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Beekeeping

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Denarius, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. Denarius

    Denarius Active Member

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    It has come to my attention that there are several beekeepers on the forum. Rather than clutter up the reputation thread I figured I'd start a dedicated thread.

    So beekeepers sound off! How long have you been beekeeping? How many hives do you maintain?

    I'm brand new to it. My goal this year is just to figure out what I like and how I want to do things. I just installed my first package yesterday. I will have two hives. First is all mediums and the package I installed yesterday, the second all deeps and will be getting a Nuc. I sourced my queens through separate breeders. I'm going foundationless except for one frame with foundation to get them started.

    I was surprised at my level of anxiety yesterday after I installed the package. I was relieved this morning to see they are still there and I'm anxious to open up the hive and see how they are doing.
     
  2. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Right now I have just one hive, started almost two years ago as an assist to my garden (made a huge difference). I'm of the school that doesn't harvest honey in the fall, when it's most abundant. I harvest in the spring when the bees have wildflowers to pester and make new honey. That way I don't have to feed them sugar water over the winter, they can feed on their own honey through the lean months and can make more once I harvest. It's not as productive, but it feels kinder to me.
     
  3. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    This was FlasherZ's post that started it all; he put his honey in the frunk ;)

    Unusual use of Frunk? Reporter wants to know. - Page 3
     
  4. rjcbox

    rjcbox Member

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    how often do you beekeepers actually get stung. often and just par for the course? or a very rare event? inquiring minds want to know...
     
  5. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I've been stung, but it's a rare event. I usually just put on the bonnet and gloves. If you move slowly and don't upset the bees, you'll be fine.
     
  6. Denarius

    Denarius Active Member

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  7. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    #7 FlasherZ, Apr 20, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
    I have 6 hives - 3 at my home to pollinate the ~70 fruit trees in my orchard, and 3 in an adjacent county. We've been keeping for about 5 years, but my wife's family has been keeping bees for a few decades and I always got roped into running the extractors. :)

    As for the equipment, I am certainly not a traditionalist. I use Langstroth hives, all frames with plastic foundation (so much easier than foundationless mess or dealing with wax foundations). I use two deep boxes for the brood, then all medium supers on top. I don't use shallow supers at all. In the rare case that we get a great honey flow, I have a couple of Ross Rounds supers to make comb honey, but it's not as popular as it used to be. My hives at home are 8-frame, my hives away from home are 10 frame (in supers, I use 7 or 9 instead so that the bees will build deeper cells - it makes extraction SOO much easier and faster at the expense of more supers.).

    Do I get stung? Yes. I'm used to it by now. If the honey is flowing, I will wear only my veil and hat and can handle the hives without issue (occasionally, I accidentally pin a bee and get a stinger). Later in the year, I'll have full flak gear, especially if I'm robbing them of supers during the honey harvest. My wife and I keep epinephrine injectors handy just in case of a reaction to a sting, both child and adult doses.

    I stuffed these pictures into other threads, but they can be repeated here I suppose - the joining of Tesla and bees:

    1782133_10202406741883127_807833202_n.jpg 1274896_10201357196645152_859069979_o.jpg

    Yes - all that woodware *did* fit into the Tesla in one trip!
     
  8. rjcbox

    rjcbox Member

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    Thanks for the awesome pics and info. I would love to keep bees to support the declining bee population and compliment my kitchen garden, but too dangerous w/ the allergy history in the family:(
     
  9. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I forgot to mention that I also keep an epinephrine injector handy. I'd be foolish not to.
     
  10. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    Just for clarification: I expect to be stung about 10 times a year or so, 70% of those on the hands. Once you learn how to move slowly and not smoosh bees, and once you learn how to read their attitudes, you get used to it. Last year? 4 stings.
     
  11. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    We've been keeping bees for about 20 years. We have two hives mostly just to have something to compare. It used to be easier. Now with all the mites and CCD it's a little harder. Beekeepers get stung. For me it's usually 3 or 4 times a year. Usually not a big deal and usually the result of a mistake like dropping something. Bees are an amazing way to keep up with whats happening in the natural world. Sometimes I just sit and watch them for hours. Very relaxing.

    My favorite "bee" book: The Queen Must Die: And Other Affairs Of Bees And Men. I've read tons of bee books over the years. This book is superb, and while not exactly an instructional text; it should be mandatory reading for all beekeepers, or aspiring beekeepers.
     
  12. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I've never considered keeping bees until seeing these discussions pop up. I admit, I'm not one for inflicting pain on top of work, but it's something to consider. Do any of you sell the honey? Or just use it yourselves? Or do you keep just for pollination?
     
  13. Zextraterrestrial

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    #13 Zextraterrestrial, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
    Coincidence?

    hive just swarmed on Friday! :biggrin:

    I brought a nuc home in my S last spring. (pics in my sig thread) in the fall our hive swarmed and the swarm landed 70 feet up in one of our redwood trees and then it moved on... our remaining colony of lots of drones and babies(+ a new princess) slowly grew over winter. Just last Friday it swarmed again and this time the queen landed 4 feet off the ground in an Avocado bonsai tree (just 15 feet from the hive ~ so easy!!).

    So I finally met the president of the Humboldt beekeepers association, who now has our separated colony.( we don't have space for a second hive yet + haven't built a second one)


    Our colony is in a home made top bar hex hive with no foundation. super healthy & friendly bees. I had 1 sting on the day we put the nuc in the hive on the back on my hand(no protection) and 1 when we inspected the hive once (also after I took off arm protection, they don't like to get stuck in arm hair!) I hadn't been stung for >20 yrs I think. don't remember swelling up as much when I was younger or the overall feeling from the sting (like a strange adrenaline rush that lasts for a while but kind of feels good) or how itchy the sting spot is... maybe it is worse that I watched the stinger pulsing in my arm and the bee die before pulling out the stinger:tongue:

    we haven't taken any honey yet, maybe later this summer

    checking last night, it looks like after this swarm there are still more bees than there were last fall before the swarm!! maybe we'll get a second swarm?

    bees are awesome. If you haven't ever sat by bees and listened to them in different states, you're missing out
     
  14. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I keep the bees for both pollination and the honey. The honey I don't consume (or gift) makes a fine honey meade wine. :)
     
  15. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    My first thought was "already?!" but then I had to look at your location. Honey flow is just starting here.

    Keeping enough woodware around for the swarms we get calls on is the most difficult thing. Right now I don't have any spare woodware, either.

    Those who knew me when I was young would never think that I'd raise them. When I was 9, my dad tore down a shed and inside it was a very large hornet's nest. "Stand still and they won't hurt you!" was the battle cry that day, and I can tell you that's a bunch of BS. I walked away with 12 powerful stings and from that day onward I had a fear of stinging insects.

    It wasn't until I started to work with bees that I calmed down. I still hate wasps with a passion and have made it a life's mission to exterminate every single one that I see, but I can sit and watch bees for hours. The wife and I have an observation hive we take to the local school so kids can watch.
     
  16. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Ditto. Hate hate hate 'em.
     
  17. Zextraterrestrial

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    #17 Zextraterrestrial, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
    woodware. hehe did you take a look at our hive. not quite a standard. I think the next one needs to be lighter. I imagine the super with all the comb (middle) might be 40-50 lbs or something crazy. It looks like the bottom is filling up too, not sure about the top. We need to make a shorter top super and an excluder w/ jars for honey
    bee pics here: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/11693-Zextraterrestials-S-%28tory%29/page9


    yep wasps, not the same:wink:
     
  18. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    That's a neat top-bar design, haven't seen those before. I usually see only the less expensive, long ones.

    As far as the first package of bees to ride in Model S, I picked up a package of bees last March or April in the frunk. Not sure if that qualifies.
     
  19. Zextraterrestrial

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    #19 Zextraterrestrial, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
    in the frunk:eek: poor carsick bees:tongue:. probably beat me. ours were near the last weekend of April
    but ours rode in the back seat of the car and got to our frequencies

    our hive is 2"X10" cedar (raised bed wood) supposedly the shape/size and bee space is very natural and makes for some of the healthiest bee populations. the combs seem a little long but don't get bridge comb and are wavy at the bottom(pretty neat looking)

    lots of amazing structural design knowledge in bees

    here is our landed swarm
    (forget which group the queen was in - for those that don't know, the queen probably landed on one branch which she scented then moved to another so it appears as 2 swarm groups but when each is put in a box the queenless bees will leave and either find the original hive or the other swarm
    1544495_682364265142740_3864585251294651305_n.jpg 10009730_682364238476076_3476117458108458200_n.jpg
     
  20. GasDoc

    GasDoc Member

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    I've been meaning to get started on beekeeping for a few years now. I bought and assembled a hive in 2011 but wasn't able to pick up the bees.

    Luckily, they've kept my name on file and I still have a credit. Will pick up my bees on Saturday (and check out the Vacaville supercharger).

    Please give me some tips. Never done this before. I have the book "Beekeeping for Dummies"
     

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