User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Are you wanting to get some bees?

Thinking about getting into beekeeping? I will suggest doing some reading about the subject. For a simple primer the Boy Scouts of America has a merit badge pamphlet on beekeeping. For a larger book, "The Hive and the Honey Bee" by Dadant is the beekeeper's bible. "ABC XYZ of Bee Culture" by Root is also a great read.

You can do a Google search for these books to find a place to buy them. Also sometimes a public library may have them.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Are you wanting to get some bees?

I am thinking about it for spring. Will try to do some reading on it over the winter. Also trying to read up about the hens I am planning to get in spring. I'm thinking that three hens would keep the two of us in eggs pretty well at least for parts of the year. At $3.50 or so for a dozen organic free range eggs, I'm thinking the hens might be one of the more cost effective things I could do.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11595
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Are you wanting to get some bees?

Someone let me their copy of Beekeeping for dummies. It is easy to read and understand. We actually had beekeeping classes offered by the UH Bee project. There are also beekeeping organizations that meet like a club and there is no better resource than the experience of other beekeepers. Every beekeeper seems to do things a little differently.

Beekeeping is an expensive hobby. There are no local beekeeping suppliers. All of our equipment needs to be ordered and shipped in or people have to build their own hives. Bees are sourced locally, they don't ship well over the ocean and it is hard to get past the Ag dept regulations. Some bees make it to other islands because they follow the cruise ships from port to port.

You also have to check with city ordinances in your county. Here bees have to be located 25 ft from the property lines. Most city lots cannot accommodate that unless you have a large property or you put the bees on the roof. In the city you also have to consider where the bees are going to find forage in a community of ashphalt and concrete. Although, the city may allow it, you may have to deal with nearby neighbors that may not be happy with bees next door.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Are you wanting to get some bees?

imafan26: "Beekeeping is an expensive hobby."

I figure that to get a double bodied hive and one honey super with all the frames and bees, you will have between $300 to $350 per colony. Of course the equipment lasts a long time. Bees come and go. Then you will need a suit and some equipment. Yes, you can spend some money getting into bees. I am sure local city ordinances vary all over. Check on that before you get into bees.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Are you wanting to get some bees?

Also be advised that bee diseases come around from time to time. They can cause severe grief. I was only into beekeeping a few years and had around ten colonies when the American Foulbrood came visiting. It killed all my bees and contaminated the equipment. Had to burn all the frames. The boxes, bottom boards and covers were salvaged by treating them with heat. So the next spring, there I was starting over.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Are you wanting to get some bees?

Hens: You say free ranging? Be advised hens will eat or peck holes in about anything you can name. Yes, they will decimate your garden, crap on your sidewalks and likely want to roost on top of the house instead of the henhouse. My suggestion if you want hens is to first make them a hen house with south facing screened windows. Put some perches in it for them to perch on. They don't like to be on the floor. You will need a feeder and water can. Now if you want to let them out, do it about half an hour before sunset. They will come out and do some scratching, (You may want to stand guard over your garden.) but go back in right after sunset. Lock the door!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Are you wanting to get some bees?

Locking the door is important not only to keep the hens in but to keep critters out. Many critters like hen for lunch too. Oh, and get about a dozen hens, or 20. You may as well have some eggs to sell. A hen, once laying, will lay about 6 eggs a week. If there is just two of you in the family, 3 hens may give you what you need for breakfast, but not much for cooking. Have Fun!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11595
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Are you wanting to get some bees?

We have feral chickens. They get into the seedlings unless we cage them and they scare the workers when they find them in the bushes. On the other hand, with the hens around, there are very few slugs and snails and most of them are under the pots where they can't get to them. Hens are territorial and they don't roam. Roosters are another story they crow at all hours of the day and night, they try to steal the harem from other roosters and they roam. They poop every where and they poop and eat at the same time. At night they will fly up into the trees to roost.

Yeah, we get most of our bee supplies from Mann Lake. A bee jacket with hood cost $59, hive tool $8 (J-tool are the best), smoker $33, Kitchen gloves work and are cheaper and easier to use sometimes than the leather gloves, beetle traps, MAQs, hive kits, extra supers, metal queen excluder, inner and outer covers and bottom boards. Then there are the supplies for the honey, jars, the extractor, buckets, honey filters, and someone needs to take the required food safety class in order to sell the honey and pay the taxes. Our hives are very old and some of the boxes have been repaired a few times, so we are replacing some of them now. Two covers were leaking badly from rot. The metal convers cost more than the wood covers. A couple of people in our group, repainted the hive boxes,and we have to do weed maintenance around the bee yard. We have had to requeen our hives when the queen died and also when we split the hives. That was $20 a queen. We have to keep some back up supers and parts since we cannot get things we need immediately unless we borrrow from other keepers. We are also changing the foundations in our frames now as we harvest. Most of the foundations are 4-5 years old. It cost about $900 for one of our beekeepers to outfit himself with a suit, smoker, gloves, hive tool and 4 starter hives. It has to be shipped and the shipping charges are high. Our last order took over a month to get here.

We have been lucky we have not had nosema or American foul brood. One of the people in our group has had to burn her colony and hives twice because of American foul brood, but she lives in a wet area which makes her hives more prone to the fungal disease. Our hives are located on a part of the island that is relatively dry and it gets a lot of sun and air.

We treat the hives just about every 4 months for varoa mites. We did find some mites in the drone larvae in November, but since we treat regularly we are not seeing as much deformed wings as when we did not treat on a schedule. Hive beetles are still a problem and we use multiple oil traps and sometimes we put the traps on multiple boxes. The beeyard is in a mulched area which makes it harder to manage since the mulch gives the beetles a nice place to incubate. One of the beekeepers is experimenting with the brawny towel but he said it can't be left in too long or the bees will eat too much of it. Usually we try to schedule a harvest, even if it is only a small one so that we don't have too much honey on the hives. We have access to a reefer, but it is harder for us to take the honey supers to a freezer to wait until we have a harvest and the honey takes a long time to thaw.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Are you wanting to get some bees?

Wow, too much $$ !! Beekeeping may be a hobby that has to wait awhile longer.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11595
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Are you wanting to get some bees?

It is an interesting hobby. The bees are fascinating to watch. We also have an observation hive and there are plans to set it up near the herb garden when we have an activity in the garden. We basically have to sell the honey in order to pay for the expenses of keeping the bees.

If you build your own hives or get the kits you put together they are cheaper than buying a hive kit. A hive kit has everything ready to go out of the box. Some of our boxes are over 40 years old. The covers are not that old, but in our humid climate and with termites, they don't last as long. The bottom boards are still in good shape. We have some plastic queen excluders and they are not as good as metal ones. Foundations need to be changed every 5 years or so. Ours is just at the point now where they need changing. We are able to use the old frames so we just need to buy foundation for them. The extractor is a one time cost, it can last a long time. Ours is manually cranked. The motorized ones cost more. It is a big investment up front, but the bee suit should last a few years if you take care of it, and you can start with just one hive. In the mainland with winter, beekeepers may have to feed their hives pollen cakes and sugar water so they don't starve. Our bees are able to forage as long as the wind is not very strong and it isn't raining all day.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
ID jit
Green Thumb
Posts: 340
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:00 pm
Location: SE New England: zone twilight or 5b... hard for me to tell some days.

Re: Are you wanting to get some bees?

Bees??? I've seen hive and been around them. they are pretty cool. I thought about it a couple of time, but then I remeber that I can barely keep my compost piles alive.
I don't believe we can resist the things which make no sense - I believe.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Are you wanting to get some bees?

Beekeeping can cost some money getting the hives, frames, and foundation set up. However this stuff lasts a long time. Bees come and go. In this cold country it is not unusual to lose them all in winter. Every spring I order up package bees to fill the
vacancies. A package costs about $90. I push that package for a medium sized box of honey, then give them another deep
and let them get ready for winter. Whether they make winter or not, that 60 pounds of honey will sell for $360, so I have paid
for the bees plus made some profit.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11595
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Are you wanting to get some bees?

We can harvest three times a year. If we are lucky we will have 5 supers to harvest, sometimes there are only two. Our honey is a bit on the expensive side at $10 a jar, but we do sell all of our honey. Our harvest costs are high especially when we don't have a lot of supers to harvest. Mainly because of the cost of the jars and the cleaning supplies. Our last harvest was extra small since the super had brood on the frames and the queen was in the super so we could only harvest the outer frames and one full super. That amounted to 36 jars. Netting only about 17 jars for sale since each of the beekeepers gets one jar for tending the hives and participating in the harvest. If we can get 5 full supers then we can get about 70 jars. Our last harvest was also small because the honey was turbid and someone pulled a super and put it in the reefer instead of the freezer for a month and the honey crystalized. So, that super was use for comb honey, but that meant we had to cut the foundation from the frames and replace the foundations. I went to Costco shortly after that harvest and noticed that we weren't the only ones with turbid honey. Costco had honey in jars for sale that was also very turbid.

At our last check we had almost 2 supers that were capped and ready to harvest. The bees are still foraging and we saw some bees with full pollen sacks but they are not very active because of the weather. We may have to decide soon to do a small harvest as we don't like to leave a lot of honey on the hives because it attracts the hive beetles. When the bees are not very active the beetles slime the honey. Our other choice would be to pull the frames and freeze them for harvest later.

One of the reasons we are changing the foundations is to reduce disease. We have been lucky as we have had colonies die but not because of American foulbrood or nosema. Our hives are located out in the sun in an airy place. The orchard is less than 200 yards away and the garden has something in bloom year round.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Return to “Beekeeping Forum”