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Bee question?

Posted by tasymo zone 5 ( on
Sat, Jun 14, 08 at 21:55

I am interested in keeping bees, not for their honey, but to help keep them around. I grow lots of flowers and herbs and am learning more about veggies and fruit. I also work full time, so don't really have time for a new, time consuming hobby. Is it necessary to harvest the honey,or can they just be left alone to do their thing? We have a friend who lost his two hives over the Winter and doesn't plan on starting over, so he may be willing to sell me a hive box. Is this even feasible? I figured it couldn't hurt to ask! Thank you... Kathy

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Bee question?

First find a Beekeeping Club in your aera and join, see if they give classes or if you are not interested in honey mabee some one in the club would bee interested in keeping a hive at your location, there are lots of possiablities and a warning BEEKEEPING can bee adctive!!!!!

RE: Bee question?

If you get a hive from the neighbor and the die out was anything but starvation,I would replace the frames and foundations so diseasse will not be transferred.
I agree with finding a bee keeping club in your area. they may be able to set you up with a swarm colony.Or some one may be able to sell you a nuc. Good luck,enjoy the hobby,it's more relaxing than you would imagine.

RE: Bee question?

We are new beekeepers with two hives. We got into it for the same reasons you describe, and we work full time too. I spend an average of one hour every two weeks inspecting the hives, and about 15 minutes every 3-7 days feeding them. As others have said, take a "short course" during the winter and decide if you want to set up colonies in the spring. Good luck! We found it a perfect compliment to our interest in gardening.

RE: Bee question?

I got started by having a friend put 2 hives in my yard. He showed my the basics that first year. The next year I got some hives of my own and now run around ten colonies. There's nothing like it.
If you're really not interested in having your own hive You may find someone now that is looking for a place to move a working hive or two. If you just want bees around, that would be the best route to take.

RE: Bee question?

Gee Tony. Ten colonies? Our bee guy warned us that we'd want more than the one we have currently. We'll see.

I second buzzbee's warning about using old hives. They can harbor diseases and pests. It's really safest to start with a new hive. They are not that expensive. Talk to your local beekeeping association.

My personal bias is that you should buy your bees from a good local supplier--that way, you stand a fighting chance to get bees that are resistant to some of the local pests.

yes,10 hives

Suzq, Here's how it happened. After that first year I was going to get a colony of my own, but many books and beekeepers suggest getting 2, so that's what I intended to do. Them someone I was giving music lessons to said she owned a dairy farm in a nearby town and we could put bees there if we liked. Then my son rented a farmhouse in another neraby town so we put bees there. I figured if I'm going to try 2 I might as well try 5 and a cutout from a house made 6, so that's how I got started.We kept about 125 lbs of honey the first year and sold the rest in 1/2 and 1 lb jars. Then I took all of the candle making,soap making,lip balm and lotion classes offered at Betterbee and started making and selling all that also. I'd like to get up to around 20 or 30 hives eventually.

alternative: non-honey bees

an alternative: many plant catalogs sell "mason bees" and little easy to hang "Mason Bee Nests" (about the size of a birdfeeder) - there is no honey, no maintenance, they're docel and great pollinators.

but I have to side with the others, keeping honey bees is really interesting and can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it

The books will tell you that you have to harvest the honey but if you think of nature: bees do just fine without human interference living in tree trunks

I have two "naturalized hives" (in old trees) and two hives

what's important is to take care of nature and help replenish what other humans have caused to diminish

-go for it

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