A BEE thread....for those interested in beekeeping.

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Beekissed, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    My understanding is you'll get very little the first year - the bees need a good amount of honey to survive the winter.

    Depends on if you want the bees to have to rebuild the comb every time you harvest or not. We are choosing to use the beeswax starter combs (there's plastic ones too) and using an extractor to get the honey out of the comb. If you harvest honey and comb together, it's a different process and I'm not sure as we aren't doing it that way.
     
  2. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:
    a lot depends on your bees, the weather, the production season of the things they'd harvest, lots of factors.

    if you start with a nuc instead of a package, you'll have a head start. you can help your bees alot by using an extractor - look for a local bee club, they often have extractors you can share or rent for very little. IIRC it takes 5 to 8 times as much energy to make wax as it does to make honey, so you want to extract if you can.

    If a hive develops well, and there's plenty of nectar and good weather, it's possible to get a harvest the first year. in SoCal where there can be 3 or 4 harvests in a good year, it's entirely possible to get a first year harvest. here in MO, where there's 1 or sometimes 2 harvests, a first year harvest isn't likely, but can happen with a nuc start in a good year.

    for folks who sell honey for a living, they collect the fall supply and then feed the bees over the winter - that's because honey sells for much more per pound than the cost of sugar and pollen replacer required to feed them. so they collect the honey, then feed. in that case, there's very likely to be a first year harvest, but they plan on feeding over winter anyway.
    so to answer your question.... it depends. [​IMG]

    in any case, you have to make sure the bees have enough honey on board to winter over, or you have to feed them so they can make it through.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  3. Abirdbrain

    Abirdbrain Chillin' With My Peeps

    You are in the cooler North (Like me) so development is later in the spring, and depends on food sources. (Flowering plants). Bees are pretty much an indescriminant feeder, taking all they can get, BUT, they sort every drop of nectar by taste, and that is reflected in the comb they build and fill with varying colors of honey, from the various plants. Feeding of sugar water syrup, will help a new hive to build a store, and allow the emerging brood to not stress the hive. Only older hive workers make wax, that build the comb, and the oldest field bees do all the collecting, until they die away from the hive. So it depends on the growth of the hive from May to Early September, and how you manage it, as to how much honey you can rob. They need food for the winter, so some is left and they can get sugar water in the winter (from you), so they dont starve out, the biggest reason for winter die off. ( your greed)

    Dadant and several other suppliers are good for foundations and wax sheets to start a good hive.. The hive itself can be handled by a Boy Scout with some mundane wood skills. Just a birdhouse with a few sticks inside. A small table saw is about the only really required tool, besides a drill and hammer for the wire nails. Once you know the dimensions of ONE hive box, the supers and short supers, are similar, and can be made with a bit of effort cutting the many parts for a ten frame box. While daunting at first, it is just the same square thing , over and over, to build all the frames. The base, inner top, and metal covered top, are very easy. You can upgrade a lot of scrap wood to make the many small parts needed, and they can be free, with only your time added.

    Above all, you must educate yourself into the lifecycle of the Bee, and its hazards, and stay in tune with it. What work you put in is minor compared to the do or die your bees live under. You can expect to have $150 or so in each store bought Hive and the bees. Then there is the suit, veil, tools and smoker. The suit is not necessary but recomended for beginers to avoid panic.

    You will find the Bees sting is mostly avoidable, and perhaps unpleasant, but beyond the initial terror, very managable when it happens. Many professionals do not wear gloves. It is at that point you are working WITH the bees, and not fighting them. For the hobbiest, it is the Apex, of the aviary for Honey. ( LOL) !

    I can go on being a know-it all, as I have done it, but the books probably do it better, so I will stop here. Now is the time to pick off some Ebay deals for smokers and veils and all the rest until spring time. It is my opinion to start with new wood equipment though, so that you dont inherit any virus, diseases, or other problems from a failed enterprise.

    I found it fascinating, and profitable. My downfall was upkeep, when my job swung into 60+ hour weeks, and my care got sloppy. My fault. Your milage may be diferent.
     
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Great information, thanks for sharing!


    Thank you to everyone for posting your experience, it's truly appreciated!
     
  5. heritagebirds

    heritagebirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Eastern Shore MD
    Hello NevadaRon,

    Sorry, it took so long to answer. They can produce a new queen, but mistook the activity that I saw in the hive, and they must have not successfully reared a new queen. She was two years old. The Bee Inspector said that he suggests requeening each year to prevent this. Just make sure to check up on your queen.
     
  6. NevadaRon

    NevadaRon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks heritagebirds! I assume you are going to be getting more?
     
  7. heritagebirds

    heritagebirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Eastern Shore MD
    That is the plan. :)
     
  8. NevadaRon

    NevadaRon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I picked up my starter bee kit today from LS Bees! [​IMG] The package bees will be arriving a week from tomorrow. I'm very excited - I've been wanting to do this for quite a while. It cmae with a 200+ page book, all written in the tiniest font ever! I'm gonna have a hard time reading all of that before the bees get here. But I also have a DVD so I'm going to re-watch it a couple of times. Any advice for the newb?
     
  9. Dwen

    Dwen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good luck with your hive!
    This is my second year with three colonies, and my advice is 1. find your county beekeeping association, 2. see if you can go to a beekeeper field day, they are fun & helpful for new beekeepers. Ours has already happened, but maybe they are a little later where you are. 3. make friends with experienced beekeepers in your area. Our association set me up with a bee mentor when I started last year, and I also have several other names and numbers that I can call when I have a question about my hives. That's the best advice I can give, other than to learn your stuff and enjoy your bees!
     
  10. Glenmar

    Glenmar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just set up my two hives last month. I am new too, but we took a class.
     

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