Keeping Bees

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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby mannytheseacow » Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:06 pm

Very interesting, Drew. I was talking with a guy recently that just sprinkles a pile of sugar on top of the inner cover and puts shredded newspaper around it. His reasoning is that it will provide food, but also draw moisture from inside the hive. He's been doing this since 1981. I don't use any processed sugar in my hives, but I like that idea. I might try the newspaper.
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:37 pm

When I attended the Mother Earth News Fair the presenter there said that moisture is the main problem with getting your hive through the winter. He did suggest the idea of news paper on the top cover to hold the moisture that collects in the hive over winter. The bees heat them selves, not the hive, but it still makes a large temperature change which condenses moisture inside the hive. Since heat raises the hot air and moisture rise and will condense and be trapped in the news paper. Makes sense to me. :D
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby DrewInToledo » Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:30 pm

Moisture is a concern and that's why I still have a screen on the bottom of my box.

I may soon change my mind about that since I came across the idea of a "quilt box". If you don't know, this is a shallow box that slips in under the top inner cover and has a screened bottom that is filled with insinuative material (wood chips, sawdust, leaves, newspaper, etc) that also acts as a desiccant to absorb moisture.
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby mannytheseacow » Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:34 pm

I don't worry about that kind of stuff too much. I used those grease patties my first winter and they never even touched them. I say let them do their thing and leave them alone. They never had all that fancy stuff over the last 100,000 years and have been doing just fine. ;)
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:41 pm

I have been told to keep out of the hive and leave them along Manny. That is a hard thing for me to do. :lol: its fun to watch them work, until you realize that each time you disturb the hive it takes them 3 days to repair the damage you just did and make the hive the way they want it again. On the other hand there is a difference between KEEPING BEES and HAVING BEES. I tried to be a Bee Keeper and failed, maybe I should just try HAVING BEES and see how that goes. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby mannytheseacow » Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:02 pm

Well guys, I went to check on my hive on a warm day in mid-December and.... dead. I'm pretty sure it was my fault. I didn't feed them enough. I left them a lot of honey but by comparison not nearly what others are feeding in sugar syrup. I think the bees know how much honey they need to make it through the winter and when I take a bunch away from them they get the shaft. Granted, I could probably do a better job at being a beekeeper, but I don't want something I have to babysit.

I just can't do it anymore. It doesn't make sense. I like the idea of having honey but in the big picture it's just not sustainable. I don't really need sweetener, honey bees are not native and not adapted to our climate without significant outside inputs, and also probably displacing the native pollinators which are struggling to cope with pesticides, lack of forage due to mono-crop plantations, etc.

I've really given this one a lot of thought. A LOT! I've arrived at the conclusion that for me, and what I'm trying to do, honeybees are not part of a logical system. I'm not going to purchase another colony this year. I will focus on enriching my pollinator habitat, though, so that the native pollinators have a diverse forage base throughout the year. No dissing, though... if honey bees make sense for someone else's system I am glad to hear it and hope it works well for you! Or, maybe if someone has a feral hive I would be happy to go extract it for them and rob the honey.
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:41 pm

I read your post to my son who is home for a visit, he and I both tried to keep bees last year, both of us failed. :lol: He likened your post to raising the white flag, giving up, throwing in the towel, taking your ball and going home, :lol: I am not ready to give up just yet. I may get to that point in time, but for now I am planning on buying a new hive, and new bees. This time though I am hoping to get Shiite Bees, ;) I want the most hardy, most prolific, most aggressive bees I can buy. :P I would consider African Bees if they were for sale, but at this point I think I will settle for Russian Bees. I will not use the same vender as last year because he sold me diseased bees. I am thinking about the mid west this time, the south seems to have a lot of suppliers that seem to have problems. I am sure there are good one, I just don't know who they are. Wish me luck, 8-) at least better luck than I had last time. :lol:
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby matt walker » Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:06 pm

Well dang Manny, I"m sorry you lost the hive. I know you put a lot of work and thought into that aspect of your homestead. We all have things/systems/aspects of our 'steads we refine and explore and perhaps move on from, so I can relate as I've had similar arcs with other processes. Still, I know you must have been disappointed when you first opened that hive. Time for a new hobby!

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Postby Myrth » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:06 pm

It is a hard time to keep bees, as they are facing so many challenges. If my DH was not severely allergic to them, I would keep bees again. But I cannot risk it - don't want to risk losing my beloved. I am planting many varieties of flowers to bring in more native pollinators. My farming neighbor loves to spray, spray, spray, so I have a bit of a battle going on here. LOL!
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby mannytheseacow » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:20 pm

Can you believe I was slightly relieved to find them gone? So much work, so much outside inputs... and I really find myself using the honey when I don't want it just to use it up. Meh.

Myrth, you should visit the driftwatch website. You can register your home there and they are not allowed to spray near it once registered. http://www.driftwatch.org
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