Bee keeping

gifters

In the Brooder
Apr 7, 2015
98
12
43
Good to know their are honey bees around, yes I put salt down. I thought it might be that but didn't know. Its interesting that they were fighting but ignored the dogs and people.

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wyoDreamer

Crowing
9 Years
Nov 10, 2010
4,760
5,920
411
NE Wisconsin
We are surrounded by cash croppers rental fields and swamplands. I am concerned about the bee population around here - with all apple trees in bloom, I don't see any bees anywhere. Only wasps. Is there a hive set-up that I could put out for attracting bees and not have to maintain?
I don't want another project of collecting honey and taking care of bees.
 

jacksandjills

In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 17, 2013
37
3
25
sapulpa oklahoma
You can build a swarm trap. Put some limon grass oil in it and they might move in. Then just leave them alone. Bees really don't need us, we just want their honey
 
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Life is Good!

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,179
222
226
suburbia Chicagoland
Is there a hive set-up that I could put out for attracting bees and not have to maintain?
Unfortunately, not exactly.
BUT....you can find a local beekeeper and offer to lease your land to them to put a hive on. Our neighbors did that in their homestead orchard because of that exact same issue (maintenance). How to find a local beekeeper? Every state has a state organization. Most large cities have a bee club or organization. If all else fails, call your local fire department and ask who they contact to remove unwanted bees from buildings (or swarms).
This might be the best solution for you. Bees are truly amazing insects, I've learned much from them these past 3yrs, but yes, it's something else to do around this homestead of ours. While the work is minimal (about an hour a week), it's amazing how a few of those 'it's just an hour' things expand around you! Pruning fruit trees, spraying fruit trees, weeding veggie garden, weeding flower beds, mowing, mowing, mowing some more, watering, watering plants, watering bees, watering hens, watering chick coop, watering livestock, feeding us, feeding bees, feeding hens, feeding chicks, feeding livestock - you get the idea! It's enough to drive one batty! No wonder farmers walk around babbling to themselves - it's their to-do list! (Or at least it is for me!)
 

jacksandjills

In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 17, 2013
37
3
25
sapulpa oklahoma
You can be as involved as you want to. You can move frames around, make splits, harvest honey, feed them, look for eggs.mostly Make sure the hive is healthy and has a laying queen. You can easily go 2 weeks between inspections. but you won't want to cause there so fun
 

Life is Good!

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,179
222
226
suburbia Chicagoland
What is standard care for a hive?
You say an hour a week, what do you do in that time?
Standard care is similar to starting chicks. You get this box of bees (package) or a small beginner hive (nuc), both of which need to be fed to get a good strong start. I'm a naturalist, and feed my beginning hives back the honey I swiped from other hives (instead of sugar syrup which is not a natural food for bees). Many folks feed pollen patties as well to help the hive get a great start in the spring. There is much in the way of management which I'm still learning and know I cannot know everything, no matter how much I read and watch!

In an hour a week, I do the following (because my apiary is in my backyard, so I don't have to drive out to it)....

5min getting dressed in bee gear (long pants, long sleeve shirt, bee-jacket with attached veil, gloves)
5min gathering gear (smoker, fuel for smoker, hive tool, containers (either of feed or to remove honey or damaged comb), rubber bands, string, scissors)
5min getting the smoker lit (and staying lit)
5min walking out to hives and watching to determine what I need to do where
10-15min per hive (inspecting frames, looking for trouble or further issues, closing hives up again) - I've got two active hives right now, so I figure 30min for inspecting both hives
5min walking back to house, getting out of bee clothing and securing the smoker (don't set your house on fire!)

This does not include the daily walk-by's I do three times a day to see what the bees are doing. As our apiary is in our backyard, when the dog needs to go out, I go and see what's happening! That's how I know my neighbor's hive had swarmed - I happened to be outside when they flew over my apiary! That was exciting!

There's a whole bunch of great resources on-line...forums such as backyardchickens - great people who don't (typically) cut down newbies for asking questions. The one I like best is beesource forums....but there are a lot of others, including the one here on the backyardherds -

And much like chickens, remember, the events of livestock ALWAYS, without fail, happen at the most inopportune time! So, Sunday morning, I found that chicks had hatched overnight. Or right before going to a meeting, I see the hens tipped their waterer over (I'm in heels and a skirt dashing back to the house to grab garden boots to enter the run to refill on a 90 degree day - making me late for the meeting!)...it's never dull with homesteading, is it?!

Much like chickens, just start reading! Ask questions! Find a class if you can - many places offer beginning beekeeping courses.
Good luck!
 

Life is Good!

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,179
222
226
suburbia Chicagoland
What is standard care for a hive?
You say an hour a week, what do you do in that time?
Oh, hey....just realized there's a very nice concise article in the current Mother Earth News (June/July 2015, pg. 54-58) which addresses this topic exactly - although exceptionally briefly.

Also if you google 'mother earth news beekeeping' there's a whole bunch of articles dating from the present to way, way back.

Here's one I found concise and pretty much on topic from January 2015:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/so-you-want-to-bee-a-beekeeper-zbcz1501.aspx

I hope this helps!
 
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HeritageGoose13

Songster
Apr 24, 2015
1,201
109
148
We are surrounded by cash croppers rental fields and swamplands. I am concerned about the bee population around here - with all apple trees in bloom, I don't see any bees anywhere. Only wasps. Is there a hive set-up that I could put out for attracting bees and not have to maintain?
I don't want another project of collecting honey and taking care of bees.
Look up mason bees. Also called blue orchard bees sometimes. You just put up a nest and they can pollinate 10 x better than honeybees, plus they're native to America unlike honeybees. Only thing is, you're not getting any honey from them.
 

Foghornnmsprisy

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 6, 2014
72
11
41
Austin/Bastrop Texas
Wasp, bumbles, butterfly's and humming birds all pollinate. The bees are easier to care for than chickens. Harvest is only twice a year. You keep an eye on them twice a month during a nectar flow. We love our
busy bees. Check out Bees and Beeks on Facebook for an inside view.
 
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