Author Topic: My first adventure in beekeeping  (Read 5171 times)

Offline Brewandwinesupply

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2012, 03:49:08 PM »
I too am interested in bees. I have a small vineyard about 20 min. from my house, so wondering how much time do you need to devote to them? Is it check daily or onec or twice a week thing?
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Offline MrsKK

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2012, 05:01:40 PM »
I've been going into the hive about once a week or every other week.  Experienced beekeepers say that once a month is plenty, but I'm just learning right now, so I'm more comfortable being more hands-on.  I do wander that way at least every other day just to make sure no wild animals have gotten into the hive and in hot weather to make sure their water dish is still full - they need lots of water to keep the hive cool.

It truly is bursts of activity with lots of neglect in between.  They sure fascinate me, though.  I've already noticed a difference in the number of berries on the gooseberry bushes - they are wild fruit but it looks like we'll get quite a crop this year.  I'm sure that bees would be an excellent addition to your vineyard - and then you can play around with making mead, too.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2012, 07:28:45 PM »
Sounds fastinating! I think I would be a bit timid at least at first. Had a bad experience as a kid with honey bees and a bad throw with a rock. Sure Pi$$ed them off!

Offline anutcanfly

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2012, 10:28:58 AM »
Sounds like there are going to be some new hives starting up here and there.  You're getting people excited at the prospect... me included!
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Offline MrsKK

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2012, 03:02:49 PM »
I've never been stung by a bee - just wasps - and never had any negative experiences with bees, but I was very intimidated when I had to hive the package.  A three pound package holds approximately 11,000 bees - when the hive is at top operating capacity in the middle of summer, there can be as many as 60,000 bees.  I don't care how little they are, en masse they can be just a tad scary.

BTW, DD helped me go into the hive yesterday.  I never thought to warn her, but she was wearing pants with a hole in them and a bee got in.  She looked up at me and said, "There's something cold on my leg."  She calmly walked away behind an apple tree, pulled down her pants and shooed the bee away.  Then took off the scrunchy from her hair and used it to close up the hole in her pants.  I was amazed that she stayed so calm through the whole operation.  No stings, either.


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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2012, 09:34:37 PM »
WOW! Probably kept her from getting stung.

Offline Spellogue

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #36 on: September 25, 2012, 12:48:35 PM »
Wondering how your honey harvest went?  Some years we aren't able to steal any honey from  a new install.  Last year we got 15 lbs from two new hives.  We just took 81 lbs from those same two hives this year.  I mentioned I started a honey rubbed montasio from Mary Karlin's book in celebration.

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Offline MrsKK

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #37 on: September 29, 2012, 08:10:08 AM »
This whole beekeeping thing has turned into quite an adventure.  On July 1st, the bees swarmed and I was heartbroken until I went into the hive the next day and found that it was jam-packed full of bees and there were a LOT of queen cells.  I took off eleven frames of honey and removed the queen excluder (the hive was so full of brood and honey she had nowhere left to lay eggs).  Based on advice from my bee mentor, I went in the following week and split the hive, taking four frames of brood, four of honey and installing two empty frames in the new hive.  Within three weeks, both hives had very active, very healthy queens.

Both have done very well and I took several small harvests of honey from the original hive, totaling 72 lbs of honey.  I realize that this is an amazing amount of honey from a first-year hive and am feeling very blessed.

I went in yesterday to check on the girls and also to add hive-top feeders, as we've been through several hard frosts now and they've been hanging out around our soda can barrel looking for something to eat (fortunately we keep it firmly lidded!).  I'm using medium supers all throughout the hives and each have two boxes that are about 1/3 brood and the rest honey, plus one full box of honey.  Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can get them through the winter.

We had an early bloom this year and many, many flowers throughout the season, which I credit with my grand success.  Also, we have a huge field next to us that was planted in soybeans.  The beans were infested with aphids and I learned that bees will harvest honey dew from the aphids - which gives it a characteristic dark color and citrusy flavor.  Very, very good honey.

I'm planning on expanding the apiary next year.  I'm hooked!

Offline Tiarella

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2012, 01:38:13 PM »
My neighbor is an avid longterm beekeeper and he mentioned how important Goldenrod is as a late season feed crop for bees.  I've looked it differently ever since.  I liked it before but did cut it down in some places.  His bees visit each year when my Fernleaf Buckthorn blooms.  I planted Ashworth Honey Locust in the corners of my pastures and expect his bees will visit when they start blooming.  I love bees and am glad they visit since I don't think I can handle any more projects.

Offline Boofer

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #39 on: September 29, 2012, 09:48:40 PM »
Kudos to you, Karen, on your early success. Good to hear the project is moving steadily forward.

72 pounds!! Wow!!  :P

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Offline MrsKK

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2012, 12:23:44 PM »
Thanks so much!  I kind of wondered if I needed any more projects, but this is a life-long dream fulfillment - and is even more awesome than I imagined.

I am very, very allergic to goldenrod as well as ragweed, so it is my normal habit to pull or cut down any plants that I come across.  In early July, my brother who is also a beekeeper was here on a visit and we were wandering the yard.  Just as a knee jerk reaction, I pulled up a goldenrod plant and Randy reminded me that goldenrod is an important bee food.  Boy, did I feel silly!

So the goldenrod and ragweed were allowed to grow rampant here.  My daughter was home one day and took a look at the yard and asked if I was trying to commit suicide with how allergic I am.  I did have asthma symptoms this year for the first time in many years...

Offline Spellogue

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #41 on: September 30, 2012, 02:17:10 PM »
What fantastic experience with your hive(s) this year.  I'm glad to hear things went so well and you're going to keep at it.  You had a lot going on with them this season and handled it all so well.  Salvaging a hive after a July swarm is challenging and you managed to split it!  Great management!

Goldenrod is perhaps our most important nectar flow too, especially due to the timing to build up their winter stores.  We don't expect frost for another 3 weeks yet.  I may be ble to take a few frames of goldenrod honey now that the aster is in bloom.  Goldenrod honey crystallizes easily, but I love the deep oaky flavor.   It is highly unlikely that you are allergic to goldenrod.  The ragweed that is in pollen at the same time is normally the culprit.  Rarely are people allergic to insect pollenated plants with their large pollen particles and showy, attractive flowers.  Wind pollenated plants like ragweed, grasses, and many trees have small, irritating pollen granules from inconspicuous flowers that are much more likely to cause respiratory reactions.  (Or so my allergist says.)   

I've been wanting to add a third hive but haven't had an oppurtunity to split a hive yet.  3 lb spring packages keep getting more expensive.  More than three hives and I'm afraid I'll turn my fun into work. 

I think I'll make a late season chèvre or mithizra to eat under some of this honey.  Do you have any other favorite cheese/honey combinations or recipes?
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Offline Tiarella

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #42 on: September 30, 2012, 02:34:44 PM »
For all your beekeepers out there.....here is an intriguing piece about using Miron's deep violet glass to store honey and how much it is noticeable.    http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4240   I only heard about this because I use the glass for my flower essences.  If you want contact info for the US distributor I'm glad to pass it on.  He's a great guy....lives in southern CA.  The main Miron website is www.miron-glas.com  and there is an English option there.  They sell other size bottles too for wines, oils, etc in case any other artisanal food folks want to experiment. 

Offline MrsKK

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #43 on: October 01, 2012, 06:52:45 AM »
Thanks, Spell, but I do happen to know that I am very allergic to goldenrod.  The allergist tested me and got a huge response.

Florists now use goldenrod in arrangements and when I worked on Med-Surg, I started sneezing and clogging up.  When I got up to grab another chart, I saw that the florist had dropped off a bouquet for a patient.  Yep, it had a big spray of goldenrod in it.

Offline Boofer

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Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
« Reply #44 on: October 01, 2012, 08:40:30 AM »
So the goldenrod and ragweed were allowed to grow rampant here.  My daughter was home one day and took a look at the yard and asked if I was trying to commit suicide with how allergic I am.  I did have asthma symptoms this year for the first time in many years...
That seems to go way beyond "taking one for the team".  :o

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