I'm Getting Bees!

Discussion in 'General Homesteading & Building' started by UncleJoe, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    OK they aren't actually mine. :eek:

    I responded to an ad on craigslist a couple weeks ago. A fellow was looking for a place to expand his bee operation. He came here to look around and decided that it would be a great location. :2thumb: Ultimately he is looking to add 200 hives in various places around the county. :eek: Now this is just a weeeeee bit more than I was ready to deal with, even though it would not be me that had to take care of them. So we're going to start with 5. He is bringing them over the first or second week of April. He said he would be sure to provide me with a good supply of honey, which I thanked him for, but told him the main reason I was interested in homing them here was to learn how it's done. This caught him off guard but he would be more than happy to teach me since there aren't many people that are interested in beekeeping.

    I'll get some pics up once they're here.
  2. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    That is fantastic! :2thumb:

    That's so neat to see something like that work out for both of you. I bet he'll enjoy the teaching as much as you'll enjoy the learning.

  3. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

    Wow. That should help your garden, too-having all those bees so close would ensure excellent pollination.
  4. BasecampUSA

    BasecampUSA Sr. Homesteader

    Me too, Uncle Joe... !

    I kept bees for 30 years, got into it in 4-H. I love the sweet little critters.

    Had up to 14 hives until varroa mites about destroyed the whole industry here in Maine end of the 80's...

    Now I'm getting into it again... I just bought a full xxl bee suit with vail and helmet used for $35, and I'm digging out my smoker and a bunch of old hives I had stored back then. I'll help get the thousands of pollination hives out on the blueberry fields in April, and let the "bee services" from down south pay me with a couple of hives.

    I also left my phone number with the cops and fire departments in case someone calls about removing a wild swarm - that's how I got most of my free-bees in the past ;)... you just get them in a big old pillow case and take them home and gently shake them into an empty hive, they will love thier new home.

    A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay.
    A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon.
    A swarm of bees in July ain't even worth a fly!

    ...lot of truth in that old saying !

    Einstein said if the bees vanished, mankind would follow within a few years... our food depends on them!

    Some say its all the cellphone towers that's killing them off nowadays, I hope not. There have been 4 towers built around here in the last 5 years. Greenpeace found some researchers that found that bees are dying off from the corn pollen they gather from genetically modified corn. Bees feed pollen and honey to thier young. Genetically modified corn was bred to have a natural insecticide to kill earworm larvae that enter through the silk where the corn pollen concentrates. Go figger... Monsanto and Verizon will end mankind :rolleyes:

    - Basey
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  5. BadgeBunny

    BadgeBunny Well-Known Member

    Man I wish ... the lady next door has a home daycare and we are just too close in for it to be safe. Danggit ...

    I am so jealous but GOOD FOR YOU ... :beercheer:
  6. ComputerGuy

    ComputerGuy Retired Air Force

    Way awesome. I should be bgetting my butt in gear and getting mine started
  7. PamsPride

    PamsPride edirPsmaP

    I have a guy at my church that has like 60 or more hives and another friend that is going to build me a top bar beehive! Hopefully I can get some bees soon!
  8. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    I know absolutely nothing about bees but I'm hoping there will be some wax in there to be harvested as well. I'd like to make some candles.
  9. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

    I realize that just because you're getting a couple hives does not mean you'll have bees six inches deep on your whole farm but if you or your family have friends that come over a lot I'd maybe check to see if anyone is allergic to bees.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the pics of the hives. Sounds like an interesting operation.
  10. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    Actually, DW is.
    We've been talking about this for a couple years. She's always been a bit concerned about having that many bees around but shes got her kit. She broke down a bit last August when we talked to a couple beekeepers at the AG Fair Days in State College. They kept stressing to her that honey bees are not aggressive. I'm going to place them about 80 yards from the house near the corn and wheat. She doesn't go out there for anything. Nobody does actually; except me when it's time to plant and harvest. I feel like an eight year old on Christmas Eve!!!

    I should probably start looking for suit.

    Basey, Ideas on where to look? $35 sounds like a pretty good deal.
  11. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    Joe ... Jason is right all the way around!:D

    First congrant on getting the bees :2thumb: The difference in your garden (fruit trees) will be unreal.

    Second having someone to help you on the way to your own ... Bee hives ... is second to none.

    third to help ... is a book mark in your mind. I wish you the best. (And I hope you have no bears in your area ... :gaah:)

    LOL ... :D
  12. BasecampUSA

    BasecampUSA Sr. Homesteader

    I found mine on Craig's list... they are almost $100 new... -that's why I grabbed it real quick.

    For many years I just wore a tan denim jacket and tan denim jeans (bees don't like dark clothes, and thick denim won't let stings through). I had the usual "Jungle Jim" bee helmet with a veil that comes down to the chest, and leather gloves with canvas up to the elbows. Tuck the jacket in the jeans real good, and wear boots -and duct-tape the bottoms of your jeans to them so the bees dont crawl in... -same with your cuffs if you use regular gloves. That way you are pretty bee-proof.

    When I was younger, I would'nt use anything but the "helmet and veil", but the occasional stings started to bother me bad as I got older. If you handle 'em right they won't sting. After a while, you can "read" their mood and handle accordingly. Nowadays, if they have crossed with African Killer Bees, they get very agressive in a hurry. Some hives are unpredictable, so I take the "safe" route... especially when catching stray swarms.

    Other than that, I just used a bee smoker and a "hive tool" - looks like a combination paint scraper on one end and putty knife on the other.

    If you are going to harvest honey, you will need a decapping knife and a honey extractor...

    Lots of good books and articles on the web about the subject, now.

    "Sweet" dreams :D ;)

    @ Andi... BEARS yes... after losing 8 hives in the first 2 years and many other setbacks here in wilderness Maine, in 1977 I built a stout electric barbwire fence "Bee-Yard" with railroad ties as cornerposts... nothing else would keep bears out. I shot one bear- (with the game warden's blessing - the state has to pay $25/hive restitution) -at the very beginning**, but felt really bad about that, so I sent for the University of Manitoba's pamphlet about the bear-proof fence back then. **BTW... that bear was menacing some children in the neighborhood anyway, if I had a live-trap then, I would rather have caught it and trucked it elsewhere less populated.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
  13. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    Thanks Basey. The various tools, I'll work on later after I get the beekeeping 101 course. But the suit is something I'll want to obtain right away.
  14. Clarice

    Clarice Well-Known Member

    Congratulations Uncle Joe, what a blessing. DH bought 100 more frames and wax foundations Saturday. Now he can finish the last of the new hives he has built. He plans on having 20 hives eventualy, not all at our house. They will be spred out through the community. DH is the guy they call in this county when the bees start to swarm. I guess you can call him a bee charmer.
  15. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    Well, it looks like there will be no bees this year. The boxes showed up about 3 weeks ago and I started to get excited. I got a call last week telling me that the 2 of his 3 orders of bees had been cancelled due to lack of availability. He stopped by today and told me the last supplier he ordered from had cancelled the order because he just can't get any. Apparently he is rather particular about where his bees come from. He said he would call if anything changed but it doesn't look good. :( :cry:
  16. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    That is a bummer about the bees! Maybe he will get some and put them out on your property.

    I am not too worried about the world coming to an end without bees-there are mason bees, hover flys and many, many, many other pollinators out there.
    In fact in America there were no bees like there were in the Old Country. They were shipped here along with the colonists.
    Many plants that we eat are self pollinating and some are even wind pollinated.

    But if they do disappear I will sure miss my honey! And beeswax as it can be made in to many good home remedy's and beauty products.
  17. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

    UncleJoe, sorry to hear about the bees. Dang.

    I don't know anything about bees, but I am always curious about all things. And bees are near the top of my list.

    Maybe your guy will be able to come through for you after all. :crossfinger:

    If he does finally come through for you, maybe we forumfolk could talk you into giving us an on-forum-line crash course in bee keeping? :)
  18. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

    That really sucks, Joe. Sometimes things have a way of working out in the end, though...
  19. BasecampUSA

    BasecampUSA Sr. Homesteader

    Too bad, Uncle Joe...

    I've been keeping bees since I was 11 years old (started in 4-h club)

    A bear tore up 2 of my hives last night. B*st*rd!! The bees were p*ssed beyond belief! - I had to wear my full bee-suit and smoke them to kingdom come to try to calm them down while putting what's left back together, but they stung me 5 times anyway, my neck, leg, ankle and both hands - sore and swollen tonight - *sigh!

    So, I spent all day putting them back together, and building an electric barbwire fenced bee-yard. I should have done this before I set the hives!

    The game warden I called this morning said there are more bears in our area than ever before. Great! - guess I will start wearing my Taurus Judge around the homestead... he'll be back I'm sure. I'm futher back in the woods than most here.
  20. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    Got any you're looking to sell? ;)