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xmas74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-17-11 08:05 PM
Original message
Any beekeepers?
It's something that has piqued my interest recently and I'm interested in knowing if anyone here does it.
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-17-11 08:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. Hey Xmas - Only about four years' experience here, still learning, but it's a hoot
Are you urban, country or somewhere in between? I have a total of five hives, two in our home in the city, one at my Dad's (suburban) and two out at our friends' home in the countryside. Hits, misses and stings, but as I said, it's definitely a learning process.

Your questions welcome!
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xmas74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-17-11 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. In between.
I live in a college/military town of about 25,000. We're an hour from downtown KC but are surrounded by farmland.

I've been a bit curious about it for some time now but am noticing the interest is out there more than ever. In the local Ink magazine the cover article is about beekeeping in KC. http://www.inkkc.com/content/kansa-city-is-buzzing-with... / I was also watching ShowMe Ag on my local PBS station this evening and it was mentioned as a desperately needed area by someone with experience in urban farming.

I don't know if I'm ready yet (I need to learn the regulations of my town) but it's an interesting idea.
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-11 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. You aren't in Warrensburg or Knob Noster, are you?
If so, small world indeed!

Not sure how handy you are with wood, but you can definitely cut your woodware costs about in half - that's assuming you have a jointer or access to one, since cutting out hive bodies otherwise is a real POTA.

Also, not sure how close you are to any substantial patches of woods. The one thing I've never had to worry about with my country hives is feeding pollen patties - the masses of pollen the girls bring back each spring from the woods around them is not hing short of astonishing.
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xmas74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-01-11 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Just sent you the answer in a pm. nt
:hi:
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-17-11 10:12 PM
Response to Original message
2. BeeKeepers here!!!
Edited on Sun Jul-17-11 10:18 PM by bvar22
Small Scale Decentralized Organic Bee Keeping is the answer.



Bare Naked Working Girls Up Close & Personal

In 2006, we moved from the Big Blue Northern City (Minneapolis)
to very the rural Deep South (Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas),
and planted a BIG Veggie Garden.

We started two colonies of European Honey Bees in Spring in 2007.
Neither of us had ANY experience with BeeKeeping.
Starkraven (my wife) got some books, and did a lot of research online.

She ordered the hive bodies online in the Winter of 2006.
Put them together and got everything ready.
The Bees arrived via US Mail in mid-April.
(The post office called at 7:30AM and asked us to pick them up ASAP)
She followed the directions and got them installed in the hives.

It was pretty scary at first.
Even with all the book learning, it is frightening to open a hive with 40,000 bees for the first time.
Luckily, Bees are very god at taking care of themselves,
and Starkraven instinctively did almost everything right,
which is mostly Leave them alone.


Later that year, we both joined our local BeeKeepers Association,
and we both recommend that to anyone considering keeping Honey Bees.
Nothing can replace fist hand experience,
and the local association is the best place to get it.

We put together these recommendation for anyone considering Keeping Bees:
1) Check in with you County Extension.
They are really helpful. There are some regulations concerning transportation, registration, and inspection, and there may be some local ordinances. They are also a great resource for latest research and new methods, pest & disease control. They can also facilitate state hive inspections.
We generally avoid government agencies where ever possible, and have never voluntarily registered anything, but we make an exception for our bees. The benefits FAR outweigh any downside.

2)Join you local Beekeepers Association.
These are some of the most laid back people you will ever meet. Starkraven and myself are not joiners, but we look forward to our monthly meetings with the "bee people". This is another valuable resource for local information concerning pests, honey flows, equipment and disreputable operators. You can also pick up some hands-on experience working around hives.
Make no mistake...it is scary opening a hive the first time.
You will also be able to pick up some free localized bees from you local bee keepers. (Healthy colonies EXPAND, and many local bee keepers have all they want and are more than happy to give them away).

3)Always use new equipment
There are some very persistent pests and diseases that can be transmitted through the equipment. Used equipment abounds at some very attractive prices.
It is not worth the risk in my opinion. If you join the local association, some will offer you old equipment for FREE, but we always politely turn it down.
New Equipment is very reasonable, and there are many wholesalers and retailers online.
We use Dadant, and have been very happy with them.

4)Don't use Flower Scented Deodorants or Fabric Softeners.
You would think this is Common Sense, but it took us a while to figure out WHY the bees wanted so badly to crawl under our arms. You really don't want to get stung there.



We have gotten very comfortable with our bees.
The collective intelligence and discipline of the hive is beyond awe.
The more we learn about them, the more fascinated we become.

Our colonies are about 20 yards from the backdoor, visible from the house. There are plenty of bees around our house and gardens, but they have never caused a problem with us or our pets. Neither of us has been stung outside of messing with the hives.
We inspect the hives about once/month or so during the Spring/Summer. It takes about 15 minutes per hive. During the Winter, we rarely open the hives. ...only enough to make sure they have food (sugar water).

Our bees are very gentle (Italian/All Stars). We always wear protective hoods and gloves and use a smoker, but rarely put on the full suit. We do get stung on rare occasions through the gloves or jeans, but it is no big deal anymore. I am considering trying BeeSting therapy for some arthritis in my hands .

While the bees are hardy and very good at taking care of themselves, they sometimes need some help.
We were lucky, and blundered through the first year on online research and love, but taking a course and joining the BeeKeepers Association has been invaluable, and we highly recommend it to anyone considering bees.

There are many websites that offer full starter kits online.
I believe we ordered our kit from Dadant, and are happy with them.
For the future, we will build our own hives.
Its easy.

A good site for Organic BeeKeeping, Bush Bees.
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
We don' agree with everything he does, but love his "the bees know best" approach.
Good Luck.





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xmas74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-17-11 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. The pictures are beautiful.
Thanks for the info!

We have someone about 12 miles from here who sells honey from his farm. I should stop by and talk to him sometime about smaller hives. Everything I've read says that beekeepers love to share info with others and are usually friendly people.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-18-11 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. You are welcome.
I just noticed that the first person who responded (post #1) has the same avatar as myself.
Coincidence? ... I think not.
I wonder how many people Keep Bees, or are interested in Bee Keeping at DU?
I may try to post an inquiry in General Discussion.
If so, I will PM you for a recommend to get it on The Greatest page.

BeeKeepers ARE friendly people.
There are many different approaches and methods,
and most BeeKeepers have strong opinions about how they keep their Bees,
but (unlike DU) very few will try to force their opinions on you.
They seem to feel privileged to have glimpsed the Cosmic Miracle,
and are more than happy to let you find your own way.

Cheers!

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xmas74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-18-11 11:00 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I'd love a pm
and will gladly rec it if you post in GD.

I live in a very conservative county and am worried about how some will react with how liberal I tend to be. (The fights happen all the time at work, even though I don't start them.) I was informed by someone recently that I shouldn't be worried about that-bee keepers tend to just be open, friendly people in general who don't sweat the small stuff.

I'm fascinated with the whole urban farming movement. I started taking classes again last year and am now thinking of changing my major into a field where I can get into the movement. (I'm thinking ag or agribusiness would both be good areas.) Keeping bees is an area of interest that I'd love to see renewed, amongst other things.
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-11 10:17 AM
Response to Original message
7. been thinking about this myself.
seems to be a huge drop off in bee populations around here. they used to swarm some of my flowers, but these days 3 is a swarm.
i have been gardening somewhat obsessively this year, and it soothes my apocalyptic fears. conserving my top soil, diverting my rain water, growing heirlooms. i'm not terrified, but i am afraid we have screwed the pooch.
so the big thing that i would need would be bees. in an urban area, but have a decent size property for the city.

could i put them on my roof? it gets pretty hot, but there are not that many spots where there is not human or pet traffic.
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xmas74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-22-11 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. You should contact a local group.
http://www.meetup.com/The-Chicago-Beekeeping-Meetup-Gro... (This shows an upcoming date in the Chicago area.)

http://www.ilsba.com / Illinois State Bee keeping Association

I live in a smaller town (around 30,000). What I'd love to do is buy one of the older houses on the "bad" side of town, renovate it, and put in a huge garden, along with a hive and maybe a small chicken coop. (The "bad side" is where all the really old shotgun shack style houses are located. It's the part of town that is for the most part abandoned for newer subdivisions. The houses are starting to fall apart due to lack of care but the yards are huge! And a small house is perfect for me and my kid.)


I want to live in the city limits, since I cannot afford the property outside of town and I like the idea of ease of travel in town. I also want to become as self sufficient as possible within the city limits. A smaller house fits into this picture, along with a large lot and lots of garden spaces, chickens,and bees.

My dream is to open the doors to my pantry and see the shelves stocked, from floor to ceiling, with jars of produce that I've canned from what I've personally grown.
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-01-11 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
10. another basic bee question-
do you have to take the honey? i am not that huge of a honey fan. it seems like a chore (yes, chore) that you need special equipment for.
i mostly want the pollinators. if i don't take the honey, wont that make the bees happy?
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xmas74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-01-11 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Now that is an interesting question.
I would contact a group and find out what they say. I'm still looking into this, trying to find out all the rules and regulations in my area. Most of the keepers I've spoken with live in the country and are fascinated with me wanting this in the city limits.

Next time I speak with a few of them I'll see if they have an answer to your question.
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TygrBright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. Asked a beekeeping friend about this; here is his response:
"I take less honey in the fall, because I want the bees to have plenty to eat over the winter. I don't like to do supplemental feedings with sugar water; I think it makes for a less healthy hive. When production ramps up in the spring I start taking it and keep the hive fairly lean as I don't want the population to explode too fast, which can lead to swarming."

What I get from this is that if you don't take off some of the honey, you'll end up with an overpopulated hive and they will swarm.

Hope that's helpful!

interestedly,
Bright
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