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Title: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK on April 09, 2012, 07:45:27 AM
Warning - this is really long!  This is the first entry in my bee journal...


April 8, 2012
The Hiving of the Bees

Rachel being gone for the weekend and today being Easter, I knew I was on my own with getting the bees into the hive.  I read through the instructions in Beekeeping for Dummies once more, pulled myself up by my boostraps and geared up.

Michele had warned me that the packages didn’t have the typical piece of wood stapled over the can of syrup, so I took along an old plate to cover the opening.  I also took along a handful of marshmallows, knowing I would be a bit flustered and likely to drop them.  I had my tote all ready to go and headed out to do the deed.

A few bees escaped when I pulled the syrup can out of the package, but I wasn’t too worried.  They were buzzing around, seeming interested, but calm.  I was also very comforted by my bee jacket and veil but did not have gloves on.  I kept them in the tote, just in case I felt the need.

When I pulled the queen cage out of the larger package, I saw that I would regret not having my pocket knife along to pry the cork out of the end of the queen cage.  The capping fork worked just fine, though.  All ready to put the marshmallow in, imagine my horror when I realized that I had lost my queen!  Full of regret, I took a deep breath and moved onto the next step.

I thunked the package on the ground, as instructed, but it sure didn’t seem to shift the bees by much.  Oh, well, they need to get in the hive, so I poured/shook them in as best I could.  About a third of them were left, so I set the package in front of the hive, hoping they’d find their way in.  I put the frames I’d removed back into the hive body and used the bee brush to shoo the bees down into the frame, placed the pollen patty on top of the bars and gently slid the cover onto the hive, hoping I wasn’t smooshing any bees in the process.  Poor girls, I know I lost a few.

Thinking that maybe the book would have some advice for what to do in case of the loss of the queen, I was going to pick it up to page through it when I realized that the queen was walking around on the book!  I was saved!  Using the packaging from some hardware (plastic box with a piece of cardboard that slides into the back), I was able to recapture the queen.  I thought it best to get her into the cage as quickly as possible but as soon as I slid the cardboard open a bit, she flew off!  What a dunce!  How in the world can one person lose her queen bee twice?

I’d make the call tomorrow to order a new queen.  So I started tidying up.  Everything was sticky – at one point, the girls were getting a bit rambunctious, so I had sprayed at a few of them to get them to quit flying around.  What a mess.  Good thing my tote is plastic.  I had everything together, ready to take back up to the house and decided to look for the queen again.  Where would I go if I were a queen bee?  I started by looking low, as that’s where I’d found her the first time, but all I could see were workers.  Then out of the corner of my eye, I could see that there was a cluster of bees on the lattice – in a place where I knew that I hadn’t sprayed any of the syrup.  Imagine my joy when I saw the queen in the midst of about 20 workers, who all seemed to be attending her, rather than attacking her as I’d come to expect them to do.

I shooed the extra bees away and captured the queen again in my plastic box.  That thing was coming in handy!  Deciding that the other bees flying around would make me more nervous, I decided to take her up by the house to try to get her back in her cage.  A bit of coaxing and a bit of ticking her off later, and she was where she belonged.  I’d lost my marshmallows by this point, so held her in with my gloved finger and had Frank fetch the bag of mini marshmallows.

So the queen is once more ensconced in her cage and it is hanging between two frames, as all should be.  There were still quite a few bees in the package, but I didn’t want to disturb them anymore, so decided we should do chores and give everybody a break.  An hour later, there were probably 20-30 bees on the outside of the package and a handful inside.  I decided to put the package a few feet away and see if the girls would abandon the package to be near their sisters at the hive.  There was quite a cloud of bees flying around the front of the hive and several walking around the front face of it, but I figured they were just getting acquainted with their new home.

After a few minutes of watching, I checked out the package.  Only a couple of bees left on and in it, so I used the bee brush to get the ones off the outside and shook the inside ones out.  To my surprise, the cloud of bees around the hive had thinned out quite a bit and there were just a few of them crawling around on the front – most of them near the entrance.  So removing the package was the right thing to do – I think it was confusing them.

All the drama has me worn out, but pleased at the outcome.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: beechercreature on April 09, 2012, 09:09:10 AM
sounds like quite the adventure. whacha going to do with all the honey?
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: gmac on April 09, 2012, 10:03:46 AM
Good luck.  I kept bees for years but work and the never ending battle with Varoa mites finally made me throw in the towel.

Hope you have great success with them.  They are such a fun and addictive (and sweet) hobby. 
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK on April 09, 2012, 05:18:07 PM
I have severe allergies and am hoping that eating honey from my own yard/area will help with that.  Once things take off, I'm hoping to get enough to sell some.

I've wanted bees my entire life, so this is a dream come true.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: gmac on April 09, 2012, 05:38:22 PM
Silly question but you do know if you're allergic to bee stings right?  Just wondering since you mention allergies.

It's interesting to note, the families of beekeepers are more apt to develop severe allergies to bee stings because they get stung more frequently than the average person (plus exposure to dust from bees) but not enough to develop a real immunity.  Just a fact that I thought was kind of neat. 

Anyway, have fun.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: DeejayDebi on April 09, 2012, 07:30:51 PM
Congrats on the new family! Look forward to hearing more of your adventures in beekeeping.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK on April 10, 2012, 09:11:04 AM
About five years ago, we had a tiny swarm of honeybees try to build comb in our hay shed.  We tried moving them, but they returned to the hay shed and were angry as all get-out after that point.  Every time we entered the shed to get hay to feed the calves (twice a day) we were threatened - and I got stung a couple of times.  Just some swelling and itching, nothing dramatic, so no, I'm not allergic.

The allergies I have are pollen and dust-related. 
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Susan on April 12, 2012, 05:55:54 AM
I just got a beehive this week too!  My family (mom, brother, sister, previously my grandfather) have always kept them.  One of their hives swarmed.  I AM allergic so never fooled with them.  But now I have lots of fruit trees so going to give it a go.  I haven't been stung in over 25 years so not sure how much of a problem it will be today.  Mostly my brother will take care of them.  At least until that first sting and I find out what I can tolerate!  Good luck with your new pets!
Susan
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: anutcanfly on April 12, 2012, 10:29:09 AM
I've been thinking of doing this too, so it's wonderful to hear of your first adventures.  Good luck!  :)
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: beechercreature on April 12, 2012, 10:38:49 AM
I've been thinking of doing this too, so it's wonderful to hear of your first adventures.  Good luck!  :)

I know very little about beekeeping, but I've been told you can be put on a watchlist for when swarms are spotted. (animal control i think?)

They call you up, and you go round up the swarm. Free bees for you!
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: gmac on April 12, 2012, 12:45:45 PM
I've picked up swarms before.  Best is on a low hanging branch that's easy to reach.  Just put a box under them, and give the branch a good shake and they should fall right in.  Or, cut off the limb if you can and get it even closer to the box.  Free bees are good  bees.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Susan on April 12, 2012, 04:57:37 PM
In our area it is through the local Extension Office.  They are in touch with the local beekeepers and many of them (including my mom/brother) are on the list.  So they get called regularly to go pick up swarms.  The hive I have is from one of their own hives that swarmed.  Tis the season!
Susan
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: smilingcalico on April 13, 2012, 12:27:12 AM
Best wishes with them!  I am envious!
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK on April 13, 2012, 09:02:57 AM
Wednesday was Day 3, the day I was supposed to make sure the queen had been freed from her cage.  The marshmallow was gone and the cage was covered with bees and filled with bees - it took a bit of time to determine that the queen was still in there.  Not sure what to do about it, I hung the cage back on the frame and closed everything back up again.

Yesterday, the weather was much nicer and DD and I suited up around 5 pm.  I used the smoker, just not feeling too sure about disturbing all those bees again.  The queen was out of the cage - Yay! - and the frame it had hung on had some irregular comb being built.  I removed those pieces to a plastic container so we could look at them more closely away from the hive. 

I wasn't able to see the queen again, but the frame was covered in bees, so I assume that's where she was.  I could occasionally see into cells in between the writhing mass and spotted what I thought were eggs - VERY good sign.  I filled up the syrup feeder and put another frame in where the queen cage had been and closed everything up. 

When we got out of our suits, we were able to see eggs in almost every cell on one side of the odd comb we'd removed.  She's doing her job!
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: anutcanfly on April 13, 2012, 10:32:48 AM
How exciting!  What type of forage will they have?  I love some of the flavors that develop in the honey.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Susan on April 13, 2012, 12:56:00 PM
hahah! What timing!  My brother just sent me this photo a few minutes ago.  He just picked up this swarm.  I was out with my Mom at the time who was none too happy to learn that it was HER bees that had swarmed (means no/much less honey this year).
Susan
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: beechercreature on April 16, 2012, 10:39:20 AM
very cool!
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK on April 16, 2012, 03:22:38 PM
Right now they are feasting on apple, pear, and plum blossoms.  Plus trees are blooming - maples, willow, etc.  Over the summer they will have dandelions and other wildflowers.  I'm planning on planting more bee balm, calendula, snapdragons, etc.  Adding lots of flowers.

While I don't care for buckwheat honey, I'm planning on planting a stand of buckwheat just for the bees - I'll harvest the honey (IF I get to this year) just before the buckwheat blooms.  That way, the bees can have that honey for their over-winter stores.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Gürkan Yeniçeri on April 16, 2012, 05:37:53 PM
Hi Karen, welcome to the beekeepers club. I also started last year with a topbar and a commercial langstroth. It is amazing to see these little creatures working. I am hoping I will get nice honey in summer time.

Here are some pictures of my topbar hive.


(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-tw1tIEBN4Q4/T0t6qGYtgrI/AAAAAAAAAsQ/TXlab1_uvcc/s1600/IMG_7650+(Medium).jpg)
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jzlD63ESPkg/T0t6gS3rcnI/AAAAAAAAArw/-NQSOnuwWro/s1600/IMG_7639+(Medium).jpg)
(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-D2_ruYgysrg/T0t7S44n6EI/AAAAAAAAAuA/nOoFUvrebK0/s1600/IMG_7680+(Medium).jpg)
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK on April 17, 2012, 07:08:02 AM
Great photos!

In comparison, which hive type do you prefer?  Or should I say, which did the girls seem to prefer?  I've got a Lanstroth style hive, but have been thinking about building a top bar hive so I can have a second one.  I'm just not sure if it would stay warm enough for the winter here, though.

I could stand and watch them coming and going from the hive for hours, I think. 
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Boofer on April 17, 2012, 08:32:27 AM
Wonderful diversion from cheese, Karen. Nice dialogue. Thanks for sharing.

-Boofer-
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK on April 17, 2012, 10:39:25 PM
Thanks, Boofer.  I'm just glad I got these girls installed in the hive when I did - which was Sunday.  Wednesday night, I woke up at 2am to check on my cow, knowing she was getting close.  She was in full-blown labor and needed assistance.  We had a little heifer born at about 3am.

Now I'm back in the milk and making cheese again.  Nothing too exciting yet - I made yogurt and set up some cottage cheese today.  I may make a big batch of lactic cheese tomorrow and convert some of it into a Velveeta-type product.  Yes, I have to shamefully admit that I like that stuff.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Boofer on April 18, 2012, 12:08:25 AM
Wow, you've got it goin' on! Long days, huh?

Congrats on your bouncing bambino heifer.

-Boofer-
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK on April 18, 2012, 08:06:44 AM
Yeah, but I'm grateful to not have to be working outside the home anymore - or should I say, to be self-employed, because I do housepainting and teach classes through community ed.  At least I get to direct my schedule.  So I take naps when I've been up all night.

I'll have to post the calving saga - it was quite the night.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: DeejayDebi on April 18, 2012, 03:43:34 PM
Boy you sure have been a busy Mama! Bees and a new calf wonderful!
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Gürkan Yeniçeri on May 06, 2012, 05:24:20 PM
In comparison, which hive type do you prefer?  Or should I say, which did the girls seem to prefer?  I've got a Lanstroth style hive, but have been thinking about building a top bar hive so I can have a second one.  I'm just not sure if it would stay warm enough for the winter here, though.


They build their nest to anywhere and adapt. Through my readings of natural beekeeping, I settled on Warre type hives. It seems Emille Warre is the only one who studied cluster sizes and how they grow. I am building 2 new Warres this winter get it ready for spring. You can get all the information from http://warre.biobees.com/index.html. (http://warre.biobees.com/index.html.) but the roof will be Roger Delon type. Have a look through the link I gave you, you will understand what I mean. For the wintering keep the walls minimum 3cm thick without changing the inner dimensions. I am trying to get 3.5cm to provide good insulation.

Topbar is also good, I am going to give mine to a friend here after the split.

Good Luck
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: anutcanfly on May 07, 2012, 11:05:46 AM
My ex-husband kept a hive in the house with a vent to the outside, and with glass sides so you could watch them work.  I'd love to do that some time.  He has a recording of 5 queens singing.  It's really awesome!
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: wez on May 07, 2012, 11:08:06 AM
go to you tube and type in my nick name of hedgerowpete you will find loads of videos i have done to help tech people beekeeping, pete
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK on May 13, 2012, 09:42:23 AM
Life's so crazy busy right now, I'd love to do more reading and researching.  I've got plans for a Tanzanian top bar hive that I think I will build to fit the medium frames that I'm using in my Langstroth.  That way, they will be interchangeable.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: weaverlorelei on May 16, 2012, 08:12:29 AM
I am new to the cheese forum and just saw this as ancillary post.
We've been herding bees for a number of yrs now.  Last year was HARD, because of the severe heat and drought here in TX.  We allowed our tiny charges to keep all of their honey since there was NO flowers available for their stores.
I am thinking of using some of the honey as a coating for some cheeses, just as an antiseptic rind wash, maybe to add another flavor component.
Good luck with your herd
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Brewandwinesupply 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?
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK 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.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: DeejayDebi 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!
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: anutcanfly 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!
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK 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.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: DeejayDebi on May 26, 2012, 09:34:37 PM
WOW! Probably kept her from getting stung.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Spellogue 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.

Two fun hobbies meet.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK 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!
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Tiarella 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.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Boofer 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

-Boofer-
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK 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...
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Spellogue 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?
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Tiarella 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 (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 (http://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. 
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK 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.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Boofer 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

-Boofer-
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK on October 01, 2012, 09:00:03 AM
Yeah, I won't allow the ragweed to grow like that again, believe me.  I've made a gallon jar blend from each of the times I harvested honey, in the hopes that the pollen in it will help immunize me and give me some allergy relief.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: mightyMouse.tar.gz on October 25, 2012, 01:49:25 AM
Hey MrsKK,
Great thread! God I wish I could have bees! There is an ordinance in my City which bans bee keeping (Lame...).
Have you ever made mead? If not, I highly recommend it. Mead making it a lot of fun, and done well- very very tasty.

(Sorry for resurrecting an oldish thread, I got kind of envious!)
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Boofer on October 25, 2012, 12:45:03 PM
in my City
Would you please update your profile to tell us where that is?

-Boofer-
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: mightyMouse.tar.gz on October 25, 2012, 02:24:23 PM
in my City
Would you please update your profile to tell us where that is?

-Boofer-

Sunny, beachy, California!
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Boofer on October 26, 2012, 12:23:26 AM
The wife and I lived in Port Hueneme five years ago. Sweet...except for the Santa Anas.  :P

-Boofer-
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: mightyMouse.tar.gz on October 26, 2012, 12:35:59 AM
The wife and I lived in Port Hueneme five years ago. Sweet...except for the Santa Anas.  :P

-Boofer-

Oh wow, I am actually not that far from there. I am a little north of Santa Barbara. Not sure if I have been to Santa Ana but I do not like LA.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: MrsKK on October 26, 2012, 07:28:53 AM
No mead here.  I tasted it once and that was enough for me.  But I'm not much of a drinker anyway.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Boofer on October 26, 2012, 08:33:36 AM
Not sure if I have been to Santa Ana but I do not like LA.
Uh, these (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Ana_winds)....

-Boofer-
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Spellogue on October 26, 2012, 10:02:42 AM
A friend who is a county extension agent makes delicious meads, pyments, and metheglin and has encouraging me to make some with the honey from our hives.  I might try it next year with any honey we have left over from this year's harvest.

I went into the hives last week to treat for varoa mites (I use hop guard, it's organic) and was pleasantly surprized to see that one of the hives filled another medium super in just one month.  I hadn't planned on it but I pulled 5 of the 10 frames. I put two in the weaker hive and kept 3 for myself.  I haven't extracted it yet, don't feel like cranking up the extractor for just 3 frames.  I suppose I'll just crush and strain, unless anyone has a better idea. 

They are on plastic foundation, so I can't make comb honey with these.  Too bad, since it will be a deep flavored goldenrod and aster honey which would present nice on a cheese plate in the comb.  Next year I'm going to set some shallows with comb frames for sure. 
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: Spellogue on October 26, 2012, 10:13:04 AM
Mighty,

Can you tell me how much honey I'll need to make a gallon of mead?

Too bad about your city's bee regs.  If your neighbors are all cool with you keeping bees you might consider setting up a clandestine hive anyhow.  Or you could try to put together a petition.  It took a while, but that worked in Cleveland on the maintenance of livestock including chickens and goats with some limitations.  Beehives, up to 4, we're already permitted.
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: beechercreature on October 26, 2012, 03:09:03 PM
Mighty,

Can you tell me how much honey I'll need to make a gallon of mead?

Too bad about your city's bee regs.  If your neighbors are all cool with you keeping bees you might consider setting up a clandestine hive anyhow.  Or you could try to put together a petition.  It took a while, but that worked in Cleveland on the maintenance of livestock including chickens and goats with some limitations.  Beehives, up to 4, we're already permitted.


here's a quick recipe:

http://homebrewforums.net/discussion/421/easy-mead-recipe#Item_8 (http://homebrewforums.net/discussion/421/easy-mead-recipe#Item_8)
Title: Re: My first adventure in beekeeping
Post by: mightyMouse.tar.gz on October 27, 2012, 02:29:42 PM
Mighty,

Can you tell me how much honey I'll need to make a gallon of mead?

Too bad about your city's bee regs.  If your neighbors are all cool with you keeping bees you might consider setting up a clandestine hive anyhow.  Or you could try to put together a petition.  It took a while, but that worked in Cleveland on the maintenance of livestock including chickens and goats with some limitations.  Beehives, up to 4, we're already permitted.


I use 3 pounds for a gallon of mead. Comes out to about a quart of honey, I just pick up 2 pints of honey. I see beechercreature already posted a link to a good recipe. If you want some more info, here is a site that has a lot of information:

http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/index.htm (http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/index.htm)

I have never followed any of the recipes on the site but they seem pretty legit. I believe he even had a recipe using stuff you would find around the house like baker's yeast (I'm skeptical though..). The author also has some really cool youtube videos about different stages in the mead brewing process which are fun to watch.
As far as yeast goes, this batch I just opened which was awesome, I used Lavin EC-1118 champagne yeast (Here is a link so you can see, though I found it at my LBS):
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/winemaking/wine-ingredients/wine-yeast/lalvin-champagne-ec-1118.html (http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/winemaking/wine-ingredients/wine-yeast/lalvin-champagne-ec-1118.html)
It produced a mead which was a nice balance between dry and sweet. The honey flavor was there but almost as an aftertaste. It actually tasted like a nice wine with a "funky flavor in the background that you can not put your finger on but like" (Of course, honey will affect your flavor as well). Very smooth, I really wish I had done a larger batch. I plan to start a 5 gallon batch here after I get my holiday brewing done and have a free carboy ;)

In mead making recipes, you see reference to both yeast energizer and yeast nutrients. As an FYI, you can get products which have both combined (fermaid-K is what I use, mainly because that is what my LBS carries).

If you are more of a bookworm like me, I have one book on mead that I have read: "The Compleat Meadmaker" by Ken Schramm. Its a good book, I started with it. There are others as well, I just have not gotten around to them yet.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Compleat-Meadmaker-Production-Award-winning/dp/0937381802/ (http://www.amazon.com/The-Compleat-Meadmaker-Production-Award-winning/dp/0937381802/)