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Ozark Lady
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Honeybees - Success and Losses

After the severe cold of recent weeks, and then the rain, today I was able to check on my hives. I have three, two were new splits from last year. It was sunny and 50 degrees today.
Hive one is okay: alive and I see a bit of capped honey up near the top. There was a bit of activity in this hive when I arrived.
Hive two is dead, in the classic bee in the cell pose, no honey anywhere, I starved them, bad me.
Hive three, I opened it carefully, since I had seen no activity at all from it either, this was the parent hive of the other two. Just as I removed the inner board, I spotted a mouse nest, and a bee zapped me on the cheek. I hadn't suited up, thinking that I wouldn't need to open the hives at all. I quickly departed.
Needless to say, I went and suited up, and got hubby who removed the nest. We stood and watched as three mice ran from the hive, the bees were pretty angry. Hubby got several stings on his left hand in removing the nest. We improved the entrance reductions. The dead hive had a wonderful entrance reducer on it...
With my track record of starving one hive per year, I really need to make at least two splits per year!
It was plain, over confidence, laziness, stupidity?, and novice that I didn't get that newest split fed better before winter. But that hive had a bad attitude, much grouchier than the other two. Funny, the ones that don't sting me a lot survive and the grouches don't make it... natural selection?
Just to be safe, we are putting on pollen patties and queen candy, until next week when temps are to be in the 60's and perhaps we can get a better inspection.
Any recommendations on this situation? Any more beekeepers here?

I was worried about hive beetles, and then the extremes of -02 degrees which is way odd for us, a mouse hadn't entered my mind.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Honeybees

Don't have bees and can't help, but I think it is so great that you are doing this! With the trouble bees are in, lots more of us need to.

So the hive with the mice in it survived? AND the mice survived? I can see why mice would want to get in if they could - honey and warmth. I have heard that in winter the bees cluster up tight and keep moving their wings and it can stay very warm inside, even when very cold outside. But I'm surprise the mice didn't get stung to death or at least enough to drive them away.
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Re: Honeybees

I've been toying with the idea of bee keeping for a few years now. My neighbor keeps hives, but he is getting near 80. I'm wondering how expensive and time consuming this hobby is, and is it worth the effort or is it practical in order to get 6-8 quarts of honey per year?
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Ozark Lady
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Re: Honeybees

I got bees in July 2012. For several reasons: the honey, the pollen to help my allergies, and to pollinate my plants garden or orchard.
I had belonged to bee forums for years and learned a lot.
I spent the day with the guy that I got the two beginning hives from, and he showed me a lot... too much to absorb in one day. But it was a long drive and I couldn't keep returning.
I watched youtube videos on beekeeping... boy was I dumb even after all this.
It just never occurred to me, that bees can starve in summer during a drought... hey dummy no blooms, no honey, no food... why didn't I think of that?
One hive was really small so I fed that one, so it would grow... but not much. At least, I fed it enough to keep it alive. That changed and we fed it from then until spring 2013 showed they were capping honey.

In May 2013 we got two starter hives off of this hive, both are alive and well today.
In August a swarm was threatening. So, I split the hive 50/50. One for hive A and one for hive B for everything in it. I watched both hives until I was sure there was a queen in each.
Then I don't know, laziness, cold weather, holidays, I just didn't check on them enough, and when I did I somehow didn't even open the newest split.
But, Saturday I did check them, that is when I found the nest. And woke the bees up.
In cold weather the bees cluster up and shiver to make heat, they rotate who is inside the cluster and who is outer edge for insulation. The queen is in the center, the goal is to protect her at all costs.
Well, the bees still eat and keep her warm, but they aren't alert, they don't move much and they didn't know the mice were in there.
The mice find it warm with honey, comb and bees to eat, heaven to them, as long as they leave before the bees wake up.
Well, I woke up the bees, hubby removed the nest. Sorry still too girlish to touch a mouse nest! :D
Boy, those bees were grouchy, not ready to be awakened. And then to wake to someone looking at them, and invaders in their house... not happy at all. I really can't blame them.
The mice ran off, I am sure they got at least a few stings, especially the one that stayed in there a good 10 minutes after we woke the bees up.
In about an hour I went back out there and placed a pollen patty and a sugar patty on both hives, just to be sure they weren't hurting for food like the other one.
But, honestly, the other split had no flying bees when I split them, all the flyers went back to the original hive, so they lived on stored food... no time to collect much food when the bees got old enough to forage.
Anyhow, we left the bees alone, and yesterday, Monday, I was cleaning up the dead hive, giving back what I could to the live hives, and melting down the honeycomb. Well, the hive that we woke up was very active with bees coming and going.
I sneaked a peek in, and they aren't overly interested in the food I gave them. So, at this point they really don't need it. At least it is there and will keep.
Due to beekeeper error in starving the hives in 2012, and splitting so many off of the surviving hive, I haven't collected any honey or pollen at all.
I was afraid of the bees, not anymore, but I respect them. I only got stung 3 times so far.

It sounds crazy, but they have personality. They get to know our truck and they hitch a ride home if we visit neighbors, but don't ride on neighbors vehicles. When not rudely awakened, or their house moved a lot, they are actually friendly. I have Minnesota Hygienics which are gentle bees anyhow.

Even with my mistakes, there are now three healthy hives from the surviving one. I gave one of the May splits to my son and it is doing well. I had to give him more bee babies and honey in August, but that boost got them going good.

I plan to split one, and harvest honey and pollen from the other this year. They are set up in my garden. Sometimes they crawl on me if I get in their path but they don't sting, unless I hurt them, or or wake them early! :mrgreen:

Today, I am cutting hardware cloth for the front, 1/4" will allow bees in, and keep mice out.

I love my bees, can't imagine not having them! And I have harvested nothing so far.

If you are going to get them, get them early, not in July... and if drought or new split... feed them!

I say try it... I want an observation hive in my house that vents outside, so I can watch them, they are so fascinating. We go and just sit and watch them fly in and out and the challenges of other bugs arriving etc.
For us it is relaxing... shade tree, rocker, ice tea, and bees hard at work.... aww this is life!
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Re: Honeybees

Thanks! Sounds pretty hard with a steep learning curve, but probably worth the effort. My guess is that within the next year or two I'll start with one or two hives. From what I've heard, one probably should have at least three hives, because so many things can cause a hive to die. We live on 130 acres, so am hoping that we could place several hives on our one property. We also have several patches of swamp, which I assume will mitigate drought issues. My neighbor's honey probably comes mostly from pine pollen with the hives located about a mile away from us. One would think, yuk! But actually it is a very light amber, very mild tasting. We buy at least 8 quarts per year from him @$10 per quart. We use about three quarts and share the rest with family and friends.
Last edited by hendi_alex on Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ozark Lady
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Re: Honeybees

I am melting down the old wax. For several reasons, if I leave the wax where it is, wax moths will breed in it or mice will get into it. I brought the first dead hive inside... moths hatched and were all over my house. They look like grubs or maggots at first... yuck. Then they made cocoons everywhere... what a mess.
But, I learned.
Also, I am very organic. Bees wax is bought from beekeepers, and some of them use a lot of chemicals in their hives. And some are located in areas where farmers use a lot of chemicals. Anyhow, the wax could be contaminated, and there is no test for that.
So, I save all my honeycomb, melt it down. A lot of comb sure doesn't make much wax.
Yesterday we made up a template, and I will be recycling my own wax into foundation for my bees.
In this way, I won't be helping bad bugs survive in the hives and hurt the bees. Also, I will be giving my bees wax that doesn't have chemicals in it or not much. I live on the edge of a National forest, definitely not farmland. I am sure there is some chemicals on gardens and lawns orchards etc. But this is not farmland so much less contaminants.
So, soon as I get the wax and propolis all separated by melting and cleaning and melting and cleaning.... I will begin a new learning curve... how to make foundation sheets for the bees to draw out honeycomb on.

They can make their own, but it takes a lot of honey to make their own, and time. So, I will make some for them, and they can just finish it up since I won't have cells in mine. Also this will help them to make their comb straight and not weird shaped.

I have read and I believe that colony collapse is contaminants and bad bugs. So I am doing what I can to help my bees without using chemicals. Now if I would just get better at knowing when they need to be fed!
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Ozark Lady
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Re: Honeybees

Definitely get at least two hives to start out.
I got two, and I killed one of them through starvation. Having two you can compare one to the other.
If I had only had one and killed it, I probably would have sold my hive and said, "I can't do this".

I feel bad about the two that I starved. But hey, three are alive and healthy, I did more good than bad.

I wouldn't get too many hives to begin with, I think it would be overwhelming to have so many to tend to while learning.

Now if you can find a local beekeeper and offer to help them harvest, split, and in general tend the bees, that would be a great way to learn. And believe me, another pair of hands would be very appreciated, even a novice can hand me a smoker, my tool, that box over there, etc and make it all flow better.

My chiropractor, heard of a swarm of bees. He had never had bees, knew nothing, but he went and got that swarm, and built a box for them while they sat in a cardboard box.... He now has 8 hives and loves beekeeping. You can build your own equipment.

How about bee stings for arthritis? My chiropractor tells my hubby to stick his hand in at least weekly for therapy... Hubby won't do it. But he got stung Saturday on the worst hand, so we will see maybe he will decide it is a good therapy.
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Re: Honeybees

My Quaker meeting had one hive for a couple years, until it got killed off by mites or beetles.

We have been talking about starting over, but haven't done it yet.

But in the time that we had it, we got a whole bunch of wonderful honey from it. Sorry I can't quantify "a whole bunch" better; I wasn't part of extracting it. I just know we sold a bunch of quarts of it as a fund raiser. I got one of the quarts and it was some of the best honey I ever had.
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Ozark Lady
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Re: Honeybees

I have forgotten the %, but store bought honey can have corn syrup added and still be labeled as pure honey! When you get it from the hive it is pure, no corn syrup even if you fed your bees corn syrup. Which most of us won't keep honey for the table while feeding the bees.

Pure honey just has a lot more flavor than diluted honey ever could.

Come on, Rainbow, get that hive cleaned out and ready for spring 2014. You are brave, you are strong, you can learn... they only take about a 6 foot area of your yard. They are good neighbors, honest they are.
My bees visit neighbors and I hear... Your bees were here, but only chuckles so far.

Hey a bee is a bee, and most people know they will sting to protect themselves. Most people don't realize they won't sting unless hurt or defending their hive.
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Re: Honeybees

Wow it sounds like you are having a lot of fun learning to keep bees, Ozarklady :D
I love projects that might be challenging but you get a lot out of it in the process.

I can't keep bees in my suburban backyard, but maybe I'll look for other ways to learn more this year. 8)
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Ozark Lady
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Re: Honeybees

Hi Apple and Marlin,
Apple one thing you can do is plant plants that are pollinator friendly. A lot of plants that your butterflies like the bees will also like. And limit chemicals used on your garden both for you and the insects benefit.

Bees will travel 3 mile for sure and some say 5 miles to harvest pollen.
Some neighbors that I didn't even know sent me thank you messages for having bees to pollinate their flowers and gardens.
I had also noticed that the normal bees had disappeared and that is another reason why I went and got the hives. There used to be a lot of honeybees, then just none. Perhaps the beekeeper moved, or the wild ones died out, I don't know, just noticed their absence. I hope that the beekeeper simply moved and took his hives.
It truly is a partnership between gardeners and beekeepers. The person keeping the bees usually can't grow enough by themselves to support the bees. But, helping support the bees, helps the gardener to have pollinators that support their garden.

There are ways to help the bees without having a hive.

But a hive is fun!
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Re: Honeybees

I know applestar like me is completely organic and chem free and grows plenty of good bee flowers.

The hive at the Quaker Meeting was five city blocks from my house. When they had bees there, I did notice lots more bees in my yard; I am convinced a lot of the "Quaker" bees were visiting my flowers too. :) I miss them since they are gone. Short of me getting a hive, I am trying to work with the Meeting to get theirs going again. Eventually, I would really like to have my own. I am not afraid of them, since I work around the honeybees in my yard a lot. They can be going from flower to flower, while I am weeding or whatever in the same bed and we all get along just fine and enjoy each other's company.
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Ozark Lady
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Re: Honeybees

I found an article about bees fitted with sensors to study them and colony collapse etc.

Can you imagine, you are in the garden, bees arrive, and they all have little electronics on them?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... sors-video
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Re: Honeybees

:shock: sounds a bit like a scary scifi movie :lol:

Thanks for the link!
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Ozark Lady
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Re: Honeybees

I found this link in a bee forum, it is for pollinators for bees and I am sure butterflies.

It says that it is free, but when I get there, I don't know if it is or not...
https://www.pollinator.org/beesmartapp.htm

Check it out, there is also a lot of info there onsite.
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Re: Honeybees

This post has been moved to the rechristened Chickens/Ducks, Goats, Bees and other Livestock Forum. :)

Thanks for the suggestion!
;)

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Ozark Lady
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Re: Honeybees

Looks good!

Thanks, Apple and Roger for moving it.

I am melting wax and saving it. While relaxing, and prior to melting the wax, I went through and took a toothpick to harvest the pollen that was still in the honeycomb. It was a bit tedious, but that pollen is valuable both nutritionally and for my allergies. I can buy pollen, but this pollen was collected on my property so it will have anti-allergens specific to my area... or so I hope. Besides while staying warm, watching a video, it wasn't that bad! And I got a bonus, I found some honey that was missed, just a tiny bite here and there in the frames.

The pollen smells and tastes yeasty. It is a bit grainy on the tongue, odd flavor but not bad, kind of nutty? I think I will try making some bread and using this pollen as the yeast... like in artisan bread. Wow interesting discovery here.

I am using an old slow cooker with some water in the bottom of it.

Then after it is all well melted, and it really melts down a lot, there is a lot of airspace in honeycomb, I pour it through an old strainer, reserved for wax.

There is a lot of "junk" in the strainer, some is dead bees, some is cocoons, some is pests and eggs etc.

The stuff left in the strainer is all organic and you can give it to your chickens for a treat.

I repeat the melting and straining twice to get the wax pretty clean. Then I scrape the propolis off of the bottom of the wax cake. Online, they saved this scraped off propolis and sold it. I will keep what I scrape off and try to find a use for it. If nothing else I can give it back to the bees.

Now, I have my clean beeswax and can do other things with it... make candles, make new foundation for the beehives, or even use it in cosmetics.

Does anyone have recipes for using beeswax? How about propolis? I will go look also and see if I find any recipes for these items.
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Re: Honeybees

Ozark Lady wrote: I found this link in a bee forum, it is for pollinators for bees and I am sure butterflies.
It says that it is free, but when I get there, I don't know if it is or not...
https://www.pollinator.org/beesmartapp.htm
Thank you so much for posting that link! I wasn't particularly excited about the phone app (or any phone app, for that matter) but I clicked on the "Planting Guides" tab: https://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm and entered my zip code. From the website you can download a PDF and read in great detail (on a much bigger screen!) everything that's in the app, and more. The info on the web site is free, as is the app. I think the app would be useful for someone who wants to pick a pollinator and a flower colour then let the app tell you what to plant. I tend to prefer the copious reading on the website so I can micromanage every detail. :mrgreen:

They have a region specific guide for most areas in the country. It tells you the varieties suited to your area, what to plant, what it attracts, when it blooms, what kind of habitat to provide, and a whole lot more I haven't read yet. Amazing collection of data all in one place. I added a couple of flowers to my 2014 garden plan to help the bees and I learned a lot! Very grateful that you shared that link.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Honeybees

I agree, really nice link. You can put in your zip code and it tells you what eco region you are in. Mine is eastern broadleaf forest - continental province. Then it gives tons of info about what the native trees, flowers, vines are for your area, what to plant to attract which pollinators, how to make a pollinator friendly habitat, etc. 24 pages for my eco region, which is number 222. If there really are over 200 regions as the number suggests, then all the pages for all the regions would add up to a huge book.
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Ozark Lady
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Re: Honeybees

The areas are large areas.

Rainbow is in Ohio, I am in Arkansas... we are in the same area on this app.

Still it is interesting. Just remember micro- climates can create differences within even smaller areas. It just might be a good idea to check out the areas that border your area... just for more reading... :-()

Now to find zip codes for other areas..
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Re: Honeybees

hendi_alex wrote:Thanks! Sounds pretty hard with a steep learning curve, but probably worth the effort. My guess is that within the next year or two I'll start with one or two hives. From what I've heard, one probably should have at least three hives, because so many things can cause a hive to die. We live on 130 acres, so am hoping that we could place several hives on our one property. We also have several patches of swamp, which I assume will mitigate drought issues. My neighbor's honey probably comes mostly from pine pollen with the hives located about a mile away from us. One would think, yuk! But actually it is a very light amber, very mild tasting. We buy at least 8 quarts per year from him @$10 per quart. We use about three quarts and share the rest with family and friends.
There is a lot to learn (and if you ask 10 different beekeepers, you'll get 10 different answers on just about any topic!), but I'd be willing to bet that there are many beekeepers in your area who would love to help you learn. Here in CT, there are three different beekeepers organizations and all are very active. Google beekeeping and the name of your state/county - bet you'll find plenty of help and information to get you started including beekeeping schools, educational meetings and hands on hive demonstrations/inspections. Good luck!

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Ozark Lady
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Re: Honeybees

Here is a very interesting article on honeybees.
I had no idea that Bt is harmful to bees. I thought it only hurt the insects that ate plant leaves. I am glad that I found out about it before I used it.
I still am not sure if there is a difference in plants that are gmo and have Bt systemically, and the application of Bt on leaves of plants. I guess it is better to be overly cautious. But does anyone know if there is a difference in the gmo Bt and the sprayed on, as far as, damage to bees as well as human ingesting it?

https://www.globalresearch.ca/death-and- ... f-the-bees
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Re: Honeybees

QzarkLady - I am humbled and in awe! How amazing! I want to live in the country instead of a subdivision - even with 1/3 acre lots. Too crowded, too noisy and can't raise live stock or bees.

I envy you!

My dream would be 15 to 35 acres with a 1 acre stocked pond. Room to raise chickens, ducks, guinea hens, a pair of goats and a pair of sheep, a pair of peacocks just for the beauty and maybe even a cow. A couple of rabbits for the cool manure. Room to experiment with bee keeping. Also room for a cut flower garden - for sale to florist and at farmer's market. Lots of room for a vegetable garden and fruit trees.

Have to win the Power Ball.

In my dreams.

Oh well - nothing wrong with dreams and a little fantasy.

Good luck with your bees. Look forward to hearing more.
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

Hi, missed this at time of posting I guess...........

I have kept bees since the early 1970s. Yes winter losses are part of the game we play. Over the years, I have had winter losses that varied from 0 to 100%. As part of management practices, I just plan on buying some packages each spring. Then I push those new packages for a box of honey. Once I have that box of honey, they have paid for the package and some besides and if they make winter, fine, if not I am still OK money wise. My colonies that make winter, I try to keep them from swarming and put honey supers on them as soon as they are crowded. A good strong overwintered colony can make a lot of honey in a season. It seems to be a better deal for me than going for increase on these strong colonies.
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jal_ut
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

I keep bees, have since the early 1970s. Still learning.

I keep the bees in two deep boxes per colony. This seems to be the norm in this area.
In the fall the hives should have at least 40 pounds of honey, I prefer to leave 60 on them.
That is one full deep box of honey. Doing this it is seldom necessary to feed the bees,
yet I do feed a bit in the spring for medication purposes.

If your bees don't have two or three frames of honey in the boxes, feed them. Sugar is cheaper than bees.

For heavens sake, if you are going to work the bees, suit up!!! Covies, tucked into boots, gloves, gauntlets, hat and veil. No use getting stung, it is never fun.

Oh, entrance reducers in the fall which restrict the entrance to 5/16 inch by 3 inches is a good thing and it keeps the mice out. After the colony builds up in the spring take the reducer off. They will keep the mice out when they are strong. They need the larger entrance in hot weather for ventilation.

I might add: losing bees is part of the game. Just plan on it. I buy some packages every year.
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jal_ut
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

This post is odd. Second time I look at it there is a different opener, and I didn't see my first reply until I replied again. What the heck is going on??????
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

I was very lucky last month I was working out in the drive way and looked up to see this going on at my swarm trap
https://s80.photobucket.com/user/Johnfor ... d.mp4.html

And tonight while messing around out side I noticed 20 or 30 bees investigating the trap again I hope they bring the swarm back with them tomorrow.

Rairdog
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

Ohio Tiller wrote:I was very lucky last month I was working out in the drive way and looked up to see this going on at my swarm trap
https://s80.photobucket.com/user/Johnfor ... d.mp4.html

And tonight while messing around out side I noticed 20 or 30 bees investigating the trap again I hope they bring the swarm back with them tomorrow.
Did you capture the first swarm? What did you bait the trap with? I'm just learning and built my first TBH.

Image

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jal_ut
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

I have been keeping bees since 1973. I would recommend that you keep some bees too. The bee population has been steadily decreasing lately. Yes, I will also say, start with two hives. I know its expensive to get started, yet the wooden ware and frames last a long time. I am keeping around ten hives. Have not went into it big, just a backyard beekeeper. My son also has bees and they are migratory. He had some in California for the almond bloom then brought a load of 32 and set them on my lot for the clover honey flow. So I have 40 colonies of bees on my lot, though most are not mine. I will help him extract the honey from them though.

Losing bees is part of the beekeeping game. Plan on it. Here winter takes its toll. Then disease and idiots spraying poisons get some too. I buy some packages every year.

In the end I find it very interesting, satisfying and economically practical.

For instance a good strong colony here will fill two 40 pound supers in a season. Say you get 70 pounds of
honey from those two supers, at $6 a pound that is $420 worth of honey. The bees wax will also sell at $6
a pound. So you see I can easily afford to buy some packages (replacement bees) in the spring if needed.
My packages I got this spring have already put on one 40 pound super of honey and working on the second.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

Once again, I will say this board is acting goofy. I didn't see my earlier posts until I posted my last post. Goofy???????
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Ohio Tiller
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

I lost 4 out of 6 last winter but then turned around and caught 4 swarms this year. I now have 5 very strong hives and one small one in a five frame nuc, it was a small swarm I got just last week. I got 3 swarms in my swarm trap one was just a few days after I put it back up from the first one. then got a nice BIG swarm in JULY.
This was the first one
https://vid80.photobucket.com/albums/j17 ... 9557bd.mp4

this was the one in July
Image
here is the one I just got called on last week.
Image

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jal_ut
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

I am a beekeeper. I have kept bees for over 30 years. It is certainly a fun and rewarding hobby if you like the things of nature.

I will make a few comments.

My first rule is: Suit up! this includes full covies, veil gloves and gauntlets. I don't like to get stung. I am very allergic to bee venom. I swell up and sometimes break out in hives. I always carry two benadryl tablets on my person whether going out the bees or not. No telling when one might get stung........................ ? If I get stung, I get the benadryl in me at once. Sometimes when I am going out to rob and know darned well I will get stung several times before finishing, I take the benadryl before going out. Then if I get stung I usually won't have a reaction.

Mice: Usually a good strong colony will keep bees and robbers out. However in winter, it is best to put an entrance reducer on the hive and reduce the entrance to 5/16 X 3 inches. Now a mouse can't get in. Entrance reducers are also of benefit to weak colonies and new installs as it makes it easier for them to defend their territory against robbers.

Feeding: I usually feed in the spring to medicate the bees. I always try to leave enough honey on the bees that I don't need to feed them to avoid starvation. I always feed new package bees. One way to feed is to have a couple of supers of sealed honey on hand and just take out an empty frame and give the bees a loaded frame if they need food. . This is not always practical. There are several methods to feed sugar syrup. A feeder board and a jug of sugar syrup with a few pinholes punched in the lid inverted over the hole in the feeder board is what I prefer if I am just feeding a few colonies. Feeding in the open is an option that I use in the spring when medicating. Just fill a 5 gallon bucket with sugar syrup, put in the medication and float a bunch of wood chips on the surface then go set it near the bees. Yes, you will also feed any wild bees and a few wasps, but they all get medicated too. Which may be a god thing to hold down disease? Can't prove this, but its worth considering?
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

Swarms: swarm traps may work, but never have for me. If you leave a box out to attract a swarm , it will attract robbers and they will tear it down for you. I find the best thing to do about swarming is check your bees regularly, every ten days in swarming season and cut out swarm cells.

If you get a swarm, now put out a box and then go shake the swarm into a bucket and go dump them in the box. I cut a square of plywood large enough to cover a 5 gallon bucket and cut out the center about a 7 inch square and put screen over it. When I shake a swarm into a bucket, I then put the screened cover over it to keep the swarm in the bucket. Once you have most of the bees and the queen in the bucket, the rest of the bees will follow the queen and come sit on the bucket.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

I started keeping bees about 1973 if memory serves......... memory is not good these days. :)
Yes it is certainly a worthwhile venture. The bees are interesting.

Rule one: If you are going to mess with the hives, suit up. Full suit, covies, veil and gloves. No use getting stung.
It is painful, and dangerous. Keep some Benadryl close to hand, if you do get stung take a couple of tablets immediately.

I would suggest keeping bees in a two box deep hive, then you need a honey super and queen excluder. Unfortunately the equipment is rather costly. For what you need for one hive plus the bees, you are likely to have over $300 in one hive. The equipment lasts a long time though. Bees come and go.

It is best to go for two or three hives rather than just one. Then you have some resources if there is problems with one.

Good books are a must. Learn about the bees and beekeeping ways from books.

https://www.kelleybees.com/

https://www.amazon.com/The-ABC-XYZ-Bee-C ... 093602822X

https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_i ... cts_id=242
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Ozark Lady
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

Has it really been so long since I posted here? Wow, where does time go?

Spring of 2014 I had only 1 surviving hive, and it had very few bees, just enough to claim that I still had a hive surviving. The extreme cold, the mice, the pitiful excuse for a beekeeper... all worked together.
During the summer, I bought a hive, made splits... two of which weren't successful at all... ants seem to have killed them off. I made two more splits, one worked well, and the other seemed okay, then they absconded on me... just gone... bag and baggage. I made one more split and had opportunity to buy one more hive, just before closing up for the winter. Anyhow, wins, losses and purchases... I went into winter with 5 hives. Three were strong and two were borderline.
Oddly, two of the three strong ones didn't survive, but the others did. I have three hives this spring to start out with. The two borderline hives are actually stronger than the "strong hive" of last fall that survived.
We had a mild winter, they had lots of food and many decent days I fed them...
The only thing amiss that we found was... mice! I don't know if the mice moved in and killed the hives or if the hives died then the mice moved in. And the other strong hive had mice also! Only the borderline hives had no mice.
I think that I learned, to get the hives down to one box and then insulate and mouse proof it... I think the "strong hives" with multiple boxes were just too much space for the bees to defend and heat.
It is encouraging that beekeepers with experience are still learning too.

Sorry, that I have procrastinated and just not posted on here for so long.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

imafan26
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

We lost one of the our four hives in January when the queen died. They were weakened by hive beetles and varoa mites. The hives have all been treated and the mites and beetles are under better control.

Drone and queen cells have been seen on the hive checks the last two months.

One of the hives with an aggressive queen superseded and the new queen is a lot calmer. The hive is building so we just put the brood box from the hive that died on top of the newly re queened hive to build the bee colony up and later split the hive again. We are also getting an early honey flow.

We just added more frames to one of the supers and have one super that is fully capped. That super will probably get pulled soon and frozen until there is enough honey to make it worthwhile harvesting.

We are keeping an eye out to see if any new swarms appear since this is swarm season.

I am new to beekeeping, but am fortunate that I joined the bee hui at the right time. We are getting bee lessons every month. This month we added the second brood box to build up the bee numbers to split the hive. We also had another hive that did not have enough frames in it so the bees build comb on the inner lid and the base of the brood box. So we learned how to cut the comb off the lid and bottom and cut and paste it back into the frame.

Two months ago, we were shown how to combine two weak hives into one.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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jal_ut
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

Rule number 1: Suit up!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

imafan26
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

I do suit up. In fact I wear two pants and I tape the pants and boots with duct tape and I usually ask someone to check my suit to make sure I have everything zipped up all the way.

Now, that it is getting hotter, so is the suit.

So far, I have been lucky, I haven't been stung yet. Most of the others in the group have.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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jal_ut
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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Re: Honeybees - Success and Losses

"So far, I have been lucky, I haven't been stung yet. Most of the others in the group have."

This has me giggling. If you are going to mess with the bees, cover up! Yes you will get stung! It can also be dangerous. Do you know how you will react if stung? Many people are highly reactive to bee venom and it can even be life threatening. For sure there is a good chance you will swell up and have a sore spot for a week before it subsides. Ever heard of Benadryl? It is hay fever medicine and easily obtained. I keep some close by as I am quite allergic to bee venom. If I get stung, its time out till I get those pills in me. I carry a couple of Benadryl pills in my bee suit!

OK, have fun and enjoy the hobby. It can be very rewarding.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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