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Author Topic: Questions about book "Honey in the Hive"  (Read 3002 times)
fillycate
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« on: January 15, 2008, 01:06:54 PM »

Hello!  I am brand-spankin' new (just posted on the introduction forum) and decided I'd put my first question here.

I don't have bees yet, I want to do all my research this year so I will be good and prepared to start next year.  Don't get me wrong, I am *so* anxious to get started!  I am fascinated and I want my very own honey and personal pollenators!  But I have learned from sad experience that I have a weakness for getting in too deep too quickly and being unable to hand the workload.  We just barely moved to the country and took on dairy goats and laying hens along with producing plants, and that right there is keeping us very busy.  Seriously, we feel like we are holding on by our fingernails most times.

Anyway, I've been reading my very first bee book, which just happens to be "Honey in the Hive".  It is older from an older perspective, so I don't know if it is outdated.  It contains a lot of anecdotal information, which is nice for me to get excited and dreamy about this whole thing.  Smiley  The thing that surprised me about this book is how much it talks about capturing swarms!!   It tells story after story of this mother/son team who didn't have that much knowledge, experience, or equipment, going around capturing swarms that people called the fire department about.

I didn't even know bees swarmed!   :embarrassed:

Well, she made it sound so doggone easy.  Some of the time, they were walking up to these swarms in nothing but their street clothes.  They simply brushed the bees off onto something or directly into a waiting hive.  They made it sound so easy!  That is how they got most of their bees.  She talked matter-of-factly about being stung, in a sort of get-over-it kinda way, saying that getting stung is part of the job and it is better to get stung a bit your first couple years to build up a resistance to the venom.  Not to be misleading, she advocates using a veil and gloves and talks about using her smoker to erase the scent created when stung by a bee.  Her veil was made from materials she had onhand.

Sooo... how much of beekeeping is swarm catching?  Can a person get all or most of their bees that way?  Is it really as easy as she makes it sound?  Could a beginner like me get my first batch of bees that way?   Are there not very many swarms to be found "out there" anymore due to the decline in bee populations?  Thanks!
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Shawn
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2008, 01:18:15 PM »

Not having captured a swarm yet I cant say for sure. I know it would depend where the swarm was locted on how easy it might be. A fellow bee keeper here caught about 7 swarms in our town and now has 7 extra hives in his yard. He has a vacuum, a net, and a box and that is how he catches them.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2008, 01:45:32 PM »

It is very possible to get your first bees from swarms.

First thing..... Put you location in your profile. Then you can be better served here.

I got my first bees doing cutouts. This is where you take bees out of someone's wall of their house or barn, or other. Bees will establish hive in some of the strangest places.
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2008, 01:52:22 PM »

Welcome. while you can build up your hives by catching swarms(depending on their presence in your area,) i would advise you to a) have someone catch the swarm for/with you, b) buy a package of bees so that you can all comfy with handling them. Things are never generally as easy as they sound especially to a newcomer.
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2008, 02:19:20 PM »

 You have plenty of time to start a hive before this spring if you want. Just look locally for bees from your bee club or a commercial beek. Download Beemasters getting started program. As for swarms, depends on where you live. I have been on a call list for two years for swarms. Not one call. About thirty miles south, friends get calls while the bluberries get pollinated. In otherwords, commercial beeks losing swarms.I  would certainly try, but to rely on catching swarms may mean a long delay before you get started. Good Luck, and welcome.
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fillycate
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2008, 02:47:26 PM »

OK, profile set up.  Smiley

So, not too many swarms around these days.  Hmmm.  Maybe that is a reflection of change in the bee populations in the last 50 years?  Sounds like a pretty good case for just ordering what I want rather than waiting around.  Of course, I'm not planning on starting until 2009, so I've got time.  ^_^  Maybe I can even find some hands-on experience between now and then.  Gotta find me a local beekeeper!
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sean
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2008, 02:51:28 PM »

any specific reason for waiting until 2009?(hope i'm not prying)
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2008, 03:01:34 PM »

There are plenty of swarms around, it is a matter of finding them, or more importantly having ways of them finding you.

If you get in with some small local exterminators, they get calls for swarms.  Firedepartments and emergency depts. get calls.  You can list your name on line for swarm catching.  It will take a few years before it starts coming togather for swams, thats is my experience at least.

It is unlikely that there are ever going to be swarms just hanging around your place, unless you have bees or know of some in the area.

The best bet is that local beek, buy some equipment and bees and go for it.  Don't feel inferior if you think you need veil and gloves, most people use them.

Beekeeping is addicting, however, so if you are just hanging on right now with all your stuff going on, you'd better wait till you get a better handle on what you got going now.  Once you start with one, you will want 20.

But it is a good time to read, explore, and make contacts.

Rick
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annette
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2008, 04:00:19 PM »

I understand your decision to wait. You do sound like you need to get more organized with other things in your life. The bees take up time. From a female perpective, you need to be somewhat physically fit or have someone strong to lift those supers for you. There are ways to make things easier, and I am learning them also. I am a 2nd year beekeeper and with only 2 hives it has been a bit much for me at times, but I am older than you also and I am not to strong.

I started beekeeping by reading "Beekeeping for Dummies" which is an excellent book because it is written in such an easy manner showing step by step how to get started. The only thing about the book is I am doing things differently now just from learning new ways of beekeeping from this forum. It is a good starting point though.

Start this year to take classes, and try to hook up with some mentors to show you hands on how to do some stuff,so you will have some confidence next year when the bees come. Take it slow and learn at your own pace. I never push anything and like to feel ready for things.

I ordered a package of bees to start with so I can watch right from the beginning how they start to build up. Catching a swarm would be the same, if you can do that.

It has been unbelievably rewarding for me and has given me much confidence in even other areas of my life. You are doing something good for yourself and the world also. Plus the bees really grow on you and become sort of like a little family that you love and want to protect.

Good luck and you will get all the help you need right here on this forum.
Annette from Placerville California

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fillycate
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2008, 04:21:00 PM »

Quote
any specific reason for waiting until 2009?(hope i'm not prying)

Yup, right from my opening post in this thread:

Quote
I don't have bees yet, I want to do all my research this year so I will be good and prepared to start next year.  Don't get me wrong, I am *so* anxious to get started!  I am fascinated and I want my very own honey and personal pollenators!  But I have learned from sad experience that I have a weakness for getting in too deep too quickly and being unable to hand the workload.  We just barely moved to the country and took on dairy goats and laying hens along with producing plants, and that right there is keeping us very busy.  Seriously, we feel like we are holding on by our fingernails most times.
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fillycate
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2008, 04:26:46 PM »

Quote
I started beekeeping by reading "Beekeeping for Dummies" which is an excellent book because it is written in such an easy manner showing step by step how to get started.

I am hearing a lot of good things about this book!  I will get my hands on a copy.  Smiley

I am often frustrated as a woman with my lack of upper body strength.  It would come in *so* handy every day!  Moving hay and straw, grappling with an unwilling goat, lifting feed bags, and the list goes on and on!  I understand that slow, calm movements are crucial in working with bees, and I'm not sure straining at a super counts as calm!  grin  I won't get a lick of help from my husband, the only thing I can hope for is that one of my kids grows up to be a bee-lover.  It will be all me!  Smiley 

This last summer at the Oregon State fair, I signed up to learn more about bees.  I just got an email giving me info on how to sign up for the local classes.  I am definitely planning on following through on this.
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CBEE
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2008, 04:39:06 PM »

Get another book like Bee Keeping for Dummies. Then order everything you need now including bees. Why wait until 2009. It will just drive you crazy until you get them any way tongue save yourself a year of insanity  grin
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sean
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2008, 04:46:10 PM »

alright! taking bets, who thinks she'll start before 2009?
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fillycate
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2008, 05:01:08 PM »

Oh, you guys are cruel!  :p   grin
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steveouk
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2008, 05:18:59 PM »

There is no way i could wait another year to get my bee's. Started putting all the woodenware together with help from my 9 year old
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sean
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2008, 05:44:53 PM »

Oh, you guys are cruel!  :p   grin

nope just beeholics evil
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2008, 05:54:46 PM »

Here is my introduction story from November 2004 if you care to read it. By February I was digging bees out of the wall of some guy's barn. I was already chomping at the bit by that time.

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php?topic=1442.msg6785#msg6785

If you don't get the bees by this summer you will go nuts during the next fall and winter. Unless you have a whole lot more patience than most of us.

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« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2008, 06:00:14 PM »

Here is that removal

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php?topic=1991.msg10091#msg10091
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fillycate
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« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2008, 07:34:43 PM »

Quite a story there!  Smiley  I loved the pictures! 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2008, 08:22:08 PM »

>Sooo... how much of beekeeping is swarm catching?

If you get your name out there, more.  If not, less.  Mostly it's managing hives so you don't have to catch swarms.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm

> Can a person get all or most of their bees that way?

Can you get all your food by fishing?  If you find a good spot and you're a good fisherman...


>Is it really as easy as she makes it sound?  Could a beginner like me get my first batch of bees that way?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesferal.htm#capturingaswarm

>  Are there not very many swarms to be found "out there" anymore due to the decline in bee populations?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#feralbees

Starting off advice:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnewbees.htm

Basics:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbasics.htm

Terminology:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesterms.htm

Acronyms:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesglossary.htm
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Michael Bush
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2008, 09:14:06 PM »

If you're concerned about being female and lacking upper body strength do what I do and use all medium sized boxes.  You'll find that the ability to put any frame from any hive anywhere in anyother hive is pure joy when boosting a weak or queenless hive with brood frames, feeding with drawn and capped combs, etc.

I have to occasionally (since corrective surgery) still use a wheelchair when working my bees so using a deep hive body is out of the question.  Also I use 8 frames instead of 10, those extra 2 frames makes a radical difference in the balance point from a sitting position.
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« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2008, 09:41:29 PM »

I should have waited but I am glad I didn't... grin...I was talking about beekeeping on a Saturday, touring an apiary Sunday, offered free 8 frame hives, and a fat nuc of bees from the apiary folks...had bees within a few weeks, felt totally unprepared ( which I was )...and jumped in with both feet first!

Worried a lot, still worry (it has been barely one year )...and thanks to the amazing help from people here and the luck of nature, looks like the bees are doing pretty good over this Winter.  Like many jobs, hobbies etc, nothing quite beats OJT ( on the job training )...This Spring I am going to install 2 packages of bees and their queenies...trial and error..learn learn learn!
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« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2008, 10:40:24 PM »

Welcome - this is my second year and I find the people on this forum to be generous, caring, incredibly wise and willing to answer almost any question. 

I come here with all of my problems and get lots of ideas about how to handle everything that comes up. 

I'd like to add a book to your choices for beekeeping reading:  The Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum.  He writes really well and his book is quite inclusive and up to date.  I've just  finished making two recipes of lip balm from the recipes in the back of his book!

Good luck learning and getting started.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2008, 11:14:05 PM »

Hi Fillycate!
Welcome to the forums!
  Just GO for it!!
 I also think you may go insane waiting so long! I just started last spring and Bees really do me good!!
 Having bees will make you look at EVERYTHING on your land and on the roadsides and everywhere DIFFERENT.
 I'm just barely keeping it together just waiting for SPRING!!
I just put out 5 more empty hiveboxes this past weekend in anticipation of me getting more bees, probably by catching them during the spring and summer.
 My first swarm I caught was easy as pie! It was in my own back yard!I only got stung about 13 times(Its more fun battling with bees knowing that they STING).
Really, as mentioned before, this bee forum is a GREAT place to ask about bees and get answers.
 The Beekeeping for Dummies is an excellent book! After you read this book, it opens windows to where you can understand what other bee books are talking about. I like doing bees for many reasons, but i think my favorite excuse is that theres not many people who are gutsy enuff to do it.
THERE WERE MORE THINGS i WANTED TO SAY BUT I forgot...I tend to loose track alot..And I tend to type to much.
 In here, one minute its talking about bees, the next minute a person may ask what kind of wipers you have on your truck!
 Anyways, I bet you can have bees going at your place in 3 months!
 2 hives, a nice white suit, a smoker, and perhaps a helper to help you with your bees(if youre lucky, like me.)
 Also You'll be strong enough to work your bees!...If you can handle bales of hay, and sacks of feed, and goats.....You're ready!!
 Dont take my words as gospel...They're just "My words"....and theyve worked for me!
your friend,
john
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« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2008, 12:47:23 AM »

Fillycate - You can only read so much and listen so much - OJT and a mentor are the path.  Like Annette said - "Beekeeping for Dummies" is a good reference and this place is the sounding board.  Do what Brian says and use mediums - I use all mediums because they weigh less.  As for catching swarms - just put the word out - like city hall, exterminators and contractors.  I would suggest getting your first hive from a beek or package - but get extra woodenware because the swarms are there.  I caught 7 this spring - I work full time and couldn't get to all of them... Good luck & welcome.  Gena in LA
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« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2008, 07:09:53 AM »

Welcome!
Get connected with local beekeepers. Looks like there a Willamet Valley group:
http://www.orsba.org/htdocs/regionalbranch.htm

and they're having bee classes in February!:
http://www.orsba.org/htdocs/wvbabranch.htm

Online forums such as this are great sources of info, (and be sure to spend time reading at Michael Bush's site!), but much of beekeeping is "local". Finding a mentor and/or some local beeks who you can talk to & ask questions is very valuable.

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« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2008, 11:56:10 AM »

Yes, yes, forgot to mention that the medium supers are the way to go. Much lighter to lift. All mediums would be good for you as it is for me. Three mediums are equal to 2 full size supers.  Also you can interchange all frames as they would all be the same size.  Also there is an 8 frame hive available which sounds even better, but I started this way, so right now I will stay with the 10 frame supers.

Annette
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fillycate
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« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2008, 03:11:03 PM »

Thanks, Michael Bush, I will get to work reading!  Smiley

Medium boxes it is then.  Now I just have to decide, 8 or 10.  I like the idea of interchangability. 

Day Valley, for all I know I might find myself tripping right into beekeeping this year inspite of my best efforts at self-control.  Smiley 

I'll add "Backyard Beekeeper" to my list of books to get my hands on.  Smiley

Jonny, that is interesting about looking at things differently.  I remember someone telling me that bees might not have enough food available to them on our land.  But I thought about how last year something was always in bloom!  Then I read that bees prefer to gather from just one kind of flower at a time.  Now I am concerned!  Will the variety on my land (with not a lot of any one thing) be a problem, I wonder?

Indypartridge, I am not sure, but I think that is the group I am planning to get in touch with.  I got an email and a phone number to call.  Incidentally, February is also the time for the Dairy Goat Conference....  I hope I can do both! 

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sean
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« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2008, 03:19:53 PM »

i wouldnt worry, a variety of stuff blooming is good, Remember they forage out to a mile and change from the hive so you are looking a quite a large area for food.
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« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2008, 09:02:29 PM »

if you were me, i'd want my bees like YESTERDAY!  i don't have the patience to wait LOL.  a word of caution, i'd find out if you have africanized bees in your area before venturing out to capture swarms.  for a newbie to face an angry colony of africanized bees may be daunting, not to mention dangerous if you aren't prepared.
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« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2008, 09:40:11 PM »

Hi Fillycate,
I also recommend Beekeeping for Dummies.  But my favorite book is The Beekeepers Handbook by Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile.  Lots of illustrations and written in a way I could understand.
Go ahead and plan to get your bees this year.  Winter is usually a down time on the farm.  You should have plenty of time to get your woodenware built and painted.  Gena is right.  You can only learn so much by reading and listening.  You have to do it for yourself.  This is my third year and I can't wait for spring!
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