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Any beekeepers here?

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Any beekeepers here?

Post  dixie on 7/6/2011, 1:25 pm

I'm not particularly interested in honey, but want bees for increased
pollination. (Why is it pollination when we are talking about pollEn)?

My questions:
Can you set up a hive & NOT, or rarely, harvest honey?
Has anyone tried a top bar hive?
Is it too late to start a hive this year?

I have an email in to my local beekeeper's association, but I figured I could get quicker replies here on the forum.

I'm in Zone 7, SE Tennessee

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  camprn on 7/6/2011, 1:41 pm

I started keeping bees this year! The first year I do not plan on a honey harvest as my colony is growing from a small group (10,000) and what they put up they will need this winter to feed on and survive. If you dont want to do the honey harvesting, I am sure someone from the local club will help you out with that. I suggest join the club now, go to the meetings, learn all you can, maybe take a class and start a colony next March or April. The folks in the club will give you a timeline for your region. I am really enjoying my bees! Very Happy I am toying with the idea of a topbar hive, but will probably just use the Langstroth without foundation in the frames, to get honeycomb. YUMMY!!!


Last edited by camprn on 7/6/2011, 1:46 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  petals1973 on 7/6/2011, 1:44 pm

Have you considered mason bees?

http://www.crownbees.com/educate-yourself/mason-bee-basics

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  dixie on 7/6/2011, 1:52 pm

I'll check it out, thanks.

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  Weatherkid on 7/7/2011, 10:24 am

My dad has been beekeeping for over ten years now. We mainly do it for the honey, but there are more reasons to do it than that.
Bees don't need to have their honey harvested every year, their honey is a natural storehouse to get them through the winter. When we harvest the honey, we need to replace the amount we took with sugar water (not very fair, but they don't seem to mind).

Bees have survived in the wild much longer than beekeepers have been around to harvest their honey. I do suggest you do more research before making any hard and fast decision.

good luck,

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  dixie on 7/7/2011, 10:35 am

Thanks everyone. The beekeepers meet once a month, so I will be going to the August meeting.

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  busygirl on 7/7/2011, 1:40 pm

@dixie wrote:Thanks everyone. The beekeepers meet once a month, so I will be going to the August meeting.

Hopefully one of the members there will be willing to mentor you. I have been working with a mentor since March in hopes of starting two hives next spring. IMO it might not be worth the investment and work if you aren't going to harvest the honey or wax. Some bee keepers rent bees so maybe you could lease a hive for a season to pollinate your garden if the mason bee idea doesn't appeal to you. I have some old bamboo supports that I am thinking about cutting up to make a mason bee house just to see "if I build it, they will come."

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  dixie on 7/7/2011, 2:19 pm

We had made a mason bee house, but I checked it last night - half of the holes are filled with mud daubers! I'll just leave them alone.

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  shannon1 on 7/19/2011, 3:20 am

The nice thing about mud daubers is they pray on caterpillers.

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  FarmerValerie on 7/19/2011, 8:27 am

dixie, camprn gave you some good advice. We have 3 or 4 hives here at our house (hubby is the beekeeper) and 2 more at his dad's house. I saw plenty of bees when the garden was getting started, not so many right now. Go to the meeting, get to know the beekeepers in your area, if you live in an area that it woould not be trouble to keep some on your property, someone may just set up one of their hives on your property. We are always looking for a different location to set up a hive, as my husband also extracts bees. We have 1 or 2 volunteers already, but have not set up hives there yet, we may in the spring. My husband will train them in keeping an eye on things, and then set up the hive there, and then he does the main work with the hives, and we give them some of the honey. When you go to the meeting, be open and honest up front, let them know you are not sure you want the full time job of beekeeping, and really just want bees to help in the garden, you may change your mind later, you may not, but at least you'll get the right answers to your questions, and a great learning experience if you stick it out going to the meetings.

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  camprn on 7/19/2011, 8:26 pm

The girls are working hard! Tending the next generation and putting up honey, Good Girls!

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  NHGardener on 7/19/2011, 11:40 pm

camprn - what kind of bees do you have? I heard recently that Russians are more mite-tolerant.

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  camprn on 7/19/2011, 11:57 pm

@NHGardener wrote:camprn - what kind of bees do you have? I heard recently that Russians are more mite-tolerant.
I don't know about that but I do know Russians can be friggin feisty. Well, I began with Carnolians, but the new queen I have it a mutt from Vermont. So right now its probably 1/2 Carnolians and & 1/2 Vermont mutts. They are all still quite gentle creatures to deal with just now. http://www.beekeepingstarterkit.com/page/1317490

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  subsonic on 4/20/2012, 6:35 am

I also am looking into getting a hive but not really interested in the honey harvest
I had a wild hive in a tree by the street for the last 3 years and really noticed a huge increase in pollination of my vegetable garden. They help so much I now do not even flinch when a bee is around I am totally used to having them buzz all around me as I work my gardens.
However the city came and trimmed the tree and when they saw the nest called a removal service to get rid of the hive. I asked that they did not and was told the hive was a threat to the safety of the crew.
So now I need a hive. And it seems a little late in the year to buy bees.
I guess I will be well researched by next spring Laughing

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  camprn on 4/20/2012, 6:52 am

There are a lot of hobby clubs around and maybe a local bee keeper may want to place a hive near you. Maybe contact your local 4-H or County Ag extension service for some info. A local bee keeper may be interested in locating a hive at your place. I think in your area you could probably get bees almost any time of the year. Right now it is swarm season so there are a lot of bees looking for homes. maybe if you put out a hive box they will come. You also may want to check if your city has rules about keeping honey bees. Very Happy Beekeeping for Dummies is a great starter book.

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/20/2012, 9:00 am

@subsonic wrote: ...snip...the city came and trimmed the tree and when they saw the nest called a removal service to get rid of the hive. I asked that they did not and was told the hive was a threat to the safety of the crew.
So now I need a hive. And it seems a little late in the year to buy bees.
I guess I will be well researched by next spring


First; shame on the city. With the decline of bees and the way some cities will not disturb a tree with a bird nest.....your story makes me angry.

Second; My husband Ray raises Mason Bees. No honey, just wonderful pollenizers (sp?). Maybe you can look into that?

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

Post  H_TX_2 on 4/20/2012, 10:15 am

You might be able to find a beekeeper that is looking for places to keep his bees. My father-in-law kept bees in the past and would help him tend the bees and harvest some of the honey. If you do start a hive yourself or find someone to to place their hive on your property be sure you put a lot of thought into the location. You don't want it right next to the garden where you are working; they will find your garden on their own.

The general rule for moving a bee hive is that you have to move it less than 3 feet or more than 3 miles. If you move it more than 3 feet then apparently they will keep flying back to the old location looking for the hive since they are still flying around the same area. Once you have a hive on your property you can't move it to somewhere else, you have to leave it where it is.

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Re: Any beekeepers here?

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