To Be or NOT to Bee

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by KSQ2, Dec 8, 2020.

  1. KSQ2

    KSQ2 Well-Known Member

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    Well, we lost our one and only hive again. They left us with about 70 lbs of capped honey, so there’s that at least. I went out to treat them for varroa mites and the hive was empty; they looked like they were doing well a month ago. I think we’re gonna sell our stuff or give it away, I’m pretty much done I think. The learning curve was too steep for me after losing 3 hives in 4 years. You bee fellas are better men than me!
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2020
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  2. catscratch

    catscratch Well-Known Member

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    Sorry it didn't work for you. I bought a hive last yr in the hopes that I could get a wild swarm to take up residence. No luck. Might buy a nuc this yr and give it a go. I'll be in the same boat as you in a yr.

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
     
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  3. massey

    massey Active Member

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    My grandfather gave up in 1992. He died in 98. There have been bees in his hives since 2000 or so. Completely hit or miss I guess.


    Sent from my iPhone using Deer Hunter Forum
     
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  4. BoneCrusher20

    BoneCrusher20 Active Member

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    It is tough lately w/ Varroa around....take yourself a little more north to WI and adds even more complexity with a long/cold winter. This year i think we are going to lose a lot of hives everywhere as I've already had 3 of 4 gone and #4 doesn't look far behind to making it. In past month they all took turn for the worst very fast and i blame it actually on the warm November as that warmth creates moisture in the hive and cold is not the killer of bees...moisture is

    BTW mite treatments are usually much more effective around labor day....this late and your "winter" bees have already hatched and mites have done their damage to them already.

    Encourage you to stay at it...not easy, as some years we catch bad luck even for seasoned keepers but every year you learn something more and there are some major advancements in bee genetics that have some promise to fighting lot of these parasites causing havoc.

    Also I would say the best advice i ever got when starting out is you need 2 hives around otherwise you have nothing to compare how one is doing, you can't learn should i be treating for mites, feeding more, what about requeening, etc.. With 2 hives you learn what your hive should look like at different stages of the year.
     
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  5. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

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    I would always recommend starting with two hives. That way, if one goes queenless, you can take a frame of eggs/larvae from one hive and give it to the other to make a new queen. I used to really get upset over losing a hive. Now, I dont like it, but I dont lose sleep over it. I want about fifteen established hives for honey production. I make four or five new hives a year, so I usually have total hives numbering in the low 20’s - including everything from nucs on up. I have a few extra from time to time and sell them - usually at a loss. Most folks dont understand the money invested in a hive - and I aint smart enough to convince them there is four hundred dollars or more in an established hive
     
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  6. KSQ2

    KSQ2 Well-Known Member

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    I did a lot of reading on mite treatments and the one I settled on was the Oxylic dribble method. You have to wait until the queen stops laying brood in order for this treatment to be effective; so that's why I waited until December, which is what was recommended for our hardiness zone. Obviously, there was no need to treat a vacated hive. At least nothing robbed the honey. Swampcat, you're right about the $$ investment, that's the main reason why we're probably done.
     
  7. buckdeer1

    buckdeer1 Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone tried the flow hive
     
  8. KSQ2

    KSQ2 Well-Known Member

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    I haven’t buckdeer, we’ve just tried the traditional deep hive bodies. We have decided to give it another go this spring. We’re gonna set a hive at a different location. If we can get them through next winter, we’ll put another over in our farm.
     
  9. BoneCrusher20

    BoneCrusher20 Active Member

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    i would not recommend a flow hive. honestly extracting honey is the least time consuming part of keeping bees. take a look at even the commercial operations they don't use flow hives as the understand too hard to do all the other tasks associated w/ keeping bees.
     
  10. catscratch

    catscratch Well-Known Member

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    Any of you guys do top bar hives?
     
  11. BoneCrusher20

    BoneCrusher20 Active Member

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    I've not experimented with it, but know others who have and say that it is fun for a bit then the bees run out of room very fast and then you fight the battle of trying to keep them from swarming and is an absolute pain to try and extract honey. The one advantage is the weight, as lifting full honey supers off a langstroth can be back breaking.

    Most of them switched back to langstroth with more hybrid approach foundationless frames on the brood chambers and then some type of foundation for honey supers. Myself have gone round and round and finally i've settled on plastic frames for everything. The "all natural" folks may give me shade for using plastic, but you know what i still have my original plastic frames from years ago, as they get old you scrape the comb off give em quick spritz w/ hose dip them in vinegar, slop on some new wax and you got another 10 years in you. I'd also argue to them the wood frames harbor more diseases and end up throwing them out more frequently.
     
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  12. KSQ2

    KSQ2 Well-Known Member

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    Sounds interesting. I’ve only used the traditional stuff and had reasonable luck with it, except for losing our bees repeatedly, which isn’t good luck I guess. We do take very good care of our frames and boxes, which is pretty easy to do when you only have one or two hives.

    Cat, what you will find out in all of this is it’s pretty expensive and there’s really no good shortcut route. On the flip side, it is very rewarding and your experience would be very positive for your science classes. The extraction equipment is pretty expensive, but I bet I could talk my buddy into letting me bring it out and helping you harvest honey on down the road.
     
  13. catscratch

    catscratch Well-Known Member

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    I bought a Top Bar hive last spring. Put pheromone bait in it with hopes of a wild hive taking up residence. No luck, all that seemed interested were wasps and mice. Lot's of bees on my place though, which is why I was hopeful of a wild colony.

    I appreciate the offer of maybe helping extract. I figure if I do end up getting honey I would just harvest comb. To be honest I really don't care to harvest much, just want bees. I have to say that I've recently eaten the best honey I've ever tasted thanks to a trade for some acorns. That jar is already mostly gone!
     
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  14. Elkaddict

    Elkaddict Well-Known Member

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    I've been tempted by the bee thing with all the clover we grow. However, I'd have to build an absolute bear-proof enclosure to even give the hives a chance. Too many higher priority projects right now.
     
  15. TreeDaddy

    TreeDaddy Well-Known Member

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    It is an addiction once you start......as bad as planting trees

    bill
     
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  16. Elkaddict

    Elkaddict Well-Known Member

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    Fortunately, haven't started the tree planting as our place already has 150 or so apple trees.
     
  17. buckdeer1

    buckdeer1 Well-Known Member

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    I wonder how easy the flow hives are
     
  18. BoneCrusher20

    BoneCrusher20 Active Member

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    seems i have more troubles w/ bears on my apple trees than i do bears destroying my bee hives.....you can make a cheap electric fence enclosure and seems to have worked thus far pretty well. hopefully that continues.
     
  19. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

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    the words “bees” and “easy” are not typically used in the same sentence
     
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  20. THE LLC

    THE LLC Well-Known Member

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    One of the TOUGHEST hobbies around.
     

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