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jal_ut
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Bee Keeping

Do any of you keep some bees along with your gardening? :?:
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imafan26
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Re: Bee Keeping

I take care of bees at the garden where I volunteer. I live on a small suburban lot so not a lot of room for a hive. I do grow nectar and pollen plants both in the herb garden and in my yard. I do have bees and butterflies visiting my yard regularly everyday. I don't know where the bees are coming from, but they are Carolinian bees for the most part and the foragers place nice as long as i stay out of their way.

At the other garden we now have 8 hives and we MAQ'd about half of them. The others were not strong enough so we will have to watch them and MAQ them when we can. One of the hives looks like we lost the Queen after the MAQ. We still have hives producing drones so we will try to find open brood for them and see if they can raise a new queen. They have a lot of bees but they are getting a bit more aggressive without a queen.

Another of our hives recently requeened and the new queen is more docile, the bees there are less touchy than they usually are.

We just harvested 89 bottles on October 30, and we have taken the supers off for the winter. Our bees will still forage when the weather is good all winter. We only leave them a couple of full frames of honey for rainy day food. We cleared the weeds out from the front of the hives and I will try to put down some flower seeds to grow some nectar plants for them. We did not have any of our hives swarm this year and we managed to have two hives move into empty boxes without even trying to capture any bees. This was so much better than trying to capture a swarm. Just left a box with some old comb during swarm season, and the bees found them and moved in. Our hives had a rough time getting through last winter with requeening in mid winter and and a lot of rainy days where they could not forage and the colonies were slow to build up. We thought we lost a couple of hives, but two resurrected but only one ultimately survived. The other was robbed and starved out. We also took brood from some of the hives to keep the weaker ones going and that limited the number of bees the stronger hives could produce.

In the garden I have cosmos and basil blooming. The bees are visiting daily. They are also foraging next door on the neighbors cuphea and blue daze.
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Gary350
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Re: Bee Keeping

There are no bees in my yard or garden anymore. I don't know how plants get pollinated unless it is from the wind. I never saw a honey bee all summer. I would like to have a bee hive just for the garden. Someone advertised for a place to put his bee hives I called to see if he would put 1 in my yard the guy acted suspicious of me wanting a bee hive and never brought one. Crazy to advertise then not trust anyone. I don't want honey or money just bees in the garden.
Last edited by Gary350 on Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

imafan26
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Re: Bee Keeping

Bee keepers would want to place hives where there is plenty of forage but relatively isolated where there is not a lot of traffic. Bees are allowed in Hawaii, but you have to have them 25 ft from the property line. Our lots are so small, that unless you live on a big perimeter lot, the only place to put them would be on the roof.

A beekeeper asked to put his hives at the garden, but we declined because we had our own hives there and we did not want to be too close. He wanted to put the hives in the garden because he saw that the garden has forage for the bees year round on its 30 acres. There is another beekeeper about 2 miles away from us now and the community college a little further away also keeps bees. It is good for genetic diversity, but there is also a worry of bee diseases from the intermingling. We have been lucky, we have had deformed wings from varoa mites and that colony died, and we have issues with chalk brood in one of the hives, but we have not had nosema or American foul brood so far, fingers crossed.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

I keep a few bees here too. It has been a great hobby to go along with the gardening. Thank you all for your comments. No bees flying today. It needs to be above 51 degrees F before the bees will fly. At present 21 degrees and sunny.
Last edited by jal_ut on Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bee Keeping

We have a nephew who is a beekeeper with around twenty hives. They do it for the fun of it and for the honey which they sell. I have been trying to get him to put a hive in my garden for a couple of years but it has not happened yet. We have a few honey bees around and the bumble bees returned this summer after a couple of years that they were not around.

Watching the cukes and squash it seemed like there were a lot of non-bee pollinators that looked like small wasps and other bees. We had a good year so maybe those other insects are taking the place of honey bees.
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Gary350
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Re: Bee Keeping

PaulF wrote: there were a lot of non-bee pollinators that looked like small wasps and other bees. We had a good year so maybe those other insects are taking the place of honey bees.
I saw several tiny all black color fruit wasps this summer they lay eggs on fruit, larva grow inside the fruit then become another fruit wasp. There were Red Wasps & Striped yellow/black wasps this year but not as many as last year. There were no carpenter bees this year I made mason jar traps and no carpenter bees to catch, we had lots of carpenter bees last year. There use to be a lot of the small size bumble bees but not this year I was rare to see 1 bee every 2 weeks. There were several tiny sweat bees this year both black color & yellow color they drive me nuts they land on me and it tickles. Grandfather use to say, sweat bees like your moisture & salt.

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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

Going back to when the settlers first came to this country. Was there Honey bees here, or were they later introduced to this continent?
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

" There were several tiny sweat bees this year both black color & yellow color they drive me nuts they land on me and it tickles."

I have not seen sweat bees. Guess they don't come to this high, dry, cold country?

Did a bit of internet searching and in answer to my own question above, it would seem that the honey bee was introduced to this North American continent by the settlers.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

I wanted to bring you a picture. Here is one of the boys hiving package bees
Image
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

Here is my photo site on flidkr if you would care to look at my photos.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148851736@N08/
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ACW
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Re: Bee Keeping

jal_ut wrote:Here is my photo site on flidkr if you would care to look at my photos.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/148851736@N08/
A wonderful set of pictures ,the asparagus one has me wishing on the spring ,the lakes and the fast streams make me think of fishing
You mentioned fishing in your article on feeding the big family ,tell me some fishing tales ,I am sure some of the other board members would be interested as well .
there ,you have something more to do before the snow comes !
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imafan26
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Re: Bee Keeping

Carpenter bees are pollinators of squash, cucurbits and passion fruit here. We hang 1/2 inc pvc pipe with one end capped or 1/2 inch bamboo with one end closed in bundles on the trees. They last for about 3-5 years. When they get to dirty the bees don't like them as much and we put up new ones. It helps to make sure you don't have any unpainted wood, like on the underside of a deck or under a house. It is where they like to build nests.

There are other habitats you can build for leaf cutter bees and pollinator and host plants for other beneficial insects. Planting a pollinator garden is a good way to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects to your garden. Try to plant native plants or at least plants that are not invasive in your area.

https://farmerfredrant.blogspot.com/2010 ... sects.html
https://pollinator.org/guides
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

ACW: "You mentioned fishing in your article on feeding the big family ,tell me some fishing tales ,"

Well as you well know fishing stories are mostly lies anyway................
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

11 degrees here this morning. Hope the bees are going to make it.
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Re: Bee Keeping

I’m curious, when you get your bees, I imagine they are from regionally local supplier that raise bees that are acclimated to local climate conditions? Is that true?

I could picture bees that are suited to Utah environment languishing in Florida, etc.
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imafan26
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Re: Bee Keeping

People usually get bees based on the type they want. Italian Carolinian bees or German for example. Most people get bees locally, but some states will allow shipping between states from a licensed beekeeper. In Hawaii, bee packages are not allowed to be shipped in even between islands. Queen bees can be purchased from a certified source, and we get our queens from Kona Queen.

We do have forage all year for bees, so our bees have a larger cluster, but we do still lose them. If the colony is small or has disease problems, they can be raided by stronger colonies and we leave our bees a smaller reserve of honey, they can still be robbed and if it rains a lot, they can still starve.

It is easier to get bees during the swarming season after the honey flow begins. After October the bees kick the drones out and cluster to keep warm for winter. It is when they are most vulnerable to attacks and starvation if they don't have enough food. It is hard to replace a queen in the winter because she needs to be mated to be able to lay eggs and there may not be enough drones around. We had that problem last year. We grafted a queen onto a queenless hive, but it took a couple of months before she had mated with enough drones to start building brood. Bees share everything they have, so when they starve, they will starve together. in colder climates, beekeepers usually have to leave more honey reserves and feed their bees through the winter.

Queens are replaced by the hive, but if the hive is aggressive, you replace the queen with a more docile queen. Aggressive hives do have the advantage of being able to fend off invaders better and they produce more honey. If a hive is unable to requeen, then the hive is in trouble and needs to be requeened in a short time. Queenless hives are more aggressive, they make a lot of honey but they are dying hives.

https://www.konaqueen.com/
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

Wanting to get some bees? I suggest you get a good book about beekeeping and read it. "The Hive and the Honey Bee" by Dadant is a good one Also "ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture" by A.I. Root.

Also look around for a bee club or beekeeper that you can go to and talk to beekeepers. Have fun!
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imafan26
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Re: Bee Keeping

We have contact numbers to call if there are swarms people want to get rid of and where it is possible to get bees. The hardest things for us to get is the equipment. Most of it has to be ordered on the mainland. You can build your own hives, but the foundation, suits, hive tools, smokers, harvest equipment, varoa mite treatments all have to be ordered in advance of need since it can take weeks for it to get here.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

Bee suits: I just get a pair of white coveralls and sew up the side pocket slits. A pair of high boots are worn and the covey legs are tucked down into the boots. I get a good pair of leather gloves, and the wife makes me some gauntlets from an old white sheet. The veil is purchased, a good helmet can be found in the local farm store.

Equipment: a hive tool and frame lifter are good.
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imafan26
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Re: Bee Keeping

I have a bee jacket with hood. I wear a double pair of long pants and tape the ends around the boots. I love the J tool, it makes it so much easier to get the frames out. I do have leather gloves but I get stung regularly between the fingers. Playtex living gloves work too, but you have to make sure they are not damaged. We lost the frame holder, it would be nice to get another one and a frame lifter. We have replaced most of our boxes. The old ones were falling apart. A couple of lids were rotten and leaking. We have also replaced most of the foundation and standardized the boxes so we have one size for the supers.

This year we inherited a 4 hives that had not been worked for awhile and one of the hives had one or two frames and a lot of wavy burr comb. It took more than one session to cut it out and patch it into the frames. All of the other hives had some frames but they were stuck together with comb attached to the inner cover and burr comb everywhere.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

Image

Guess I am not smart enough to get a photo to load?
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

Image

There ain't no use................................... Bah, Hum Bug!


...it’s OK — I got it... (Applestar)
Image
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

Thanks Applestar and Merry Christmas. I put a turkey in the oven, and took the wild birds some seed, now sit here and play on the computer.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

27 degrees, calm and overcast this morning. No bees flying.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

Good Morning! 36 degrees, overcast and calm. Six inches of fresh snow on the ground. There will be no bees flying today. Throw another log on the fire and come play on the computer..........
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

The bees won't come out to fly until the temperature hits 51 degrees. Then they will come out for a cleansing flight. Today at 11:20 AM it is 42 degrees, overcast, calm. No bees flying.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

"I’m curious, when you get your bees, I imagine they are from regionally local supplier that raise bees that are acclimated to local climate conditions? Is that true? "

The honey bee is very adaptable. When you get a package of bees, usually there is around 2 to 2.5 pounds of bees in a package, Ya that is a lot of bees, somewhere around 20,000, plus a queen bee in a little cage. Well you set you hive wherever you want the bees to reside and hang the queen cage in the hive. Then you dump the bees out on top of the frames and let them crawl down on the frames. then you put the lid on. You don't move the hive. If you need to move the hive you must move it 2 miles and leave it there for at least two weeks, then you can bring it back home and place it in its new spot. If by chance you move the hive 3 or 4 feet, the bees will fly then come home and cluster on the ground where the hive was. You can move a hive about half the width of the hive every day for a few days if you only need to move if a short distance.

Whatever the weather or climate the bees adjust. Big beekeepers haul bees to California for the almond bloom, but then must move them because there is nothing there for the bees after the almond bloom, so they haul them to Utah and set them down. Well they are all built up strong and ready to go to work so they work the clover that is blooming.

Today its clear up to 10 degrees at 11:00 AM. No bees flying here today. :-()
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imafan26
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Re: Bee Keeping

There are more bees around as more people and farms are keeping bees. It also helps that people are becoming more environmentally aware and are using less persistent pesticides.

The bees come a little later to forage now. They wait until it warms up a bit more.

The butterflies and moths on the other hand are everywhere.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

imafan26, Thanks for your comments. No bees flying here. 15 degrees and overcast, calm with 6 inches of snow on the lot. Looks a lot like winter.
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Re: Bee Keeping

Image

A swarm that has just been dumped on a beehive.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

Today: bit breezy, 27 degrees, snowing. No Bees flying today!
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imafan26
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Re: Bee Keeping

We lost two hives this month. We still have 7 more. They have enough honey stores and if the wind and rain stop for a while they can go out and forage. If they can maintain for another month, the citrus trees will be blooming and that usually is the start of the honey flow for us.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

The honey bee has a hard time getting through winter. If the weather will warm up to 51 degrees about once in every two weeks the bees can come out for a cleansing flight. If it goes sub zero and stays there for a week, the bees huddle in a tight cluster and eat honey. However they can't move onto new honey if it is too cold, so they run out of honey in the cluster and starve to death. You go out in the spring and find all your bees dead in a tight cluster.
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Re: Bee Keeping

February 18, 2:27 PM, it is sunny and 28 degrees. 6 inches of snow on the lot. No bees flying today!
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imafan26
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Re: Bee Keeping

We have a larger cluster than most others because we have some forage year round. The cluster though can still have problems when their numbers fall or the queen fails because then the bees are not able to defend the hive from robbers, small hive beetle or varoa mites very well.

Our remaining hives look good, a couple of them have a lot of bees and have some full honey frames.

It has been raining and windy, but thankfully it has not lasted for a long time so the sun does come out and the wind dies down enough for the bees to forage between the storms. The mango are blossoming now and I saw a bee on my eggplant today, so the bees are foraging whenever they can.

One of the hives appears to have just requeened as we saw an opened queen cell on the last inspection.

If the hives start growing we will be able to MAQ them soon. We MAQ on a schedule since we will never have zero mites.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

I reckon keeping bees in "hawaii," is a bit different than here in zone 5. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

"One of the hives appears to have just requeened as we saw an opened queen cell on the last inspection. "

Or perhaps it is a swarm cell. When the bees get over crowded, they will often build swarm cells then about when the pupae gets sealed over, the old queen will lead out a swarm. She usually takes half or more of the adult bees with her.
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TheWaterbug
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Re: Bee Keeping

I have two hives that seem to have survived the winter, though one appeared to have a laying worker this morning :evil: , so I donated a frame of eggs from the healthy one. Here's my healthy hive:

https://www.youtube.com/user/IAmTheWaterbug/live

But I hope to add a least a few swarms this spring, either by collecting them when neighbors call me in a panic :mrgreen: or by catching them in my bait hive. Swarm season should be accelerating very soon here in Los Angeles. A few of my friends have already seen them, but it's been in the low 50s the last two weeks. This week should be getting up into the mid 60s, so we're hoping the swarms come out. Here's a live camera of a my swarm trap which has caught 2-3 every year for the last 3 years:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIVY11 ... RhiMg/live

I caught a catching last April, albeit with an inferior camera, but it was still a pretty neat thing to see.

This year I also have an interior camera:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7FH1C ... 2cceQ/live
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jal_ut
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Re: Bee Keeping

Years back there was wild swarms living in holes in rocks,or in old buildings. Then came the varroa mites and they pretty well wiped out the wild population of bees. Without the help of a beekeeper to administer some control for the mites, the mites win. So please treat your bees for the mites.
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Re: Bee Keeping

Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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