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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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Iowanian 12:53 PM 07-22-2017
Originally Posted by redhed:
There is a new breed of bees that has been developed by Purdue university that are varroa mite resistant. They're called "anklebiter" because they bite the legs off the mites.

That's interesting. I have one hive with hive beetles. I haven't treated them but smash as many beetles as I can when I open it. I named that hive after a local welfare apartment complex because none of those bastards are working during the day and have bed bugs. They're mean too. If they make it through winter I'll pinch that queen in the spring.
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Buehler445 12:55 PM 07-22-2017
Originally Posted by Iowanian:
Northern Iowa is getting pounded by rain, hail and wind. Flooding in some areas. We are in a pretty bad drought in my area. Rains keep missing us by 30 miles
I know the feeling man except typically they're missing me by 300 miles. Hopefully you'll catch one.
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redhed 08:01 AM 07-23-2017
Originally Posted by Iowanian:
That's interesting. I have one hive with hive beetles. I haven't treated them but smash as many beetles as I can when I open it. I named that hive after a local welfare apartment complex because none of those bastards are working during the day and have bed bugs. They're mean too. If they make it through winter I'll pinch that queen in the spring.
I love smashing those little ****ers!
Small hive beetles usu aren't a problem in a strong hive. They're considered a secondary pest, and a lot of beeks (like myself) don't do anything to control.
Personally, I've never lost a hive to SHB. They've been in every hive I've had, but the bees seem to keep them in check. The bees push them into the upper portions of the hive (inner cover and the gaps between the hive body and frames) and I've not had them in the honeycomb.
Earlier this year I tried Swiffer sheets, but it caught more bees than SHB. I do not recommend.
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Iowanian 03:14 PM 08-12-2017
Planning on pulling honey boxes Labor Day weekend. It's been so dry and production has really been slow. I added boxes to a couple of hives 2 weeks ago that don't even have any comb drawn yet. Right now it's looking like I'll have around 200-250lbs of honey this year. I guess that isn't bad for year one but I was hoping for more.

I haven't dug deep into them in over a month and I'm thinking about it. One of my pals on the bee team checked his yesterday and has five dead or dying hives right now. Not sure why, but some have suggested fungicides on corn?

I guess I'm lucky so dpfar when I'm getting stung, I don't swell too bad....but my brother gets one and looks like things are broken. This is his hand from one shot to a finger, and since I know you're all here for the blood and guts I'll share......but I can't share the pic of his lip when he got stung there....looked like mush mouth from the Cosby show about 2 minutes later.
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allen_kcCard 04:04 PM 08-12-2017
What is pulling boxes? Taking them apart to extract the honey? What happens with the bees over winter?
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stumppy 04:22 PM 08-12-2017
Originally Posted by Iowanian:
Planning on pulling honey boxes Labor Day weekend. It's been so dry and production has really been slow. I added boxes to a couple of hives 2 weeks ago that don't even have any comb drawn yet. Right now it's looking like I'll have around 200-250lbs of honey this year. I guess that isn't bad for year one but I was hoping for more.

I haven't dug deep into them in over a month and I'm thinking about it. One of my pals on the bee team checked his yesterday and has five dead or dying hives right now. Not sure why, but some have suggested fungicides on corn?

I guess I'm lucky so dpfar when I'm getting stung, I don't swell too bad....but my brother gets one and looks like things are broken. This is his hand from one shot to a finger, and since I know you're all here for the blood and guts I'll share......but I can't share the pic of his lip when he got stung there....looked like mush mouth from the Cosby show about 2 minutes later.
Ouch!

Tell your brother to buy some jeans that fit. :-)
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Buehler445 04:23 PM 08-12-2017
Originally Posted by Iowanian:
Planning on pulling honey boxes Labor Day weekend. It's been so dry and production has really been slow. I added boxes to a couple of hives 2 weeks ago that don't even have any comb drawn yet. Right now it's looking like I'll have around 200-250lbs of honey this year. I guess that isn't bad for year one but I was hoping for more.

I haven't dug deep into them in over a month and I'm thinking about it. One of my pals on the bee team checked his yesterday and has five dead or dying hives right now. Not sure why, but some have suggested fungicides on corn?

I guess I'm lucky so dpfar when I'm getting stung, I don't swell too bad....but my brother gets one and looks like things are broken. This is his hand from one shot to a finger, and since I know you're all here for the blood and guts I'll share......but I can't share the pic of his lip when he got stung there....looked like mush mouth from the Cosby show about 2 minutes later.
More likkely miticide for spider mites or insecticide for corn rootworm beetles in corn or aphids in beans.
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Iowanian 07:02 PM 08-12-2017
Originally Posted by allen_kcCard:
What is pulling boxes? Taking them apart to extract the honey? What happens with the bees over winter?

Basics. There are what are "deep supers" and mediums/honey supers.

In the Midwest, you typically need 2 deeps with 10 frames each for the bees to live. The bottom one is typically where the queen lays most of the eggs and the second you want to see full of capped honey going into winter. They build their hives in a shape and usually have honey in the top.

We let them fill 2 deeps, and then when they are about 70-80% full you add a honey super. They are more like 6 1/2" deep with 10 frames. ( in the type of hives I have). When the honey Super is 80% full of capped honey you add another.....and hopefully another. All hives of bees are different and I don't know why. I have some I got the first day and one hive has 3 honey supers full and the other might fill one.

Each of the honey super stars will weigh probably 40lbs. A gallon of honey is 12lbs

So, when I said pull the boxes, I was referring to taking the honey supers, blowing the bees out and harvesting honey. In Iowa we do that before the golden rod blooms because that pollen makes the honey taste like shit.

I will document and share the harvesting process around Labor Day.
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Iowanian 07:05 PM 08-12-2017
Originally Posted by Buehler445:
More likkely miticide for spider mites or insecticide for corn rootworm beetles in corn or aphids in beans.
No idea what happened but there have been crop dusters in the area this month. All I know at this point is that his bees were fine a couple of eeeks ago and now 5 hives are basically dead. They also happen to be the purchased bees and the wild catches are doing ok.

We are learning that wild bees seem to be tougher.



If anyone else is doing this I'd sure like to see pics of your setup.
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Buehler445 07:50 PM 08-12-2017
Originally Posted by Iowanian:
No idea what happened but there have been crop dusters in the area this month. All I know at this point is that his bees were fine a couple of eeeks ago and now 5 hives are basically dead. They also happen to be the purchased bees and the wild catches are doing ok.

We are learning that wild bees seem to be tougher.



If anyone else is doing this I'd sure like to see pics of your setup.
Insecticide and miticide are made to kill bugs. I wouldn't know how a fungicide could affect bee physiology but I'm no entomologist.
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Buehler445 07:54 PM 08-12-2017
Makes sense that wild bees would be tougher. If they're from the area they've had ancillary exposure to pesticides and disease in the area.
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srvy 07:58 PM 08-12-2017
Originally Posted by stumppy:
Ouch!

Tell your brother to buy some jeans that fit. :-)
Hope he wasnt on the shitter for that pic.:-)
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Iowanian 09:10 AM 09-01-2017
Today is the day.

I'm taking off in a while to go loot some honey. I'm sure they'll be unhappy about it, but I'll have some pics to share of the process at the end of the weekend.
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Buehler445 09:55 AM 09-01-2017
Don't die about it.
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Iowanian 11:36 AM 09-04-2017
This weekend I was reminded of an old MadTV skit.....Lowered expectations.

We sang that theme a few times as we gathered the honey supers from our hives.
I had hopes and expectations for 20-25 gallons from my five, first year hives. The final tally from my first year of bee keeping was a little under 10 gallons. Some people don't get any from a first year hive, and we experience a drought that burned out the white clover and dandelions which is a major source of honey, so I should probably be happy to have any at all.

I know you're all watching for the crashes....I only took a couple of half stings through the gloves and on my taint when I squatted down one smashed one. The wreck of the weekend was my brother again, who got stung in the eye lid. We had to pull the stinger with pliers, and I'm not going to lie....I'm guessing it hurt like a sonnabitch.

The basic process. We take th hive tops off, replace it with a different type of lid that has a few spritzes of a substance that smells like almond extract that bees hate. Most of the bees leave that Super. After a few minutes we pop the Super off and place it on a stand and use a battery powered blower to blow bees out of the box and frames. We do this because you don't want a bunch of pissed off bees in your shop when you extract.

Once we do that, we take the boxes of frames to my buddies shop which is a nice setup. We use a leaf blower to blast as many of the remaining bees from the box as we can and take them indoors. When you're done with s load, a truck is almost unapproachable due to th volume of lost, confused and angry bees.

Once inside we use hot knifes to scrape the wax caps from the frames of capped honey. This is the uncapping process and there are other ways including using something that looks like a comb. The wax has to be removed to get the honey out. Then we put the frames into a machine that spins the honey out of the comb...we run that honey into a filter and then into buckets. You have to filter to get the pieces of wax and comb out of the honey, as well as bee legs and hive beetles and other chunks of things you don't want.

We put the honey into buckets for storage and then it can be bottled at a later time.

Year one....I learned a lot. So far I've enjoyed doing it, like spending time with our small bee team and it provides a great conversation topic in both my business and personal life.

This year we totaled around 975lbs of honey as a group.

I'll share a few pics for those that like them.
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