Honeybee Keeping

Discussion in 'DIY / Self Sufficiency' started by chicken19, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. chicken19

    chicken19 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am getting honeybees.
    What types of bees do you recommend?
    What do you do for winter?
    What types of hives are the best?
    Basically, tell me everything about beekeeping!!!![​IMG]
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Where do you live? That info is needed before anything can help much.
    I don't know where Narnia is. [​IMG]

    Your climate may have an impact on what type of bees to get and what to do for winter.
    Langstroth type hives are most common.
    You need a bottom board, a deep hive body (perhaps 2) for a brood box and supers (shallow/medium/deep hive bodies) for honey production.

    For everything about beekeeping you'd be better off buying a book.
    Really, there is no way someone could take the time to type everything there is to know about beekeeping.
    I have beekeeping apprentices and after many days of teaching, they don't know everything about the topic.
    Here's a good place to start.
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0801476941...vptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_6y0n2rkb50_b
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
  3. chicken19

    chicken19 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sorry, I don't like to tell people where I live.
    It does freeze very hard here in the winter.
    Do you recommend getting a teacher to help me with bees?
    And do you recommend buying a hive?
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    That's OK, hive management is very dependent on climate which is why I asked. How hard of a freeze do you consider very hard and for how long?
    As I said, I can't really recommend a type of bee without climate info. Russians are quite hardy but are slow to build up after winter so may miss some of the good nectar flows. Carniolans and Italians will build up faster but aren't as hardy.
    Another consideration is mite resistance between varieties.
    You can raise them pretty well anywhere there is a long enough season so they can put away sufficient stores for winter and raise enough brood for replacement bees.
    I recommend joining a local bee keeping club, sometimes they have classes. But, as a beginner, you'll still need a book for constant reference.
    The book I suggested has management information for various climates.
     
  5. chicken19

    chicken19 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you[​IMG]
     
  6. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have any woodworking tools/skills? Lumber prices vary but I can build a deep 8 frame box for under $4.00. Buying them is close to $20 give or take. So there can be huge savings in building your own supplies. Bee keeping is unlike any other hobby I have based on the fact that everyone has there own opinion about doing things. Everyone will tell you a different way to do things and why there way is the only correct way. If I were you I would go to beesource.com they have a good forum with knowledgeable people.

    I live in Indiana so we can have some pretty cold winters. My first package of bees were carnies that came from California and they survived their first Indiana winter fine. So they can adapt well. And two winters ago was one of the coldest on record.

    I am trying to trap swarms now so i am not paying for bees but if I was starting out I would buy what they call a "nuc" (nucleus hive). It is a smaller hive, typically with 5 frames. They are started the prior year or early spring so they already have a laying queen, brood, etc. It will help you get started quicker. Prices vary each year but last year in Indiana a three pound package of bees was averaging $120-$130 and a nuc was only $150-$170. If you buy a package you have to dump them into a new hive and they have to draw comb etc to start laying eggs. The nuc is already going you just pull the frames out and put them into you hive and they will continue to grow.

    I am only in my third year so I still have a lot to learn.
     
  7. chicken19

    chicken19 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much. Do you sometimes put out 'candyboards' in the winter for extra nutrition?
     
  8. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I never have. Each year going into winter I lift on my hives to see how heavy they are, to gauge how much honey is in them. Last year one of them was almost empty so I added dry sugar into the hive to get them through February.
     
  9. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There's simply much too much to learn to explain it all in a post.

    First, got to your local library - borrow as many books as you can find on the subject of beekeeping - interlibrary loan, whatever you have to do. Buy cheap off Amazon the ones you find helpful and like. Nothing like needing a piece of information from an interlibrary loaned book (gahh!!!).

    Second, search on-line for a local beekeepers club. Some clubs are good. Some are not. Depends on what you wish to learn and the willingness of the group. Search out folks who have been keeping bees for a very very long time. Ask polite questions. Listen to the answers. Take notes. Be a good student!

    Third, sign up on the boards www.beesource.com - they're much like these boards. Lots of helpful information. Too much at times! Spend countless hours reading. Spend more hours reading.

    Fourth, if you are interested in organic beekeeping, sign up for the yahoo group, "Organic Beekeepers" - Dee Lusby runs it, she's been a beekeeper since she was 10 or so - she's got her critics, but her information is sound, or has been for me in N IL. She has an annual conference, it's coming up end of February. I highly recommend it if you can get to Tuscon, AZ. And hey, Tuscon in the wintertime is pretty darn nice for those of us where it freezes hard for months on end.

    Fifth, read some more.

    Sixth, take a class somewhere. Get to know local bee-teachers (not the same folks as in the club, at least not here!).

    Seventh, buy yourself a beesuit and smoker (again, choices are many, options are great, it's personal and hard to recommend gear for someone if you don't know them).

    Eigth - Volunteer at a local agency that has bees - historic farms around here have them and need people to work their hives. You'll be learning hands on, using equipment, seeing what works and what doesn't. Once you've learned a thing or two - keep volunteering! Don't drop and run just because you think you've learned enough. Every season is different; every hive is different; what makes one hive survive is different in different fields....keep good notes!

    Ninth - NEVER, ever, stop learning! The bees will teach you, not the other way around. Know they are a sentient, survivalist animal that you are simply helping by housing - and you'll all get along just fine.

    Good luck! Have fun! Beekeeping is an adventure which does not end - and it's tasty too!
     
    3 people like this.
  10. chicken19

    chicken19 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! I have already got all the books from my library on beekeeping, but I'll get some more.
    My favourite book so far is Keeping Bees by Ashley English. I read it cover to cover.
    I've already signed up to a board called 'beemaster' but I can switch to Beesource?
     

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