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Author Topic: New beekeeper in GA  (Read 1915 times)
JoelinGA
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« on: June 01, 2008, 03:36:55 PM »

Greetings all,

Just started beekeeping this year with 2 hives. Actually moved back to family land in Georgia from Washington where I had been living to make this happen. A lot of it came from hearing all the news about the bee population dropping,  and my wife and I wanted to try doing our part to help them out. We're also starting a small organic farm and the bees are a HUGE part of that plan, especially since our main cash crop is going to be buckwheat.

But yeah, starting off with the 2 hives. Plan is, if things go well, to add a couple a year.


Have had both of the hives going for 5 weeks now, the bees seem to be doing great. I found my first SHB during this last inspection, and during my search for ways to control them I found this forum.

Joel
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HAB
HEAVENLY BEEKEEPER
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Location: S. Alabama, USA USDA Temp Zone 8A


« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2008, 06:02:25 PM »

Welcome, We are just getting back into Beeking.  Its so much fun.  Started with a single Nuc 1st of May, but have caught 4 swarms.   Smiley
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Moonshae
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2008, 08:49:21 PM »

Welcome! If you do your homework, and you're more interested in pollinators for your first few years than honey, you can split your hives aggressively and expand your hive numbers pretty quickly.
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"The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with beer." - Egyptian Proverb, 2200 BC
Cindi
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Location: Grindrod, B.C. Canada


« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2008, 09:46:56 AM »

Joel, welcome to our forum, you will be ever so grateful that you have found this site.  It will be your learning tool, your place that you can ask questions and you will always get great answers, all questions are great.  We have beekeepers that are as old as time itself, hee, hee, ones that have kept bees since they were old enough to get into them, new beekeepers, and some that don't even have bees, but long to, every part of what the word "beekeeper" means, that be alot of folk, did that make sense, hee, hee?  I kind of don't think so.

What I am trying to say is we are huge in numbers and experience of all kind.

So nice that you moved your family back to the family farm and are going to farm it, yeah!!!  The world needs more human folk getting the bees going strong again, you are doing your part and they will do your part to make your farm yields majestically grow, wonderful.

The internet is a wonderful place for us all to become informed, to learn and listen, welcome.  Have that great and most beautiful day, we all be lovin' and livin' this life we share.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
indypartridge
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2008, 06:51:12 AM »

Hey Joel!
Hello and welcome!

Buckwheat honey - now that's a niche honey. Some people love it, some don't, since it has such a strong, rich flavor.

If you're thinking organic, may I suggest Ross Conrad's "Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture". Good book.

Are you involved with a local beekeeping club? Clubs are good places to find mentors; get connected with nearby beeks; and learn many of the "location specific" aspects of beekeeping.
http://www.gabeekeeping.com/local_clubs.htm

Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress!
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JoelinGA
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2008, 11:58:17 AM »

Thanks for the welcome all!

Moonshae: Might look that up in the next year or so! This year I'm just focused on keeping these bees happy and seeing if I can keep them through the winter.

Cindi: Makes perfect sense! Actually wished I found this forum sooner, could have changed a few decisions I made in regard to my setup (have found a few folks using mediums instead of deeps and for good reason from what I've been reading!).

Indypartridge: I've heard that about buckwheat honey, I'm hoping with all the other pollen the bees will get around here it might off-set that a little bit heh. Right now we're only looking at 4 acres of buckwheat tops at about 4 rotations a year. Will be able to expand on that in the years as I can get the old fields cleared back and in shape for planting, figure can get about 12 acres in running order over the years and a lot of work. I've just started looking into beekeeping clubs around here, just with everything else we've had to deal with in trying to get the ole farm into running shape again as well as a job search since the farm will be a secondary income at best right now, have had little time for anything else. Thanks for the book reference too, will take a look at it!

But yup, I'm loving those girls. Even have a chair setup by my hives to just watch them go about their work. Even been working on some photo skills trying to get those closeups of them coming back to the hive with their pollen sacks filled to the brim.
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HAB
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2008, 12:28:23 PM »

Yeah, love those close-ups of the girls hard at work.  Been able to spend a little time (we're in a drought already so there is no hay to bale) with them instead of in the field.  We've got 137 acres of hay, pasture, woodlands, and streams so we're usually wrapped up with working it this time of year.  How are you cleaning up your acreage? Smiley
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JoelinGA
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2008, 01:27:02 PM »

Well right now I'm working with the less overgrown ones. With small trees that will cut down, pull out the roots and bushhog the rest. Then a matter of running a disk harrow over it, then going in and clearing the trash the harrow gets up (sticks, rocks and what not...lots of what not from over the years). We're trying to work around areas of large trees that totally took root and setup shop, have a bunch of huge pines and dogwoods that have grown over the 50+ years since some of the fields have been used.

There is an area where my great aunt and uncle had their animals penned up, it's all overgrown but the fence is mostly intact. I figure just fix that up and get some goats going in there to clear that area, then can work with what they leave and maybe get some larger animals at some point.

We're still not growing anything as we used up the capital had saved up for everything else and still need something to harvest and process the buckwheat. I had found some Allis Chalmers All Crop Harvesters, but the funding machines run to slow and those get sold up lol. So right now my focus has been getting a job,  myself and the wife are working with getting some financial aid to help with the rest of the farm so at least we can hopefully get 2 or 3 buckwheat rotations this year. All this with an almost 5 year old daughter and a 3 week old son  grin.
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HAB
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2008, 01:45:11 PM »

Sounds like your place is in the shape this one was when I retired from USArmy in 88 and purchased the Old Family Farm.  Trees 40ft tall where I used to pick peas.  Two or three suggestions.  As big a tractor as you can afford (Absolutely Essential, don't skimp on a small one, you'll only regret it), a loader for the tractor (it will become your best friend for so MANY reasons), suitable heavy duty brush (you'll be amazed at what it will cut) mower.  Good fencing and (that amazing land clearing invention) Goats. Smiley cool
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JoelinGA
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2008, 02:00:40 PM »

Will do! Lucky we have some good hand me downs from my great uncle (he passed away last year and kind of put all of this in motion by doing so). Right now our work horse is a 1975 Massey 135 45HP diesel tractor in great working order. That's one reason why I'm looking for something like the All Crop Harvester that we can tow behind as opposed to finding an old combine (plus some of the trails to our fields just won't support a big combine).

Heh, gotta love goats! I remember my uncle and aunt having them before, and boy did they keep that area cleared up. Hard to believe how overgrown everything is.
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HAB
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2008, 02:25:16 PM »

MF135 was what I started with.  Great little tractor.  Will work your backside off and beg for more.
There are some of those small two row multi-crop harvesters around.  The trick is to find a GOOD one that won't require your first born for  a down payment. Smiley

Been thinking about one myself, for soybeans to make Bio-Diesel.  Farm Fuel costs are killing us. angry
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JoelinGA
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2008, 03:16:10 PM »

I hear ya on the fuel costs. I've come to try to do what I can now without the tractor, just burn myself out in the process lol.

I've been tempted to try seeing about using veg. oil, or maybe a 3 part diesel to 1 part veg. oil mixture and see if the tractor takes to that, then slowly ween back to more veg. oil. Being as diesel cars work off of it, but I'm too scared to test it on our workhorse and possibly ruin it in the process.
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HAB
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2008, 03:31:41 PM »

Don't mix veggi oil!  You'll cake your rings and injectors = Expensive.
Veggi oil has to be heated and run through a hot motor then the oil has to be turned off and the tractor run on straight Dino for five minutes to bun off the veggi cake and make restarting easier.

Check out http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/forum168/ for more on this topic its one of my favorite forums.
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JoelinGA
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2008, 03:40:01 PM »

Yup, knew there was a reason I was holding off on trying anything  grin. I had been looking around trying to find any kits to convert a diesel tractor, but wasn't finding anything so moved on to other stuff that was getting left behind that had to get done.

That's a neat forum, bookmarking it now thanks!
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