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addy1

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We have decided to take on another hobby! It relates to ponds, plants, veg gardens, life in general.
I have planted our yard with bee, bird, butterfly, insect friendly plants. Never spray any chemical. With the plight of the honey bee, my honey encouraged me to try bee hives.

So we are going to set up two bee hives next spring. Now the learning curve starts!

What I have learned so far:
...Buying hives is expensive (find someone getting out of the work) We bought new ones.........ouch
...There are no commercial bee keepers in Maryland, our nectar flow season is too short, we get nectar from april to mid july. The flow starts with the first dandelion that opens.
...The first summer of having bees, you get no honey to harvest. You leave it for the bees to be able to make it through the next winter. That first pound of honey will be expensive!
...Even with all the flowers we have planted, bee friendly, the flowers can be native bee friendly, but not honey bee friendly. They all have different lengths of proboscis, some long some short. The flowers need to match the proboscis of the honey bee.
...A worker bee will produce 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its life, 20-30 days.
...They need water to create the honey............that is easy we have a ton of water.
...The hive stays 94-96 degrees summer and winter.
...HONEY IS VERY VERY VERY HEALTHY FOR YOU

We bought honey bee friendly wildflower seeds. Will be seeding this fall (if we are predicted to have a cold winter) in the spring if it stays warm. Don't want the seeds to sprout and die from a warm winter. With the honey bee friendly flowers, which deer love, we are now putting up electric fence to protect the wildflower fields. Also planting an area for the deer to eat. Mint produces great nectar, so taking some of our water mint and planting it out in the back field, let it take over. Clover is another wonderful nectar producer, throwing out clover seeds in the back field.

If the bear is still around we need to put electric fencing around the hives to protect them.

Just spent the last 3 hours nailing together supers and brood chambers (3 boxes with 10 frames each) have 9 more to go.

At least have until spring to get all together, that is when we get our bees. You can buy a bee package, 3 or 4 lbs of bees and a queen or a nuc of bees 5 frames of eggs, larvae, workers and a queen. A nuc gives you a head start on the bee hive.

You also have to decide what kind of bee to buy, Italian, Russian, etc. We are getting Italian, bigger cluster during the winter, better chance of surviving our short nectar flow and winter.

Also in this mix is where to put the hives. Sunny, out of of the prevailing winds, on your higher land, air flow and not as damp as low land.

Then you need to learn about parasites, diseases, preventing swarming, smoking, harvesting ............ keeps the brain young all this learning.
 
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Good luck with your new hobby Addy. I remember as a kid there were always honey bees around and seems over the years less and less. I do see a few in my gardens but not like I did as a kid. No doubt lots to learn about bee keeping. Look forward to hearing about it as you go along.
 

addy1

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They say the feral hives of honey bees have almost totally disappeared, i.e. honey bees living on their own in the wild. The mono crops (huge fields of non bee friendly crops) , gmo's, pesticides are wiping them out.
In the old days farms would have more than one crop, some unplowed areas, etc. They are still attempting to figure out what is the biggest reason, still under speculation.
We have corn fields and soybeans here, the guy we are getting our bees from says they worthless for the bees, all gmo crops.

Here in maryland the majority of honey bees are kept by people like us, a few hives in a yard.


bettasngoldfish said:
Wow, Sounds like a dangerous hobby to me ; )
I need to get the protective clothing, you will get stung a little. The bee sting is a lot less painful then wasps, which have stung me a lot since I moved here, darn yellow jackets. They are swarming are fallen apples right now.

haver79 said:
Good luck with your new hobby Addy. I remember as a kid there were always honey bees around and seems over the years less and less. I do see a few in my gardens but not like I did as a kid. No doubt lots to learn about bee keeping. Look forward to hearing about it as you go along.
As a kid we would barefoot it in the yard, always getting stung by honey bees on the clover. I have tons of clover here, see bumble bees, very few honey bees. My honey is going to make me a bee sweeper so when I mow the yard the bees are scared off in front of the mower. The back field i will mow as tall as possible and on a seldom basis. Like every two-three other weeks or so. Keep the clover going as good as possible.
 

j.w

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This is exciting to hear all that you are involved in w/the bees. Can't wait to see your hives in action and I'm sure you will provide us w/ pictures and video's when you get it all set up and running. Hope you can keep the bears out of the honey!
 
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JohnHuff

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I think it's really great that you are doing it. We need more people doing it as it seems that our "native" population of bees is always from danger from something. For years, it was the African bees coming up from South America, then it's the hive collapse thing that's to do with pollutants/chemicals/viruses/fungi or something like that.

Bees are soooo important because they pollinate and without them, many of our harvest will be in danger. I wish people would just put up bee hives, if not for the honey then just so that they help pollinate crops and plants.

I've actually just started to replace sugar in my coffee with honey and I feel better for it in many ways.
 

addy1

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I have been reading a lot about honey, one thing a if you buy honey from the store, the majority is imported. The best honey is never heated, (kills the good properties) not heavily filtered, raw. So your best bet is to buy it from a bee keeper, road side stand, fairs etc.

It is called the perfect food, never ever rots. If it crystallizes in the jar, that is just from the water in the honey evaporating. Just warm a tiny bit (water below 110 degrees), and use, or use with the crystals. I like the crunchyness of it when it does.

I am not sure where I got it from but have a neat article about how good honey is for you, might even have been from the good food thread. It is mainly about cinnamon and honey, how darn good it is for you.
View attachment cinnamon and honey.txt

ValueofHoneybees08.pdf 2013-10-20 06-57-31.png
 

addy1

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Last time we were up in our little sort of cabin in pa, we saw a bunch of golden rod growing. I start researching it, find out it is a great end of summer nectar flow for honey bees. So my dear sweet honey says lets go back up to pa and get some. We end up pulling up around 300 plants or more, it grows by runners and seeds. Three large black lawn bags of seed heads and plants. Shallow plant roots, real easy to pull.

"Goldenrods vary in height, with six feet being the tallest (Solidago altissima). Some, such as Solidago odora (Sweet Goldenrod) have pleasant odors.
Goldenrods are extremely important to other wildlife, especially insects. Many animals come to Goldenrod to drink nectar, collect pollen, nibble leaves and stems, prey on other insects, or lay eggs.
Bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, flies, and others visit for nectar and pollen. Caterpillars, aphids, and other small insects eat the leaves and stems. Wasps, spiders, praying mantids, lacewings, ambush bugs, assassin bugs, beetles, and birds prey on the insects Goldenrod attracts. There is even a Goldenrod Spider, who specializes in hiding on these plants! There are also special flies, called Gall Flies, which lay eggs in the stems and leaves of Goldenrod so their larvae can hatch and begin eating. Some insect predators, such as the Praying Mantis, lay their eggs on Goldenrod too, so their babies can feast on insects when they hatch. There are so many interactions among animals on and around Goldenrods that it becomes very complicated to follow."


Then dear sweet hubby helped me plant them yesterday, along two fence lines in the back field where the deer hang out. We have a ton of deer in pa, they don't seem to care for the goldenrod. I am also going to plant a bunch of mint with the goldenrod. Mint blooms mid summer into the fall. Great nectar producer.

DSC06548.JPG

These areas and another inside fence area are going to be seeded with nectar producing wildflowers for the bees. This is where the electric fence will be, the deer love these flowers.
The slope will be low mowed early spring, I am buying a lot of dutch clover seed, heavy nectar flow, low growing (so I can still mow) around 4 inches or so. Dear honey is going to help me create a bee sweep to have in front of the mower, a bar with some swinging chains on it to scare the bees away so I don't harm them mowing. Right now I watch for bees, butterflies and pause to get them to fly lol.

DSC06550.JPG

And since we drove the truck, ROCKS! found a great pile of them on the lower slope. Still more to get but didn't want to over load our poor old yukon

DSC06551.JPG
 
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addy1

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Big learning curve tm, when I started just thought put in some hives, bees happy..................nope. The neighbor that has had hives for many years said she wished they had put more thought into the hives before they started. I over do everything (look at my bog lol) Try to make it as good as possible to have happy healthy bees. Therefore flowers, electric fence (possible bear, but also opossums and raccoons raid the hives) One other way to protect the hive is to raise it up high enough on blocks so the raccoons opossums bellys get stung when they try to get honey. They have to reach up to get into the hive. Also mice, like to live in the hive for the winter. on and on, still learning.

Just wish I knew if we were going to have a cold hard winter, I would seed the wild flowers once we ground freeze, but this area is tough, we can get a hot spell where the seeds start to germinate, then it freezes and kills the tiny plants. So just not sure if I will seed this fall or in the spring.
 

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Addy; what about skunks? Having seen what they do to yellowjacket nests, I imagine they would gladly clean out a hive if they could.
John
 

addy1

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They say to just have the hive high enough the skunks need to stand on their hind legs to reach the hive. That way their belly gets stung. I may run some electric fence around it, not sure if the bear is around or not. But it could be low enough to stop the skunk. I am running some electric fencing to protect the bee friendly flowers from the deer that love them.

Wish the skunks would come and eat the yellow jacket hives I have hanging around.
 

addy1

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To save bucks, all the hive components came in parts, lots of parts. Been hammering off and on for a week or so.

Each box has 10 frames, each frame has 5 parts to it that need to be put together. We have 14 boxes x 10 frames = 140 frames to hammer and glue together and 14 boxes to assemble, bottom frame, telescoping top. Lots of hammering and gluing.

This is the end result of a few I have hammered together so far.

Deep frame brood chamber

DSC06569.JPG

one of the frames, The yellow is plastic covered with bees wax, so sweet smelling. The foundation the bees will build their comb on.

DSC06570.JPG

These are shallow supers (boxes for the honey) Two will be shallow brood chambers. They get really heavy, the deep frame will be on the bottom with the shallow ones above.
Queen excluder's (keeps the queen away from the honey boxes ow she lays brood among the honey you want to harvest) it has to be removed during the winter so she can reach the honey for winter food, screens for increased air flow, smoker, gloves.

DSC06571.JPG

The top of the hive, helps insulated the hive using dead air space.

DSC06572.JPG

They cluster together with the queen in the center, work from the bottom of the hive moving upwards eating the honey stored for the winter. The workers keep the hive at a nice 94 degrees all winter. We need to leave 60 lbs of honey for them to survive.
 
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Sounds like an excellent way to keep costs down, but after doing 140 frames I bet you'll be hammering and gluing in your sleep! All looks excellent so far, it's really interesting to hear how you're getting on :)
 
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j.w

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I've seen some of those wooden bee hive set ups and all of them are painted white. Is there a reason for this and are you going to paint yours white?
I thought I heard some hammering lately coming from the N.E. :cheerful:
Hurry up addy we are wanting to move into our new homes by Springtime
 

addy1

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The hives don't need to be painted, most paint them white, less heat absorbed. They suggest, if you have more than one, painting the front of the hive with a different pattern, the bees sometimes drift to the other hive if they are plain white in the front.

I am going to paint them white, latex paint, only on the outside. Get some different colors to put on the white in the front to help the bees find the right home to fly into, lol

Jw I have until may to get them done, slowly hammering away, gets hard on the hands if I hammer too much. Main thing is to have all done and ready for bees when the bees are ready to come to their new home.
 

addy1

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lol we have one for BIG nails and actually just recalled I have not one but two brad nailers in the garage, one electric, one air. Guess what I am pulling out! Unless we have hauled it to florida to work on the house down there.........need to go check........tomorrow, dark now and being lazy
 

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You have plenty of time and gives you something to do over the long cold winter addy. How do the bees arrive? I just never thought about it before and wondering if you get a bunch and just drop them in the box and they do their own thing or what. I know they have to have a queen and what happens when they procreate and make more queen babies? Do they fly off and start their own colony in the wild?
 
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