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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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allen_kcCard 10:42 AM 09-05-2017
What kind of land do you have that you set it up on? A pasture away from any sort of potential human visitors?
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Iowanian 11:16 AM 09-05-2017
Originally Posted by Dave Lane:
The top feeders must be new. Course I was doing this 40 years ago so I'd expect some changes. Should set the hives on a concrete slab or?
There are quite a few variants and I'm told they are improving, but this image basically tells the story. You can put up to a gallon in some of them, bees access from the inside. The screens allow them to come up and down into the pool and use the screen to access it without drowning.

Some people also feed pollen patties but I'm told to be cautious with that on the time of year because increased pollen can stimulate the queen to ramp up the egg laying before it's really appropriate timing.


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Iowanian 11:20 AM 09-05-2017
Originally Posted by allen_kcCard:
What kind of land do you have that you set it up on? A pasture away from any sort of potential human visitors?
I have a small farm, a bout half hay ground and half timber. I keep the bees in an area at the bottom of a hill a hundred yards or so from my house. They are protected on the west, south and north from wind by trees, have early morning sun through afternoon and a pond and creek nearby. They're sitting on the edge of rolling alfalfa fields with several on adjacent farms as well. Myself and a few neighbors also have fruit trees within bee range as well.


Just got my first message and I'll make my first honey sale at 5pm. That's almost as exciting as filling that first bottle, but not quite.


Need to get done with this honey thing and get ready to press apple cider.
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Dave Lane 01:24 PM 09-05-2017
I have area that would be similar. Mostly corn, wheat and soybeans nearby, well and cows. What do you set the hives on and how do keep grass clear if it's just setting on the ground?

I'm thinking some big pavers with lots of plastic under them then set the hive on 5/4 treated base.
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Amnorix 02:27 PM 09-05-2017
Just wanted to chime in to say thanks for the cool stories!
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Iowanian 02:42 PM 09-05-2017
Originally Posted by Dave Lane:
I have area that would be similar. Mostly corn, wheat and soybeans nearby, well and cows. What do you set the hives on and how do keep grass clear if it's just setting on the ground?

I'm thinking some big pavers with lots of plastic under them then set the hive on 5/4 treated base.
I think that would work. If possible I think I'd try to stay at least a little ways from the ag crop fields to avoid pesticide spray.

Everyone does them a little different.

My bases currently are a tarp with mulch on top of them and I have pallets leveled(a little high on the back side to keep water from running into hive entrance). One of the other guys has gravel leveled and then has built bases of 2x6 on top of 4x4 posts.

I've seen other people set posts and build a platform a little higher than knee high to make it a little easier to work on them.

My thought is if you mulch around them so the entrance doesn't get blocked and you have room to work them, tarps and mulch has worked fine. My hayfield is mowed 3-4 times per year within 20' of the hives and I've whacked weeds down once or twice. That's mostly so I can peek out the bedroom window and see them with bincocs.

I'm not sure there is a right answer as long as the location, light and wind protection is good. But....I haven't kept bees through a winter yet, so don't listen to the new guy as gospel.

I bought the book "bee keeping for dummies" and it's got a lot of great information.
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Dave Lane 10:12 AM 09-11-2017
I think this is how I will go if I pull the trigger. No opening hive for honey and way less disturbance and hive weakening.

https://www.honeyflow.com/shop/flow-...y-bundle/p/282
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Iowanian 01:45 PM 09-13-2017
If you choose to go the way of the flow hive, I'll be curious to hear your thoughts once you're using it. I've heard arguments for and against them but have no experience at all.

If they work well and make collection that much easier it would be a no brainer.
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redhed 10:45 AM 10-24-2017
This year's hives (Italian, from a bee guy in KS):
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redhed 11:00 AM 10-24-2017
The girls made some beautiful comb this year; uncapped frame in the background
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redhed 11:03 AM 10-24-2017
My extracting setup, a lil' 2 framer
This one came with a hand crank, but I needed more power (Tim Allen grunt)!
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redhed 11:14 AM 10-24-2017
I used an uncapping roller this year (instead of an uncapping fork), and I'll never go back. There was a lot less wax in the tub this time around, less honey dripping out of the cells, and it's much faster/easier to do. Here is a frame just after uncapping, ready to go into the spinner.
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redhed 11:18 AM 10-24-2017
I got about 4.6 gallons this year; not too shabby for a couple of first year package hives.
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scho63 01:53 PM 10-24-2017
Seems like some of you are behind the times.....




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Iowanian 03:18 PM 10-24-2017
Originally Posted by redhed:
I got about 4.6 gallons this year; not too shabby for a couple of first year package hives.
I've wondered about the roller for uncapping but have been concerned that it wouldn't make large enough holes to get all of the honey out. You were happy with the results it sounds like, so maybe we can do a test next year.

Your honey is pretty light in color. Was the main food source clover?


For some reason I can't upload pics now, but I've moved on to the next phase.
We've had some rainy, windy days so I've spent a little time moving onto the next phase(in addition to trying to sell a little honey when I have time).

The past couple of weeks we have been slicing apples from our trees, and applying honey from my bees and dehydrating them for snacks. I've done quite a few with a brown sugar and cinnamon also, but don't judge me.

I've sold about half of what I'm going to and plan to keep some back for use, storage and things like teacher gifts for the kids.

I did break down and put some strips for mites in the hives, but I'm on the fence about how much I'm going to winterize them.
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