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Keeping bees

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  Pollinator on 3/11/2013, 1:15 am

@CindiLou wrote:
I am trying to do it as cheap as I can. This is what it cost me minimum for ONE hive. Approx. $565
Broke it down a little:

medium super (I will be using 3 just for the hive body, more for honey supers) $36 x6 = $216 each hive
bottom board =varroa screened with drawer $22 each hive
top feeder insert $16
telescoping cover with inner cover $37 each hive
bee brush $5
smoker (larger one) $36
pollinator jacket $110 (this has the veil)
gloves $20
velcro straps (to go around legs) $3
scrubs (to go over jeans) $20
hive tool $4
bees $79

$370 for each additional hive

WOW! Betcha I can do it for under $200 for the first hive, and under $100 for each one thereafter. See my other post about how to save.

Also, you don't really need that fancy top feeder. A division board feeder is better and will cost about $5. Bottom boards are easy to make from scrap lumber/plywood. I've made hundreds of them for aroud 75 cents apiece; I doubt it would be more than $2 today. I don't know about all the fancy screen stuff for varroa, but you can make that as well and a lot cheaper than buying it new.

Why do you need a telescoping cover? I never needed them, and they are miserable to move. You can use a 16x20 piece of outdoor plywood with an old brick to keep the wind from blowing it off until the bees get it glued.

Of the list you give, I think you could cut (some drastically) on every item except maybe the smoker and the bees themselves. A first rate stainless steel smoker is well worth the price. That's where I'd splurge.

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  CindiLou on 3/11/2013, 3:07 am

@Pollinator wrote:

WOW! Betcha I can do it for under $200 for the first hive, and under $100 for each one thereafter. See my other post about how to save.


Yes, I know. and I am TRYING to keep it down. But hubby wants the start up equipment to be the best he thinks I should have. And I am also trying to keep his jitters controlled about my health! And to him the thought of each bee sting is a failure No I can not get him to accept I AM gonna get stung!

The gloves are not the bee gloves..I bought the dishwashing gloves and the disposable ones. But he insisted I get leather work gloves for moving the supers. The jacket and the scrubs were the best I could get him to compromise on! The full body suit at $250 was what he WANTED me to get rofl

I only bought one hive tool...I know I can get others cheaper. Later...

The telescoping covers are because I am beekeeping in town. I have to keep the people happy and keep the yard looking ok.

The screened bottoms, those I may and may not need...but what the heck..if I have a bad mite infestation I want to know.

I did get a good smoker.

The supers are going to be cheaper for the honey supers. I have only bought 6, three for each hive. To get them started. Two of those I got at a cheaper price and hubby put together. Hubby says he is gonna make them and the frames. I got him the "Dummies guide to Hive Building" So will only have to buy the foundations.

I don't know what your saying about the feeders. This was what our instructor said we needed to feed the bees and I don't know if I would have time to build them.

Oh..looked up "division board feeder" Instructor was DEFINITE against them. He said too many bees drown. that is why I went with the top feeder. rofl But I did get the inserts, not the ones that come with their own super!

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  plantoid on 3/11/2013, 5:20 am

Feeders here are tubs about 3 inches deep by 12 inches across with a fine mesh fused in the lid about the size of a dollar bit you fill them with syrup , clip on the lid invert them and put them over the hole in the crown board they used to be less than £5 .
You can make your own with tupperware sealing type food boxes and a hot darning needle .
Draw round a 1 & 1/2 inch diameter thing and " pepper pot " inside the circle with a hot needle making say .... about 20 holes.

Making your own brood boxes and supers .....
For £90 I purchased a brand new morticer , that pulls the cutter down like a table top drill press.
Ask on freecycle / Craiglist to see if someone has one ...you never know it could be your lucky day Wink

I already had a decent heavy duty hand held router and a box of Trend cutters

I ordered all my wood and ply wood cut to size from a big timber merchant , then used the morticer to cut the joints . Made a couple of simple accurate jigs to allow duplicate accurate production then went to town constructiong them with expanding waterproof foam glue to seal joints and sherridized 2 " long hive nails . , sherridized nails 1 &1/2" nails and some sherridized panel pins

I was making brood boxes & supers for about 1/5 the price of a new purchased one because I treated my time as free labour and I was the only one in the chain rather than four or five all wanting to make a profit out of me.

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  plantoid on 3/11/2013, 5:38 am

Instead of varroa floors get yourself a 50 cent onion cutting giude type frok and bend the tined slightly about 1/2 2 from the tips use this to uncap drone brood .
this is easy because drone brod is a higher profile than the normal brood.
as you uncap make sure you stick the fork into a few drone grubs . When you pull them out look at the brood grubs and you'll soon see the varoa mires attached to the grubs . I used to reckon if more than 1/3 of the extracted grubs had mites treat the hive for varroa.
I also used to treat the hive for varroa early on in the spring and again three weeks before the last honey was due to be taken off to try and help the hive grow enough new bees un affected to stay healthy over the winter period .

you can also slide a sheet of white card in on the hive floor very lightly smeared with vaseline . The bees will be able to cross it the varroa fall will stick to it, this allows you to count the varroa fall per square inch if you decide to use that as a measure for when you need to treat for varroa .

Commercial Keepers rarely bothered with such things , simply treating the bees twice or three times a year instead as it was cheaper and less time consuming.

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  plantoid on 3/11/2013, 5:47 am

My crown boards were also made as top feeder trays the size of the hive and three inches deep . In the centre I screwed and foam glued a 2 & 1/2 block x 27 1/2 high that had a 3/4 inch hole bored right through the block & the tray bottom .
On this block I stapled with stainless steel staples a bit of green scotchbrite pan scrubber for the bees to walk down to get to the syrup .


The feeders were given three coats of polyeurethane varnishing to completely seal them and help preserve the wood . These feeders were good for at least ten years , also quick & easy to fill from a watering can full of syrup .

Rarely did I find drowned bees in the syrup even though the feeders held around 3 gallons of syrup feed when full.

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  camprn on 3/13/2013, 6:52 pm

Did a quick inspection this afternoon when the weather was nice, warm (45*F) and calm. Many of the girls were flying. Two of my hives are just starting to nibble on the pollen patties and fondant and the cluster not quite to the top. The nuc on the other hand was practically boiling with bees at the top, they have devoured more than 1/2 pound of fondant and half a pollen patty. I took two frames of honey from the dead hive and stuck those into the nuc. Checked the middle top frame and, wow, there's capped brood in there, I saw it peeking through the mass of bees covering the frame. I'm doing more nucs next winter!

I really like my screened bottom for doing mite drop counts.
I use inverted pint mason jars for feeding, Perfectly manageable with only a few hives.
I like my leather gloves.
Most of the time I am using only the Alexander veil.

I have not yet had to treat for varroa as I had good brood breaks last year kept the mite load way down. I am planning on MANAGED brood breaks this year with treatment in the late summer with Apilife var if necessary. I am also using the drone frame for part of my IPM (integrated pest management) plan.
http://www.masterbeekeeper.org/B_files/varroa.htm

My favorite hive tool is the one with a hook.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  NHGardener on 3/14/2013, 5:22 pm

Nice, camprn! Didn't know this thread existed!

I was planning on powdered sugar treatment for 6 weeks, but then was advised it may end up in the honey, so now thinking no. Have to learn about breaking the brood cycle, and I do the drone frames.

Can't wait to get in there and look at any brood, which I suspect is being laid. The bees haven't been too friendly with my poking around to give them feed, so I'll wait till it's a little warmer before I attempt to look any further.

Have to assemble my 3rd hive (ugh) and better hurry up because I believe I pick the bees up next month. I ordered 2 packages thinking one of my current hives would die, but so far, it doesn't look that way, so may need to find out what to do about that extra package.

I didn't wrap the hives or anything, outside of allowing good ventilation thru the bottom screen and then the hole at the top, no insulation or anything - if they all survived it will be something. I didn't take any honey in the fall tho.

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  NHGardener on 3/23/2013, 9:04 am

camprn (hoping this thread is still active) - I remember you said you had a 2 frame honey extractor. How is that going for you? I'm thinking of getting one and looking into youtube vids, but I wanted to know if you felt yours was worth it, I know the small ones are a lot of work, 2 frames at a time, hand cranking.

I'm thinking of taking honey in late spring instead of fall, when it's such a guess as to how much they'll need for the winter.

(Look at these bad boys! Laughing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpRRawVyEGM&feature=endscreen&NR=1 )

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  Unmutual on 3/23/2013, 11:46 am

I've been researching techniques of beekeeping, and so far I prefer the Perone Hive(or PermApiculture as the method is called). You don't harvest all the honey(you leave enough for the bees to live on without feeding them sugar water) and you don't even touch the majority of the beehive except to inspect..some states require inspection and to register your hive(Louisiana does).

If you're patient, you can also let the bees come to your hive(yeah...I'm not patient either) instead of buying them. The cost and construction of the bee hive is inexpensive too. Sadly, Oscar Perone took down his website.

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  CindiLou on 3/23/2013, 12:44 pm

The thread is still active. I don't have my bees yet (not for another month). Until then I have run out of questions and nothing to report lol..

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Perone hive

Post  CindiLou on 3/23/2013, 1:07 pm

I can see where a combination of Perone and Langstroth might be workable. But I don't like where you can't check on the hive for diseases and other problems. And the honey collecting would be fine for commercial beekeepers and save them a lot of time and money. But for me it will be a much handier to work with a few of supers I can interchange as I harvest.
But since I haven't even gotten my first hive going I have NO experienced opinion.




Last edited by CindiLou on 3/23/2013, 1:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  camprn on 3/23/2013, 1:13 pm

@Unmutual wrote: Sadly, Oscar Perone took down his website.
Wonder why...

Unmutual, do you keep bees?

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Keeping bees

Post  camprn on 3/24/2013, 5:11 pm

Bugger me! Here's a tip... light the smoker BEFORE you open the darn hive! Sheesh! dangit way to go

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Keeping bees

Post  CindiLou on 3/24/2013, 6:44 pm

rofl rofl Did you get stung?

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/24/2013, 6:46 pm

Shocked

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  camprn on 3/24/2013, 6:50 pm

@CindiLou wrote: rofl rofl Did you get stung?
Well of course! lol, I was being dumb and in a hurry and one wee bee took exception to it........ not a good combo when dealing with my girls. Got a little half sting on a left finger. Movement in my hives should be slow, steady and purposeful, kind of like Tai-Chi.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  CindiLou on 3/24/2013, 8:46 pm

Poor little girl, now she is dead.

I know I am gonna get stung lol..I just have that kinda luck!

Well, at least it is only one! Last time I got stung it was a nest of bumble bees! Got 6 stings on one leg!

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  plantoid on 3/24/2013, 9:08 pm

@CindiLou wrote:Poor little girl, now she is dead.

I know I am gonna get stung lol..I just have that kinda luck!

Well, at least it is only one! Last time I got stung it was a nest of bumble bees! Got 6 stings on one leg!

I'm particularly sensitive to bumble bee stings . I don't know if the venom is super strength or just me being whimp
I was called to a livery stable late in the summer of 1989 where massive golfball sized bumble bees were coming out the feed store between four stalls like driven golf balls .
I got dressed in my bee gear & had to hand ball the bales of hay out to get the the pallets where the bees were flying from in temps of the mid 90's
On taking the last few bales out I got zapped twice on my left nipple , within minutes I had a boob as big as a coal bucket and was as sick as a dog for days . Three days after the event I was still having to wear my shirt un buttoned due to the swelling not allowing me to button it up.

If you gals think having a baby is painful, just remember mother nature equips you for it .. she don't do that for nipple stings that's for sure.

Still , I managed to remove and relocate the large nest , it was almost a full pallet across and from top to bottom of the internal space of it to another area in the farm.

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  CindiLou on 3/24/2013, 9:45 pm

Oh ouch!

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  camprn on 3/28/2013, 6:39 pm

Time to tune up the equipment and prep the supers! The buds on the trees are getting ready to burst at the coming warmth!

Supers go on on Tax Day.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  Pollinator on 3/28/2013, 9:12 pm

@plantoid wrote:Still , I managed to remove and relocate the large nest , it was almost a full pallet across and from top to bottom of the internal space of it to another area in the farm.

I've always heard that European bumble bees were gentler than the North American species. But yours must have been on steroids!

And I've never heard of such a large nest. Most bumble bee nests here are maybe six inches in a sphere. I've seen one that I regarded as huge, that was about nine inches in diameter.

Are you near a nuclear power plant? Maybe they are mutants!

Heehee.


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Re: Keeping bees

Post  Pollinator on 3/28/2013, 9:34 pm

@camprn wrote:
@CindiLou wrote: rofl rofl Did you get stung?
Well of course! lol, I was being dumb and in a hurry and one wee bee took exception to it........ not a good combo when dealing with my girls. Got a little half sting on a left finger. Movement in my hives should be slow, steady and purposeful, kind of like Tai-Chi.

Ahhh, refreshing! Tell me that you didn't feel stimulated and charged afterwards. After that first pain subsides; honey bee stings bring on a natural high.

I bought two hives when I started, and was shaking like a leaf, every time I did anything with them. Of course I did what most beginners do, and got into a space suit.

But I didn't like the cold sweat; and the freaky feeling I got from hundreds of bees buzzing around. So, after a year of this nonsense, I said, "I'm going to get over this, or I'm going to get rid of the bees."

I asked a commercial beekeeper if I could help him during my three-week vacation time.

The first day, I got stung about fifty times. He had a reputation for mean bees, though I didn't know it at the time. He claimed that mean bees were more productive (don'cha believe it).

I survived with a little stiffness and soreness by morning. Fortunately I was a farm kid that had been stung by just about every stinging insect in eastern North America, so I had some body resistance already.

At any rate, three weeks of intense work with a commercial beekeeper got me over the hump, as far as fear of stings, and panicky feelings when they were all buzzing around.

As I got into commercial beekeeping myself, I learned that you didn't HAVE to keep nasty bees, and I learned to find and kill the queen on nasty hives and replace her with one of more gentle breeding.

Nonetheless, when you keep bees for a living, you don't have the luxury of saying, "Hey the bees are in a bad mood today, so I guess we'll come back when they are kinder." You may be a hundred miles from home, sleeping in the truck, paying a helper or two - and the work must get done, even if the bees are unhappy about it. So you do get stung.

But I can probably remember every day that the bees were bad in thirty years of beekeeping. There just weren't that many. A normal day would buy you two or three stings, and you'd go home feeling SO good! The main thing was to keep them from sensitive areas. You wouldn't want a sting on your lips, ears, nose, adam's apple, or around your eyes. (And for men there's one more spot.)

Which means that you need a veil, for normal bee work, but otherwise a white t-shirt is just fine. And gloves are a no-no. You aren't a real beekeeper until you put the gloves away, for emergency use (like a bee truck wreck) only.

I like to get stung on the hands every now and then, because I have arthritis. It doesn't "cure" the arthritis, but it does take away the joint inflamation for a few weeks. That reduces pain and it temporarily halts the destruction of the joint.

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  llama momma on 3/29/2013, 5:54 am

Getting a positive charge out of bee stings? Oh dear people I don't understand what drives you to continue pale Lol. All I remember is hours and hours of pain from single bee stings and lots of ill will towards the little buggers. Razz I'll pay whatever price the local bee keepers want for a nice jar of the stuff. So Please carry on and give me the bill!

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  Unmutual on 3/29/2013, 10:35 am

@camprn wrote:
@Unmutual wrote: Sadly, Oscar Perone took down his website.
Wonder why...

Basically, his method of beekeeping became too big for him. He felt that other people weren't getting the credit due for their work, and that the underlying message(just let bees be bees) was vanishing(no pun intended).

Unmutual, do you keep bees?

Unfortunately I can't legally keep bees in my back yard(and my daughter is highly allergic to nature..ie: a sting means an emergency room visit). In the next couple of years I plan to buy ~40 acres for my retirement home(at the ripe old age of 49....got to love government jobs). One of the first things that I'll do after the purchase is it set out some beehives to give them about 7 years to be established before I move to my home in the woods. From what I understand, you don't need to buy bees, they will move in if they find the right spot(patience is the key). Since I will be doing this way in advance, I can build the hives at my current house and then just set them up on one of my trips to the country.

Unmutual

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Re: Keeping bees

Post  NHGardener on 3/29/2013, 10:53 am

Really? I've never heard of bees moving into a hive. Does that happen?

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Re: Keeping bees

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