Bees!


JohnG
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I picked up a copy of Beekeeping for Dummies. I'm going to get with a friend of a friend who's a hobbyist beekeeper for a little assistance in getting up and running. 

Just as an aside, do you know the pros and cons of the Langstroth hive and the Euro style bee cradles? Just curious because Felder/Hammer has a video and plans for making a cradle.

Hammer Bee Cradle

Edit: I just watched this video for the first time in a couple of years. I forgot how it gave me the willies watching him reach behind the blade while ripping narrow stock. NOT a good idea!

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3 hours ago, Mick S said:

Just as an aside, do you know the pros and cons of the Langstroth hive and the Euro style bee cradles? Just curious because Felder/Hammer has a video and plans for making a cradle.

I do not have much familiarity with that style. From the look of it, it makes inspecting the hive a little easier (you don’t have to remove the upper boxes and then bend over to remove the frames), but it might not be as efficient for honey production. 
 

That’s great that you are getting set up for bees! If you have ever had a bad reaction to a bee sting, or are unsure how your body will react, you may want to keep some Benadryl on hand just in case. Bees are usually non-aggressive but if you’re going to have tens of thousands of bees living near you and you occasionally open up their home and start messing with them, it’s best to expect that you may get stung at some point. 

 

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22 hours ago, Mark J said:

It's much more complicated than I imagined.

It’s the sort of thing that you can choose how complicated to get. You can simply place some hive boxes out and eventually a swarm will make it their home. You can leave them alone and let them do their own thing and just reap the benefits of having bees around if you have any sort of garden. The colony might eventually die or leave, but another will come along. This is sometimes referred to as being a “bee haver” instead of a “bee keeper” - you have bees but don’t manage the hives.


On the other end of the spectrum you can learn about their physiology and behaviors. You can inspect the hive often (too often will make them more aggressive) to ensure they are staying healthy and productive, checking the brood and pollen/nectar stores, watching for queen cells and either promoting or preventing swarming, harvesting honey, and much more.

 

On 4/9/2021 at 6:45 AM, wtnhighlander said:

Bees are fascinating! Thanks for sharing this experience, John.

They really are! Wasps, yellow jackets in particular, give bees a bad reputation but honey bees are awesome to have around and to watch.

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So after you transfer the bees from a package or from a swarm, you don’t go into the hive for about a week. The queen should make her way out of the queen cage after a couple days, and the worker bees will be drawing comb. 

At the week (ish) mark, it’s good to check on the bees to make sure the queen is out of the cage, locate her, and make sure she is laying eggs. You also want to see how much comb has been made and how much pollen and nectar has been stored. 

During this time you should be feeding the bees 1:1 sugar water. It varies when beekeepers end the feeding, but it’s usually at least a few weeks.

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Somewhat. It can’t be too early (cold) because the smaller colony of bees wouldn’t be able keep the queen and brood warm while also building comb and gathering food. You also don’t want it too late in the year, or else they won’t be able to build up for the winter.

Some people stop supplementing with sugar water when there’s a nectar flow, and some continue through it in the first season.

That is fresh comb made by the bees. I had removed one frame to make room for the queen cage and the bees made that in the gap.

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EC4B1A65-2144-469E-832F-94777E0067B0.thumb.jpeg.26a87f5704631b7880cecd447e52e503.jpeg

At the top they started to store some pollen and a few cells of nectar.

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This is typical of hives. The worker (female) brood will be toward the center, a bit further out will be drone (male) cells, then on the outskirts will be pollen and nectar. Honey will be the furthest out since it gets capped and doesn’t need to be frequently used.

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