New beekeeping with AZDuffman

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April 30th, 2015 at 9:45:20 AM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 103
Posts: 6772
The past few years I have been on a skill-learning binge. Even though I am not totally unable to do things myself, at least to to the extent I see around me, I have this weird need to learn how to do "hard" skills. One of which I decided was to keep bees! I kind of looked at doing it two years ago when I had a job where they had not near enough work for us and had a "feel free to look at stuff online" policy. Until I did and they saw just how many hits I had. They then said to bring a book or something. Then they laid us all off, But I digress.

I did some reading on it and then (after work) looked at how this beekeeping thing works on YouTube. Took a class last fall. Found out the basics, and jumped in. I was amped enough that the empty hive has been in my living room since January. For those that do not know, and before the class I didn't, you can get bees one of 2 main ways. A "package" or a "nuc" You may get lucky and be able to buy a whole hive, but that is not suggested for newbies and is pricy. A nuc is bigger but more expensive. A package is smaller and lets you see how a hive develops better. So a package it was.

You have to order packages in the winter, mid January is almost too late. Apiarys have to plan ahead. So I ordered one. And waited. And waited. Worse than when you sent in the box tops to get a decoder ring as a kid.

The phone rings this morning. USPS calling to tell me there is a package of bees waiting for me! Up to the desk and tell them what I am there to pick up. Lady at the desk didn't quite get it, but then did and some guy brings a buzzing package to me. Carrying it out while other people are coming in, well that was just fun!



There are about 3,000 ladies in there. They need to get put in their new home. The process is straightforward, see it here as I could not film myself. I can't say how many of this kind of video I watched.

Their new home was waiting. I was going nuts because the neighbor was mowing the lawn when I was home and I had to wait. Didn't want any disturbance or lookey-loos doing it my first time.



So enough was enough as far as waiting went. Suited up and did the deed. Queen box out first. Taking a little cork out to expose the candy the workers will eat to release her. Forgot the nail! Run downstairs. Put her in. Started to reassemble the box. Almost forgot to put the feeder in instead of two of the frames. But dumped the bees. They are actually pretty docile.



Covered her up and they can get to work. Later today I will put some grass in front of the opening so they stay close to home for a few days. Then the queen needs to get to work, she needs to lay about 60,000 eggs or more the next two months!

More updates as they happen!
The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it
April 30th, 2015 at 10:06:41 AM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 119
Posts: 5247
Cool! I often thought about beekeeping as a kid. I guess other things came up before seriously investigating it.
No one has ever proven I am not God.
April 30th, 2015 at 10:31:52 AM permalink
Face
Administrator
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Quote: AZDuffman
They are actually pretty docile.


Any protective gear?

One of my old fishing spots was at the back end of a property and sort of split a corn field and a clover field. Huge farm, probably 10 towers of 5 boxes a piece. It was like walking next to a faulty transformer, like the air was made of electricity. You got pelted from every possible angle by the bees coming and going, and I'd usually have a number clinging to me by the time I cleared their airspace. But I never got stung. They do seem pretty mellow, as long as you don't squash one between your arm and your side.

Perhaps this was a temporary thing or state specific, but I do remember hearing that bee farms open the door to certain tax breaks. I remember hearing it about rich people who owned vast tracts of land. Apparently the bees fell under some agricultural blanket which changed the status of the land, and it all but eliminated all of the property taxes for the individuals in question. Since you're such a research oriented bloke, it might not hurt to take a look and see.
Be bold and risk defeat, or be cautious and encourage it.
April 30th, 2015 at 10:32:32 AM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 103
Posts: 6772
2 hour update:

After I dumped the box there were probably a few hundred left in it. There were also bees flying all over the yard as I am sure you can imagine. Now they left the box, presumably to go to the hive which is very orderly with them coming in and out. A few dozen are eating the sugar-water mixture I spilled on the picnic table but the rest are coming and going in what looks to be starting organization.

I do not want to block the door if all is working. It really looks like rain here so I expect that will keep them inside for the day it takes them to get used to things.
The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it
April 30th, 2015 at 11:29:58 AM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 110
Posts: 11603
Bees are cool, honey is not. It goes into
your system almost immediately as
glucose and is very bad for you if you have
any sugar issues, which so many people
do now.
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
April 30th, 2015 at 12:08:51 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 119
Posts: 5247
Quote: Evenbob
Bees are cool, honey is not. It goes into
your system almost immediately as
glucose and is very bad for you if you have
any sugar issues, which so many people
do now.


Call me a crazy naturalist, I'd like to know how populations fared over a lifetime when they stuck to honey vs. all the boxed carbs off the shelf.
No one has ever proven I am not God.
April 30th, 2015 at 12:09:28 PM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 103
Posts: 6772
Quote: Face
Any protective gear?


Yes, really long gloves and a shield that screens your head and upper body. I might have been able to do it without the gloves. On YouTube there are always videos of hillbillys checking hives with no gear at all. That is nuts. Get stung in the eye and you will likely go blind. I got one small sting because I went back and shook the box to encourage them to get to the hive.

Quote:
Perhaps this was a temporary thing or state specific, but I do remember hearing that bee farms open the door to certain tax breaks. I remember hearing it about rich people who owned vast tracts of land. Apparently the bees fell under some agricultural blanket which changed the status of the land, and it all but eliminated all of the property taxes for the individuals in question. Since you're such a research oriented bloke, it might not hurt to take a look and see.


No idea on the tax breaks. If it works out I may consider being a "bee guy" and getting the rich folks across the river (that is literal BTW) to pay say $400 to have me manage their hives. Sell it as helping the environment and such. Keep the wax and part of the honey. that is a ways off though.

As to honey I have three or more people wanting to buy already. I have the feeling it can be moved if you work in an office or with a large group. The wax can do so much as well.
The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it
April 30th, 2015 at 12:14:29 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 119
Posts: 5247
Quote: AZDuffman
I got one small sting because I went back and shook the box to encourage them to get to the hive.


Cheap beekeeping accessory: long long stick. Probably bamboo fishing rod type.
No one has ever proven I am not God.
April 30th, 2015 at 12:26:45 PM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 110
Posts: 11603
Quote: rxwine
Call me a crazy naturalist, I'd like to know how populations fared over a lifetime when they stuck to honey vs. all the boxed carbs off the shelf.


Simple, they ate very little of it because there
was little to eat. It was for special occasions, or
used sparingly in recipes. Diebetes was rare
because they ate no processed carbs, and people
weren't fat. Quite the opposite, they were thin
and ate mostly meat, fish and root veggies,
with bread. Look at the average persons grocery
cart and it's filled with 80% refined carbs.
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
April 30th, 2015 at 12:56:33 PM permalink
Ayecarumba
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 85
Posts: 1410
This is very cool AZDuffman! I look forward to following your adventure. Do you need a permit to have a hive? I don't think I could start one in my suburban backyard because of the close proximity of the neighbors.
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