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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 11:38 AM 09-04-2017
There is a lot more to the process. Wax needs to be melted and cleaned, and making sure the bees are healthy going into winter.

Financially, bee keeping year one is an ass kicking, but hobbies cost money and this one at least gives something back to our family and friends and has potential to pay off going forward. I've already decided I won't buy more bee nucs. I'll capture swarms and maybe a few cutouts. I think wild bees are tougher.

After some discussion, I will probably add a couple of hives next year and I'm thinking more about a top bar hive so I can get some comb and honey. Seems to be demand for that

Pics aren't uploading so I may have to resize and add later.
Hog's Gone Fishin 01:45 PM 09-04-2017
Very interesting!
Buehler445 02:47 PM 09-04-2017
Originally Posted by Iowanian:
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 spritzer of a substance that smells like almond extract that bees hate. Most other leave that Super. After a few minutes we pop the Super off and place it on a stand and use a batter powered blower to blow bees out of the box and frames. We do this because you don't want a bunch of oissed off bees 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 s machine that spins the honey out of the comb...we run that honey into a filter and 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.
That is damned interesting. Nobody has ever told me how that stuff works. Partially nobody here does it. And if your drought will adversely affect bee production, it would be a joke around here. Thanks for posting.

And HOLY MOTHER FUCK. Anything you have to pull out of me with pliers I am not interested in. And sorry about your Taint man, LOL.
Iowanian 03:40 PM 09-04-2017
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Iowanian 03:42 PM 09-04-2017
Moar bee pics
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Pitt Gorilla 03:44 PM 09-04-2017
That's awesome.
patteeu 03:46 PM 09-04-2017
Cool hobby, Iowanian.
Buehler445 03:51 PM 09-04-2017
Looks like a clean professional operation. Well done.

If it were me, I'd have 30 acres coated in sticky honey product.

Thanks for sharing.
Iowanian 04:01 PM 09-04-2017
So far I've learned that like most of my other farm related hobbies, bee keeping has turned me into a magician.

Take $1500 and say the magic word..."bitch better have my honey" and Poof! It's now $400!!!!'s not about the money.. it's interesting and I find it calming and relaxing to go watch and screw with my bees. It's also been a great ice breaker conversation topic. It helps our farm, orchard, garden and I get to tell hippies that I'm a deplorable who does more hippy earth shit that's they do. Bonus.

Thanks for watching. Tune in next spring for a game of "did any of them survive the winter"
rydogg58 04:13 PM 09-04-2017
I talked with my old man last week and he said he got quite a bit more honey this year than last. Between all 15 of his hives he collected just under 600 pounds. I guess all the heavy spring rain did some good.
LiveSteam 04:16 PM 09-04-2017
Most excellent Iowanian
Buzz 04:21 PM 09-04-2017
I was caulking the side of the house about 3 weeks ago and was standing over a bush that just so happened to have a yellow jacket nest underneath it. I got nailed on the knee and knocked that one off pretty quick, the one that was going to town repeatedly stinging my ankle had me doing the funky dance across the drive. Later that evening I went out and dumped some gas in the hole and dam if I didn't get nailed in the palm. That shit hurt for a good week.
KS Smitty 04:26 PM 09-04-2017
How awesome! Excellent pics of the extracting process. Your honey has great color, I bet it tastes "real". Hippie earth shit is good for the planet no matter who does it. Looking forward to next spring!
ghak99 05:03 PM 09-04-2017
Great pics!

Really enjoyed seeing some of the process.
Iowanian 06:06 PM 09-04-2017
Originally Posted by KS Smitty:
How awesome! Excellent pics of the extracting process. Your honey has great color, I bet it tastes "real". Hippie earth shit is good for the planet no matter who does it. Looking forward to next spring!

There are four of us who putter with this together. Honestly I probably wouldn't do it without them, it's just more fun helping each other.

We plan to do a lineup and taste test. Our honey was in 4-5 different locations. Mine should be heavy alfalfa and wood,and wildflowers, while another guy is surrounded by a couple of hundred acres of pollinator CRP fields. I'm interested to see the difference from place to place.
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