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Beekeepers and bee watchers come fourth!


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#1 BillyThKid

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:44 PM

Greetings and salutations to one and all. This is my very first thread on here and I hope it will be a good one. So here goes everything!

I am a beekeeper, though I use that term with a cringe because I keep bees just as much as they keep me. All I can do is provide a home for them and hope they stay, which is not always the case.


I have been an apiarist seance I was 11 when my father got his first two hives and I instantly became hooked on watching them work. Not long after the first two hives a random swarm of bees showed up at a fast food place and we were called into action to save the poor bees from the stupid old humans trying to kill them. And then there were three, the third hive being mine.


Oh how I spent so much time watching and writing about the actions of my hive. I filled up five notebooks within the first year of watching them of information. I believe I have come across many answers to questions about bees left unanswered in the past.


But enough about me and my love of bees. To the point of this thread. I suppose my point is to find out about you guys and girls who either own bees, like bees, or are trying to get into beekeeping and talk with ya.


So anything bee related please feel free to post, regardless to if you own bees or not any related questions are welcome.


Oh, and if you wish to hear a little more of a full history on my bee keeping please feel free to ask.
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#2 Seeker2be

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:50 PM

Hi Billy: I was a bee keeper for many years, had six hives now I live where it is too hot for them and one day i will move to where the winters are mildly cold. I have always wondered how one winters bees providing the food and warmth for them. Any information to this gap in my knowledge would be appreciated. Thanks, Seeker2be

#3 Skywatcher

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 10:33 PM

I don't keep them intentionally, but am very protective that no one harms the hive. They are in a block wall at the rear of my property so it is not likely i will ever harvest any honey. They colonised there once before, and one of my neighbors sprayed them and would not admit it. As pissed as I was, when they recolonised a year later, i have trained grape ivy to hide their entrys, and told my neighbors they are on my property, leave them alone.

I once had to call 8 different places to take a hive that was in a tree where my dogs would pester it before i could find one that would keep the bees, and not just come out to kill them.
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#4 BillyThKid

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 10:38 PM

If a bee hive has a good year and collects enough food then we have no need to feed them, winter feeding is normally not needed. If the hive has not collected enough food then you have two good options and one not so good one. Option one is to put an external auger water feeder on the hive at the enterence and be sure to watch it and replace it as needed. Option two is to let the buggers figure it out for themselves(the better option in my opinion) if they were not strong enough to save up enough food for winter then they are a sucky hive and will die off like they are suppose to. Or option three with is an internal feeder, this option is not really a good one because it requires you to open up the hive to put it in and that lets cold air in which is not what you want.

Now for the winterizing of hives. First You must reduce the size of the hive down to what they will require for the winter and the size all depends on how many bees strong the hive is. After you have removed the extra space I make sure the outside of the hive has no holes in it and then reduce the enterence to the hive down with small slivers of wood cut so they just slip inside the slit across the front. You want the enterence to only allow one be in or out at a time. Some people use clear tarps on their hives to prevent them from getting wet or snowy, but I normally don't do this because it creates a weak hive. And that's pretty much it. They keep the hive at 98F all year round themselves. Just leave them alone till the first warm day in spring.

Just remember with bees that anything can happen. One year I went into a winter with 20 hives and came back out with only three. They had enough honey and should have made it but did not. Any hive that dies was not strong enough to be worth keeping in the first place. This is crule to some but with bees it is just how it is.

Also I would avoid chemical treatment on hives for pests like mites and hive betals. It makes them lazy and not as clean as a hive that must take care of the problem themselves. It's also just more unnatural chemicals making its way into your honey.
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#5 BillyThKid

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 10:42 PM

Well skywatcher, there is actually an option for you if you wish to get a hive out of that wall. Typically every year a strong hive will split and swarm at least once or twice. When this happens they travel far and wide for a new home. You can set up what is known as a swarm trap with cotton balls soaked in lemon grass oil. This will naturally attract them to the swarm trap. Once a bee hive goes into the trap you have only a few days to move them into an actual hive box so you should have one ready and at hand.

Does the hive ever seem aggressive or are they find around humans?

#6 Seeker2be

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 11:04 PM

Interesting. The lemon grass draws out the whole hive with the queen. I thought a swarm was the old queen and some workers leaving the hive but left behind are new (or old) queens and some of the workers. True or false? Thanks for the info

#7 BillyThKid

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 11:17 PM

Interesting. The lemon grass draws out the whole hive with the queen. I thought a swarm was the old queen and some workers leaving the hive but left behind are new (or old) queens and some of the workers. True or false? Thanks for the info


A swarm caused by the hive not being able to fit anymore bees contains the old queen and around half of the total number of bees in the hive. The hive that stays behind makes queen cells to grow between 2-15 or so new queens which once hatched will kill each other until only one is left and then she becomes that hives queen.

Lemon grass oil does not draw out the hive, it is simply a sent marker similar to the ones they use on their own hives and it attracts their attention if they find it. It is in no way able to draw them out of an old hive, it is only suggestive to the bees.

#8 Skywatcher

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 11:37 PM

Does the hive ever seem aggressive or are they find around humans?


I have no fear of bees, and they do not ever bother me. I am very alergic to bee stings, but have always believed they sense or smell fear, and i am only glad to have them around. I have stood at the entry and worked on the tree in front and they are not aggressive at all.

I would be very into bee keeping, but am concerned as to where I could keep a hive where my dogs could not get at it......

#9 Justintime

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 07:31 AM

I found this half dead Bee in the backyard and took it in and gave it honey to drink, he took a good long drink and I took him out into my yard and he flew away. Too cool hey !
P8220248.jpg

#10 BillyThKid

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 09:44 AM

@sky. You have several ways you could keep your dog out of the hives. The quickest and cheapest way would be to do nothing and just allow the dog to be stung if he/she messes with the hive which will teach the dog real quick not to mess around in their location. The other way would be to get a chain link fence to go around the hive(s), a dog kennel type fence that is tall would be best, and once that's up you have a great space to grow morning glories!

@justincase. I do not mean to be a stickler about this but all bees are female except for the drones in the hive. The drones don't do anything except eat and have sex. However that is very cool that you saved her and got her a meal. I'm sure she is very thankful in her own bee way.

#11 Justintime

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 09:59 AM

But of course hehe

#12 Myc

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 10:10 AM

Welcome BillyThKid

I don't keep bees .... yet!
I'm still studying the science to make sure that I can be a good host for them before I just jump in with both feet.

I'm curious about how you started
Did you order bees to begin or did you attract local bees and start from there?
Do you build your own hive-boxes? (If so, can you point me to a good instructional manual?)

This is way cool. Keeping earthworms and bees are kinda my final frontier in home food production.
Thanks for sharing your hobby

#13 BillyThKid

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 10:55 AM

Hey Myc, I got started by ordering a breed of bee known as buck fast bees. I ordered the queen with her workers and it was well worth it. By far buck fast bees are the toughest bees I have ever had. They are resistant to mites and hive betals. I got started by both buying the queen and happening across bees that were swarming in my town.

I did build my own hive bodies and honey supers but it has been so long sense I did so I forgot my measurements. A quick google of how to build the hive bodies should bring up what you need. It is fairly easy to build yourself so long as you take no short cuts. If you really wish I could look into good instructions on how to build it but I would be using google just like you.

And as I said up there, if you want good bees, buck fast bees are the best.

#14 Il19z8rn4li1

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 11:15 AM

Hell yes, Welcome to the Topia my friend :)



I have been wanting to build some bee hives for a few years now.


I plan on building some bee hives, bat boxes, and Owl Boxes.


#15 BillyThKid

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 11:41 AM

Ok, because so many people are interested in making these boxes I will post the million dollar hive design. This link shows how to make fancy hives but several of the items they list like the rims and spacers are not needed but they do help and if you want it done right then use them. I hope this helps.

http://www.michiganb...es_20110323.pdf

@Il19z8rn4li1 thanks for the welcome, I questioned making this thread but I am so happy I did. I was afrade I would have nothing to add to the topia but it looks like I struck gold!

#16 Il19z8rn4li1

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 12:42 PM

Ok, because so many people are interested in making these boxes I will post the million dollar hive design. This link shows how to make fancy hives but several of the items they list like the rims and spacers are not needed but they do help and if you want it done right then use them. I hope this helps.

http://www.michiganb...es_20110323.pdf

@Il19z8rn4li1 thanks for the welcome, I questioned making this thread but I am so happy I did. I was afrade I would have nothing to add to the topia but it looks like I struck gold!




SWEET GOLD... aka HONEY :) :) YOu most certainly did.


Having your own bee hives helps keep the bee population HEALTHY in this world.

as long as they are kept NATURALLY and not fed damn sugar water... like WTF.. lol



Regarding bee box design, i was interested in checking out making the Hexagon style bee hives,
not the square ones.

as the Hexagon ones are more similar to natural bee hive formation.

What do you think about that?





also, how many bee hives do you own today?
how many have you grown up into making and gathering :)


#17 BillyThKid

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 01:05 PM





SWEET GOLD... aka HONEY :) :) YOu most certainly did.


Having your own bee hives helps keep the bee population HEALTHY in this world.

as long as they are kept NATURALLY and not fed damn sugar water... like WTF.. lol



Regarding bee box design, i was interested in checking out making the Hexagon style bee hives,
not the square ones.

as the Hexagon ones are more similar to natural bee hive formation.

What do you think about that?





also, how many bee hives do you own today?
how many have you grown up into making and gathering :)

I never considered feeding suger water to be unnatural so long as its non-GMO suger being used. New hives cannot always collect the needed food from floral because of how small the hives are. Typically a new hive is fed through the summer months when very little is in flow that they work. They do not make honey out of it, typically they just eat it straight up. My hives no longer require it but they used to when I first got them.

If you make a hexagon shaped bee hive you are going to have a bitch of a time finding items to use with it, everything will have to be custom made by you and if the bees don't like it they will leave just like that. I do not know where you got the information of them being hexagon in the wild because I have seen many wild hives and typically it's a hollow tree or log that they draw comb out in till they no longer can. Contrary to popular belief a normal hive will not just build a hive on a branch, if they do then something is wrong with them.

If you are going into beekeeping I would use the bee boxes that most Beekeepers have used for the past hundred years or so it works and the bees don't care that it's square.

At this moment I have five hives of at least 40k bees in each hive. I had more going into the winter but I lost them to their own incapability to survive as bees should. In total I have had around fifty hives but I have given away quite a few to other bee keepers who needed a start up hive.

Edited by BillyThKid, 07 July 2013 - 01:48 PM.


#18 Il19z8rn4li1

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 01:13 PM

I never considered feeding auger water to be unnatural so long as its non-GMO suger being used. New hives cannot always collect the needed food from floral because of how small the hives are. Typically a new hive is fed through the summer months when very little is in flow that they work. They do not make honey out of it, typically they just eat it straight up. My hives no longer require it but they used to when I first got them.

If you make a hexagon shaped bee hive you are going to have a bitch of a time finding items to use with it, everything will have to be custom made by you and if the bees don't like it they will leave just like that. I do not know where you got the information of them being hexagon in the wild because I have seen many wild hives and typically it's a hollow tree or log that they draw comb out in till they no longer can. Contrary to popular belief a normal hive will not just build a hive on a branch, if they do then something is wrong with them.

If you are going into beekeeping I would use the bee boxes that most Beekeepers have used for the past hundred years or so it works and the bees don't care that it's square.

At this moment I have five hives of at least 40k bees in each hive. I had more going into the winter but I lost them to their own incapability to survive as bees should. In total I have had around fifty hives but I have given away quite a few to other bee keepers who needed a start up hive.



nice thats exactly what I wanted to hear :) Id rather take advice and learn from wisdom from
someoen that has been doing it for years.

and yes, you make a great point... people have been keeping bees in SQUARE hives for HUNDREDS of years.

VERY VALID POINT. Love you bro :) Thanks for clearing that up for me.

Ill rock out withe the standard design, it does make damn good sense to just do what
most are doing and what they have been doing VERY WELL all this time, just as you have for
yuor life :)


Im so excited hehehe, I think this winter ill be making my boxes for the spring time next year.


I can sense your energy and passion for bees. I'll be coming to you with A LOT of questions :)


I just built a 40x100 foot FLOWER BED that ill be putting all perennials in.
Ill have flowering plants 100% THROUGHOUT the season.



#19 BillyThKid

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 01:42 PM

I do have quite a love for bees, without bees within a few years humanity would fall. I'm glad to see you are very interested in bees, every human that is able to should own a bee hive to help aid in the propagation of plants.

Please feel free to post any questions in here or send me a PM anytime. I love to help others with a passion for bees.

So far as your flower bed goes I do have a few things to say. First is that bees cannot work all flowers and there are some flowers they just do not like. One example would be honeysuckle, honey bees cannot work this flower because of the shape of the bloom. Here is a quick list of some good flower garden plants bees do like http://www.squidoo.com/30_bee_flowers

I will also let you know that depending on the time of year and what is in bloom you may have flowers they would work at any other time however if something like tulip Poplar is in bloom they will ignore many other flowers to go work the poplar.

Also replanting your whole yard as clover is an option haha.

#20 Il19z8rn4li1

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 02:03 PM

I do have quite a love for bees, without bees within a few years humanity would fall. I'm glad to see you are very interested in bees, every human that is able to should own a bee hive to help aid in the propagation of plants.

Please feel free to post any questions in here or send me a PM anytime. I love to help others with a passion for bees.

So far as your flower bed goes I do have a few things to say. First is that bees cannot work all flowers and there are some flowers they just do not like. One example would be honeysuckle, honey bees cannot work this flower because of the shape of the bloom. Here is a quick list of some good flower garden plants bees do like http://www.squidoo.com/30_bee_flowers

I will also let you know that depending on the time of year and what is in bloom you may have flowers they would work at any other time however if something like tulip Poplar is in bloom they will ignore many other flowers to go work the poplar.

Also replanting your whole yard as clover is an option haha.



Thanks for the tips.

Ya i have been aware that bees have preferences, but we all know that diversity and balance is
the key to success, and bees that grab pollen from only ONE SOURCE, imo, isnt a good thing.
They travel miles to find good pollinating grounds for a reason.

I learned this years ago when is started gardening full time, i notice that the bees would only
land on some marigolds while not the others.

Then i learned about Single and Double Bloom marigolds... ;)
Bees only pollinate the single blooms i believe.

http://palmraeurbanp...ts-beneficials/



after that point, i did some research about bees and what not and their cousins wasps and
yellow jackets. Which are all BENEFICIAL insects for the garden.





Id be interested to see some of your hives and when you harvest wax or honey or what not.
Or how to split hives when they are to large and things you do to attract a swarm.





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