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anyone keep bees?

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#21 silvershroom



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Posted 12 February 2015 - 07:29 PM

I plan on starting half a dozen hives on my land within the next few years as well, good to know I can get my myco and sweet tooth on in one place.

#22 Alder Logs

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 08:46 PM

Ive been looking at how people keep the bees calm and happy when opening the hive. How are the best ways in your opinions?

Roll 'em up in a joint and smoke 'em.  No, that's not it!


Try to leave them bee (ouch!) when it's cool, windy, or rainy.  Open the hive when they don't like the weather and they get pissed.  So, pick a warm, calm day and hit 'em with that bee smoker.  Get it and out as quickly as you can. 


Where I live, there were few days when it was good to open the hives.  As soon as it got warm enough on any clear day, the sea breeze would come up.  Very frustrating, and I got stung plenty.  That was when I had bees, back before global warming.  Actually, it's still too cool here in coastal Washington in the spring because of the marine overcast that reaches us most non-rainy days.  The Eastern Pacific has been having record SSTs (sea surface temperatures).  If I still had hives, I could have opened them up today.  It was into the 60s. 

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#23 Stig7580



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Posted 29 September 2015 - 01:40 PM

Reason for not posting till now:


Well my plans for starting a beehive went well and truly down the drain this year as I got hammered with a tax bill at the beginning of the year and then lost my job............... But as the saying goes as one door shuts another opens so I'm now in the process of starting my own business so if all goes well I should be back on for getting me a beehive next spring.

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#24 Heirloom


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Posted 20 November 2015 - 12:27 PM

I sincerely hope things are better for you, Stig.

 I am looking forward to your work with bees.

 I wish to have a bee hive one day,

#25 pharmer



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Posted 20 November 2015 - 01:46 PM

Spooner, or anyone in the know


what is that black gap between the concrete blocks and the hive?


and can you recommend a really good book on how to get started?

Edited by pharmer, 20 November 2015 - 01:47 PM.

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#26 happy4nic8r


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Posted 20 November 2015 - 07:36 PM

I started with the place that sold really good protective wear for working with the frames.


they not only had books, but cool little tools for unjamming stuck parts, even the lids, the first thing you do can be the last thing you do that day.


I didn't feel so vulnerable being all dressed up for the occasion, but after we did it regularly for a while, and the bees got used to us, it went so well I even left off the hat and gloves a couple of times.


I am allergic to bees, and have been stung many times. The fact that they die to is just not enough to risk what I go through. the panic is the best part.


Smoker and freezing temps are the best conditions in my opinion. Location near some flowers that taste good are another plus. We had a swarm in an old oak tree and the honey was almost unedible, inedible, that's the one. a whiskey made out of that honey would have probably been good without aging.


I felled the tree without knowing it was full of bees, and it fell wrong and blocked my Jeep so i had to run out of there. Waited until the first frost and came back to harvest the honey and the firewood, both of which were such a waste of time that if I hadn't been like 20 years old I would have probably thought of a better solution than what we came up with. 


We could have found some body who probably would have paid for the swarm and taken it away before we had to mess with them. I hear they have those services for hornets, meat bees, yellow jackets, and others? to collect their pheremones used in the traps they sell. 


I guess to sum this up. there's a bit of equipment to purchase, inherit, beg borrow or, well, we don't steal........but get it first, all the parts you are going to need.


It is kind of important to not be unprepared for this activity. I wouldn't attempt it without an experienced beekeeper working with me the first few times.


and I'm not the sort of person to EVER read directions, or ask for help.

#27 Il19z8rn4li1


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Posted 14 December 2015 - 08:08 PM

im getting bees this spring :) 

Im really excited.


In going to the bee store tomorrow to put in my order to a nuc hive in order to start my colony.

I was going to get either 1 or 2 hives... 1 and ill separate and split it myself.. or have 2 just

incase for bad winter weather... BUT id still have to split them... making 4 hive totalll and I dont have

that space, only enough for 2 hives.   I got a half acre garden that im adding an orchard to and

a lot of perennial flowering plants.  :) 



Im currently reading "The Beekeepers handbook" and its a decent read.  Gives the basics.

Its the 4th edition so it has a lot of updated info which is nice. 



Ill be sure to keep checking in here and Ill be sharing my bees as well :) 

#28 pharmer



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Posted 15 December 2015 - 07:19 AM

I just got Beekeeping for Dummies from the library. So far it's been great.


I've been thinking about doing this for years but we're in a "compact" subdivision and this location probably ain't right. Our next house will be on acreage and I'll pull the trigger then. Until then it's time to bank knowledge.

#29 rainbowsmurf



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Posted 23 April 2016 - 01:27 PM

Interested in beekeeping?


Join your local beekeeping association.


Not only will you pick up loads of useful tips and have someone to call on in moments of confusion (I have a lot of those) It is a great way to meet like minded souls and learn from experienced local beekeepers.


Members come from all walks of life and have a keeness to pass on their experience and knowledge. They can't help themselves...  Many are amateurs (like me) with one or two hives but others will have many more colonies in their aparies.


Some associations run courses during winter or get guest speakers in so you can learn more over a pint and honey cake.. Home brewed Honey beer is amazing btw.


Anyway... back to the post before my mind wanders again....By Spring, the meetings are held at local apparies where newly aquired knowledge is put into practice. Often newbies can don their bee suit for the first time and look into an open hive. Usually it is at this point that enthusiasm takes over and you become hooked!!!


Local associations are a great way to get to know about bees and bee keeping before you decide you want to go ahead with it. Members can often help you out with equipment, where to buy, how to make your own hives (if inclined this way) best sources and of course can often help start you off with your own colonies of bees. Lucky association members also get called in to help control swarms and hey presto... a new colony for someone.


The way to go if serious about beekeeping. I recommend it.


I also posted this in another thread I found as I think its important to research something like this before going ahead. Happy beekeeping folks :biggrin:

#30 dead_diver


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Posted 23 April 2016 - 02:33 PM

I kept bees unintentionally. It's easy. All you need to have is an opening into your attic, wall, etc that they can get into and start a hive.
I didn't know I had bees until I saw them swarming around my loft over the garage that I never use. When I went in the loft one of the walls was actually vibrating from all the bees inside and honey was leaking on the floor.
I called a bee trapoer known as Mr. Natural and he came out and relocated them for free and cleaned up the mess. It was the biggest hive he had ever seen in a residential structure. It was about 10' wide, 6" thick and went from floor to ceiling inside the wall and was also spreading into the ceiling. It required him to tear out my wall and part of my ceiling, all free of course :-) He uses a picture of it on his website as an example of massive infestation. He said there were at least 20k bees!

He also provides info on beekeeping and hydroponic gardening with bees.

He's a really cool guy. If you live in the area and have a bee problem he's the guy to call.
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#31 pharmer



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Posted 29 June 2018 - 07:31 PM

lotsa good news


first mite check today by way of sugar shake - no mites!


original hive is bangin'       started with a 5 frame medium nuc which I grew out to a ten frame medium

put a ten frame deep on top of that and it's full of bees and honey Damn it's heavy!   note to self - convert to 8 frame boxes


I made a queen!   did a walk-away split and sure as shootin' I have a queen in the split today. Visually verified her in the split and also visually verified the queen in the original hive.


So far, so good rockon.gif

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#32 MeadMaker



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Posted 30 June 2018 - 04:28 PM

lotsa good news . . .


I made a queen!   did a walk-away split and sure as shootin' I have a queen in the split today. Visually verified her in the split and also visually verified the queen in the original hive.


So far, so good rockon.gif


Nice work!  I've wanted to get into beekeeping for some time now.  Used to listen to a few beekeeping podcasts that were very informational.  Listened to a reading of Langstroth's On the Hive and The Honey Bee.  Just don't have the right circumstances to pursue it yet.  There's also a local honey farm about 30 minutes away that sells honey in bulk (I still have a sealed 5 lb bucket on the shelf waiting to be made into something tasty).



Ive been looking at how people keep the bees calm and happy when opening the hive. How are the best ways in your opinions?


A couple of other things that help.  There's a reason bee suits are light in color.  Avoid darker clothing when handling your hives.  The theory is that the bees associate the darker colors with predators like bears.  Also don't handle the bees with B.O. or when wearing other strong scents that they might find offensive.  A "natural" or unscented deodorant on hive days might be a good idea.  Some bee keepers like to use smoke to keep the bees from getting excited, but I think some discourage the practice (I think misgivings might harken back to certain large-scale bee farmers using tobacco to smoke/calm the bees?).  I've seen some just keep the smoker at the ready in case the bees start getting agitated rather than bombing the hive every time they go in.


Investing in well-crafted tools and hives (whether purchased or self built) can make a difference in how calm your bees stay.  A poorly built hive might have features that make it difficult to remove frames, for example.  And I don't jest mean poor craftsmanship.  Certain considerations have to be made based on how the bees fill out the hive and the propolis that they use to coat the inside of the hive.  Even the design of the shape of the frames and hive box, and how they fit together can have an impact.  Unhealthy bees can also be unhappy bees.  Consider incorporating hive features that reduce the chance of, or help to better deal with, hive disease, mite or moth infestation, and intrusion from other invaders.  Having certain tools, like the right kind of crowbar suitable for frame removal can make the difference between an easy hive day or jarring the hive and pissing the bees off.  A lot will depend on what style of hive you're working with and what type of bees you are keeping.  Temperament can vary greatly between different bees and even different hives.  Even hive location and the direction the hive is facing play a part.  If you're going to get into beekeeping, like any hobby, do your homework!


Even if you have never been allergic to bees, you should still exercise caution.  Someone mentioned earlier in this thread that bee stings are beneficial for things like arthritis.  This is sometimes true, but it's not the actual bee venom that does the good.  It's the body's immune response, mostly concentrated in the area of the sting that has the benefit of addressing other issues.  Also, people who have never been allergic to bees their whole life, can and have experienced an episode of anaphylactic shock.  Do not assume you are "immune" to bee stings!  If you are working with bees often, you should consider whether keeping an EpiPen on-hand is a good option for you.  Weigh your personal circumstances, proximity to health care, age, and overall health status carefully.  You might want to consult your doctor as well.  It can be a costly investment, but one that might save your life (or someone else's).  Also, just like when dealing with dogs, don't assume that a hive which has been very calm and easy to work with in the past is always going to be.


Ok, I think I've gone on long enough.  For those of you that already have hives, you probably already know most of this, but hopefully it will help those looking at getting into beekeeping.

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#33 pharmer



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Posted 24 February 2019 - 08:11 AM

Mainly bad news for this report.

The two hives survived the first cold blast of a month ago. I saw them out flying during a warm interlude. There were many many bees in the air doing their cleansing flights

Then a second cold snap came and a second day of above 50 degree days which should have had them out and about pooping. No movement.

So I opened the hive and no warmth came up and there was no sign of life. I may be wrong about this but the fact that the boxes are cool is a very bad indicator.

If there's any good news in this it's that when I buy a couple packages to install there'll already be comb for them to live on - they wont have to spend a bunch of their energies making comb during the time of year they should be spending their energies making babies.

A side note: some reading of a couple "up-north" beekeeper experts suggests that buying bees from down south - let's say Georgia - results in an approximately 80 percent failure rate in the first winter. This suggests the southern bees at large are less winter hardy and that the queens specifically are less winter hardy.

So I'm seriously considering getting some Up North grown queens and replacing the ones that come with the package with the presumably hardier queens.  Her genetics then should come to dominate the hive and every one of her offspring should have better winter hardiness.

It's almost Bee Conference time around here. I'll get a chance to ask at the conferences.

Edited by pharmer, 24 February 2019 - 08:13 AM.

#34 Juthro


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Posted 24 February 2019 - 08:02 PM

That sucks my friend, sorry about your bees.


I know around here they like to get queens imported from some russian species Russia (somewhere in Siberia IIRC) do to their cold tolerance, but I think that politics have made it impossible to import them right now. 


But maybe you can find someone who breeds them closer to where you live?

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