Does anyone keep honey bees? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:57 AM
 
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Yeah, I think the same. Get the package and give them plenty of supplemental food as they get their start. They will be working hard, but they should be fine.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:06 PM
 
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If you can afford it, start them off on REAL honey, not sugar syrup. Feeding them sugar syrup is like giving a baby formula. A valuable last resort. imo.
A 3 lb. package of bees got an initial gallon of food from me when I started my hive. I didn't lock them up during that time, I allowed them access to the outside for foraging from the get-go. I have faith they won't abscond... NOW! ;-)

I won't be feeding them this spring either. All I am really doing is providing them a house, and stealing a little bit of honey (50 lbs.) in the late summer!

I don't even harvest all the honey out in the summer, so I make sure they not only have enough to get through winter, but through spring as well.
I don't want to have to feed them sugar in the spring. Seems like it defeats the whole idea of having bees if you are feeding them sugar water.
There has been plenty for our family of 4, so far this year, and that was with giving lots away as presents.

After watching bees all summer and what they like? I now know they are extremely partial to HFCS. If that isn't creepy, I don't know what is. Just like kids, they will reach for the unnatural sugar buzz in a soda can LONG before the fresh flower nectar they have to work for. They are kind of opportunists. They should have access to as much natural bee food as possible. In fact, I'm a little weirded out about what they may be ingesting "out there" in my city at all. haha I will always plant more flowers and give them access to real honey before anything else.
I do think a lot of "bee problems" come from over managing them.



I am on a feral bee list and an organic beekeeping list that I just LOVE.

Different drummer dancing with 3 kids in 3 decades.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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I got an article recently from one of my local mentors citing the overmanagement issue with small beekeepers. I am still so new at it, I wrestle with feeling like I should "manage" them more, but frankly I don't have so much time to be digging around in their houses, and they seem to do a good job taking care of themselves. I tried to leave a LOT of honey in my hives this year, too, and I have them in an enclosed space, totally protected from the wind, so we're hoping they make it through. Our winters are long and cold, so even good years see 50% losses, I've read.

We feed honey back to them, too. I did feed some syrup this past fall, about 2gal to my 5 hives. I was giving them essential oils in the syrup. But I tried to leave at least 70 pounds of their own honey in the hive before I even fed them.

Our next major goal is to plant more flowers and herbs for them to enjoy.

salt_phoenix, do you imagine them out there sucking out the bottom rests of all those kids' mountain dew? Eww.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 1jooj View Post
salt_phoenix, do you imagine them out there sucking out the bottom rests of all those kids' mountain dew? Eww.
I've see them doing it.

Different drummer dancing with 3 kids in 3 decades.
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:31 PM
 
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Thanks for sharing the info about the topbar hive. i hadn't heard of those until now.
i'd also like to throw in the suggestion to contact your local extension office or extension agent -- they can give you information and contact info for the "old beekeepers" everyone was talking about

Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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Old 02-03-2010, 08:53 PM
 
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so, I have a question for any beekeepers who might know:

I have wanted to keep bees for a long time and I know that as soon as the time is right for us, I will. And by "right time" I mean, once we have moved back home, to the country, onto our 20acres. We are planning to build a house and part of the house will have a living roof. So my question is:

Does anyone have experience with keeping bees on a living roof? HAs anyone heard of this before?

I will have children to consider so my concern is keeping them away from the hives and away from the flight paths. Since we are talking about 20 acres of wild land,I don't know where else I can put them that will be so effective at keeping the kids away. I thought placing the hives up high might help with that problem?

I plan on trying to maintain sustainable hives, with minimal harvesting....
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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I don't keep mine on a roof, but I think you could work out a solution--IF you can shelter them from cold when winter comes (if it gets cold where you are). I keep mine in a hayloft, so their flight paths are generally overhead. They go in and out windows, and we close up pretty well for winter. They can fly indoors a little if they need to, but once March comes, we open the windows again so they can do their thing until late fall.
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Old 02-18-2010, 05:35 PM
 
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Swarms only occur in spring though, don't think you will have swarm right now.

Carma
Depends on where you live. We had one in late Fall here.

We just ordered a TBH dvd. I have the materials ready to make our first hive. I have wild hives in the woods, and in a cabin of ours (in the floor). I'm going to first try hanging the TBH in the cabin, and hope the wild bees go right in. I'm betting they will. I'll put another hive near the old tree full of bees in the woods and see what happens.

I am so excited!!! We have the smoker, and are ordering a bee suit asap.

Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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Old 02-18-2010, 05:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by salt_phoenix View Post
I

I am on a feral bee list and an organic beekeeping list that I just LOVE.
Could you please pm me w/these lists? I'd love to check them out!

Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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Old 02-18-2010, 07:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chicky2 View Post
Depends on where you live. We had one in late Fall here.

We just ordered a TBH dvd. I have the materials ready to make our first hive. I have wild hives in the woods, and in a cabin of ours (in the floor). I'm going to first try hanging the TBH in the cabin, and hope the wild bees go right in. I'm betting they will. I'll put another hive near the old tree full of bees in the woods and see what happens.

I am so excited!!! We have the smoker, and are ordering a bee suit asap.
Yes that's true. Sorry I was thinking in Northern Europe and NJ, USA terms,that where we have only kept bees sofar

Carma
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Old 02-18-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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Ok, youtube is a goldmine of top bar hive videos! I have spent most of today watching various videos, and am watching one by backyardhive.com as I type. I am so fascinated!

BTW, backyardhive.com is cool, too.

Also, did anyone see "Inside the Hive" on the Science channel recently? SOOOOO cool!!! I'm going to see if I can find it online or on dvd somewhere...

Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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Old 02-19-2010, 01:35 AM
 
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This is so neat! This is a video of a queen laying eggs. FF it to 4:32, if you want. The guy spends the first few minutes just trying to find her.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJzXGM7aFEg

Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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Old 02-24-2010, 09:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by salt_phoenix View Post
If you can afford it, start them off on REAL honey, not sugar syrup. Feeding them sugar syrup is like giving a baby formula. A valuable last resort. imo.
A 3 lb. package of bees got an initial gallon of food from me when I started my hive. I didn't lock them up during that time, I allowed them access to the outside for foraging from the get-go. I have faith they won't abscond... NOW! ;-)

I am on a feral bee list and an organic beekeeping list that I just LOVE.
When just starting out, where would you source the honey? And would you dilute it, or just feed it straight? And how much for a 2 lb package?

Also, I'd love the links to those lists, too, if you don't mind...
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Old 03-04-2010, 04:18 PM
 
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My favorite book to read was "Beekeeping for Dummies" ! Great book. I also found a local group and they have mini classes and mentors.
Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:07 PM
 
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It's too early to say too much, but it hit 40 today, and bees came out of all 5 hives in our beeloft. I'm going to feed them honey every chance I get now until they can collect nectar again on their own. I really tried hard to leave enough stores for them to survive, and I fed them syrup with EOs against mites in the fall.

I just really, really want bee success. The honey was so spectacular, they are such a joy to have around the yard, and the garden did great, too.
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:35 PM
 
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A few bees came in my house the other day. I also noticed them looking for flowers on my crepe myrtles. Too bad there weren't any. I'm building our first top bar hive in the next couple of weeks. I have another project to finish first then I think I can fit the hive in inbetween the hog pen and enlarging the asparagus patch.

Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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Old 03-16-2010, 09:28 AM
 
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I have live bees in all my hives.

One hive had major winter kill, though.

I am still learning. I think I will be still learning forever. I like them so much, but they are a lot harder to understand than my larger animals.

Anyway, it looks like two of my hives should have been less tightly closed (better ventilated), because they got a lot of condensation inside. I cleaned out two of the five hives yesterday afternoon and fed everyone a little. They still have honey left over, which is great. I'm glad I didn't starve them. I'm using quart jar boardman feeders so I can keep close tabs on their eating. They have a long wait before they have decent temps for flying or anything at all to eat out there.

I made a few bees mad, but still got by without stings (even in sweatpants ), which is great. I hope they all recover well.

Oh, and the book I really like is The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden.
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