here @@.
We have about 8 acres so I'm not too worried about the neighbors even though he did build a deer stand on the top of his kids' swingset

I ordered my book today, so hopefully I'll learn a lot over the winter. I think we're going to try and bait the hive(s) the first year in hopes of catching a wild swarm. If that doesn't work, then I'll go ahead and buy a package of bees for the following year. Can you tell I'm trying to do this as cheaply as possible?
post #13 of 47
Subbing! I am taking a class this winter and hope to start BeeKeeping in the spring! I am also interested in TopBar Hives! <3
post #14 of 47
This is the first winter for my husband's bees - he has one top bar hive that he built and one conventional (Langstroth) hive. I think the top bar hive does make for easier observation, etc with less heavy lifting.

He is also allowing his bees to build their own comb from scratch (using frames but no foundation) which is going to make harvesting more challenging but allows the bees to build their own natural cell size which, in my understanding, makes them generally healthier and leads to less varroa mite infestation.

Anyway, we think they went into the winter with enough honey, but we are new at this so we're crossing our fingers that they survive the cold season.
post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1jooj View Post
Find an old beekeeper if you can! Most older folks who keep bees can help with the confidence and experience no book can give you, and someone close to your home can help you with the specifics of your climate and conditions.

Look for associations, clubs or co-ops in the area. All the reading is still essential! It's just great to learn from a mentor.
Call the county extension office. They usually know older beekeepers. One time we had a swarm in the Fall, and I was concerned. I knew they were probably scouts, because the wild hive in the woods got to full. I called the extension office and they put me in touch w/an elderly gentleman who came right out w/some buddies and took the bees to his place. He gave the kids a homeschooling lesson and left us a jar of honey.

Now I'm going back to read the other replies since I last checked this thread.
post #16 of 47
Ok, here's a question....We built a cabin in the woods and a wild swarm made a home under the floor boards. Should we call in our beekeeper guy, or should we leave it alone and build a hive and hope that they go in it? My hubby is VERY interested in raising bees.
post #17 of 47
Do both. Build the hive. Because you'll want a hive anyway. So, if the bees don't move in, you can buy a colony, or maybe said bee guy can come and try moving these bees into the hive for you?
post #18 of 47

Top Bar Hive?

Beekeeping is always a rewarding hobby. have you considered building your own top bar hive? Top bar hive beekeeping is much easier than most people think.It's definitely cheaper to get started with.
post #19 of 47
That top bar hive is interesting!
post #20 of 47
Subbing, because I am very interested in keeping bees but somewhat afraid of being stung. It also seems expensive to get started! I'm just at the collecting knowledge stage...
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