View Full Version : Is Anyone a Beekeeper?
Mar. 29, 2011, 07:08 AM
Just curious. I recentlh picked up a "dummies" book for this. I am intrigued with the idea and would like to hear from anyone else who keeps hives for honey. :)
Mar. 29, 2011, 07:20 AM
My SO is a bee man. There's quite a bit that goes into them initially, though in general they're fairly low maintanence if kept in the right spot. They're expensive to start out in, especially if you're starting with nothing. SO had all the hives and whatnot from childhood, but he just bought 3 bags of bees (pretty much the minimum to start with) and the cost was almost $300. But you also have to have all the elements for the hives and honey collecting. It gets expensive fast, but SO loves it.
Mar. 29, 2011, 08:42 AM
My dad kept bees when I was a kid. The honey was wonderful but robbing the bees and putting up the honey was pretty labor intensive. He started with one hive and when they grew and a swarm broke off, he managed to get it and start hive number two. Two was plenty of honey for our family and some friends.
His protocol for robbing the bees was to always take a shower with unscented soap first and not put anything scented on afterwards (deoderant etc) And he always wore white or light colored clothing when robbing them. He swore by this and rarely got stung.
Mar. 29, 2011, 08:48 AM
The original owner of this farm kept bees. I found the old hives. It's something I'm interested in but there always seems to be a list of unfinished projects to tend to first.
Mar. 29, 2011, 09:39 AM
My grandfather kept bees in his apple orchard. They didn't seem to put too much time into it, and got enough honey for the family.
I've been interested in it, so I've read a few books. The thing that sticks with me is "People start beekeeping for the pollination and stop beekeeping because of the honey." Really, what would I DO with all that honey? So I just try to keep the hive in our bee tree happy and leave it at that.
Mar. 29, 2011, 09:51 AM
For pollination help I would just go with a kit of mason bees, if it was for a family garden or small orchard. I think there are beekeepers who rent their hives to the big orchards. Seems like a great small business idea but I don't know how profitable it is.
Yeah, it is a lot of honey. Yikes.
Mar. 29, 2011, 10:11 AM
My father kept bees for many years (for the honey).
If you want to produce a lot of honey, it is a lot of work. But under "benign neglect" the bees will support themselves and provide a small amount of excess honey to harvest.
Mar. 29, 2011, 12:56 PM
I've been thinking about beekeeping. Our local ag extension, along with the local college, had an intro to beekeep class. For $365, you get the materials for one hive, classes, and a starter group of bees. My issue is I have honeybees keeping house in a tree in my horse pasture. I've been live and let live about them, they don't bother me or the horses. I'm afraid if I introduced some outside bees, ithe existing bees might get diseases or mites. I don't want that to happen, so I haven't done anything yet.
Mar. 29, 2011, 02:01 PM
DH did the migratory beekeeping thing for a few years. It was good money in the CA almond groves, the honey was bitter though.
If you are really interested there are beekeeper's clubs often associated with the coop extension or farm bureau all over the place. They are a lot of fun and generally sponsor classes and encourage newbies etc.
Mar. 29, 2011, 03:29 PM
I haven't gotten into it myself but all I've heard is you should check out a guy call the barefoot bee keeper.
Mar. 29, 2011, 04:35 PM
Thanks everyone! If we do it, we'd use the honey for ourselves and sell what we don't use as part of our farm business. Lately, raw honey is about the only sweetener I'll use..just my preference. I appreciate all the feedback and ideas!
Mar. 29, 2011, 06:48 PM
It's a very fun hobby. I kept bees for a few years about 35 years ago. There was an eight week beekeeping course at a local junior college. It was a hands on class. We built our hives and supers and installed the foundation (beeswax stamped into the shape the cells would need to be).
The next to the last class coincided with the shipment of our bees, so we got to install our bees at home. Then we had one more class for questions and troubleshooting.
I had the loveliest light honey - a combination of star thistle and alfalfa. The first time you taste your honey, you will just know its the best honey that all the bees in the world ever produced.
The first year i had my frames extracted by a local beekeeper who had a 100 frame extracter. He loosened the tubing that usually went into his big vat, and directed it into five gallon pails, so i got my own honey !
The next year i rented a 3 frame extractor and did it myself.
If you go ahead and get bees, feel free to PM for suggestions.