Keeping Bees

Grow some food and stuff!

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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:38 am

Your right, having a whole suit the bees can't sting through would be nice. I don't have that, I have an old white dress shirt with long sleeves that I used to ware to Church, a screened hood, and long gloves. The out fit works for me, I have not been stung since I started using it to work the bees. And maybe I have gotten better at what I am doing, and how I am doing it so the bees do not get as excited. :lol:
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby DrewInToledo » Wed May 06, 2015 12:29 am

How does everyone extract honey? I'm in the process of building a spinner but I may not have it done by the time some of the supers are ready.

Manny -- I thought I remember you posting that you let your combs sit for a couple of days? Do you just let gravity do the work? I'm going to search the thread for your post... maybe I should have done that first. ha!
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby mannytheseacow » Wed May 06, 2015 2:18 am

I've never used a spinning extractor. I was using wax foundation, and I would just take a big metal spoon and scrape the built up wax and honey into a big metal bowl. From there I would transfer the honey/wax mixture through a strainer catching the wax and letting the honey through.

It's a long process, for sure. A good day of beer drinking. You'll get a majority of your honey within a few hours and then I will let the wax sit and strain over night. It will drain surprisingly well on its own. From there, I'll just put the sticky frames and remaining wax out and the bees will clean it up like new for ya. After a day outside you can store them or put them back in the box. The wax will be ready to do what you want with it.

My goal has always been to get as much honey as possible with little waste or investment. I've never seen much purpose in in a hot knife or centrafuge. But having never used either, I may not know what I'm missing either!
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby DrewInToledo » Fri May 22, 2015 1:30 am

Working on a honey spinner from old parts..an upside down base of an office chair, an old scooter wheel inserted for a bearing, a $5 eBay motor controller from China, and a bit of recycled metal from a commercial computer monitor stand and some gear bits..

http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc320/drewbad/Bees/322B9D3A-8D2C-4735-BE11-4B77A1A783A6_zpsxqemtgqq.mp4
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby thickstrings » Fri May 22, 2015 1:52 am

http://www.honeyflow.com/ Pretty cool Drew... I have seen this site....looks like it works..don't know cuz I don't keep bees..But, looks like it couldn't bee easier...seems pricey though...maybee someone could borrow their idea for personal use...
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby DrewInToledo » Fri May 22, 2015 2:49 am

No doubt a really neat idea, TS! But it doesnt add up to me. What if the queen laid brood in the plastic cells? A queen excluder would help there, but when taking honey in a conventional hive, the bees know its gone because the wax comb caps are cut off and the comb drained or like manny, the whole comb disappears. If the comb is cracked and drained from the inside, will the bees know? They still see capped comb from thier perspective. They survive the winter by creating honey stores and feeding on them, so to make sure they live, the honeyflow combs would still need to be removed or the caps would need to be removed. Thats a lot of $ per frame for a lot of uncertain worry.
I may be way off here.. I like the conventional method but i am excited to see what comes of this new method. Time will tell and thanks for sharing. When are you going to get some bees?
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Fri May 22, 2015 1:14 pm

I think there is enough evidence that it works. It is pricey, but the cost should come down with time. This a new start up company with no track record, they went on the net to try and raise $1,000,000 in working capital and raise $2,000,000 in a matter of days. Apparently there are enough bee keepers in the world who thought the idea has merit. They claim the bees see that the comb is empty and remove the caps and refill the honey. I don't really know if this produce is on the market yet, but I think there will be a huge demand for the 1st ones.
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby DrewInToledo » Fri May 22, 2015 11:14 pm

Guy, how are your bees doing? Better luck?
I found a guy selling complete hives...5 mediums deep. I now smell honey in my yard!
Wondering if you're doing ok?
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sat May 23, 2015 3:45 pm

My new bees are doing much better this year. The new hive is growing and seems much stronger than my Italians were last year. I messed with them last week to open up the entrance to a larger size and got stung several times. The board was very loose when I put it in and I figured I could just stick my finger in the hole, pull it out and quickly turn it over so that the larger hole was open. Because I figured it would be so easy I did not wear all my gear and did not take the smoker with me. Well, it turns out that the bees has glues that board in place very tightly, so I had to use the hive tool to dislodge the hive. When I hit the tool several times to open up the supers it sent vibrations through out the hive. That pissed the bees off something awful. It was over cast that day, and fairly cold, 48* [ bees do not fly under 56* ] so I felt that I would be pretty safe. Turns out that when bees are defending their home they don't care how cold it is. They thought their home was being attacked and it was all hands on deck. Since I didn't smoke them up they were ready to attack, and they did. :o I was stung several times until I got the small board out and went running. :lol: This is the 1st time I have been stung since the 1st day I got the bees last year. I think I may have had a Learning Experience there, when ever you are working your bees go prepared, fully prepared, do not think it will be easy, wear your protection, take your smoker, you will never regret being prepared when working your bees. Now the board was out, but I had to put it back in place, so I let the bees settle down a bit and went back , I stuck the board in as best I could and again went running. Later that day I went back up with out any protection and moved the board more or less into place with my finger with out getting stung. I think I am done feeding them for the year, there seems to be enough pollen and blooms now that they should be ok. They have drawn a good bit of comb and there seemed to be some honey all ready in storage. I only have 2 medium supers on now, I plan to all 2 more are the summer progresses. I was waiting awhile longer so they would be forced to fill in some more frames in the lower 2 boxes before I added the other supers. I changed to all medium supers this year, so I can move the filled in frames around and hopefully they will use them all that way.
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Re: Keeping Bees

Postby DrewInToledo » Wed May 27, 2015 5:59 pm

Ouch! Those stings can hurt sometimes. I've been stung a couple times, but the last time I think I took two in a very close perimeter because my arm swelled up and my elbow looked like a softball.
It cracks me up when I open the lid and the bees look up at me, guarding their domain. They reminded me of a pissed off dog standing there growling.

I'm really glad things are improving for you. I'm curious where you acquire your supplies? I wouldn't mind picking up some mediums too. Do you use wood or plastic frames? I have both but prefer wood. The new (used) hives that I bought are made out of Styrofoam. I thought that was weird but I guess I won't have to insulate as much this winter.

So, one of my two new hives swarmed--at least I think the swarm was from my hive.
Here's how the story goes: I just finished planting some blueberry bushes and a grape vine very near the hives in the back yard and went inside. I was getting ready to take a shower... it's been about 30 minutes since I was in the yard and the front doorbell rings. The neighbor was freaking out and didn't know I had hives until he heard some extreme buzzing over his yard and looked around. He told me his grandkids were coming over... he must have mentioned it 3-4 times. I assured him that they would settle down within a half hour or so and that they are NOT aggressive.. .unless you're really messing with them of course. This was really neat, cause I was just in the back yard planting, and within a small time they swarmed. I must have just missed them coming out of the hive.
I looked into a nearby tree and saw where they started to gather. about 15 minutes later, they were all clumped up... I grabbed a ladder and an empty swarm trap box that I made from an extra deep by nailing a bottom with no escape and drilling a hole in the side. I filled it with empty frames with foundation, a couple of drawn frames, and I took a frame of honey out of the hive and stuck in in the box. I went up to the swarm and gently scooped the bees in with my hand until I had about 85% of them in the box. Then, I shook the branch and the rest fell in. Of course, there were plenty climbing around the outside, so I wasn't sure if I got the queen. I put the lid on, and the bees all started marching into the hole! Yay!
At this point, I climbed down and was reassuring the neighbor that the bees don't want to sting people just because they're bees. We were chatting for about 5-10 minutes when I heard a loud buzz again. DRAT! There they go! It was like someone opened a faucet and the bees were rapidly spilling out.
I felt really stupid after the fact, because I could have used my bee vac that I made and would have gotten every single bee inside with proper ventilation, etc. :oops: I could have locked them in with a few frames of honey to live on for a few days and probably would have found success.
Of course, I know the true way to keep them is to trap the queen. But, I didn't have a queen catcher nor have I ever been successful finding a queen yet.
I did get some pictures and video of the frenzy that I'll try to post when I find time to upload and edit.
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