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Convince me not to give up bee keeping

  1. #1
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Convince me not to give up bee keeping


    2 weeks ago, my bees swarmed, unlike last year when I caught the swarm, I didn't catch them

    Last weekend I opened the hive to see if a new queen had emerged yet, no sign of any open queen cells but there was 1 unhatched queen cell, after inspecting the hive when I began to reassemble the hive, I was attacked, my fault for not being completely suited up, I only had on my bee hat, a long sleeve white t shirt and my motorcycle gauntlet gloves ( what I have always used as I have not been able to find bee gloves big enuf) the attacking bees crawled inside my gauntlets and I was stung approx 40 times on my left forearm and at least a dozen on my right forearm, almost all the stings were inside my gloves. I had to walk away from the hive , brush the bees off me and then I put on my tyvek suit and returned to the hive to reassemble it and believe me, they were still trying to sting me more

    after finishing tending the bees, I continued other yard work, then drove to my sons house to visit, on the way there, my arms started to itch a bit whenI got there I asked him if he has any Benadryl, nope, he made a quick run down to the corner store and picked some up, I took 4, visited more then drove home, My left arm swelled some, I continued to take Benadryl the next day, but after that kept the itch under control with Witch Hazel, by Wednesday I was back to normal

    Today, I'm working in my garden, I hear the bees again, the new queen has hatched and up in a tree with a smaller swarm this time, maybe she's just out to mate, who knows.

    This time, only 40-50 feet up in a different pine tree, not 100 feet like 2 weeks ago, in the same tree as last years swarm I caught in a branch directly above






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    Large member Larry's Avatar
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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Bee keeping sounds like a lot of work and dangerous too. You should just buy honey at the store and find a hobby that involves 2 wheels, a motor, and a race track.

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Honey is only one of the benefits of beekeeping, my initial reason for getting bees was to pollinate my garden, before I had bees, my garden had no fruit, pollination is still the most important reason to have bees for me

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    Senior Member WinVT's Avatar
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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    I don't know anything about beekeeping. Why do they swarm like that? Is it when they lose the queen?

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Quote Originally Posted by WinVT View Post
    I don't know anything about beekeeping. Why do they swarm like that? Is it when they lose the queen?
    no, when a new queen is about to hatch, half the colony leaves with the old queen to find a new home (reason half of them left a couple weeks ago, its how the colony reproduces), not sure what the secondary swarming is about, the bees are just absconding afik

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    Don't bother me! R7's Avatar
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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry View Post
    Bee keeping sounds like a lot of work and dangerous too. You should just buy honey at the store and find a hobby that involves 2 wheels, a motor, and a race track.

    It's not dangerous at all..just a certain level of caution you need to use when going into their home. After becoming a beekeeper myself, I can say I will never be able to eat store bought honey again. It may say all natural, but the ingredients list on the jar says otherwise.

    I wouldn't give up Randy, maybe just tone it back to 1 or 2 hives. I know I was going to expand and add more, just to try and make a buck or 2 from the honey, but it's really not worth the time and effort. 1 hive would be plenty for me, 2 is the max I want to take care of.
    I can tell from my yard alone, that having thousands of pollinators around has tripled the fruit volume.

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Quote Originally Posted by R7 View Post
    having thousands of pollinators around has tripled the fruit volume.
    Sounds like a race weekend.

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Quote Originally Posted by R7 View Post
    It's not dangerous at all..just a certain level of caution you need to use when going into their home. After becoming a beekeeper myself, I can say I will never be able to eat store bought honey again. It may say all natural, but the ingredients list on the jar says otherwise.

    I wouldn't give up Randy, maybe just tone it back to 1 or 2 hives. I know I was going to expand and add more, just to try and make a buck or 2 from the honey, but it's really not worth the time and effort. 1 hive would be plenty for me, 2 is the max I want to take care of.
    I can tell from my yard alone, that having thousands of pollinators around has tripled the fruit volume.
    I read an article last week that most store bought honey is garbage and contains no pollen because its been superfiltered or something like that. basically it means its been cleaned out of some good stuff, watered down and sold with no way of determining where its come from. most of this crap is illegally imported from China through other countries. so if you want good honey either do it yourself or from a local source.

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    You're an experienced keeper, I was gonna mention pollination but you did so in another post...I agree that's reason enough, more so than the honey.

    A few weeks ago I was at the parents house in VT and there was an article in the local paper about the "pollinators disappearing", seems like they're going bye bye kinda like the bats.

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  10. #10

    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    keep it up, it just sounds cool!!!

    the first pic looks crazy!! there's like a million bees!! 2-stroke city!!

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Quote Originally Posted by breakdirt916 View Post
    keep it up, it just sounds cool!!!

    the first pic looks crazy!! there's like a million bees!! 2-stroke city!!
    prolly only 20,000 or so its just a small swarm compared to the last 2 times

    doesn't really sound like a 2 stroke as much as it does tire noise on a busy highway



    Looks like I will be starting over next spring, the few bees that are left in my hive are I don't think are viable to survive the winter

    I'm beginning to think that bees don't like my location, I have plenty of red maple for early season foraging, after that, my bees prolly have to fly at least a mile round trip for pollen & nectar, the small amount I have in my yard isn't enuf, I have more ferns & moss than anything bees like

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    Last edited by RandyO; 08-05-13 at 06:41 AM.
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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Maple and Red Maple are a great early source of nectar for honey bees...but timing in the North East is an issue - usually to cold for bees to fly.....
    Did you get their email after the first swarm - plant more fruit trees and get your neighbors to cut the pesticides?

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    I feel like asking the same question after today! I've been able to mow my lawn for the past 3 years without getting stung...until today. I knew one of my hives was getting aggressive, noticed it about 2-3 weeks ago as they would "spot" me if I was closer than 10-15' from the hive. The dog has also been stung a few times being somewhat close.
    Today cutting the grass, first pass by, I felt a couple fly into my head a couple times, but no stings, second..third and forth passes, same thing. The 5th... and at this point I'm over 15' away, and I feel them hitting me in the head, and feel the stings in the arm. As I'm running away pushing the mower, I look over and see the dog getting it as well. Once I pulled the stingers from my arms and the dogs nose, I put the bee jacket on the finish mowing and they were all over me. I bag the grass, so it's not like something gets flung into them.
    Not sure if i'll bother to requeen this time of year, but I'll at least open it up and see what I can find inside that may be causing the problem.

    I'm at the point with these that the cost, time and hassle to keep them alive and healthy is more than they are worth to me

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    20 or so years ago I brewed a couple batches of long mead from a friend's fresh homegrown honey. They were fantastic.

    (A long mead is made like wine, takes about 18 months start to drinkable. Short meads are brewed (and taste) more like an ale, and only take a few weeks to make.)

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    My "Bee guy" didn't even bother to have bees this year. Said it was just getting like work sometimes, so I made sure to buy another case of honey while he still had some. The local stuff is just, soooo damn good.

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    The last swarm that I had stayed in a ball 60feet in a branch almost directly above they hive they came from for over 2 weeks and have finally moved on, but not before building a couple of honeycombs they left hanging from the branch

    Convince me not to give up bee keeping-022-jpg

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    Don't bother me! R7's Avatar
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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilB View Post
    20 or so years ago I brewed a couple batches of long mead from a friend's fresh homegrown honey. They were fantastic.

    (A long mead is made like wine, takes about 18 months start to drinkable. Short meads are brewed (and taste) more like an ale, and only take a few weeks to make.)

    PhilB
    I've never tried it, but heard it isn't bad. To me though, the $$ value of the fresh honey is to high to convert to a drink

    Quote Originally Posted by PinHead View Post
    My "Bee guy" didn't even bother to have bees this year. Said it was just getting like work sometimes, so I made sure to buy another case of honey while he still had some. The local stuff is just, soooo damn good.
    To keep them healthy, it's a lot of work. It's also weather dependent..so all that work and money could be waisted if it's a shitty growing season. I'll continue to put the effort in to keep them alive, but if they don't make the winter, I probably won't replace them next season.
    There is nothing like local honey...you cannot buy anything even remotely close in a store. I had over 70 jars last year, all sold and the same people begging me for more.

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    The last swarm that I had stayed in a ball 60feet in a branch almost directly above they hive they came from for over 2 weeks and have finally moved on, but not before building a couple of honeycombs they left hanging from the branch

    Convince me not to give up bee keeping-022-jpg
    That's pretty cool they built the comb up there!

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Quote Originally Posted by R7 View Post
    To keep them healthy, it's a lot of work. It's also weather dependent..so all that work and money could be waisted if it's a shitty growing season. I'll continue to put the effort in to keep them alive, but if they don't make the winter, I probably won't replace them next season.
    Even if I put the effort in, I don't expect my bees to survive the winter, at this point, I'm not even sure if there's a queen in the hive at this point, I've had 3 swarms come out of the same hive within a 6 week time period.

    I began keeping bees for pollination, so I'll prolly get another package for the spring, if just for the pollination over the summer, and I may work a deal with a berry farmer for a 2nd hive in his field that would cover the cost of a 2nd package, he's only a half mile away so its probably where my bees have been foraging anyway, it's the direction of the beeline I see running from my hives and over the roof of my house that I see them fly and return from

    I'm thinking I really only need one hive in my yard for my pollination purposes, and to keep em here, I'll clip the queen's wings

    I'm told I can only get $50-$75 a year for a stationary hive, and don't want to really get into commercial pollination services moving hives around following crops, I understand California almond growers pay as much as $250/hive for just a couple weeks, then move on to another crop

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Well considering the dieing Bee problem I think it is/was a noble effort in general. Even if you have launched 3 new hives into the environment.

    Its probably the Strom hood ornament that made them leave

    A couple of moveable hives near a food source sounds like it would be good

    Don't bees get more aggressive around Queen/swarming season ?

    Some 3m blue paint tape would seal off the gauntlets then come clean off

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Stromper View Post
    Don't bees get more aggressive around Queen/swarming season ?
    bees are least aggressive when swarming

    they become more aggressive in the fall when they are protecting their winter honey stores

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Call me lazy, but I finally mustered up the time and energy to open my hives yesterday after noticing they were aggressive 2 1/2-3 weeks ago.
    My first hive looked great, full of bees, several frames of pollen, several frames of brood, but only about 20-30lbs of honey,,,most of it not even capped. Mite check confirmed I need to treat for mites this year. I closed it up and the plan is to start feeding them, and treat for mites. No honey from that hive and hopefully with some aggressive feeding, they can store 60+ lbs before it gets to cold.

    My second hive..the aggressive one seemed very quiet. Take the top off, top super is 100% full of honey, not even a single cell left empty. Go down to the next super and still, a lot of honey, but not full. Once at the brood nest, lots of brood, some even a day or 2 old..which was a good sign. However, there were very few bees in the hive. Digging a bit more, I found the old queen cell, so my guess is a had a swarm 2-3 weeks ago, lost the queen and half the bees. It was clear there is a new queen, so I didn't go any further. Mite check confirmed that I also need to treat this hive for mites. The honey, I'm guessing 80-100lbs, I left it in there for now. I may still go back this weekend and pull 40lbs out and feed them, but not sure yet. I'm also guessing, that this hive robbed the other hive of their honey. I put the entrance reducers in about the same time I noticed they were getting aggressive, but was probably to late and the damage was already done.
    If I pull the 40lbs of honey out and mix with the 40lbs I pulled out about 1 1/2 months ago, I should be close to what i had last year...about 4-5 gallons

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Do any of you beekeepers make honey mead? If so id be interested in buying some off you

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    Don't bother me! R7's Avatar
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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Quote Originally Posted by GingahNinjah View Post
    Do any of you beekeepers make honey mead? If so id be interested in buying some off you
    My neighbor wants to try it, but it's not something I want to try..only because the honey value pure is far greater IMHO, and it costs quite a bit to take care of the bees. The fluid value of the honey this season for me was $120.00 per gallon....next season I'm probably going to up it again to the $150 range

    Convince me not to give up bee keeping-honey-jpg

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    Last edited by R7; 11-05-13 at 08:05 PM.
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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    As I posted before, not sure if the one hive I have left will survive the winter or not, at least the roof hasn't blown off like last winter, this year, I topped it off with a rock for weight

    last week, I ordered a bee package for April 23 pickup and a Russian queen, all sold out of Carniolan queens that I prefer,

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    Re: Convince me not to give up bee keeping

    Maybe the Russian genes are better and sturdier

    Could you get a bucket of wild flower seeds maybe to spread the available food ?

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