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jal_ut
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Bees and Honey

Today was the day to rob the bees. That part is done, (whew) now taking a break before starting the extracting.

Hope I don't get slammed for being off topic, but it is in a way garden related, we do need the bees to pollinate the squash, cukes and fruit etc. By having some bees in the backyard, I never wonder if things are getting pollinated.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Bees and Honey

Not at all off topic. I think in these troubled times for bees (and all the rest of us!) more of us should keep a hive or two of bees, especially in our organic and diverse garden plantings with lots of herbs and flowers. I'm thinking about figuring out how to do it myself.

I do have lots of honeybees already on my property. Do you think it is a problem to bring a hive in where there is already a population of them?
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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

Thanks Rainbow.
I do have lots of honeybees already on my property. Do you think it is a problem to bring a hive in where there is already a population of them?
Not at all. The bees know where home is and each does its thing and goes home. Bees will fly up to 2 miles to find what they need. They do better if they find what they need close to home.

I did get the bees robbed and extracted the honey. Had a pretty good year. Still have the cleanup ahead of me, but it may have to wait till tomorrow. I am pooped. :)
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DoubleDogFarm
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Re: Bees and Honey

Let us know how you did James. My neighbor Brian was over today. His honey harvest was half of last years. He still pulled 150 pounds at about $10.00 per pound.


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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

My colonies averaged 53 pounds for the season. I had 7 colonies that produced. One that did not.

I guess not a bad year, but have had better.

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Re: Bees and Honey

I actually took a class in college called "Bees and Beekeeping". A 3 credit hour lecture course on all things bee, with a 1 hour lab about the beekeeping. I saved all the course materials, and would love to get into it. So far, the start-up costs have kept me away.....maybe next year...

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Bees and Honey

Yeah, I'm thinking maybe next year, also. Or maybe I will just work on helping my Quaker Meeting (church) 6 blocks away start again with hives and get some experience that way. We had a couple, but they got ruined by hive beetles and we shut them down.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

Ya, know what you mean about the cost. I figure that you have close to $300 into each hive starting out, then there is clothing, tools, supplies etc. Of course the equipment lasts for a long time if taken care of so a lot of that is a one time cost. The bright side is that pure raw unfiltered honey brings a good price. I am hearing from $6 to $10 a pound. I sell mine for $6. Like I said, I just averaged 53# per colony. You see if the honey is sold, that brings back the initial cost for bees and their hive in one year. Second year, after you have your hives and supers, the costs go way down.

Second bright side, we really enjoy the sweet good healthful food honey provides. We are our own best customers. :)
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Re: Bees and Honey

I had 8 colonies of my own this year plus my son brought 24 colonies and set them down on my lot. We have not robbed his bunch yet. They have done excellent as they were in California last winter and were built up strong when they arrived here. They were filling supers while mine were still building up. If I remember, I will report how they did after we get that job done.

3 of his went queenless, and did not produce but the remainder have done well.

I actually started beekeeping 40 years ago. I still am using some of the original frames and boxes I started with. That first box is looking like its time for retirement, but at present it still has bees in it. If I could pro-rate the cost of that box, (it didn't cost near what they do today) It would not be much per year. :)

I have broken and retired some boxes and frames, and burned some one time because of disease, (American Foulbrood) and lost some frames because of wax moths, but overall the equipment lasts a long time if taken care of. I am a carpenter by trade and built most of my boxes over the years. I even tried making my own frames, but it is a lot of work and I decided to just buy them.

Mind you, I am not a big commercial beekeeper. The most I have ever had at one time was 13 colonies.

My son, who has bees, has around 250 colonies, and works them spare time. He had an unusual event happen that threw him into the bee biz big time. He had a couple of colonies and was close friends to the Sheriff. Well, a big truck load of 300 colonies wrecked and the bees were scattered up the side of the road. The Sheriff knowing son knew about bees, called him to come pick them up. So he did and hauled them to a lot and then sent a bill to the insurance co. The insurance co paid the owner of the bees for the bees as a total loss, and when they got son's bill they asked him if he would like to own the bees for his time. So he ended up owner of those bees. (what was left of them)
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Re: Bees and Honey

For all of you talking about starting a hive or 2 DO NOT BUY BEES FROM BUTTS BEES he sent me a nuke that was infested with Small hive beetle. The whole hive was a lose and I burnt the frames but I am sure they got in the ground before I could stop them. I hope we have a very cold winter this year to kill them off in the ground. Here where we are they don't normally survive a winter if it freezes the ground good.

I have had great success with https://www.pigeonmountaintrading.com/1-Default.aspx
They have clean strong hives and they are honey making machines. I put out 2 new hives from them this year and I think I am going to get honey off of them next month. They ran out of room in July and I had to put on a super to keep them from swarming!

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Re: Bees and Honey

JayPoc, a class like that will be a big help. A mentor is also a big help. I had neither, but read some books and jumped in. It has been a learning experience and still lots to learn. The bees always teach me something.

You can start by buying two deep boxes, get them put together and painted now, then later this winter buy the frames and foundation to put in them and work at putting them together, then later buy the bottom board and cover. Now you have one hive. Order your bees in the spring. You can order a honey super and frames after you install your bees and put that together and paint it while the bees are building up. See you don't need to put it all together in one lump sum.

You will need at least a veil and helmet, and bee gloves and a hive tool as a minimum tool set up. An alternative to bee gloves is any pair of cowhide gloves and homemade gauntlets. My wife made me some gauntlets out of an old sheet. I have never bought any of the factory bee gloves. You can wear a white shirt and be good to go. There is also a bee shirt available that is veil and shirt in one piece.

I always buy package bees. 2 pounds of bees in a cage with a queen and a mite strip with a can of syrup on top. I have always had good luck with this and never got any unwanted crap with them.

Good luck!
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Re: Bees and Honey

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Ohio Tiller
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Re: Bees and Honey

Please do not try and work bees with out a veil those things love to go for the eyes! I just got hit last week for bending down and swiping a spider web away from one. Bang got me right above my eye brow! It does not feel good!

This is how I install my packs it is less stress on the bees they like it dark! I place the queen cage in the bottom frames and then lay the screen box on top the frames on its sdie. Close up the lid and come back 2 days later and remove the empty queen cage and the screen box.

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Re: Bees and Honey

Right here is the prettiest sight in be keeping!

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Re: Bees and Honey

Have you seen the news stories about "Red Honey" in Utah? Seems someone got some waste candy or chips from some candy candy company, candy canes with red coloring in it and was feeding it to his bees in the open. It must have been a lot of this stuff fed in several locations. Well robber bees have hauled it into many apiaries and now the bee keepers are finding red honey. It had contaminated a lot of honey in several counties. Big scuttlebut........................

It is probably ok for the bees to winter on, but for those who had not taken off their crop yet, it has ruined lots of honey.
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Ohio Tiller
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Re: Bees and Honey

jal_ut wrote:Have you seen the news stories about "Red Honey" in Utah? Seems someone got some waste candy or chips from some candy candy company, candy canes with red coloring in it and was feeding it to his bees in the open. It must have been a lot of this stuff fed in several locations. Well robber bees have hauled it into many apiaries and now the bee keepers are finding red honey. It had contaminated a lot of honey in several counties. Big scuttlebut........................

It is probably ok for the bees to winter on, but for those who had not taken off their crop yet, it has ruined lots of honey.
Wonder how it effects the honey colors can vary greatly depending on what they are getting nector from. They should just sell it as christmas honey!

I have a feeding station near my hives that I put out sugar water for them to feed on. the candy cane would not be much diffrent other than it might add a pepperment flavor to the honey? The red would just be a red dye I would think?

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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

Lots of articles on the web. Here is one.

click
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Ohio Tiller
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Re: Bees and Honey

jal_ut wrote:Lots of articles on the web. Here is one.

click

"The result, Burnett said, is a red syrupy substance that tastes more like cough syrup than honey."

Well thats not good unless it keeps the bees from getting a cough! Wouldn't it be wonderfull if it killed the veroa mites and small hive beetles!

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Re: Bees and Honey

The guy who is feeding that junk should feed in the hives and not in the open for other bees than his own to carry it home. Not a good thing to have in your honey supers. Its one thing to feed that for the bees to eat but you don't want it contaminating your honey.
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DoubleDogFarm
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Re: Bees and Honey

Good information everyone, but I'm not quite ready for bees. My neighbor's bees are over here all the time. The last two days drinking from my yard hydrant.

[youtudotbe]https://youtu.be/OgGNQBZIcmc[/youtudotbe]


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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

Fun! Looks like your neighbor needs to water his bees. That is (or should be) part of beekeeping, giving them a water hole. They do pack a lot of water.
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Re: Bees and Honey

James,

Just came home from having dinner with the neighbors. Wonderful spaghetti , apple crisp and home brewed beer.

They have a small water feature in their garden that the bees ignore. Not sure maybe its the pump noise.

I was telling her about the photo of you poring water on the frames. "Giving them a drink" Could you please elaborate on this.

Thank You
Eric

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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

Eric, I was pouring water on a package of bees. That is, about 2 pounds of bees that had been shipped to me in a cage. A little drink of water settles them down a bit so they will go to the frames without flying so much.

Check it out.
Last edited by jal_ut on Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ohio Tiller
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Re: Bees and Honey

I use 5 gallon buckets filled with water then topped over with tennis balls. the balls float and the out sides of the balls soak up water that the bees suck out. The balls keep them from drowning! It works pretty good. My other 2 hives are near a water source so I don't have to help them with water.

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Re: Bees and Honey

Yeah Eric don't let them pour water in the hive you will ruin honey kill brood and bees. The humidity would go up so high it would destroy the hive.

Best and easiest way is just a pan of water filled with rocks then add water. They land on the rocks and drink he water. They are fun to watch I have one on the edge of the porch and sit out there watching them all the time.

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Re: Bees and Honey

My broccoli is in full bloom and the bees are all over it. Not much else blooming right now.
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Re: Bees and Honey

No bees flying today. Its raining.
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Re: Bees and Honey

My group is set to do a honey harvest next week. We have pulled some frames already and have them in the reefer chilling. Pulling the full honey frames give the hive beetles less to rob. I think we have six supers to harvest this time.

January was our last harvest and we ended up with 117- 9 ounce jars (by volume) By weight each jar is about a pound.
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Re: Bees and Honey

Went outside and took the snow shovel and went out to the bees and moved snow away from their entrances. That got me to puffing! Cant tell now if any are going to make winter.
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Artem
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Re: Bees and Honey

I live in Eastern Europe, and today bees are flying like crazy. Snowdrops are flowering, grate view.

imafan26
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Re: Bees and Honey

Someone asked me to look at their hive. I have only been taking care of bees for a year but I have seen what happens when hives are not well tended. This one has not been opened in maybe a year. What do you think I will find and what do I do if they have built out comb on the lid and outside of the frames?
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Re: Bees and Honey

In my opinion, the main thing is not to kill of hurt the queen. You can take old or undesirable combs out of the hive. If the season is appropriate (lots of plants are flowering right now), you can replace old combs with new.... some sort of artificial impresses for honeycombs (i don't know how to say it exactly in English), it is some kind of prevention from swarming. Don't take away all bees's food and their brood :)

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Re: Bees and Honey

I would simply look at the frames to see if the queen is laying and that there is good brood, and cut out any queen cells (swarm cells). You could then add a queen excluder and honey super to give them a little more room and they may just make some honey.

Here it is customary to keep bees in two deep boxes. What is in the two deeps is for the bees. when they are built up strong, a queen excluder and super are added. What they put in the super is for the beekeeper. The queen excluder is so that the queen will not lay eggs in the honey super.
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Re: Bees and Honey

We've had some frost, it's crunch time and not much flowers left... but I think this is a honeybee?

Image

...I found it floundering in the bottom of my coffee mug in the dregs of coffee that I had with buckwheat honey :roll:

I dumped it out here. I guess she was able to recover and fly off, none-the-worse for the caffein kick because I didn't see her later. :D
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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

Applestar, yes that looks like a honey bee.

Its been clear and cool here. It has got up into the upper 50s so the bees can come out for a cleansing flight. No flowers in bloom. Many years we have snow by this date, but not any storms this season. Forecast is for another 5 days of sunshine.
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Re: Bees and Honey

We just treated the hives with MAQ's. There are a few frames of honey, but it may not be enough to be worth harvesting yet. The small queen in one of the hives is able to get through the excluder and she likes to brood in the supers. She is a good layer, and she has a strong hive, but it does make it hard to harvest honey. A couple of hives were split and requeened a couple of months ago and are rebuilding.

We replaced some of the old frames with new ones, but the bees seem reluctant to build on them. They would rather build their own comb on the inner cover.

It is warm enough here and we have a diverse planting so their is forage for them all year. The bees like to forage on the basil in the herb garden and can be seen buzzing about most of the day.
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Re: Bees and Honey

"We replaced some of the old frames with new ones, but the bees seem reluctant to build on them. "

I went to using split bottom frames and then putting in full sheets of reinforced foundation. When the bees are crowded and needing room, you can add a super with these frames in it and the bees usually go right on it and draw it out, almost every cell worker size. Just a few drone cells around the edge. I like these reinforced frames as they hold up well in the extractor and don't sag when used as brood combs.
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Re: Bees and Honey

"We replaced some of the old frames with new ones, but the bees seem reluctant to build on them. "

I went to using split bottom frames and then putting in full sheets of reinforced foundation. When the bees are crowded and needing room, you can add a super with these frames in it and the bees usually go right on it and draw it out, almost every cell worker size. Just a few drone cells around the edge. I like these reinforced frames as they hold up well in the extractor and don't sag when used as brood combs.
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Re: Bees and Honey

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Pic of the new frame with wired foundation.
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Re: Bees and Honey

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The Spinner This one holds 18 frames and has an electric motor drive.

I like to use the medium sized frames for honey collection. I can at least lift a box without breaking my back. The full sized frames in a box and all full of honey get to be a challenge to lift a box.

Here we are in January and minus 13 degrees here this morning. Won't be much bee activity going on. I just wonder if they can even survive this cold? I guess we will see in April?
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