Author Topic: Beekeeping?  (Read 14247 times)

Shen

Beekeeping?
« on: 13 June, 2008, 07:06:16 am »
Is this a topic of any interest to the membership?

Shen

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #1 on: 13 June, 2008, 07:35:46 am »
Yes, why not.
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Shen

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #2 on: 13 June, 2008, 09:28:01 am »
I am currently running 12 colonies in polystyrene hives. This is not that usual. :)

Shen

steveB

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #3 on: 13 June, 2008, 09:59:13 am »
I went to a quarterly allotment meeting at the town councils offices on Monday, a proposal for an allotmenteer to keep bees was sadly turned down by the committee because of fellow plot hoders objections which I guess were the result of ignorance.

Charlotte

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #4 on: 13 June, 2008, 10:02:06 am »
Very much so.  I have been toying with the idea of an apiary for several years.

Bees are way cool  :)
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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #5 on: 13 June, 2008, 10:02:20 am »
we've got some living in an old compost heap. 

Should we try and move them or just co-exist and try not to rile them?  Only ask cos Mrs Mike got stung on Monday and was all for getting someone in to 'deal with it'.

Chris S

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #6 on: 13 June, 2008, 10:08:09 am »
we've got some living in an old compost heap. 

Should we try and move them or just co-exist and try not to rile them?  Only ask cos Mrs Mike got stung on Monday and was all for getting someone in to 'deal with it'.


Assuming they are honey bees and not bumble bees; contact your local beekeeping association - someone will probably be interested in the colony. From what little I know, buying a colony is expensive (£50 ish), so wild ones are attractive to beekeepers.

Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #7 on: 13 June, 2008, 10:32:23 am »
If it's bumble bees, and the difference between them and honey bees is immediately obvious even to a casual observer, the bee keeper will have no interest in them from a commercial point of view.

The woman who taught me my beekeeping used to remove bumblers from people's compost heaps, take them home in a shoe box and bung them in her compost heap! They do a great job pollinating small quantities of flowers.

The theory1 is that honey bees tend to go for "industrial quantity" flowers because there are so many of them in the colony that they are not that interest in small stuff.

All my bee hives are still stacked up behind the house, redundant since the dreaded Varroasis Jacobsoni did its evil work.  :(

1 Theories are fine but my experience is that wildlife does its own thing and rarely reads the books written by theorists.
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Si

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #8 on: 13 June, 2008, 10:47:44 am »
I'd love to do beez, but with the vandalism on my allotement site I don't think it a good idea even if they let me  :(

Was impressed by the urban bee keeper lad on River Cottage the other wek - keeping them on the roof of his house, alas I don't have a roof either  :-\

Shen

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #9 on: 13 June, 2008, 12:39:29 pm »
Well well there is interest.

Firstly bees are currently selling at £120+ for a five frame nuc.

Bees in compost heaps are near enough always bumbles and their sting is pretty weak compared to honey bees.

Bees on allotments? I am seriously not in favour of having bees in situations where third parties can be adversely affected. If you drop a clanger and get stung several times that is fine. Not enjoyable but it is not affecting anyone else. Having a  neighbour stung from your bees is seriously unfunny.

Bees are not toys and can and do kill. Not trying to frighten here just stating facts.

I have recently had a very serious reminder that this is the case and so... it reinforces what I have always taught, that bees really should be out the way of people.

Shen

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #10 on: 13 June, 2008, 01:01:51 pm »
If it's bumble bees, and the difference between them and honey bees is immediately obvious even to a casual observer, the bee keeper will have no interest in them from a commercial point of view.


yup, pretty sure they're bumble bees not honey bees.  According to the most excellent britishbee.org.uk, I should leave them till late autumn and then dig up the little bee corpses  :'(

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #11 on: 13 June, 2008, 01:05:15 pm »
How odd - I found a bee in the compost last night and wasn't sure what I should do.

Then last weekend I met a bloke trying to get into my other allotment - he said he found the site on Google Earth as he was looking for likely spots for bee hives. It sounds very interesting, all the fun of pets without actually having to look after them much and they do something useful.

he reckons at least 10 to 20 jars a year per hive - quite a long term investment  but any excuse to dress up in a white suit with a helmet.
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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #12 on: 13 June, 2008, 01:53:12 pm »
My mother used to keep a few hives of the fiercest bees[1] in Christendom. I look back fondly when remembering the honey but I have no desire to own any stingers myself.


[1] Swarms have different personalities and these, I think, had been bred for generations to chase small boys.

Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #13 on: 13 June, 2008, 02:02:51 pm »
If it's bumble bees, and the difference between them and honey bees is immediately obvious even to a casual observer, the bee keeper will have no interest in them from a commercial point of view.


yup, pretty sure they're bumble bees not honey bees.  According to the most excellent britishbee.org.uk, I should leave them till late autumn and then dig up the little bee corpses  :'(

Don't cry, Mike! Apart from queens, bumble bees always die in the winter.

Honey bees don't or shouldn't. The queen and quite a lot of workers live throughout the darker months, coming out to forage when it's warm enough, and therefore needing a honey store to keep them going until the queen starts laying again in the spring.

Mine did die out. The reason Varroa is such a git is that it attacks the bee larvae in their sealed cells. This has the effect of shortening the life of the worker bee from its normal 6 weeks to something less. Thus my colonies, which had looked perfectly healthy in September and October, failed to make it. An inspection of the debris on the hive floor quickly revealed the presence of the mites, which are about the size of a pin-head. They were dead.

Apparently the activity which really knocks it out of workers is feeding young with bee milk. The last lot to emerge in the late summer don't have any brood to bring up so have a much greater life expectancy and can survive the winter.
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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #14 on: 13 June, 2008, 02:57:40 pm »
My friend is itching to keep bees. I suggested he start off with one, and sees how he gets on from there.
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Shen

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #15 on: 13 June, 2008, 03:11:42 pm »
:)

gordon taylor

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #16 on: 13 June, 2008, 03:52:16 pm »
I'm another ex-beekeeper, with odd bits and pieces of equipment lying around. My bees died off with the varroa thing and I was disheartened by the complicated treatments necessary to keep them alive. I did the BBKA exams and used to give lectures to associations all over the place.

It is a lovely hobby, but easily as expensive as cycling, if you keep buying all the latest gear.  :-[ Mrs G calculated the cost of my honey one disastrous year as £25 a jar.


Shen

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #17 on: 13 June, 2008, 04:25:13 pm »
A lot of beekeepers gave up at the Varroa point for the very reasons you mention.

Things are perhaps a bit clearer now especially as some of the less interested people have retired through losses. As you will be aware re-infestation was an issue which to an extent has gone as those who either didn't know how to treat or couldn't be bothered are now ex beekeepers.

As for the price of honey.. well some years yes it will be dear and others very cheap. My best ever colony gave me over 250 lbs and the worst of course gave me nothing and then died.. Such is livestock for ya.

But the wonder for me is not the honey, but the bees themselves. :)

Shen

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #18 on: 13 June, 2008, 05:50:51 pm »
Any update on colony collapse disorder and the causes behind it?
Stropping rocks

Shen

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #19 on: 13 June, 2008, 06:28:43 pm »
CCD is one of these things that has become a bit of a ban wagon.

"My bees died this winter and it's def a case of CCD"

Nothing to do with forgetting to feed them of course.. and so it goes.

There is something odd goi8ng on in the States for sure and also to a point in Europe but nothing is definate. Varroa and some types of seed dressings may or may not be to do with it, my jury is still not only out but yet to be enrolled.

Shen

Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #20 on: 13 June, 2008, 06:36:55 pm »
Honey production is a very unpredictable thing. When I started in 1986, there were lots of disillusioned beekeepers about because there had been lots of lean years. Then suddenly it all picked up. I remember around 1990 there was an early crop of willow honey so by April all of the hives had stacks of goo and everything else they brought in was surplus to requirements. couldn't nail boxes together fast enough for my bees because they kept filling the damned things up!

I remember collecting 60lb off one hive on 19th May (my mother's birthday) and another 60lb off the same hive a fortnight later. I actually used to find the honey the biggest drawback to beekeeping! Extracting it was a  PITA because everything got covered in it, and selling it was also a damned nuisance.

Do you have your own honey extractor, Shen? I've got a very nice radial extractor in the garage that's been sitting unused for at least 10 years if you are interested.
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Shen

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #21 on: 14 June, 2008, 06:53:25 am »
I have a very nice stainless steel swing basket big ticket item sitting in the ex honey house in Scotland thanks..LOL

I agree that if you are not minded to sell honey it can become a real hassle. At the moment I am producing bees for sale so am working the colonies for brood as opposed to honey.

I have done the selling and showing thing and have set my mind that if I want some honey for my table it will be comb honey. Much simpler. :)

Mind you I will have an outlet via the hotel guests.... thinks... and thinks again, where would I extract it and filter it.. ? Not interested in a bottling machine and a pump and a tank are you I suppose? Thought not..LOL

Shen

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #22 on: 15 June, 2008, 10:49:13 am »
I'd love to do beez, but with the vandalism on my allotement site I don't think it a good idea even if they let me  :(

....

I think it's an excellent idea. I love the thought of some yob getting stung to death.  ;D

Shen

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #23 on: 15 June, 2008, 02:56:16 pm »
Well yes Melbourne but that is partly the problem you see as they COULD do just that which is why allotments and other public places are not that good an idea really.
 ::-)
Shen

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #24 on: 15 June, 2008, 04:50:10 pm »
My brother used to keep bees at the bottom of his garden, he had a couple of hives there, I think he also had several hives off on a bit of property belonging to another family member.

Unfortunately, whilst he's been stung before, he recently had a very extreme reaction to a sting, so has had to stop keeping them, as well as have to carry around a syringe of adrenaline. :-\

It's a shame, since he clearly enjoyed it, and I love honey. :(
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