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Thu May 17, 2012, 05:09 PM

Early Honey Bounty in Central Arkansas!

The mild Winter coupled with an early Spring have combined to produce an early and bountiful honey harvest,
at least on our little place in Central Arkansas.

We started BeeKeeping in 2007,
and keep two colonies of very gentle European Bees on the hill behind our cabin.


Both colonies survived the mild Winter with high populations.
In an unusual Spring, the fruit trees and wild flowers began blooming about a month before expected,
and the traditional Late April frost, locally named the "Blackberry Frost" never occurred.

Spring is our busy season,
and after a cursory hive inspection in early April,
we added Honey Supers and left the Bees do their thing while we concentrated
on getting the Veggies planted.

Last week we checked the hives,
and they were so laden with honey we could hardly lift the Honey Supers.

We have had good years before, but nothing like this,
especially THIS early.



This is especially Good News for us,
because the last two years were so bad due to Drought & Heat that we had to feed the bees to keep them alive.
We are praying that the mild weather continues for a while
because the White Clover is just getting started.


---In 2006, my Wife & I moved from Minneapolis to the woods of the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas.
We are committed to living as Green, Natural, and Sustainably as possible.
Neither of us had any previous experience in BeeKeeping.


All GMO plants, non-naturally occurring pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are forever banned from our hilltop.
We have not had an incident of CCD in our short history.


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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Early Honey Bounty in Central Arkansas! (Original post)
bvar22 May 2012 OP
zeemike May 2012 #1
bvar22 May 2012 #2
handmade34 May 2012 #3
bvar22 May 2012 #5
Overseas May 2012 #4
bvar22 May 2012 #6
midnight May 2012 #7
Worried senior Sep 2012 #8
Munificence May 2014 #9
bvar22 May 2014 #10
Munificence May 2014 #11

Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Thu May 17, 2012, 05:46 PM

1. That is liquid gold right there.

Looks like you are going to have a good summer.

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Response to zeemike (Reply #1)

Thu May 17, 2012, 06:07 PM

2. We hope so,

...but if it stops raining and the daytime temps go over a hundred the wheels will come off.


...but so far, so good!
It is already far better than the last two seasons.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Sat May 19, 2012, 08:05 AM

3. so beautiful!

so good- love the photos

I miss my bees, a lot! after I get done working on the road, I have every intention to start up again


the last of my hives as I was moving them to my brother's place in Detroit

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Response to handmade34 (Reply #3)

Sun May 20, 2012, 12:22 PM

5. Cool!!!

I wonder how many other BeeKeepers are at DU?

We personally believe that Low Stress, decentralized, small scale BeeKeeping is the answer to most of the problems faced by Honey Bees.

Our experience with BeeKeeping has been a GRAND adventure.
It was scary at first,
but now, servicing the Hives has become routine.

The more we learn about these creatures,
the more fascinated we become.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Sat May 19, 2012, 06:42 PM

4. I agree on the beauty of this glimpse into your day.

Quite inspiring, in demonstrating other options.

I'll do my best to stay tuned.

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Response to Overseas (Reply #4)

Sun May 20, 2012, 12:42 PM

6. Thank You for the kind words.

We haven't regretted a single day.
We are profoundly grateful that The Fates have given the opportunity to do this.
My Wife & I are healthy and strong, no dependents,
and have a compatible Skill Set that makes this fun (most of the time).
We are Living Well on a laughably low Taxable Income,
and stuff we learned in the '60s.

There are more photos and text in the old Rural/Farm Group at DU2 if you are interested:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=268x2601
The photos in the above link are 3 years old, and a little dated.
We have expanded and evolved since then.
I plan to post some updated photos to this forum soon.

Again, thanks for the kind words.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Mon May 21, 2012, 05:50 PM

7. K&R Looks good...

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Sun Sep 2, 2012, 12:05 PM

8. The pictures of your garden

show what a beautiful place you have. The gardens looked amazing.

How do you guarantee you get GMO free seeds? Do you buy heirloom or from certain suppliers?

Loved the flower in the last picture, never saw anything like that.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Wed May 21, 2014, 08:57 AM

9. Very Cool

Growing up my parents had bees but I was young and really didn't pay much attention the the "how" of bee keeping but instead simply loved robbing the hive and getting a fresh piece of comb with honey dripping off to chew on.

Today I am fortunate enough to have retired at a young age (43) and want to get "back to the country" and not only raise some bees but likewise goats, chickens, etc and have purchased a small mini-farm. In essence my wife and I decided it was time to sell the 4500 sq ft McMansion and get back to a simpler life from which we came. We are closing on a beautiful country home in 2 weeks on 12 acres.

With this said, I intend to establish at least 2 hives, maybe more once I get back into it some. If you had to provide someone with a link to a website that you feel is one (or two) of the best resources for amateur bee keepers what site(s) would that be?

I have a friend that taps a lot of maples and makes around 100 gallons of syrup a year (he started small then actually turned it into a little business) and I'd kill for the stuff as it is just as good as a natural sweetener as honey.....but I have no maples to speak of on the property I am buying, so it's bees for me.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide or links....and keep up the good work....nothing like consuming "real" food that one raises for themselves and have confidence in knowing you are not getting poisoned.

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Response to Munificence (Reply #9)

Wed May 21, 2014, 12:57 PM

10. Congrats on the new place,

...and on being able to walk away from the insanity at such a young age.
What part of the country are you moving to?

Here are some suggestions we gained from practical experience:

1) Check in with you County Extension.
They are very helpful. There are some regulations concerning transportation, registration, and inspection, and there may be some local ordinances. They are a great resource for latest research and new methods, pest & disease control. They can 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.

4)Do NOT to use flower scented deodorant or fabric softeners.
You would think this is Common Sense, but we found out the hard way.

5)Do NOT feed your bees Corn Syrup
There is no verifiable science to support this suggestion.
It is our personal preference. Corn is NOT a natural Bee Food.
Many BeeKeepers DO use Corn Syrup. It is cheap, the bees seem to like it, and the chemistry seems OK.
We refuse to use it, and will continue to do so until there is 100% proof that GM contamination absolutely can NOT
be transmitted to our Bees through Corn Syrup.
We use only 100% Cane Sugar to make our food solution,
and then only use it when necessary.


We like this website, though don't agree with him on everything.
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
He pushes Top Bar hives as more natural,
and he is right, but the problem with Top Bar hives is that the honeycomb gets destroyed in the harvest.

We built a small home made honey spinner
http://www.democraticunderground.com/11592698
and can return the spun out honey comb frames to the hives for refills the same day.

Good Luck with your new adventure!

bvar22
Ouachita Mountains, ARkansas

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #10)

Wed May 21, 2014, 02:09 PM

11. Thanks!

I've already looked over some of the info and plan on spending some time educating myself on bees and bee keeping.

I am originally from Ohio but have been in the Nashville area of Tennessee for 3 years. We are now moving about 20 miles south and "out in the country".

Here is a pic of our new homestead...is a beautiful place. My wife and I decided it was time to move our 3 young kids (8,10 and 14) out to the country and "homestead" a bit and teach the kids (and ourselves) how to be a bit more self-reliant.

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