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The Lounge>The bee keeper diaries
Iowanian 06:59 PM 02-02-2017
It's a great time to buy stock in eppy pens.

This thread is a repository for bee keepers or those interested.

A couple of years ago, a couple of friends an my brother started puttering with honey bees. I didn't buy off because, well, I've never been a big fan of bees or getting stung by them. Last summer I tagged along a couple of times to check their hives and to remove honey bees from a house, public building and an old garage.

I realized at the end of the summer when I was helping them process some, that it's actually pretty interesting, and fits into my expanding "grow my own" logic. I'm not full blown hippy but I see a lot of logic in the self sustaining food thing and I'm doing some of that too.

That said, this thread is about bees, honey bees, bee keeping and bee fighting war stories.

I'm taking the leap and plan to get 2-3 hives this spring and maybe build some bee swarm traps to make it cheaper or to make a few bucks.

Join me and I'll share the real life lessons of an ameture bee keeper. I'm sure I'm going to learn some things the hard way.
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redhed 07:16 PM 02-02-2017
In.
3 hives wintering now. I checked them Monday when it was nice, looking good.
Starting my 3rd year.
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Chief Pote 07:20 PM 02-02-2017
In.
Several signs in the neighborhood that read "Local Honey For Sale", been meaning to stop and she what she looks like. :-)
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Iowanian 07:31 PM 02-02-2017
Last year I think my people got overzealous in removal projects. Some of them are easy and some apparently were a real pain....including one guy taking 50 stings and a doctor trip.

This year I think the plan is to back off of cutting bees out of houses, unless they are being torn down and trying to catch some swarms.

Myself and the others are looking for boxes if anyone knows someone who has some laying around and available.

I'm not going to pretend I know more than I do in this thread...I'm a virgin for the most part. I do have the luxury of friends with a couple of years experience to help me start, and I'm thinking about taking a class starting soon.

Other than being hot, sticky, messy and painful, the limited number of times I helped them get bees last year were pretty good rushes.

I'm here to learn as I go, if you have the knowledge and experience....teach us, starting with the basics.
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Dartgod 07:40 PM 02-02-2017
https://youtu.be/dU97w2DH5mc
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HonestChieffan 07:45 PM 02-02-2017
I loves me some great honey. Best I ever had was Yellow Starthistle honey from Northern California. Worst I ever had I enjoyed tremendously. Im allergic to bee stings.
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stumppy 07:49 PM 02-02-2017
Originally Posted by HonestChieffan:
I loves me some great honey. Best I ever had was Yellow Starthistle honey from Northern California. Worst I ever had I enjoyed tremendously. Im allergic to bee stings.
So you're saying honey is like pussy ? I had some yellow starthistle one time (it certainly felt like it) and the worst I ever had was wonderful.
Apologize for the derail.
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Iowanian 07:50 PM 02-02-2017
I've been watching quite a few YouTube videos of beginner tips, mistakes, bee traps etc...but most of them seem to be in the south where things are different.

I would appreciate hearing some stories and lessons from those of you with some experience.
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KS Smitty 07:52 PM 02-02-2017
Good luck Iowanian. Local honey is an excellent allergy preventative. We sell a lot of local honey, $20.00 for a quart. We also have a supplier that uses the racks where you can harvest the honey still in the comb (12.99 for 8 oz), very popular with the customers but much more labor intensive than spinning the honey out of the other type racks and he almost always runs out before the next harvest.
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Rain Man 07:56 PM 02-02-2017
Bees give me hives.
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stumppy 07:57 PM 02-02-2017
Have any of you used this type of hive ? I remember seeing some tv show about the guys who invented it. It looked and sounded like if was way better than the regular hives.
I think it was called the Easy Flow.
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KS Smitty 07:58 PM 02-02-2017
Originally Posted by Iowanian:
I've been watching quite a few YouTube videos of beginner tips, mistakes, bee traps etc...but most of them seem to be in the south where things are different.

I would appreciate hearing some stories and lessons from those of you with some experience.
Have you checked with your local extension office? We have a community college (non-accredited local interest type stuff) that offers beekeeping classes in the evenings.
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lewdog 08:16 PM 02-02-2017
I now buy all my honey on the side of the road by my house, from a Mexican guy and his wife.

The shit is so fucking legit. It's crazy how much better it is than store bought honey.
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Buehler445 08:17 PM 02-02-2017
Talk to farmers around you. Figure out if they spray for corn borer beetle. That insecticide is hard on bees and it has to be aerially applied so it can move some.

Are you going to plant a pollinator plot? If not I would. The best guys I know that deal in the specialty seed is Green Cover Seed in Bladen NE. greencoverseed.com
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redhed 08:55 PM 02-02-2017
I started off with a single pkg of Italians. Not too bright, you should always start 2-3.
The chances of a single pkg hive making it through the winter are significantly lower than having multiple hives. I got lucky with a mild winter.
I didn't take any honey from the hive that year.

I got 2 more pkg Italians last year, and those hives got a boost because I took some frames of capped honey and brood from the primary hive.
The same friggin day I installed those packages the primary hive swarmed. I was able to catch the swarm in a spare deep I had.
Thank god I had some spare lids and bottom boards, because it swarmed again the next day.
I caught that swarm as well. Yay me, I'm a real damn beekeeper now!!

So, that's five hives rolling now. I really went through the sugar this summer.
Feed the 2 package hives, feed the swarm hives a 1:1 sugar syrup.
I put a super on it at the beginning of the summer, but otherwise the Primary hive is own its own.
It should be strong enough and there is good forage for them.

Fast forward through the summer and both pkgs and primary look great.
Swarm hives are a little slower to draw out frames, but that's to be expected because they didn't get any drawn frames to start with.

I went on vacation for one damn week and I'm pretty sure one of the swarm hives swarmed when I was gone. I didn't immediately notice when I got back, so I think everything is ok. Everything is not ok. Wax moths have moved in and set up shop. The wax moths start doing their thing (killing the hive) for a while until I do an inspection and find hardly any bees but tons of wax moths and small hive beetle. ****, that swarm hive is a total loss. Scape off all the comb from the frames (1 deep fully drawn) and shove it in the freezer to kill the wax moth, SHB plus their eggs and larvae. I'll render the wax some day with all of the other old comb and nasty stuff.

By this time, main nectar flow is done. I go out to the apiary one day and it is full on robbing of the remaining swarm hive.
Bees are buzzing loudly as they bounce off each other and wrestle at the hive entrance. They are putting up a good fight, but it's just a matter of time before they are overrun.
The swarm hive is much weaker than the 3 pkg hives. I put on a robbing screen, but it is too late, the bees won't stop at this point.
I bite the bullet and take apart the hive. I was able to save about 8.5 frames of honey so not a total loss.

I had those 8+ frames and the full super from the primary hive to extract. I didn't take any honey from the 2 pkg hives.

I plan on doing some splits of the 2 pkg hives, and I'd bet on some more swarms as well. I just hope I have enough woodware. Shit starts adding up.

Good luck!!
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