Beekeeping?

Discuss lifestyle changes to better survive disasters. This category is for topics pertaining to being self reliant such as DIY, farming, alternative energy, autonomous solutions to water collection and waste removal, etc.

Moderator: ZS Global Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
Chantrea
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:18 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Uh...does Bubba Ho-Tep count? It's got Bruce Campbell in it!
Location: Eastside Seattle
Contact:

Beekeeping?

Post by Chantrea » Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:14 pm

I know there must be some ZS beekeepers here!

Does anyone have a top bar hive setup? Was it easy to build your own? How likely is it that a swarm will naturally move into a hive?

Eventually I would really like a hive on the property. The top bar setup appeals to me because it seems a little easier to manage, if a little messier. Is there anyone who has worked with multiple kinds of hives, what what your preference?

jackie treehorn
*
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:34 pm

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by jackie treehorn » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:30 pm

Build the hive, buy the frames unassembled. I use Rossman Apiaries, http://gabees.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. I bought bees from them a couple of times and stuck with them.

I like the top bar set up, been thinking about trying a super of Ross Rounds but haven't. Probably never get around to it. I never sell honey anyway. I keep it, make mead, Give to family and friends. I think one of the most enjoyable aspects to beekeeping is giving the honey/mead away.

Not likely to aquire a hive by chance. Maybe if someone had a hive swarm nearby, maybe. Run an add in local paper/sales bulletin, contact county extension say you will pick up swarms. Get with local beekeeper about sellling/splitting a hive. People call from time to time with a swarm that has set up in the eaves/behind walls of their house. Might have to work to get them but its an option. If you do pick up a wild hive, requeen them. Good luck,

brer
* * *
Posts: 323
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 7:08 am
Location: Oklahoma

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by brer » Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:16 am

I use a langstroth personally. There are a few reasons why it is a very dominant style of hive.

I have converted parts of my upper over to a top bar ish setup for mite control.

If you are wanting to get started with beekeeping, say so. They are a lot of ways to skin that cat. If you have a skil saw and some carpentry skills, you can easily make a few hives for the cost of a sheet of 3/4 plywood and some work. Frames are cheap, but if you are going top bar, you can go cheaper.

BTW, if you are trying to catch a swarm, look up swarm trap. This is distinctly different from a hive. Your chances of catching a swarm are relatively low per trap. To compensate most beeks trying to catch wild swarms use a lot of cheap to make "hives" to catch them. Also look up swarm lure.

Before you start trying to catch bees with the bee removal angle, have you ever worked with bees before? Do you have protective equipment. Do you know the difference between a swarm and a hive? These are kinda important questions. I really don't like giving someone help with something that may put them in the ER.
A nation of sheep begats a government of wolves. -Edward R. Murrow

User avatar
Chantrea
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:18 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Uh...does Bubba Ho-Tep count? It's got Bruce Campbell in it!
Location: Eastside Seattle
Contact:

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by Chantrea » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:40 am

I am looking to get set up, but this is a *long term* project, realistically it's not going to happen for a couple of years. Primarily I'm interested in pollination, since we are slowly losing the nearby small farms (who have rented hives in the past that our trees have benefited from!). Last year we got some mason bees, which was pretty fun, and they're still doing well this year. I am happy with them, but it did pique my interest in other bees. I have located a couple of local beekeepers who will will provide instruction when I get closer to the time when I'm ready to start doing it--but neither of them uses top bar, and I was hoping to get more info about that from folks that have used that method. I understand that you don't get as much honey that way, which is fine with me.

I figured I would learn what I can about housing, while I'm still in the dreaming/info gathering stage. I won't be ready to get the bees using any method for at least two years. I do not have any protective equipment now, since I'm not messing with my mason bees other than putting them in a more protected place during the winter and moving them back in the spring, ect. Next year I want to take a class locally, which does require that I buy basic protective equipment--but will teach me to use it and get some practice, and it's something I could take every year until I'm ready to actually set up my own.

So I'm not really looking for someone to tell me how to do beekeeping in general, since I personally learn better with eyeballs and all senses engaged in a hands-on class; I mean, I can read about stuff and enjoy doing so, but for me it doesn't click in until I *see* see it. My question really is about folks' experience with top bar hives--I'd never even heard of them before fairly recently. And I was curious how likely it was that honeybees would colonize something like that on their own. I wasn't expecting that it would be too likely. :)

Cascade Failure
* *
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:40 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: one's with zombies...duh
Location: Near the casinos

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by Cascade Failure » Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:45 am

Based on my very limited experience...

Swarms are often caught higher up such as in a trap in a tree. Bait with old brood comb and lemongrass oil. You might get lucky.

Go to BeeSource.com, great resource. Look up Michael Bush while you're there.

User avatar
Stercutus
* * * * *
Posts: 14227
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Safe On Base

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by Stercutus » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:01 am

Not likely to acquire a hive by chance. Maybe if someone had a hive swarm nearby, maybe. Run an add in local paper/sales bulletin, contact county extension say you will pick up swarms. Get with local beekeeper about sellling/splitting a hive. People call from time to time with a swarm that has set up in the eaves/behind walls of their house. Might have to work to get them but its an option. If you do pick up a wild hive, requeen them.

HA! I am getting ready to kill off my third hive in eight years today, that by chance seem to find my house and set up shop every few years.

I have been around and around with amateur bee keepers. I tried to do the right thing the first (and to some degree the second time) and the results were a huge PITA and I ended up killing the bees anyway. I refuse to work with any anyone that advertises bee removal. They are notoriously unreliable and do not show up when they say they will be there, if at all. Never return messages, never bring what they need, want you to tear apart your house and then disappear. Not worth the effort.

If you go down that road at least try to pretend like you know what you are doing instead of some clueless dweeb who shows up without the proper equipment and training and then tries to figure it out.

? Was I ranting? I believe I was, I now return you to your regularly scheduled thread. Good luck with the beekeeping and all.
You go 'round and around it
You go over and under
I go through

User avatar
fungusmunkey
* * *
Posts: 449
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:22 pm

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by fungusmunkey » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:43 pm

I prefer langstroth as well just for standardization. I've known people with top bar hives who also usually go langstroth over time. You can get plans for building langstroth bodies if you have reasonable wood working skill.

I go with all mediums so my frames and supers are all the same size. Easier to deal with moving stuff around. I also do small cell/natural comb and organic as well.

Catching swarms is easy and give your number to the local fire department and tell them you are a bee keeper and interested in that. You'll get a ton of calls during swarm season.

Removal of hives from building is another source of bees but is much more work and you can charge for it (and should really with the amount of equipment and knowledge you need to do it). I do it as a side business and unlike the previous poster rants about, I actually do show up on time and do a reasonable job. But I don't do removals that require too much demolition or anything that is a pain in the ass. I don't suggest removing hives as a source for your first bees but the genetics are often quite sound in wild hives.

Bee keeping is great fun! Get a few books and try and meet a local who can show you some basics.

User avatar
JayC99
* *
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:34 am

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by JayC99 » Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:32 am

Beesource, Beemaster and Biobees are all websites that can help. As in most things, there are pro's and con's to topbar hives or Langstroth hives. There are also people who will strongly state that one is clearly superior to the other. Think Ford vs. Chevy, AK vs. AR, Cake vs. Pie or Glock vs. 1911.

I have one Langstroth and one "long hive", which is sort of a hybrid between a Langstroth and a topbar hive. I like it and want to move my Langstroth bees into one. Basically it's a straight walled (aka Tanzanian) topbar hive with the same height and width as a Langstroth box, but is as long as 2-3 boxes lined up end to end. It can take top bars and/or frames, so it has some compatability with other systems. Wax in frames is easier for the novice to not break than on top bars. I have mine up on legs, so there's not as much bending and lifting as with a Langstroth. The bees don't seem to get worked up as much while working the hive, which makes sense, since you're only manipulating a little piece at a time, instead of removing entire boxes full of bees. It does have limited room, but because it uses Langstroth dimensions, I can always put a super on it if I want to.

Michael Bush posts a lot on Beesource, and Beemaster too, I think. He describes long hives on his own site. I also use foundationless frames, which he describes. This duplicates another of the claimed benefits of topbar hives, in that I'm not putting possible chemical laden wax into my hive, and the bees can choose/create whatever cell size they want. Small, or natural cell size has been claimed to help with might control, though controversy still rages.

My advice would be to start in the coming spring. It's always a toss up as to whether your bees survive their first winter. Mine didn't. Meanwhile read, find a local beekeeping club/mentor to get some hands-on learning, and keep a look out for places offering pre-orders of bees in the winter. If you wait for the spring, they'll have already all been reserved.

User avatar
JayC99
* *
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:34 am

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by JayC99 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:02 pm

Did I end the thread? Now I'm left wondering if my answer was so incredible that there's nothing left for anyone to say on the subject, or if everyone got up and left, just like the popular kids if I sat down at their table in 6th grade.

I still hate those guys. I hope they're the first to turn on z-day.

Calling my therapist now. No cause for alarm.

User avatar
Bubba Enfield
* * * * *
Posts: 2698
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:17 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Zombieland, 28 Days later, Dawn'78, The Horde
Location: The strange high house in the mist

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by Bubba Enfield » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:21 pm

I've nothing pertinent to add. But I thought I'd rant about some stupidity that occured near me the other day. Some (distinguished gentleman) sprayed a canola field with Matador in the middle of the day. Apparently it says right on the label that it should only be sprayed in the early morning or at sunset. It's estimated that this jackass killed between 7 and 10 million bees with his negligence. Bee owners found their bees floundering around unable to get back in, and the inside bees came out and removed the stuff from the dead bees' legs, taking it inside and killing the others. (Forgive me if my terminology sucks: I'm not a beekeeper). This would suck even if bees were thriving right now, which to my understanding they're not.
Prioritize your health. Get out of debt. Grow food.

User avatar
shrapnel
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 5653
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:42 pm
Location: Aboard Baron von Counterculture's groovy purple dirigible, glaring down through a monocle.

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by shrapnel » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:26 pm

Jackass. :evil:

I'm in the very beginning stages of starting to think about starting to think about beekeeping. I'm going to try to go to a local beekeeping club in the next week or so, and see what all would be entailed in doing so. And also checking to see if I'm allergic to bee stings, as that would be unfortunate to discover by accident. :shock:
OTTB wrote:"What's that you're wearing?"
"This? Oh, just my rabies hat."
shrapnel wrote:Darling, I would never fondle your sphenoid.
Dr. Cox wrote: People aren't chocolates. Do you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard fillings.
JamesCannon wrote:Shrapnel, if you were a superhero, you'd be Captain Buzzkill Peener Pain.

1984CJ
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 248
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:12 am
Location: Heart of Dixie

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by 1984CJ » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:33 pm

Once you have some bees it is amazing how your attitude changes towards them. I am content and relaxed to sit within a few feet of my hives and watch them come and go. I no longer am terrified of the little girls.

I use ten frame hives and am experimenting with Micheal bush's idea of a modified top bar frame. It is to early to tell the results yet. His website is very informative has good information on long hives and top bar.

I get lots of my stuff from Mann Lake and Brushy Mtn.
Tanstaafl
Image

1floridacracker
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:15 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: zombieland, shaun of the dead
Location: Lawtey, Florida

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by 1floridacracker » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:05 pm

i have two colonies now and i have two more on order from rossman apiaries in moultrie ga. it is a fun and rewarding hobby. PAW medicine and sweetener.

User avatar
JayC99
* *
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:34 am

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by JayC99 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:51 pm

I had my first colony survive the winter. Getting two more nucs in late May.

Don't forget PAW source of fermentable material.

Hex7f7f7f
*
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:38 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by Hex7f7f7f » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:44 pm

Since this thread has been revived...
I know it's a hassle, but don't forget to check the local regulations regarding beekeeping. There are often rules regarding what constitutes a nuisance as well as other miscellaneous regulations you're supposed to follow (like how far your hives have to be from adjacent properties or public streets).

Directly relating to the original discussion of top-bar hives...
OP is from Seattle (like me, hello there, neighbor) and Municipal Code 10.36.010 states that bees need to be kept in movable frame hives. That means no top-bars. I was really looking forward to top-bars in my upcoming move, but it turns out I'm moving to a county that has a similar regulation. Its possible that you can get away with top-bars indefinitely, but there's always the risk that some government stick-in-the-mud will knock on your door about it. Also, the state of Washington requires that we register our hives, paying a small fee based on how many we'll be keeping. And if we violate that then they can fine us quantities well above what the registration costs.

As JayC99 mentioned there are still horizontal alternatives to Langstroths that fall into the movable frame category. They may be harder to locate for sale or you may have to build it yourself, but if that's what you're looking for you'll find it with just a little effort. I'm trying to be less spendy so I think I'll be trying my hand at building mine...

User avatar
JayC99
* *
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:34 am

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by JayC99 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:17 pm

Does the local regulation specify movable "frames" or movable "comb"?

If it's the second, then you have it with top bars.

Hex7f7f7f
*
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:38 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by Hex7f7f7f » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:35 pm

JayC99 wrote:Does the local regulation specify movable "frames" or movable "comb"?

If it's the second, then you have it with top bars.
It's frames specifically, though not specific about the style of hive used outside of that fact.

Seattle - "1. Colonies shall be maintained in movable-frame hives."
Pierce County (where I'm moving) - "2. Colonies shall be maintained in movable-frame hives, unless exempted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture as an educational exhibit."

HossDelgado
* * *
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Western Slope, CO

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by HossDelgado » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:29 pm

For those of you who do have hives; how do you remove the wax from the hives themselves? :?: :idea:
Crimson Phoenix wrote:Does that mean they'll be able to link my voting history and buying habits with my credit score and porn preferences? :? The 2020 Census is gonna be weird...
My BOB
Minimalist Kit
Drug Problems

User avatar
Regulator
* * * * *
Posts: 1416
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:19 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: 28 Days, Dawn of the dead II, Shaun of the Dead,
Location: The mountains of Kansas, USA

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by Regulator » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:18 pm

Hex7f7f7f wrote: Also, the state of Washington requires that we register our hives, paying a small fee based on how many we'll be keeping. And if we violate that then they can fine us quantities well above what the registration costs.

Is there a reason for this other than being another revenue stream for the state?

Hex7f7f7f
*
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:38 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by Hex7f7f7f » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:55 pm

It's actually pretty common... this explanation from the Australian government is a pretty standard answer "The registration of beehives is one of the key components in the apiary industry’s ability to effectively respond to exotic disease incursions and implement endemic disease control programs."

Registration is generally for the government to be able to locate apiarists regarding disease outbreaks or pesticide spraying and some places also give free health inspections to those registered. Registration of hives in Washington also allows certain eligible apiarists to take advantage of special tax exemptions.

Honestly, the cost of registration is generally so low that the revenue stream is probably more like a revenue trickle. In Washington the highest registration fee is $300 and to get to that price you have to own or own/operated 1,001 or more colonies. Someone just getting into beekeeping is likely to fall into the 1-5 colonies category and the fee is $5 for that. 6-25 colonies is $10. 26-100 colonies is $25. It's still money out of our pockets, but it could be a lot worse.

Hex7f7f7f
*
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:38 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by Hex7f7f7f » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:58 pm

HossDelgado wrote:For those of you who do have hives; how do you remove the wax from the hives themselves? :?: :idea:
You mean from the hive body? Not from the frames or bars?

kaizen
*
Posts: 77
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:25 pm

Re: Beekeeping?

Post by kaizen » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:30 pm

My father owned an apiary when I was in high school. He had about 300 hives. I was his primary work force. I think I still have the smell of burned honey comb stuck in my nose. We would pull supers during the day and extract through the night. We sold honey in 55 gallon drums. I swore I would never ever under any circumstance be associated with bees again. 20 yrs can sure change a persons outlook. I've been looking to purchase a few hives since last fall and still haven't found any.

Post Reply

Return to “Self-Sufficient Living”