Bees anyone?

Do you keep livestock? Having any problems? Want to talk about it, whether it be sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, bees or llamas, here is your place to discuss.
Sasha
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Bees anyone?

Post: #158449 Sasha
Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:22 pm

If somebody here is interested in keeping bees, I am here and willing to share my (few years of) experience. Beekeeping would be ideal for urban dwellers and others who are willing to experiment with agriculture and yet don't have much if any land and other resources.
You can keep bees almost anywhere, if you have a small place where to keep them and if there is some flower sources nearby.
You can save money by making your first hive like TBH although I tried them and was not very happy with them. You can also catch a swarm if you are lucky and know how to do it.
People keep bees believe it not also in some metropolitan areas like Paris, New York, Tokyo and London. recently found that London has its own beekeeper association http://www.lbka.org.uk/

So if there are any specific questions, please ask, and I will try to help. Keep in mind that out there on the web you can find a bunch of nice online beekeepers from aroun the world who are willing to help.
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DeneciePie
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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158488 DeneciePie
Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:47 am

I would love to try my hand with bees. I live in the Central Valley of California so the season is quite advanced here. I have the understanding that I should start with the actual bees in early spring but what should I do now to be ready then?

DeneciePie

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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158490 windy
Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:38 am

I've always fancied bee-keepin but have been put off by the initial set-up costs. Plus, its hard enough to find someone who'll look after the lizard if i go away....never mind a swarm of bees :lol: How much Honey could one hive produce? What kind of maintenance would they require once the hive was up and runnin? So many questions!!!!! :lol: Any info would be gratefully recieved Sasha :wink:
It's funny how such a ruthless and sadistic maniac such as Vyvyan should care for a Begonia.


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contadina
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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158506 contadina
Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:47 am

windy wrote:I've always fancied bee-keepin but have been put off by the initial set-up costs. Plus, its hard enough to find someone who'll look after the lizard if i go away....never mind a swarm of bees :lol: How much Honey could one hive produce? What kind of maintenance would they require once the hive was up and runnin? So many questions!!!!! :lol: Any info would be gratefully recieved Sasha :wink:


We made our own TBH for around 30 euros and that was because we didn't have any bits of wood lying around (our next one will cost nothing). We bought a nucleus from a local beekeeper for the same price.

You can do without a smoker and use a spray of sugar syrup or a water/vinegar mixture, you could probably make do without the specialist gloves and improvise but I wouldn't skimp on the mask. I was tempted to make my own and found some good online plans but bought an all in one mask/hat/shirt combo as it's so much more substantial than anything I could knock up.

With a TBH the bees pretty much look after themselves, although inspections are a fairly painless experience, we try to keep them to a minimum.

On the honey-front, one hive is enough for us and provides a little for gifts, but we always ensure the bees have enough for themselves as I'm not a fan of feeding bees. If you find it's not enough then get yourself another hive.

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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158519 lsm1066
Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:32 am

My OH picked up a couple of second hand hives from a local beekeeper. Cost us 45 quid each. A few hours cleaning them out and the purchase of some wax sheets was all it took. Unfortunately he's too late to really do anything with them this year but that gives him time to get everything set up ready for next year (and of course, makes buying his birthday and Christmas presents really easy :mrgreen: )

Lynne

Sasha
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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158542 Sasha
Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:26 pm

DeneciePie wrote:I would love to try my hand with bees. I live in the Central Valley of California so the season is quite advanced here. I have the understanding that I should start with the actual bees in early spring but what should I do now to be ready then?

DeneciePie


Yes I would agree that it is probably to late to start a hive this year, you could probably buy a developed colony of bees, but that would be more expensive and risky. No need to do that. You can do a plenty of things which will prepare you for your beekeeping adventure. You can read some books, join online beekeeping forums, locate a friendly beekeeper, find a good place for your hive. You could build or purchase a beehive. Then you should paint it, assemble the equipment. Prepare the basic tools. Some of them you can buy , some you can build and you can do without most of them if you are willing to improvise.
Basically you need to learn learn learn. A good way besides reading, would be to find a local beekeeper. Here people who keep bees are more than willing to talk about their obsession, ( bees can very soon draw all your attention!) so I guess there where you live that would be the same. Ask your new beekeeper friend if he could show you his apiary. You can help him sometimes and learn a lot from someone who knows much about bees. That would be the fastest way to learn. Yes, also you should check first if you are allergic to bees stings. That is very important part.
Don't worry you have a lot to do and accomplish before the next spring!
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Sasha
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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158545 Sasha
Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:35 pm

windy wrote:I've always fancied bee-keepin but have been put off by the initial set-up costs. Plus, its hard enough to find someone who'll look after the lizard if i go away....never mind a swarm of bees :lol: How much Honey could one hive produce? What kind of maintenance would they require once the hive was up and runnin? So many questions!!!!! :lol: Any info would be gratefully recieved Sasha :wink:

Hi Windy,
Yes the setup costs could be high, but if you are willing to improvize and experiment that costs can be low. Of course I won't lie to you, having a good tool is much better than improvising, but yes, you can do almsot without any bought tool.
The amount of honey per hive can vary according to your climate and flower sources, from years without any honey at all when you need to feed the bees (very rare in my experience) to 100 kg or more for beekeepers in Canada. Here where I live in Serbia, a real would be 15 kg per hive.
The bees need not much assistance really, but you have to know what to do and when. And know the signs of problems. Or as I like to say : you can leave the bees for month or two or even three without disturbing them but if you are not there when you need to be, you lose your swarm, or your honey crop, or your bees.
This is what you need. You need to know if there is brood - if there is brood there is the queen and things are going fine.
You need to know if there are enough reserves of food (polen, honey) or they can starve in the midle of the spring or summer.
You need to do something about the varroa mite, up to you depending on your philosophy, I prefer radical organic approach, but I lost 9 / 10 hives two winters ago. Now I feel I must use "soft " treatment. (oxalic acid, formic acid) or perhaps sugar dusting.
you need to watch out so your bees have enough space and don't swarm. Swarming is natural and its the peak moment in life in bee's life, but then you lose your bees and lot of honey if not all.

basically you need to learn to observe bees and everything will clarify itself in time.
You could start with a TBH this is top bar hive, which is a box with combs, I have tried it and I think its not easy, especially for a beginer. Some people like it, I was not satisfied, but this does not mean that the concept is wrong or something. beekeeping is very locaion specific, so what didnt wrk for me doesn't mean it will not work for you.
it is quite easy to make a TBH there are plans on the internet how to do it.
Here is a great book on simple beekeeping:
http://www.beekeeping.com/articles/us/s ... mepage.htm
This is the mother of all tbh websites: http://www2.gsu.edu/~biojdsx/main.htm
You could make a TBH very easy with almost no tools and no woodworking experience.
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Sasha
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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158546 Sasha
Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:42 pm

contadina wrote:
windy wrote:I've always fancied bee-keepin but have been put off by the initial set-up costs. Plus, its hard enough to find someone who'll look after the lizard if i go away....never mind a swarm of bees :lol: How much Honey could one hive produce? What kind of maintenance would they require once the hive was up and runnin? So many questions!!!!! :lol: Any info would be gratefully recieved Sasha :wink:


We made our own TBH for around 30 euros and that was because we didn't have any bits of wood lying around (our next one will cost nothing). We bought a nucleus from a local beekeeper for the same price.

You can do without a smoker and use a spray of sugar syrup or a water/vinegar mixture, you could probably make do without the specialist gloves and improvise but I wouldn't skimp on the mask. I was tempted to make my own and found some good online plans but bought an all in one mask/hat/shirt combo as it's so much more substantial than anything I could knock up.

With a TBH the bees pretty much look after themselves, although inspections are a fairly painless experience, we try to keep them to a minimum.

On the honey-front, one hive is enough for us and provides a little for gifts, but we always ensure the bees have enough for themselves as I'm not a fan of feeding bees. If you find it's not enough then get yourself another hive.



Yes TBH are great toys for learning and experiencing bees. But langstroth hives are much easier to work with in my opinion. You need to work more with TBH, the combs are fragile, when you have frames you just pull them out and move them at will. I think its better to have some source of smoke, there are some things you could burn, sorry I dont know the english name whcih smolder slowly. You can also make a smoker. For gloves I use rubber gloves or no gloves at all. Its good for your health if you get sting from time to time. If you leave them alone they will do excellent but will swarm very soon. Depends on what your goals are. Polination, honey or enjoyment, or any combination?
Its a good idea to have at least two hives, because sometimes a queen can be lost and in that case you just add young brood from the other hive and your bees will hatch a new queen.
I think TBHs are better for warmer climates, like those in Italy. I wasn't very satisfied with TBH. Sounded like a great idea but reality check told me something else.
:)
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orangey
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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158571 orangey
Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:07 pm

Sasha wrote:Yes TBH are great toys for learning and experiencing bees. But langstroth hives are much easier to work with in my opinion. You need to work more with TBH, the combs are fragile, when you have frames you just pull them out and move them at will. I think its better to have some source of smoke, there are some things you could burn, sorry I dont know the english name whcih smolder slowly. You can also make a smoker. For gloves I use rubber gloves or no gloves at all. Its good for your health if you get sting from time to time. If you leave them alone they will do excellent but will swarm very soon. Depends on what your goals are. Polination, honey or enjoyment, or any combination?
Its a good idea to have at least two hives, because sometimes a queen can be lost and in that case you just add young brood from the other hive and your bees will hatch a new queen.
I think TBHs are better for warmer climates, like those in Italy. I wasn't very satisfied with TBH. Sounded like a great idea but reality check told me something else.
:)


Twaddle. Don't take TBH advice from this person. Try http://www.biobees.com/forum/ instead.

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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158575 Sasha
Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:59 pm

[/quote]

Twaddle. Don't take TBH advice from this person. Try http://www.biobees.com/forum/ instead.[/quote]

intr.v. twad·dled, twad·dling, twad·dles
To talk foolishly; prate.
n.
Foolish, trivial, or idle talk or chatter.

Thanks, I have just learned a new word.
I talk from my experience and observations. I used TBH and standard equipment. Langstroth hives proved more efficient and easier to use, for me at least.
You can try both and then choose which fits your situation better.
Down on biobees I didn't met many experienced beekeepers. I also participate there from time to time.
I suggest you check out beesource.com or http://www.beemaster.com
Of course the crowd there is somewhat flawed by their choice, (pro TBH), thats ok with me.

In my world its better to apply critical thinking than wishful thinking. You can do whatever you want.
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orangey
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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158581 orangey
Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:38 pm

Sasha wrote:
intr.v. twad·dled, twad·dling, twad·dles
To talk foolishly; prate.
n.
Foolish, trivial, or idle talk or chatter.

Thanks, I have just learned a new word.
I talk from my experience and observations. I used TBH and standard equipment. Langstroth hives proved more efficient and easier to use, for me at least.
You can try both and then choose which fits your situation better.
Down on biobees I didn't met many experienced beekeepers. I also participate there from time to time.
I suggest you check out beesource.com or http://www.beemaster.com
Of course the crowd there is somewhat flawed by their choice, (pro TBH), thats ok with me.

In my world its better to apply critical thinking than wishful thinking. You can do whatever you want.


Perhaps this is another new word for you: patronising.

Have a lot of fun.

Sasha
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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158586 Sasha
Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:58 pm

Anyway, its best to focus on bees not on wooden boxes where we keep them. They tend to do their thing wherever they are. Choose your type of box. Most important is to know about life of the bees. You can not learn too much about bees. Fascinating creatures.
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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158603 contadino
Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:13 am

Sasha wrote:Anyway, its best to focus on bees not on wooden boxes where we keep them. They tend to do their thing wherever they are. Choose your type of box.


Maybe you should focus on restricting your advice to just keeping bees in Langs and let others advise about top bar beekeeping, as you clearly haven't understood it. It's never good to criticise from a position of misunderstanding. And if you couldn't find any experienced beeks at biobees, you're doing something wrong. They are the most helpful and knowledgeable bunch, without whom I'd still be wanting bees rather than actually having them.

Sasha wrote:Most important is to know about life of the bees. You can not learn too much about bees. Fascinating creatures.


Agreed.

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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158701 windy
Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:03 am

Thanks guys...am looking into it further :thumbright:
It's funny how such a ruthless and sadistic maniac such as Vyvyan should care for a Begonia.


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Re: Bees anyone?

Post: #158706 Odsox
Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:26 am

What is it about top bar hives that make their devotees slag off anyone who has a different opinion ?
And if the members of Biobees forum are so friendly, how come you have to register before you can read any postings (unlike this forum) ?
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.


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