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Any beekeepers among us?

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MarkMaster View Drop Down
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    Posted: February/16/2017 at 9:30am
I started keeping bees a number of years ago, thanks to a Brother who asked me to help him re-queen a hive of mixed-breed black bees (NOW I know what a German black bee descendent is like!) ... after multiple stings to the face and arms, I got that queen installed and was pronounced as "mebbe a good bee-man" by Brother Carlton (who, at 93, is still managing 30-plus hives). Since then, I have kept my own beeyard of around 25 hives pretty active, gotten my Master Beekeeper certification, managed a couple of good-sized yards for other beeks, and helped start our local bee club. Great hobby, especially if you don't mind a few thousand potentially dangerous females flying around you while you work!Wink
"Si apis, sis apis."


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/16/2017 at 10:55am
I own 3 acres in New Brunswick in a rural area and I think it would be ideal for bees. I'd love keep bees but I am not there year round. From what I understand, you can't leave hives unattended for too long, even in the winter.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkMaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/16/2017 at 11:52am
3 acres is plenty of room for a dozen or so hives. Time investment varies according to season (winter is not a problem, but Spring and Summer have chores to do) and activity (early feeding = about 3 times per week, honey harvest = two or three times per season - but several hours per harvest, etc.). You could probably manage it -- my little farm/beeyard is a 45 minute drive from my suburban home and it isn't too much of a problem.

"Si apis, sis apis."


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droche View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/16/2017 at 2:30pm
In New Brunswick, they are having quite a problem with colony collapse disorder. They are losing on average 1/3 to 2/3 of their colonies each season for the past few years. Not sure what it's like in the south, but I know the bee keepers in NB have to keep close watch on their hives year round so they don't lose everything. Maybe I can work something out. Am going to ask around. Now that I'm retired I can spend somewhat more time there but not sure if it will be enough.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rchadwic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/16/2017 at 3:26pm

I have no experience with bee-keeping. However, I am reminded of a story my grandfather told once.

 

Seems that he had participated with a few of his neighbors helping get a large field of hay harvested. After the work was completed, the crew was invited to have dinner with the hayfield owner and family. A fine meal, well received by all. Finished off with coffee and fresh biscuits out of the oven. Served with homemade butter and… Grampa noted, a rather small pot of honey for such a large and hungry group.

Grampa looked over the honey supply, smiled, and commented to the hostess… “I see you keep a bee.”


Best wishes to all from Sunny Florida
Bob Chadwick
Palm Bay #397
Plam Bay, FL
Bob Chadwick
Palm Bay #397
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MarkMaster View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkMaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/16/2017 at 6:00pm
Now that's funny ..... I am putting that one in my next presentation to our local group! LOLLOL
"Si apis, sis apis."


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MarkMaster View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkMaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/16/2017 at 6:09pm
CCD is a complex set of issues - ranging from pest issues (varroa mites, usually) to tainted pollen sources and/or water to poor hive management practices. Lots of urban myth out there about CCD, but it usualy comes down to one or more of these common problems. A large yard, or a wide sample of yards, will generally show a 25 - 30 percent loss each year as a rule: this is best addressed by preparing for the loss -- learn to start and maintain about a dozen nucs (small replacement hives), perhaps breed your own queens or have a local source to work with, or work with your local beekeeping club to help each other with loss prevention and/or replacements. I promise you - it isn't as scary as it's made out to be ... the bees will do most of the work for you if you just keep out of their way and let them! LOLLOL
"Si apis, sis apis."


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/17/2017 at 9:12am
Well I might give it a try. I've also heard of "urban" hives. I have a small backyard in a high density populated area here in Worcester. Would, let's say, one hive work without the neighbors getting stung or overrun with bees?

Also, this may sound like a dumb question to an experienced bee-keeper, but is it possible to keep bumblebees? I realize their colonies are a lot smaller, but they may be better in an urban area. I'm not interested in tons of honey, just the chalenge of keeping a colony going.

Oh, I also did some more reading on CCD in New Brunswick. Looks like its not as bad a problem now as it was ten years ago. The last article I could find on it was in 2007. It was saying that back then, losses were 25-80%, mostly in commercial hives due to frequent transporting. It was about 10% in the urban hives. 


Edited by droche - February/17/2017 at 9:19am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkMaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/17/2017 at 11:23am
Let's start with the bumblebees: it is possible to keep them - their "hive" or "nest box"is little more than a bundle of tubes or tube-like holes held together in a boxed frame of some sort (bumblebees are solitary bees and do not function or live like the social insects, i.e. honeybees). Easy enough to do, but no honey, as they only produce what they need for themselves. If you are looking for pollination, they are useful; unlike honeybees, though, which are source-specific pollinators (they will work a particular plant type until it is pretty well done before moving to another source), bumblebees are more opportunistic: whatever is in their meandering flight path is what gets worked. The problem with this is inefficiency -- your plants will get spotty pollination coverage, thus producing fewer blooms and fewer fruits. The upside is that they are stronger and can pollinate plants that honeybees cannot; plus, they do not sting (often).
"Si apis, sis apis."


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkMaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/17/2017 at 11:31am
Urban beekeeping is a growing part of beekeeping and can be done almost anywhere. One or two hives is about the most that can be easily managed (although I have a neighbor in the next subdivision who has 8 - but his lot backs up to a wooded buffer zone, so there is little issue with neighbors). You should check with your local bee club for advice on the local regulations, possible civil law issues, etc. as it varies from town to town. I will be helping our neighborhood association President set up his first hives sometime in March -- he lives across the street from me; should be interesting!


"Si apis, sis apis."


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