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Honeybees for fun

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by virtualhabitat, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. virtualhabitat

    virtualhabitat Lore Keeper
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    Afraid of bees, you say? You have nothing to worry about. Honey bees are NOT poisoning our food, and while honey bees are incapable of promising to never cause human civilizations to collapse -I am sure they would feel pretty bad about doing anything that might contribute to our demise.

    That said, it's time you consider getting a couple of beehives in your backyard. You see now is the time to place orders for bees from the apiaries who raise bees. Orders are filled in mid-March to late April. You have to order them now in Winter so they will know how many to grow.
    Why have a beehive? Glad you asked. Because they make honey. That's why. No, really, it is and they do.

    This pic is a new hive in my backyard just 4 weeks old in 2014:

    [​IMG]

    See how happy they are? Notice your reaction when you look at that picture. You can have something like that in your own backyard. It's really easy to do and it doesn't cost too much to get started. I built that beehive myself so all I had to buy were the bees and the lumber. I also bought some plexiglass so I could make a window to look inside the hive without opening it. You can see the window on the left side of the picture. You could have a window in yours too. If you wanted one.

    This year (2014) we took about 110 pounds of honey out of one of my mature hives (not this one in the pic above). 110 pounds! That's a little more than 9 gallons. There was more in there but we like to leave some in there for the bees.

    This pic was taken in October 2014. It was the last harvest of the year from that 9 gallon hive. We took out three gallons on that trip. There are a few jars missing in the pic because we had already given some to the neighbors when we snapped the photo.

    [​IMG]

    Yup. It's as good as it looks too. See those big jars on the back row? Those are about three pounds each. That would cost me around $20-$25 bucks each at the grocery store. That could be sitting on your counter one day. All you have to do is get some bees.

    Discuss.
     
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  2. Kolka

    Kolka Babbling Loonie
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    Out of curiosity, what state do you live in? I live in Wisconsin and always wondered what happens with/to the beehives over winter.
     
  3. Captn Norrington

    Captn Norrington Trade Forum Administrator
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    Wow, I had no idea such tiny creatures could make so much honey lol. 110 pounds....wow...that's amazing.
     
  4. virtualhabitat

    virtualhabitat Lore Keeper
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    I live in Texas.

    In the Winter (below 50 degrees) the bees stay inside the hive and eat honey. If it gets too cold, like where you live, they form sort of a large ball of bees to stay warm. The ball keeps the queen and a small amount of brood warm until spring.
     
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  5. virtualhabitat

    virtualhabitat Lore Keeper
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    Yeah, 110 pounds is really a modest amount for one beehive. If you really work it, it is not uncommon to get 170 or 190 pounds in one hive if you have good rain/weather. I'm a lazy beekeeper though, that and I don't like to leave them without any honey. Commercial beekeepers and many regular beekeepers take every drop and then feed the bees sugar syrup over the winter.

    I usually run 4 hives. The mature hives (hives that are 3 or 4 years old or older) really are honey factories.
    We get a lot of beeswax too. Maybe 20 pounds a year per hive. Not sure, I don't really keep up with how much wax we get.
     
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  6. Kolka

    Kolka Babbling Loonie
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    How far apart and how far from the house do these need to be? And how much work is to produce/process honey? I want a hive with a spigot so I can go get a cup of honey as needed. I also know which neighbor/ lot line I would put them near. Not sure what I would do with 110+ lbs of honey though. Probably get diabetes. And cavities.
     
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  7. virtualhabitat

    virtualhabitat Lore Keeper
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    You can put them right next to each other. I have just enough space so I can walk all around them and bend, kneel, etc. while working on them.
    Where I live the city has an ordinance that dictates a beehive must be at least 30 feet from any dwelling. That's about right even if it weren't a city ordinance. What matters is the direction the entrance is pointed. You don't want people walking through the flight path.
    We use honey a lot. The usual breakfast foods -cereal, toast, bagels, etc. also making bread, cornbread, other baking. we give some away and trade a little with people who have laying chickens or nice gardens. Some people even offer money for it. We'll trade for that too.
    Eat more fermented sauerkraut if you are concerned about diabetes. I'll post a sauerkraut thread at some point.
     
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  8. Flutter

    Flutter Always Present
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    Save the bees!
     
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  9. old gypsy

    old gypsy Grand Poobah
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    Oh, I'd love to keep a hive, but I don't believe it's legal on my small city lot... and I have a neighbor who I'm certain would raise a fuss over it.
     
  10. virtualhabitat

    virtualhabitat Lore Keeper
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    Over the last decade or so cities throughout America have been relaxing ordinances prohibiting beehives. Even New York City allows beekeeping on rooftops now as of 2010. They really don't take much space.

    In Texas, where I live, State law says a beekeeper can't be held responsible for anyone getting stung by a bee. It would be near impossible for a person to prove it was one of your bees anyway. I have had neighbors who didn't like my beehives, but a jar of honey every once in a while shuts them up pretty quickly. After a while they forget they are even there until you remind them with another jar of honey.

    I put windows on the sidewall of the beehive, in part so I could bring my neighbors over and show them what it looks like inside. I have never seen anyone walk away from looking inside of a beehive thinking it wasn't one of the coolest things they ever saw.
     
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  11. old gypsy

    old gypsy Grand Poobah
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    I may check into the legality of keeping them in my neighborhood. As a small-scale organic gardener, I value beneficial insects and other critters in my yard... whether bees, toads, snakes or lizards. :)