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Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by faithmarie, Feb 17, 2013.
Looked kind of neat so I posted it
We would love to do this! I do have a silly question....do you have to buy bees or it is a case of if you build it they will come ?
You can either buy bees, catch a swarm physically or possibly a swarm might find you but that is not very likely unless you have a really good spot like in a apiary. If you are hoping for them to just setup shop on there own there are lures you can use but you may want to put out "swarm traps" and transfer them after the fact. Plenty of info on this online.
Top bar frames like this while maybe not the best for commercial production can simplify the keeping of a few hives, you don't even need foundation which is a big expense.
Probably not saying anything new for people into prepping but I think bees are one of the best resources anyone can have for a long term situation. One hive can produce more honey than you can use, depending on location we are talking about pails of honey. Many pounds of beeswax each year, which is very useful stuff beyond just candles, you can also harvest propolis which has a million uses and is very expensive and pollen as well if you want which is a great protein source but too expensive to buy.
You can use the honey to make mead and distil to alcohol and have all the uses of that.
Did I mention I like bees?
Can one buy a queen bee?
You can definetly buy a queen but that is usually only done by people who already have a hive and want to "requeen" A queen honey bee can't survive without workers.
Usually you buy a package which is a few pounds of bees with a mated queen, this is all geared up and ready to start producing.
You can also buy a "nuc" which is smaller than a package and contains a queen with a small number of bees, they probably won't give you honey the first year, second year should be great.
Appreciate your help! I took your suggestion and googled and got a great site with lots of info! If I knew how to post a link I would! : yepcomputeridiot
I think I did it.
I think I did it. This site has everything for sale and lessons on every aspect of beekeeping!
Yeah there is a lot of info online and some good printed manuals that might be worth a look. Explaining about bees is kind of tough because there are so many details it can seem daunting but the great thing is that most of the time the bees simply do their own thing and you just sit back and watch.
I hate to post a link to a different forum but there is some good info here
I you want to go the traditional method of hives, you can order all the materials from a company in CA called Dadant. They sell all the boxes/accessories and the equipment like extractors and uncapping knives, etc. You can also order your packaged bees and queens from them.
Find a local beekeeper, most of these folks will sell you used hive bodies, supers, excluders, frames, sheets of pre-stampped wax sheets. It's easier to buy the frames with the comb already filled out by an active hive and they will sell these also. This gives your hive a jump since the bees won't have to build the comb cells to fill them with honey and eggs laid by the queen
If you have the traditional hives don't use 10 frames, they will fit nicely when they are new but as the wax builds up on the frames this many in a hive body or super will make it difficult to pull frames out without a lot of collateral damage to the bees and possibly the queen. We ran 1500 colonies in a commercial business in CA, never used 10 frames.
We had the best luck with the Italian variety of queens we bought for setting up new hives or replacing old queens.
We would make our own queens by removing the queen from a strong hive and they would make their own queen cells. We would place these in single hive bodies with frames of bees borrowed from a strong hive and create a new colony. These are un bred queens but nature will take care of that for you. That's why the hives have drones. That in fact is their only purpose in the bee world
You can also get comb honey supers which have the squared blocks already made up, After they're filled with hone they make great gifts or great for bartering.
And yes, you can eat the comb and the honey, it's all natural and has great health benefits. We used to cut the comb from the frames and bottle it along with honey in the mason jars. Was very popular
You can get pollen traps that go at the front entrance of the hive. During the peak pollen season what you collect can be eaten in it's raw form. Pollen has one of the highest organic protein contents that any other food of the same weight
Just some info for you folks looking to start this. It's interesting and provides some great bartering products.
I plan to put in 2-3 this spring but have to hide them in a shed and fence the area to keep anyone from getting close to the entrances which is where it would be a problem since I live in the city limits
Good luck to all who are pursuing this kind of agricultural en devour
Most of these beekeepers will sell the used equipment at a reasonable cost and are a good source for additional equipment if you decide to expand your hives
There is some medical evidence that people who keep beehives and take stings will have a lower incidence of arthritis. I don't recommend you intentionally allow your self to be stung unless you know your are not allergic and might suffer an reaction will will send you to the hospital or the morgue. Use common sense. If anyone in your family is allergic to bees then always have an Epipen on hand. You can get these through your family doctor
Many municipalities will allow you to keep a hive or two.
Epipens are not prescription in Canada, not sure of US, and can be great to have even if you aren't allergic yourselves.
Standard Langstroth equipment works very well but these top bar hives may be an ideal solution for those looking to operate on a small scale, not needing foundation is huge imo, also no heavy lifting, etc.
I have a top bar. Darn things flew away twice now! Found a local guy who gathers swarms from homes, so he is suppose to bring me a new swarm this spring. If you are near Pittsbugh PA, this March the lady from Maine that specializes in top bars will be there to do a weekend hands on bee keeping. To me it's a bit expensive, but maybe not to others. Mother Earth News website has a lot of info on there also.
Here is an older thread on the subject.
When I have a little more time, I'll find the others.
Thanks Andi! Appreciated.
I'm waiting out my First winter with a top bar hive. My cluster is Very small but on nice days they are still clearing out the dead and doing cleansing flights so I have high hopes they'll live til Spring and build up again.I got the Carniolan species of honey bee which is said to be fairly weather-wise.
For a first-year Beek the chances of colony survival are 50-50 at best these days with all the challenges no matter what is done "right" with their care. I love the non-lifting of a top bar hive and never could have done this at all with a traditional hive and no help (no kids and DH won't go near them and no club for 100 miles).
After last year I LOVE having bees so much I wish I'd always done this! I love them as much as having chickens! It takes awhile to get going,QUITE a learning curve,but I use so much honey I figure it Could pay for itself in 3 years.The joy of the new hobby was worth the money for Me anyway.
Last year my bee package cost $85. and this year buying bees from this area(as close as possible) is now $130.00!!! YIKES. The drought is affecting more than cattle I think.(although it's finally poring rain here). Anyhow beekeeping is another case of doing what you are going to do ASAP or get socked for the $$$ expense of letting another year go by( OR have a mentor to Give you bees and no worry!ha)
If my bees die I'm going to Have to learn to "catch" a swarm but that's partly pure luck since a wild or loose swarm has to Show Up local first! Well, I just wrote today because I'm thinking of my little "friends" out there in the storm..................
Sounds like they are doing well The first year is always the hardest, especially with all new equipment because they have so much work to do. I love watching the bees do their thing, it should not be nearly so captivating :dunno:
Good luck to you and anyone else with some bees around.
It was warm out today so I checked my two hives. This is my first winter with bees. They seem to be doing well. They were doing the cleansing flights and cleaning the dead bees. I have two brood boxes on each hive and they have not moved to the upper frames yet, so that means they will have enough honey to get them to the nectar flow in April.
After almost losing both hives last year from rookie mistakes, I am really happy with how they are doing so far. I have high hopes for lots of honey this year.
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I'm sure now that my tiny cluster of Carniolan "mutt" honey bees has Made It through the winter!!!!
The wild-bred granddaughter queen I ended up with,due to swarming Twice my first year, is a great "survivor" I hope. I'm pretty sure I'm better off with Local genetics anyway, than if the "Package" queen I bought had stayed put.
In the last month my colony has grown by 4x from almost nothing, to 6 visible-in-the-window combs full and moving out fast....like a new comb full of bees visible every 3 days! They are collecting so much pollen and nectar on sunny days, that I harvested a 1/2 gallon of honey (went in and got partial combs twice)! My first deliberate "robbing of the bees"!!! artydance:
In 2 weeks I have a package of bees coming for my second new TB hive which is out there empty. A couple of years from now-if both top bars get settled for me- I won't ever have to buy honey again! Top bars produce a lot less than Langs(the square white hives one sees in fields) but I didn't want to be overwhelmed ( like the eggs from our 3 hens that Bury me all summer.) At least honey lasts Forever!!!:flower: