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AdamL

Beekeeping

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Does anyone keep bees?  I have never done it and looking for some advice.  I have done some research on langstroth hives.  What things are needed to get started?  How do you know if the hive is doing well or sick?  How often and how much honey is harvested and how do you make sure you don't take too much?

 

Anyone that has any experience I would be all ears.  Thanks!

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I tried to keep bees at one time, but, the amount of spraying (poison), is so intense that the bees died. Since then I have not had any hives at all.

There are a lot of videos (youtube), about bees and hives. Keep us posted on what you learn.

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Adam, great question I hope you get some answers as I was just telling my wife this week I would like to build a couple of beehives but know nothing about how to go about planning the hive or harvesting the fruit.  I will watch this thread with interest. 

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8 hours ago, AdamL said:

Does anyone keep bees?  I have never done it and looking for some advice.  I have done some research on langstroth hives.  What things are needed to get started?  How do you know if the hive is doing well or sick?  How often and how much honey is harvested and how do you make sure you don't take too much?

Not sure where you are, or what the local practices are in your area, but in Alberta:

To get started: you'll need hives (with bases, queen excluders, etc.), frames, foundation (the wax base for bees to build cells on), protective wear, a smoker (and other tools for working in the hive), appropriate extraction equipment, and bees/queens.  Up here we've had to order the queens from New Zealand, because of the mites in US hives.  Unfortunately the mites have made it up here, too. As of 12 years ago, they were the single greatest threat to honeybee populations in the north of our continent (that's how long it's been since my family had bees). You'd have to find accepted sources for queen and bees in your area.

Generally you harvest honey once - at the end of the summer season. We harvested it all, but we also left sugar water in the hive to feed the bees over the winter (I'm assuming there were appropriate containers for putting this in the hive as well, but I'm not sure what they are). Due to the cold, we would also winter the hives by gathering them into groups of four, placing on a pallet, and wrapping up with waterproof insulated covers. You need to leave a place for them to get out though, as they will fly out in warmer weather to defecate (if they can't do this, they die). If you're not in such a cold area, though, the apiarists in your area might have different techniques.

You can get little extractors that only fit 2-4 frames, and spin the honey out by hand. If you're interested, look for a good book and do some serious reading. You could also look around for apiaries in your area. You might find someone willing to answer questions, or even looking to sell off their equipment/hives (easiest way of to get set up).

Oh, and rule #1. Don't squish your queen.  Had a friend of mine do that last year. They're a little expensive to replace.  :laugh:

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A friend of mine has a hive, and from watching him get set up, I think best advice is to get in touch with your local beekeepers group (as mentioned: apiarists).

It is involved and much of it is so much easier to watch than read about.

And my friend has a "mentor" from the local group who will come and have a look at his hive if he has any questions or worries.

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I definitely appreciate all the info and suggestions!  I live in North Florida. I found a bee keeping association in my county so I will try to get in touch with them about equipment and bees, etc. The cold weather probably won't be as much of a concern here.  We generally only get down to freezing a couple times per winter and then it goes back up to the 50s or 60s.  Once I get some more info and start trying to setup I will post more for those that are interested. Hopefully some pictures too.

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I've seen that before... can't figure out how it's supposed to work. Generally there's this thing called wax that has to be removed before honey can just flow out of a cell. (And wax usually gets combined with the honey, meaning that you don't get nice clean honey like that straight off the bat - that's why it has to be extracted.)

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7 minutes ago, Salyan said:

I've seen that before... can't figure out how it's supposed to work. Generally there's this thing called wax that has to be removed before honey can just flow out of a cell. (And wax usually gets combined with the honey, meaning that you don't get nice clean honey like that straight off the bat - that's why it has to be extracted.)

As I understand, when it is time to empty it, they somehow shift the position of the wax which opens the cells and the honey flows out. I don't know all the ends and outs, but you can go to their site and there is a lot more information.

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3 hours ago, Ukulelemike said:

There is a newer type of hive being manufactured now by an Australian group, called the Flow Hive. Here's a video of it. It is less stressful on the bees when removing honey.

 

I have seen this hive and read some about it.  It does use plastic.  From reviews I have read beekeeping purists absolutely hate it.  They say it is much worse for the bees this way and that the traditional way of opening the hive is much better for the bees and for your understanding of how the hive is doing. With this flow hive there is basically no interaction between you and the bees.

I have no idea if they have a point or not. The flow hive certainly looks easier but I don't know anywhere near enough to speak intelligently about it.  Just read a few articles about that type of hive.

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