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Other than Brewing => The Pub => Topic started by: tubercle on November 16, 2009, 04:02:26 PM

Title: Any beekeepers?
Post by: tubercle on November 16, 2009, 04:02:26 PM
  Tubercle has got in his mind he is going to raise honey bees.

 All I know about them is what I have read online and watching youtube videos.

 I'm sure there is a lot to go wrong. Anybody got any experiences to share?
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: brewboy on November 16, 2009, 06:53:31 PM
It hurts when they sting you.  :'(
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: akr71 on November 16, 2009, 07:13:56 PM
Family friends just got into the bee/honey business this year and didn't seem to stressed by the new sideline.  They are blueberry growers/harvesters (harvest other growers fruit who don't have the industrial harvesting equipment) and it was a natural extension of the business.  Now they don't have to rely on someone else to supply the beehives for pollenating the plants.

Sorry, I don't have anything relevant to add  ??? but I do have nearly 20lbs of honey waiting to be turned into mead  ;D
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: BrewArk on November 16, 2009, 08:02:05 PM
I looked into it a few years back (hopeful to get a free source of fermentables).  There are two downsides: 1) initial cost $100-$300 and 2) the fragility of the bees now.

By fragility I mean that there are two kinds of mites that have decimated almost ALL of the feral colonies, and in the last couple of years, something called "colony collapse disorder" that has an unknown origin where all the bees will sometimes just die over the winter.

Do your research before going down this path.  :'(
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: pinnah on November 16, 2009, 08:57:06 PM
I want to. I think bees are super cool...and to be able to harvest honey?
Awesome.


Had a swarm in the yard this spring, but I was not ready with a hive...dangit.
a beekeeper from down the road came and got it.
 
Are you going to build your own hives?
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: tubercle on November 16, 2009, 09:24:22 PM
I have heard of the colony collapse disorder and that is one thing that got me thinking about this.


  Build my own hives? Don't know yet. I'm sure if I could if I knew the particulars. I am pretty sure plans could be found in cyberspace somewhere. Might be best (cheaper) to give it a shot.

 There is a place about 35 miles from here that sells bees and queens I just recently found out about. I need to go visit and see what I can learn.

  BTW, already got the go ahead from the Mrs. ;D
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: brandt99 on November 17, 2009, 04:05:15 AM
Been keeping bees for about 7 yrs, mainly to make mead. It's cheaper and easier to buy hive boxes, but some things like feeders, escapes and others are better to build. CCD is mostly in the commercial arena caused by a combination of several factors. Backyard keepers mostly have to deal with normal things like varroa, nosema and tracial mites. It's a great hobby, but might be cheaper and easier to just buy honey from a reputable seller (local) if you just want mead and honey for brewing. Lots of info on the net and through local bee keeper groups.
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: dimik on November 17, 2009, 04:16:12 AM
Not to highjack the threat or anything, but do you beekeepers sell your wax?
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: mtbrewer on November 17, 2009, 04:31:04 AM
My folks have bees for their orchard. At the end of the season, the bee keeper comes and removes the bees, extracts the honey and gives them a percentage. The orchard has benefited greatly, and the honey is awesome. I hear it is a real process to extract the honey from the hive. I would get in touch with a local apiary and see what they can do for you.
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: tubercle on November 17, 2009, 01:15:14 PM
Been keeping bees for about 7 yrs, mainly to make mead. It's cheaper and easier to buy hive boxes, but some things like feeders, escapes and others are better to build. CCD is mostly in the commercial arena caused by a combination of several factors. Backyard keepers mostly have to deal with normal things like varroa, nosema and tracial mites. It's a great hobby, but might be cheaper and easier to just buy honey from a reputable seller (local) if you just want mead and honey for brewing. Lots of info on the net and through local bee keeper groups.

 I agree its probably cheaper to buy honey for mead and other home uses. I just want to raise them as a hobby. I would probably give the honey away like all the wine I make every year. I just do it for the enjoyment.

  I live out in the boonies with thousands of acres of cultivated land in all directions so there is plenty of pollen to be had.

  Thanks for the replies and advice. We'll see what happens.

  I guess it would be best to start a colony in the spring?
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: scottyb on November 23, 2009, 08:25:15 PM
You should find your local bee keeper organization, they often sponsor what is called a "short course" for folks who are thinking about keeping bees.  These usually happen late winter/early spring in time for the upcoming season.  There is a lot to learn, most importantly about mites/dieases and how to treat the bees for them.

I took a short course a few years ago but then found out that I have a female black bear with a den less than 1/4 mile from my back yard where I would put my hives.  Needless to say I am putting the bees off for now.
 
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: 1vertical on December 01, 2009, 03:42:13 PM
I kept em for some years Tuber...and winters up here are brutal.  After losing hives, and having to replace the residents...

I learned that it is a lot less work to take the hive replacement money down to the local guy that does it for a living and

#1. Purchase fresh local honey...

So...It is a lot of work to keep bees
It is even more work to keep bees properly to where they are happy and productive for you
It is tough to harvest and you will want/need specialized equipment
It is hard to clean up after your harvest
It has it's rewards knowing that you Can accomplish the task...however I recommend that you
See #1 Above...
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: punatic on October 27, 2010, 02:12:34 AM
I kept em for some years Tuber...and winters up here are brutal.  After losing hives, and having to replace the residents...

I learned that it is a lot less work to take the hive replacement money down to the local guy that does it for a living and

#1. Purchase fresh local honey...

So...It is a lot of work to keep bees
It is even more work to keep bees properly to where they are happy and productive for you
It is tough to harvest and you will want/need specialized equipment
It is hard to clean up after your harvest
It has it's rewards knowing that you Can accomplish the task...however I recommend that you
See #1 Above...

Late to the party again but,
With a bit of editing I'd like to make a point about beekeeping as a hobby...

I learned that it is a lot less work to take the beer replacement money down to the local guy that does it for a living and

#1. Purchase fresh local beer...

So...It is a lot of work to brew beer
It is even more work to keep yeast cultures properly to where they are happy and productive for you
It is tough to brew beer and you will want/need specialized equipment
It is hard to clean up after you brew beer
It has it's rewards knowing that you Can accomplish the task...however I recommend that you
See #1 Above...

I am a beekeeper in Hawaii.  Out of all of my hobbies, beekeeping gives me the most enjoyment.  It's kind of like keeping salt water aquariums, except you can't make mead with aquarium water .

The best part about beekeeping for me is my "girls" help me to see what's happening in nature; they make me aware of things I didn't notice before they came to live with me.  They really keep me in tune with the rhythm of the seasons.
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: capozzoli on October 27, 2010, 11:26:55 AM
OK Im officially gonna stop reading these threads cause I am by nature a copy cat and there just isn't enough time in the day.
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: phillamb168 on October 27, 2010, 11:39:51 AM
OK Im officially gonna stop reading these threads cause I am by nature a copy cat and there just isn't enough time in the day.

+1

Since I started participating in this forum, my wife has been getting no less than 2 "hey we should do this" emails from me a day. They even have their own folder.
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: punatic on October 27, 2010, 12:50:27 PM
OK Im officially gonna stop reading these threads cause I am by nature a copy cat and there just isn't enough time in the day.

+1

That's good...  Copycat brevity
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: punatic on October 27, 2010, 01:04:42 PM
Posting from my iPhone is clunky, difficult and makes the post appear in a smaller point size font when quoting a previous post.

Weird...

My 8 month old Dell desktop (model POS) stopped working three days ago.  I have an onsite next business day service contract which is a POS too, so I am limited to iPhone internet acess temporarily.
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: tubercle on October 27, 2010, 01:33:45 PM
OK Im officially gonna stop reading these threads cause I am by nature a copy cat and there just isn't enough time in the day.

 Never got around to the bee thing. Still want to do it because I believe it would be a great hobby but about the same time I got to making cheese and like cap says...got to sleep sometimes ;D
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: 1vertical on October 27, 2010, 02:15:06 PM
Primarily that is why I said just take the hive investment funds and use it to purchase local honey!

Then you have the stuff already laying around (if not being used) to goto the next step...Mead!
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: tubercle on October 27, 2010, 02:18:26 PM
Primarily that is why I said just take the hive investment funds and use it to purchase local honey!

Then you have the stuff already laying around (if not being used) to goto the next step...Mead!

 I think I will take you wise advice ;)
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: weithman5 on October 27, 2010, 03:24:37 PM
this is one of the funnest things ever.  i had a colleague that had them on his farm.  i would take my boys up and help.  there is quite a bit of equipment but really you need space.  the soupers you can make yourself if you are handy. (most bee keepers are)  a suit, a fogger, and something to collect the honey and spin out the impurities. a good concise reference for most info you would need is an old boy scout merit badge book.  (it was removed from the active merit badges a few years ago so you may need to get at a library.)  i have thought of doing this again on my mom's farm but too far away to tend.  thought about doing in my backyard but afraid some kid would get stung and have to deal with poopy parents.
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: tschmidlin on October 27, 2010, 03:59:06 PM
I've thought about it too, but didn't want to deal with them stinging the neighbors kids or my kids even.  Plus there is a guy who does it for a living walking distance from my place, I can get a gallon for $40 any time of day/night - he has a shelf with honey and a money box on the side of a barn, take what you want and leave the cash :)  I'll let him deal with the hassles, I'll just take the good stuff.
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: punatic on October 27, 2010, 06:25:42 PM
...got to sleep sometimes ;D

You Jackwagon!  You can sleep when you're dead...  ;D

Beekeeping is a Zen kind of thing.  I often work around my hives in shorts and a tee shirt only.  My girls let me know when they are not happy with me being there.  I've been stung three times in the last year or so.  All three times it was my mistake and I deserved to be stung.  I felt bad for the bees who stung me.

I've found, much like brewing, beekeeping either grabs ya and won't let go, or it doesn't. 
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: punatic on October 27, 2010, 06:39:03 PM
a good concise reference for most info you would need is an old boy scout merit badge book.  (it was removed from the active merit badges a few years ago so you may need to get at a library.) 

I have the beekeeping merit badge book in PDF form if anyone is interested. - PM me -

I am a Boy Scout Leader and am working on getting the Beekeeping Merit Badge reinstated.  There is a Boy Scout in Skiatook, OK who has put up a website with a petition to present to the National Boy Scout Council for the beekeeping merit badge to be reinstated.  See it here:
http://www.experienceproject.com/beepetition
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: 1vertical on October 27, 2010, 06:57:08 PM
Well, If you decide to take the plunge and keep some hives...
I highly suggest moving away from the old wooden style super frames and
going to the added cost of this style of NICE frames...
 http://www.betterbee.com/products.asp?dept=352 (http://www.betterbee.com/products.asp?dept=352)

It just makes maintenance so much easier and the extraction from these
is a breeze...they really help the bees extrude Nice quality wax as well....

Some one also posted on here they wanted some bee wax and I will also recommend
Wyoming Honey Co. Mills, WY as a possible source for that material.  I get mine there.
414 N 1st Ave
Mills, WY 82604
(307) 237-1108


They do not have a WWW presence that I know of.
Disclaimer: all information above is published in public realm and I am not affiliated with the aforementioned
in any way. They are good people that make a living from bees and bee products I recommend them wholly.
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: EHall on October 27, 2010, 09:03:47 PM
Can you make mead from raw honey? any difference than the 'cleaned up' stuff?
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: weithman5 on October 27, 2010, 09:26:59 PM

I have the beekeeping merit badge book in PDF form if anyone is interested. - PM me -

I am a Boy Scout Leader and am working on getting the Beekeeping Merit Badge reinstated.  There is a Boy Scout in Skiatook, OK who has put up a website with a petition to present to the National Boy Scout Council for the beekeeping merit badge to be reinstated.  See it here:
http://www.experienceproject.com/beepetition

way to go.  i hope he is successful.  I know we tried when my sons were scouting. (both eagle scouts by the way ;) my old resident director has been doing this since he was a scout (he is in his 70's)
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: tschmidlin on October 27, 2010, 09:48:23 PM
Can you make mead from raw honey? any difference than the 'cleaned up' stuff?
You can make mead from any honey.

I'm not sure what you mean by cleaned up, but some store bought stuff is heated very warm.  This allows them to filter it to remove particles and helps prevent it from crystallizing, but it also affects the taste.  Some producers heat to lower temps to filter it, and it is more gentle on the honey.  True raw honey is basically just dumped into the container and should retain all of the original volatiles.  They probably remove the large bee parts though :)
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: morticaixavier on October 27, 2010, 10:03:25 PM
[You can make mead from any honey.

I'm not sure what you mean by cleaned up, but some store bought stuff is heated very warm.  This allows them to filter it to remove particles and helps prevent it from crystallizing, but it also affects the taste.  Some producers heat to lower temps to filter it, and it is more gentle on the honey.  True raw honey is basically just dumped into the container and should retain all of the original volatiles.  They probably remove the large bee parts though :)

you can also find true raw honey with the bee parts etc still in. The additional protiens and pollen etc can really help the ferment along as well.
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: tschmidlin on October 27, 2010, 10:11:22 PM
[You can make mead from any honey.

I'm not sure what you mean by cleaned up, but some store bought stuff is heated very warm.  This allows them to filter it to remove particles and helps prevent it from crystallizing, but it also affects the taste.  Some producers heat to lower temps to filter it, and it is more gentle on the honey.  True raw honey is basically just dumped into the container and should retain all of the original volatiles.  They probably remove the large bee parts though :)

you can also find true raw honey with the bee parts etc still in. The additional protiens and pollen etc can really help the ferment along as well.
I've never really asked the guy up the street how he processes his honey, but mine occasionally has a leg or two in it.  I guess it's not filtered then, or just done badly  ;D
Title: Re: Any beekeepers?
Post by: 1vertical on October 28, 2010, 04:26:10 AM
If ya want to know about fermenting honey visit here
>>>http://home.comcast.net/~mzapx1/ (http://home.comcast.net/~mzapx1/)