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Not sure if this has been asked here before or not. Any experiences with this - good or bad?
(bylaw in our city is fine)
How much land do you need (we're only an 1/8 of an acre).
Is it worth it?
 

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The bees would need a sunny, sheltered corner. As well as access to maples trees- they eat the pollen in the spring for protein. I think they need access to more than 1/8 worths of flowing plants. I guess it depends on what you have planted. They really like wild basil and it flowers like crazy, so if you have alot of that you may be ok.

I had a beekeeper want to set up shop at my moms place, he mentioned that all of the fallow? fields around her property were great for the bees. Lots of flowering weeds there. He was talking 10-15 hives though.
He also never came back, so I don't know if the land was not suitable in the end or not.
Id like to set up a few hives myself. I cant do it in the city, too many people are against weeds. I dont think the bees could sustain themselves, though I do get alot of honey bees and butterflies in my garden. Not sure where they come from.
 

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It's not so much about how much land you need, since you can't really keep the bees to "your" land -- they're going to go where the food is. If you're in a nieghborhood with lots of flowering things, they'll be just fine. But you might get some push-back from neighbors worried about stings.

I have friends who keep bees in their yard and have had good experiences with it -- they have two hives, and lost one in our bad winter last year, but got quite a bit of honey and wax this year. It's something DH and I are thinking seriously about starting next spring.
 

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Im gonna post just to bump this up, cause iam curious too. We have a about an 1/8 acre, but it already homes a garden, a dog and a chicken and angora rabbit, but my husband very much wants bees. any more info?
 

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We have bees in our yard. We live on 1 acre, but what I would say you need to consider is the location on your property compared to what else you have and how close your neighbors are. You see, as a pp said, the bees will fly up to a few miles to forage, so they will be leaving your property to forage.

On your property, they need some sun and protection from wind/cold. They will fly out and up and around the hive as they leave and return, so they need space to do that which doesn't involve flying right across your patio or directly into your neighbors yard. You don't want kids or animals to interfere with their flight path or they will likely get stung - even just accidentally.

Do you have a side of your property that has some sun / wind protection but not too much traffic?

As far as "is it worth it", beekeeping can definitely involve work! And, especially these days with pests & diseases and other pressures on the bee population, you may not get much honey in return for your effort and money. On the other hand, it is a truly educational experience and we have always loved the energy of having bees. We have kept bees for about 10 yrs and have had some good honey years. Mostly, however, we have lost hives since we do not medicate them.

In the last few years, we have had swarms move in to stacks of old bee hives near our shed and we have left these to themselves. We do not harvest the honey, we just appreciate that they are here, pollinating, and reproducing (swarming) their hive. These bees have survived without intervention for 5 years and we are happy to have them share our space.

We purchase honey from a local beekeeper who uses only "organic" methods for caring for his hive (although the bees go where they will and you can't control their encounters with pesticides in their foraging). Because we know the work involved, we are willing to pay his higher prices for local, unfiltered, raw honey and we appreciate every drop.

Here is a good resource for beekeeping.
http://www.beesource.com/index.htm

You can also call your extension office to find out if there is a local beekeeping club in your area. It is great to meet other local beekeepers!
 

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Bumpadita bump! I just attended an intro to beekeeping seminar today and am so intrigued by these amazing creatures. I live in the city on a small lot that is not ideal for bees- not to mention illegal at the moment. My question: Is it feasible for me to keep bees at my inlaws' farm which is 45 minutes away? The speaker today presented beekeeping as something that can be done as a little side hobby...I'm wondering if you all think this is something that can be managed from a distance. I'd be willing to devote an hour or 2 per week- or occasional larger blocks of time for set-up/harvest, etc. Am I being realistic. Could you give me a little idea of your bee duties throughout the year. I'm in Wisconsin- so I'd be dealing with sleeping bees for the winter...
Thanks!
 

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My answer would be that you could easily keep a few hives in that time frame. My experience with bees is that the more you can "let them be" the better they do. There will be times of lots of work (set up and when you extract honey) but many times of just leaving them to do their work without disturbance (you can visit the hives without opening them up to just observe and see how they are looking).
We now "keep" bees and don't extract the honey because they survive better when we leave them alone. I buy honey from a local beekeeper who uses the most earth-friendly methods he can find. I know now, after years of keeping bees, what is involved and I am willing to pay the price for local, raw honey.
Have you read "The Secret Life of Bees"? That's a fun book - she is a full-time beekeeper, so you can see that she devotes many more hours, but is well worth reading.
Another great resource:
http://www.beesource.com/index.htm
And, find out if there is a local beekeeping club and meet others.
Good luck - it is a great learning opportunity!
 

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We kept bees in our suburb on 1/4 acre lot, in our backyard in a sunny location for about 4 years. One year we had one hive that was super agressive (not the norm) and they stung our neighbor's dogs. That was the only complaint we ever had in 4 years of our bees. It is a hands off hobby, with a little bit of management and decent investment at first. We love the raw honey. Your bees will travel up to a nine mile radius but that is only if they really have to. They go up to a couple miles usually and if you garden, you'll have everything pollintated and reap tons of rewards that way!

I say get involved in a local bee keeping club, learn from the old timers and get a hive! Have fun. If your neighbors are worried, (you'll find out that EVERYONE thinks they are allergic to bees...ha hahaha- in reality very few people are truly allergic) just try to educate them that bees are not out to get them, they are busy and there is a difference between honey bees and bumble bees and wasps and things. Give them some of your honey when you extract and all will be well.
 

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Yes, I've heard that sharing honey with neighbours generally keeps them happy!

We might be getting our first hive this summer (though we are on an acreage). It is actually coming from someone in the city who's been keeping them -and the bees have been very productive there. Lots of plants/trees in his neighbourhood. We are lucky to have a beekeeper friend who has offered to walk us through the process.
 

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Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to go for it! I called a father of an old friend of mine to ask his advice today. He was so excited to help me get started. He has helped many others during their first year and offered to get me started with a hive. My FIL said he has the perfect south facing spot at the edge of his woods for my new little buddies. I'm so stoked
:

My only concern is that the speaker at the seminar restated MANY times... "Buy NEW equipment. Used hives can be a world of pain and frustration for a new beekeeper..." This warning has to do with disease- not durability of used stuff. The man who's starting me out said his bees often don't survive our Wisconsin winters. He didn't seem to concerned about it and buys new swarms in the Spring. It concerns me... I want my bees to survive and thrive. It makes me sad to think that none would survive. Do you think there may be a disease that lingers in his hives and decimates his colonies each year? Or is it likely that our Wisconsin winters really are too harsh...or maybe he extracts a little too much from the colony? I'll probably still accept his offer. It would be so nice not to have to lay out $600 to start myself this Spring. Once I get a groove, I'll probably use the $ I'm going to start socking away to get my own, new hives.

Wish me Luck! I'd love to hear any special little secrets or tricks of the trade. I'm sure there's an art to this....

BZZZZZZ
 

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We have decided to try to get bees this spring and I was hoping someone here would know, so I'm hanging out waiting for you wise ones ot inform us all.

What exactly does it entail. How do you get the honey? What are some informative books?

I beleive we now have the MDC Beekeepers Club officially started.
:
 

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This is a nice thread. I just wanted to say, I have heard of people keeping bees on an apartment balcony, the ultimate small space farming! We keep ours on our garage roof in summer. Nice and sunny, and since we are in town it keeps them above where people are walking the most.

Something else interesting some organic beekeepers do is reduce the size of their bees. Most people don't realize that most honeybees are artificially large, which some think makes them more prone to mite problems.

You might be interested in this; particularly the articles linked at the bottom of the page.

http://www.beesource.com/pov/lusby/index.htm
 

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Jumping in to join the MDC Beekeepers!
:
My hive arrived several weeks ago, and my bees will be here in April.


I've got Minnesota Hygienic Bees coming. I could only afford one hive this year, so I REALLY hope they do well. I would hate to lose my one and only hive my first year.

I am on an "urbanstead" of almost 1/2 acre, 5 mi. from downtown Salt Lake City. My thought is that there is/will be plenty of forage in my 'hood. I will be having a vegetable garden and we have a large cherry tree; my entire neighborhood has similar, as well as several parks & lots of urban landscaping with flowers, flowers & more flowers.


Which reminds me: I need to call the Bee Inspector for an appt. & register my hive!
 

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This is my 4th year of backyard bees. Less than half an acre, middle of a neighborhood.

The bees travel appx 5 miles to forage, so you won't necessarily have more bees in your yard (or your neighbor's yard) than you did before -- you'll just get the blame for them
(and half the time when people call something a bee, they are looking at a wasp or hornet.)

My neighbors don't mind... I give them honey.

If you live in a place with cold winters, you don't have to worry about Africanized ("killer") bees. I like Italian bees, as they are calm -- I can work the hive on a sunny day w/o bee gear. If you live where there are really cold winters -- like the Dakotas -- consider Russian bees, as they can handle the cold -- though they are a little grumpier, and tend to glue up the comb with sticky stuff called propolis.

Bees literally make a "bee line" out the front of the hive before heading up into clear sky, and will smack into anyone walking by (like if you mow the lawn in front of the hive.) I put a fence around my hive and the "runway" in front of it, and planted tall flowers and a vine trellis around the fence, so they have to go up and over -- and fly above the head level of most of us when we are walking across the back of the yard.

They collect from more than just flowers. Trees, grasses, roadside weeds and those little white lawn clovers are a good source for them.

We need more honeybees! I say go for it. It's not too late to order package bees, but it will be soon!
 

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I'm set!
:

i told our next-door neighbor that I wanted to talk to him about bee-keeping-i've bought honey form him, but he only does it sometimes- and he said he'd been thinking about doing it this year, but his dog would knock over the hive. So he's going to do one in MY yard, teach me, and next year help me have my own! Holy moly!

Now if I could only have his horse. *sigh*

I'm going to have honey!
 

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I know I am getting VERY excited about my bees arrival. We had really beautiful weather over the weekend and I spent a lot of time watching my neighborhood bees foraging.
I have moved my empty hive around my yard for over a month. It is currently in it's FOURTH location.
I am hoping to decide where it will be permanently stationed BEFORE the bees arrive.


I'm considering building a top bar hive and hunting down a feral colony for it too for a 2nd hive. Anyone have any experience with either?
 
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