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Adventures in Beekeeping - Journey To Liquid Gold - Pics

Discussion in 'Bees and Beekeeping' started by Quail_Antwerp, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. Jul 6, 2011
    sunsaver

    sunsaver Almost Self-Reliant

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    Im seriously considering getting into bee keeping. I have only wild bees around, and never see any honey bees anymore. I was wondering how much it costs to start a small hive. Can i build my own boxes and frames? Where can i get supplies, plans, etc.?

    Also, do i have to collect the honey? Can i just keep them for pollination only? I hope thats not a stupid question.
     
  2. Jul 6, 2011
    rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Almost Self-Reliant

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    If you don't wanna deal with the honey, you can do the ole timer method and just make a box with a cross section in the middle, with small opening at the bottom for passage. It may not be legal in your area though, but seeings as you have to intention of harvesting anyway, there will be no damage to the colony. My great-grandfather did this method, but to harvest, you have to kill the colony. That was how old Cajun men tended bees before they learned the modern method with frames and rotating boxes. The problem is that you will have frequent swarming with this method, but if you keep your eyes pealed, you can catch them.
    Go to the library and borrow a book on the subject. If you want to read a real quick write up on it, I recommend Reader's Digest Back to Basics.
    You can get a beginner's kit from any of the supply companies, but I would recommend you see what a kit consists of and see what you can put together yourself from things you already have.
    I once advertised.......'Looking to buy used bee equipment' and the phone started ringing. Its mainly an old man hobby and eventually we all get too old and sick, so unless kids and grandkids took it up, chances are someone will give you a call. I paid 400 dollars for an extractor, about 10 hive bottoms, tops, inner covers, about 10 hive bodies and 15 supers.......various frames for each and a handful of tools. It sounds like a lot of money,, but check what I should have paid, if it was new. Plus if you advertise, you might find something new from someone who tried and failed and gave up too quick. Just know what its supposed to cost.
     
  3. Jul 6, 2011
    valmom

    valmom Crafter

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    I'm sure you don't have to collect the honey- that's just a bonus. Anything you don't collect helps the hive get through winter. We may not collect a lot of honey this year, especially considering the cost of an extractor! :th

    You can get 2 hive bodies, unassembled for $67 here - or look at the pictures and see if you can duplicate the box, and frames and just buy the sheets of waxed foundation.

    https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=90&products_id=943
     
  4. Jul 7, 2011
    keljonma

    keljonma Epicurean Goddess

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    sunsaver, find the local Beekeepers' Association in your area. You may find a member or two that makes hive bodies and honey supers for a reasonable price.

    Go to your local library and check out any beekeeping books they have. Many have plans in them for building your own woodenware. In our Beek Association, we have a member who sells a complete hive body minus foundation for the frames for about $50. For about $30 more, he will also provide a screened bottom board, inner cover and telescoping cover. He obviously isn't in it for a profit, but to help others get involved in keeping honeybees. I am sure Roland isn't the only Beek in the country doing this. :D

    Another great thing about belonging to the local Beek Association is getting to hear how everybody else is doing each month, field days and great speakers. Our county apiary inspector joins our meetings every other month to let us know what is going on with bees in the counties around us. And if you are lucky enough to have some members with many decades of beeking experience, they are the ones to turn to for answering your questions, finding equipment, and general knowledge that books can only begin to touch on.



    Valmom, there are other ways to harvest honey besides using an extractor - crushed comb/filtered honey or cutting comb honey are two possibilities. Check with your local Beekeepers' Association; you may find a beek that will let you borrow an extracctor, or the association will lend one out to its members. I am truly blessed because one of my mentors gave me his small extractor (spins 2 frames) last year. I knew him from church, but he is a member of our county Beek Association too.
     
  5. Jul 7, 2011
    sunsaver

    sunsaver Almost Self-Reliant

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    Thanks for the tips. Doesnt sound to expensive to get started. sorry, didnt read back far enough
     
  6. Jul 7, 2011
    R2D2

    R2D2 Power Conserver

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    Sunsaver, be careful buying used honeybee equipment, most experienced beeks will advise against it. The practice of buying used hive bodies, supers is known for spreading honeybee disease and pest.IMO, you'd be better off and safer shopping around for a good deal on new hive components.Buying used equip. can bring you hive beetles, American or European foulbrood,etc. I used the crush & strain method for yrs before i bought an extractor. I used a large pasta strainer i bought at a yard sale.I want to get all the good stuff...pollen,propolis so i strain course.Some use finer mesh screens, cheese cloth and such because they want a cleaner looking finished product.I like the bits of goodies that come with almost non-filtered honey.I filter just enough to get the bigger pieces of wax, bee body parts out.I never heat my honey to make it flow better when bottling, just extract at room temp.It may be slower, but i want all the "mother' intact and completely raw.Some beeks heat the honey to speed things along, as warm honey does flow better.Heating honey at low temps is okay,but to high a temp.will kill all the good stuff. Happy Beeking...:)
     
  7. Jul 9, 2011
    Quail_Antwerp

    Quail_Antwerp Cold is on the Right, Hot is on The Left

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    Waiting on mom to pick me up - we're on our way to a Beek meeting - MY FIRST ONE! :weee

    We're leaving early to go buy my veil :ya

    I'm taking my camera to get pics - BUT I got some super cute pics of a few of the girls today drinking out of the lid to the kids' sand and water table. Apparantly, that water tastes better to them than the clean water I put out for them :/

    I'll share pics later tonight when I get back!! :D
     
  8. Jul 9, 2011
    valmom

    valmom Crafter

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    Yea! Enjoy it and listen to everything.

    I had another seminar/intro to beekeeping today. I watched every move, I looked at everything, I listened. I really wish I knew more! I came home and just had to open my hive again to see if I could find the queen or brood that I might have just missed. Nope. No clipped marked queen, and no brood, but two cells that really look like hatched out queen cells. So, I'm going to wait and see if anyone starts laying. I don't really know how long it would take for a virgin queen to mate and start laying- and I don't know how likely it is that she would leave the hive for parts unknown! But there is a lot of honey stored, so I would think it would be a hospitable hive to return to after a mating flight. I just feel so insecure about this! I want them to survive.
     
  9. Jul 10, 2011
    Quail_Antwerp

    Quail_Antwerp Cold is on the Right, Hot is on The Left

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    So I went to the beek association meeting - was a bit disappointed.

    But, how many people do you know go to a beek meeting and leave with a FREE Jersey Bull Calf??? (more about him in my SS Journal tomorrow)

    Before I post the pics from the hive at the meeting, I want to share this one of one of my girls :)

    The girls have perfectly clean drinking water in a gallon chicken water close by their hive, but this gal prefers drinking out of the lid to the kids sand and water table! LOL

    [​IMG]


    I'm in process of uploading pics from the beek meeting, but it's pretty late, and I'm tired, so I'll probably post those tomorrow! Plus, checking my hive tomorrow so should have pics from that as well!
     
  10. Jul 10, 2011
    Quail_Antwerp

    Quail_Antwerp Cold is on the Right, Hot is on The Left

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    OK So I didn't get that many pics, because they were working fairly quickly and my camera doesn't snap pics that fast (note to self, invest in better camera)

    So I'll share the few pics I did get, but I can't really explain what was going on in each pic, or which frame we were on, etc.

    I can tell you that there was a lot of talk about the hot side and cold side of a hive - meaning I guess bees build up the hot side first?? And they said bees build from the middle out - to which I replied mine did not. They started on the left (facing hive, right if you stand behind hive) and moved to the other side gradually.

    They also talked about splitting a hive - which confused me some - and they said as big as this colony was, it's a good hive candidate to split (and they suggested doing it soon so it isn't too late in the year) and they also talked about moving frames (honey filled) to encourage to the bees to work the more empty frames but to NOT split the brood when doing this. Kind of confusing, and something I'm not ready to try.

    They did not use a smoker on the bees. The hive owner gives them a light misting of Honey Bee Healthy mixed with sugar water, and then pulls out the frames. He started in May (just like I did) and both of his bottom deeps are heavily worked - brood, a few small empty (haven't been built up to grow a queen) queen cells (and he didn't remove them from the frames, either), very busy busy bees - and even though I had borrowed my mom's veil, I was very uncomfortable around his bees. They just seemed more excitable than mine do? does that make sense? It could also be because he has double or triple the numbers my colony has (most likely because his didn't suffer the set back mine did :p )

    His cappings over brood were dark, almost orange to brown, where my cappings over brood have been lighter yellow. He did have a couple frames that had lighter yellow cappings like mine - but it sure makes me want to look at color of cappings in my hive again (I'll be doing that this morning after I get the sugar water made).

    The edges of some of the frames had a lot of burr comb. He doesn't save this, as they are not interested in the melting down of wax (at least not right now anyway) for making other things (candles, lip balm, etc.) The burr comb is tossed in a bucket and carried far off from the hive to be disposed of to prevent skunk invasions (he explained he also has chickens and doesn't want the skunks getting to them, either.)

    Also, his veil was over top a straw hat. Before opening the hive he explained how he hasn't been stung - yet. Several bees towards the end got into his hat, and began stinging his face and back of his neck. he took of down the hill, ripped off his hat and veil, and waved his arms around crazily. Wasn't funny, but yet it was, and he seemed to take the teasing he got ins tride :)

    For the best part of the bee meeting, you'll have to check out my journal :D :p (later)

    So, without further ado - here's the pics -

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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