Author Topic: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...  (Read 12666 times)

Offline Zombie Axe

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Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« on: January 23, 2009, 08:07:20 PM »
Honey...

It is one of the easiest sweetners to store, tastes great and has antibacterial properties.

Bees make honey, pollinate your garden to provide a larger bounty, and give us wax and other beneficial compounds that are great for those into the S&P mindset...

A few years back, our local county extension agent offered a "BEE SCHOOL". The idea was to get young people interested in becoming beekeepers. My wife and I jumped at the oppourtunity and as a fluke, applied to get free bees, and bee hives via a NC State Univeresity Grant. We got lucky and received 2 complete hives of bees. We had to purchase a smoker, bee suit and hive tools, but those were cheap.

The first year we got about 40lbs of honey, last year we got 80lbs and this year 40lbs. We keep it all for our stores and are looking @ getting another hive this spring. One of the hidden benefits is that vine producing crops such as cucumbers, zucchini, squash and tomatos EXPLODE with bountiful produce. Fruit trees produce more fruit, my apple do wonderful and the blueberries are a-plenty!!!

Anyways I though I'd share some of my pictures of beekeeping which I consider a 'homestead skill'.

Enjoy :)



2 3lb packages of Italian Honey Bees, ready to go to their new home...



Getting the queen cage out of the hive and getting ready to dump the bee's into the hive!



What bees look like when they first get into the hive. These are sprayed down with sugar water syrup so they don't fly easily until they clean it off of their bodies... They like sweet things so they are VERY happy right now...



Smoking the bee's helps to confuse them from buzzing around you and 'calms' them.



The bee hive with bee's installed inside and the 'package' left in front to let the others that hung onto the screen find their way into their new home. The hive was purchased but I made the crude but very strong tables for them to be elevated.



My first two hives... Soon they will go out and forage, find nectar, pollen, and water sources. These insects are awesome!!!

BTW my honey is ORGANIC and I use no manufactured pesticides. Only use natural techniques to keep my bee's healthy :) Unlike that Chineese crap that is full of pesticides...

If you can't do beekeeping yourself, be sure to buy LOCALLY as it is the best honey out there. My hives get a lot of their nectar from blackberry and blueberry bushes so I think it tastes UNIQUE!

Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for looking :)


John Q Public

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2009, 09:25:38 PM »
This is a definite +1. Great post.

I would love to do this. However, my subdivision's HOA would frown on me dropping a hive on my 1/4 acre.

Offline archer

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2009, 10:16:31 PM »
I am going to check out a local keep keeping store tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have a basic hive setup in a week or two so I can be ready when swarm season starts.. Thanks for the pics and info Zombie Axe! +1

Offline Zombie Axe

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2009, 11:20:39 PM »
Glad ya'll enjoyed it :) Thanks!!!

Will be taking some more pics when I work with them again in the spring. Gonna hafta get in them next month and be sure they got enough to get them through till flower time...


John Q IIRC there are beekeepers in NYC!!! I wouldn't wanna but them up to the edge of your property but I am sure you could find a place that would bee (ha ha) low profile...

Some of Brushy Mountain's English Hives (8 frames) are works of art... Not saying to violate your HOA but it wouldn't take up much room and you could make it stealth!

Also consider your local orchards, vinyards, commercial squash/cucumber growers, commercial blackberry fields, etc. They may actually allow you to keep bees on their property for free or even pay you to keep them on their property to ensure higher yields.

I wish I had the time, but a large scale farmer I went to school with is turning some of his fields into blackberry fields. Alot of folks are jumping in one this as there is a big demand for this in our area! Anyways, he offered me (2 hives per acre @ $40 a month rent) for 4 acres @ a total of $320 a month (during the season) if I would put that amount of hives on his property  :o Not a bad deal @ all, but unfortunately the time beekeeping season is, is also the time I work 12+ hour days in the spring/summer months! I have found that I can keep 3 to 4 hives with my current job and beekeeping is ENJOYABLE... with 8 more hives things would get to be a chore! The plus side is that I have a way to make some $ if I ever need to (bee keepers are in demand in my area as in ANY agricutural area) and I could ALSO harvest a lot of honey and sell it as well. So it has alot of options *IF* I were to ever need to go that route  :)

Offline Sister Wolf

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2009, 11:27:21 PM »
Oh, this is SO COOL!  I've got to see if they offer classes like that near me. +1, man.  Great post.

Offline archer

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2009, 11:38:49 PM »
No classes in my area like that, but I joined the local Bee guild and they have a mentor program I am trying to get into.. I want to do this because:
-the bees need it. need to keep more hives going and alive as a buffer against CCD
-plants need it
-i want honey for making mead!
-i'd like to experiment with bees wax and making candles

Offline flagtag

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2009, 11:27:29 AM »
I've heard several times that bees are dying off - there are so much fewer of them that farmers are getting really worried. (Fear of crop failure) So, the more who keep bees the better. (The "powers that be" don't know what is killing off the bees)

Offline Zombie Axe

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2009, 02:15:44 PM »
In NC the local agricutural extension agent can help you get started with a local club... The 'bee school' was the club's idea and was a lot of fun :) Of course the wife and I were probably the youngest ones in there (average age of those in the club were well over 65!!!) so it doesn't seem to be on the mind of the younger folks  :-[

Been saving my wax for ahwile and have wanted to try candle and soap making... as well as making some mead! Right now all my suplus honey goes into food storage and eating it. May come in handy for barter and IT sure will come in handy as a sugar replacement :)

Offline archer

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2009, 05:37:04 PM »
Woohoo!! I just purchased a beginners bee kit from a local bee keeping shop. Basic super, frames, gloves, hive tool, book and liquid smoke... Now time to get ready for the bees..

Offline Zombie Axe

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2009, 12:08:31 PM »
Cool Archer :) Glad you caught the BUZZ ;D

Offline archer

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2009, 01:01:22 PM »
Cool Archer :) Glad you caught the BUZZ ;D
Yep, I've been 'stung' by the bee keeping desire.... How much sugar/water did you use in your sugar water spray? Do you have mesh bottom boards? Looks like it.

Offline flagtag

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2009, 01:49:31 PM »
Cool Archer :) Glad you caught the BUZZ ;D
(Groan!  ;D)

John Q Public

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2009, 07:27:56 PM »
Zombie -

Great idea! I am going to look into putting some hive at local orchards. +1 for you!

Offline archer

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2009, 11:42:06 PM »
I've heard several times that bees are dying off - there are so much fewer of them that farmers are getting really worried. (Fear of crop failure) So, the more who keep bees the better. (The "powers that be" don't know what is killing off the bees)
I joined the local bee guild. Every one with hives reported losses. One person lost 7 of his 9 hives. All seem o be from CCD. Really scary what is happening with bees and especially with how much we rely on them for pollination of food crops. The natural pollinators have been severely hurt and could not replace the honey bees.

Offline Zombie Axe

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2009, 06:29:07 PM »
Cool Archer :) Glad you caught the BUZZ ;D
Yep, I've been 'stung' by the bee keeping desire.... How much sugar/water did you use in your sugar water spray? Do you have mesh bottom boards? Looks like it.

We use 2.5 quarts of water to 10lbs of sugar makes over a gallon of syrup (1.3ish). This for winter use... that way the BEES don't hafta evaporate as much water thus doing less work...bring the water to a boil  then add sugar and stir until dissolved... wait until it cools before giving it to the bees!!!

In Spring we half the sugar to 2.5 quarts of water and 1 5lb bag of sugar and it makes close to a gallon...

We try and give 2 gallons per hive (we use hive top feeders) and we just keep an eye on it but it works out to a week... I wish there was some formula to tell you how to feed them, but you just gotta get a feel for it... When they don't seem like they are taking the syrup anymore, them remove the feeders and they will be fine...

When starting them the first winter (Feb) I begin feeding them so they will be strong in the spring and able to bring more honey... Also I feed them in the spring for a few weeks when putting in a new hive as they have to locate the flowers and other things, so it helps them get a great start!

Be sure to check the weekly sales and buy your sugar on sale and stock up on the cheap... Also consider adding some sugar to your preps for this purpose... You have sugar, you will be KING!!!

Offline Spamity Calamity

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2009, 06:52:52 PM »
Thats pretty coo!

Offline Zombie Axe

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2009, 07:43:23 PM »
Yes Archer, I use screened bottom boards to keep down the varroa mite population...

Offline archer

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2009, 11:13:28 AM »
Yes Archer, I use screened bottom boards to keep down the varroa mite population...
Thanks ZA.
I thought so. I have a solid bottom board but am thinking about cutting out the bottom and putting some mesh down. I'll just have to figure out what size mesh to use.

I am thinking about cutting a window in the brood chamber, putting plexiglas on the inside, and a flapper door over the outside so the sun does not go right into the hive. This way the hive can be looked at quickly by the ppl who live where the hive is and my kids can look at it. What are you thoughts on this?

I'm considering the orchard placement idea once I get more experience..
I already store 25lbs bags of sugar for SHTF. Bee feeding means I'll just have to store more...

I want my hive to be as organic as possible also.. Less stress on the bees I feel.

Offline Zombie Axe

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2009, 08:32:40 PM »
The bee's have a habit of coating everything with propolis, so it may get glued up! Google Observation Hives and see how they do it (IOW I don't really know the ins and outs of observation hives)... I always wanted to keep a hive in the house but give them access through a tube... be fun to watch!


One piece of equipment I recommend is a hive top feeder... there are entrance feeders but IMHO they attract other bees to the hive... The hive top feeders I like you can simply lift off the top cover and the bee's can not get ya... well they can but they gotta fly out and around ;) Makes feeding them fast, easy and bee suit free!!!


Trust me you will be in that suit WAY TO MUCH!!!

Offline archer

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2009, 09:51:48 PM »
The first batch of honey I bought for mead was from a guy who had a top bar hive with a large (30") window down the side. He had a slide over cover for it. It seemed to be clean, not sure if that was due to the top bar design or lots of cleaning.
I'll check into a hive top feeder. How often do you feed?

Offline John Willis

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2009, 10:08:37 PM »
How much room do you need to have bees? How many hives are ideal. Can you keep them on 1 acre with a garden? Can the hive be in the shade or is full sun light prefered?

John Willis
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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2009, 06:37:28 PM »
How much room do you need to have bees? How many hives are ideal. Can you keep them on 1 acre with a garden? Can the hive be in the shade or is full sun light prefered?

John, you can keep bees on 1 acre no problem, just be careful how the hive(s) point so they have a clear takeoff area. I think full sun is preferred. I'm starting with one hive at least. If I get a 2nd swarm I'll grab that. But since this is my first time I'm trying this, you might want to ask Zombie Axe to confirm.


Offline Zombie Axe

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Re: Beekeeping picumentary, installing bees in your new hives...
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2009, 06:09:38 PM »
How much room do you need to have bees? How many hives are ideal. Can you keep them on 1 acre with a garden? Can the hive be in the shade or is full sun light prefered?

John Willis
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Howdy John,

Sorry, I missed your question...

You don't need much room at all to keep bees. A fellar in the last town I lived in, keeps 2 hives on about 1/4 acre. My biggest concern would be to keep them in an area where they would not be disturbed much. I reckon an area around 10-20' in diameter would be ideal depending on the temperment of your bees.

To start off with, I would suggest at least 2 that way if you lose a hive you got a backup...

1 acre with a garden would be plenty! Mine are actually in full sun, just paint the hives a light color so they don't absorb heat. My hives in the winter are blocked from the cold North wind by acres of pine trees. They make waterproof black cardboard sleeves to place over the hives in winter to get heat from the sun as well... I keep mine South facing to catch the morning sun. You can place them anywhere you would like really...

Hope this helps!