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Author Topic: What got you started being a beekeeper?  (Read 6010 times)
Anonymous
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« on: December 29, 2004, 08:25:57 PM »

Ok what got you attention and made you become a bee keeper?
Mine was a number of things. The short story cheesy  cheesy .
(1.A show on PBS Kare watched a few years back about the mites and honey bees.
(2. 2500 square feet of flower beds in 2002.
(3. A tree I was cutting up for fire wood that was an unknowen  bee tree.
Kare saw the show that the mites were killing honey bees. I remembered her telling me about it so when I discovered the fire wood I was cutting was a bee tree and we had about 2500 sq.ft. of flower beds I wanted to save them.



I found a fellow on the internet to help me save them, since there were no local people listed in the phone book to help.
Here is what he said to do.

Stand it up, and build a stand around it.




Place some hives around it with frames and make them have to go thru the hives to go in and out. I even was sent a frame of drawn comb from a fellow in Missouri to help draw them.







Well they didn't care for the new digs. I bought a nuc to make use of the hives and equipment I had gotten.
Haven't looked back since then, I keep thanking my friend Jim, whom I have never met in the two years we have been exchanging e mails about our bees. He is a snow bird and took 90 hives to Flordia with him this year.

 Cheesy Al
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2004, 08:40:40 PM »

interesting story AL, i found out that all you need to do is ask a beekeeper and they will go out of there way to help someone, nice story, what ever happened to the bee's in the tree? The way i got interested in bee's was through my father, he has had bee's for a long time, i raised game chickens for 21 years and always said if i quiet with the chickens i was going to start me a few hives, the reason i didnt have bee's when i was raising game chickens was that the chickens took up all my extra time (like a second job). rolleyes
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2004, 10:25:19 PM »

I got interested in bees after I went to a 4-H meeting. All of the other kids had livestock, but I don't have enough land to do that. My dad suggested that I get bees. He kept bees 20 or so years ago in California. I started doing research in February, and found a local bee club and supplier. From there I found a link to beemaster.com and looked at some pictures and read the beekeeping course. Between that and this forum I was hooked.
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2004, 11:38:34 PM »

I got my start when I was a slave laborer on a family farm.  My uncle had a huge pile of beehives, and some bees moved into one.  I got involved fooling with them, and he began to teach me a few things.  I didn't know at the time, he had been a commercial beekeeper for many years.  Anyway, that first colony didn't make it through the winter, but the next year, we caught some swarms.  When he shipped me back to my parents, there was a beehive, foundation, and a veil waiting for me.  A week later, I got a call, and went and caught another swarm.  A few years later, I had bees in Chino, Ontario, Fontana, Wasco, and Glenn.  I've left out alot of the story, but he believed you learned by doing.  So I studied the books, repeated many of the experiments the ABC & XYZ book described.  My uncle tended my bees when I was shipped back home, and he always managed to have a few more colonys than when I left.
That was 40 years ago, and I can still see him shaking his head when he discovered my cell bulders and the mating nucs I had hidden out behind a shed.
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2004, 06:34:32 AM »

I was 14 years old, and I had rabbits in cages. A bear hunting dog (like Siberian laika)  teared my cages and killed my 18 rabbits.  I thinked over, what is the next animal I want to keep.  I decided it is beehive.  In the nabourhood there was some beehives where I got the idea.

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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2004, 07:39:59 AM »

Just a recap:

I was asked to help a school-mate when I was 14 to help him harvest honey. We worked with 11 colonies that day, collecting up frames and swapping out empty ones in their place.

I was really impressed that my buddy Mike worked all these hives with no protective equipment and didn't get a single sting - as I stood there in full garb watching and helping, I thought that "I TOO" could be "That" relaxed around honeybees and about a year later I got my first colony.

It still blows me away when I think this event was more than 30 years ago and the most hives I've ever had was 12 on my property and 6 others elsewhere.

Today, I have 2 colonies and this wonderful Internet family which I still enjoy to visit with every chance I get to sit at the keyboard.
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2004, 07:42:15 AM »

I felt we needed bees to pollinate the strawberries we were going to grow in the greenhouse hydroponic system.
After research, and especially after reading John's stuff on his web page, I got hooked. I decided I didn't care if we never gardened again. I WANTED bees.
I really wish I'd done it years ago. I love it.

Beth
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2004, 09:28:35 AM »

Smiley The middle part of the story.
When spring came those bees in the log were still alive, amazing My friend thought. They were coming and going a lot on warm days but I not knowing any thing then didn't relize what they were doing. They were robbing their honey out that was left and taking it to a new home. No I still haven't found it even though I search MY woods all the time.



When the activity stopped around the hive, Jim told me to open it up and see if I could figure out what was going on in there. When I opened the hive there was signs of a mouses actitivy with the droppings and smell of urine in there. Jim said that he wouldn't have wanted to set up house keeping in such a smelly place either so bet they had found a tree more to their likeing.

The second bee tree, one I knew about.



This one I knew about. It stood on my fence line atop a old water corse bank. Since I walk my dogs every day twice, morning andf evenings I know when some thing is different in my woods.
On July 20th 2003 I walked the dogs in the morning as I always do, I discovered a stand of wild lilies. I finished running the kids and told Kare to come with me to see the lilies which were near the standing old oak bee tree.



I was shocked to see my bee tree laying on the ground. It had only been about 30 miniutes since I had been by there with the kids.











The bees in this tree also made it thru the winter. I had designs on opening the tree up where it had split some in the spring and finding the queen putting her and some brood comb in a hive body.
That didn't come about do to my father getting sick and spending time in the hospital be fore passing away. I just didn't have the time to do get the job done.
Yes I have had my excitement with bee trees and miss them. But I do have my five hives now with plans to expand come spring. I have found that I just enjoy them even if I couldn't get honey from them I still want them in our gardens.
 Cheesy  Al
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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2004, 11:02:14 AM »

My grandfather used to keep bees. We couldn't get near the hives he had some kind of big black german bee that was highly aggressive, but we always enjoyed watching him working them without any protective equipment. He always said his arthritis was better the day after getting stung.

I have been wanting to do this for a few years but haven't had the time until now. I'll be getting started in the spring.
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2004, 12:02:16 PM »

A book caught my eye at work - Profitable beekeeping, and Ive been researching ever since (about 6 mths)

Hoping to have bees next year, or at least a friendly beekeeper who'll let me have a look!

The woodworking aspect is intriguing me aswell, I'm building up a few tools and should be making hives pretty soon.

This board has been extra helpful, thanks a lot folks  Cheesy
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manowar422
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2004, 03:42:24 PM »

Doing some research on the web for apitherapy, I stumbled on John's home page. Two days later I joined the forum.

It seemed like a really friendly place to learn more of the honey bee's plight in North America. Little did I realize how wide spread (World Wide)
the problems were, and how much my concern has grown for the bees.

My brother-in-law has kept honey bees for about 20 years
and I've always enjoyed the times I've watched him add supers and do his inspections, etc. After a short phone conversation, he confirmed all about
the mites and the rest. I never knew he was dealing with all this until now.

Once I learned a bit about what the bees are up against, I knew keeping bees was going to be a good fit for my lifestyle. (I'm a big homebody) cheesy

Real soon my bride and I will be dealing with that "empty nest" thing
when our two youngest head off to college within the next 36 months.
I'm sure looking forward to spending more time outdoors with the bees come spring.  Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2004, 07:38:46 PM »

Quote from: beewildrd
A book caught my eye at work - Profitable beekeeping, and Ive been researching ever since (about 6 mths)

Cheesy


How does that go again?  To make a million dollars in beekeeping the first step is to start with 3 million!!! cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2004, 11:06:13 AM »

I worked with this guy who had been keeping bees for 20 years and I always had questions about it because it was very interesting,  I can't say that it was something that I really wanted to do at the time.   But that spring he was installing a few packages and I went along to help.  Then I was hooked.  I thought that I would wait until next year and get my own package - but he hooked me up with a local supplier and I bought a hive and set it up at my in-laws that year.  Last year I ran 3 hives + an oberservation hive, and next year I am planning on running 5 + the observation hive.
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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2005, 09:09:41 PM »

My grandpa got me into it, I have just found out that my family is full of bee keepers on both sides. In my grandmas mansion there used to be tubes to a large observation hive in the 3rd floor when it was built 200 years ago. There are no hives now but we keep the history book out to show pictures. bye
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« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2005, 02:23:49 AM »

A swarm came to rest in my parents house in between the first and second floors, between the floor joists. We had to call a beekeeper to come and extract them. He couldn't get there for a couple of days, but when he did, the  girls had built comb 12 feet back in the joist bay! He thought they had been there a year already, untill he realized all the comb was new! When all was said and done, he told us that there were 50,000 bees in that swarm, and it was the biggest one he had ever seen! In retrospect, I think it may have been an abscondtion rather than a swarm, because I can't imagine 50,000 being half of any hive, although I suppose it's possible. Here are some pictures of the extraction. After this I was bit! cheesy

Here are the girls flying around the corner where they went in.




The beekeeper at work removing the girls.









My son and my father "helping"




And that's the long and short  of it!

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« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2005, 09:09:28 AM »

Cheesy Amazing how many of us got the bug fromwild and swarms of bees.
Also the numbers of those who have a family history.
Jay cool pictures, appears the beekeeper used a regular shop vac to get them?
Cheesy Al
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Lesli
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« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2005, 10:27:43 AM »

A few years ago, a neighbor of mine mentioned that she was thinking of taking a beekeeping class at the local Cooperative Extension. Well, she didn't, but it must have stuck in my mind because last winter, I started reading up on beekeeping, and through books and web sites, fell in love with the idea.

I have about ten acres, and have always wanted to do something with my land. Livestock seemed too much responsibility, but bees--just right!

So I joined the local beekeeping group and managed, in late June, to get a couple of nucs. And I found I loved it from start to finish. I like putting the woodenware together, and I love watching the girls do their thing. I love the honey, and I love making candles and creams from the wax.

So I have five more packages on order for next year. And I'm going to register as a business, and start selling honey, candles, and all the rest as a sideline business.  If I break even, that's good. If I make a bit more, that's even better. Since I have a good (but stressful) day job, what I want more than anything else is the outdoor work, the relaxation of watching thousands of bees work, the creativity of making candles and creams, and maybe, just maybe, a supplemental income for my distant retirement. Maybe. Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2005, 10:51:51 AM »

Quote from: Jay
He couldn't get there for a couple of days, but when he did, the  girls had built comb 12 feet back in the joist bay!


Last summer I took  50 000 bees from shimney. I had been there 7 days, but it was not able to build any combs. It was wet whole week. It must be also, that it had looked new hive many days, because it had no honey to start comb building.

It 2 Langtroth boxes are full, it is 5 kg bees = 50 000.

I put larva frame in the box and that box on the top of chimney. Whole box was full when I took them.  When I was leaving I heard much sound from the bottom of chimney. With flash light I saw that there is still much population.

I dropped down with exctracted Farrar frames with string, and I got  several frames full of bees. In one frame I saw the queen. Again I put empty box on the top of chimney, the queen there and let them be over night. Again 3 frames full of bees.

I think that I know where they came. It is 15 kilometres to that place.
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« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2005, 04:52:40 PM »

Great Photos and posts everyone - Jay, wow with your capture/removal project: awesome pics.

Glad that a few of you found my site and our forums, I think it is a great place to get introduced into the good and ugly of beekeeping.

I can remember many times that I got OVER MY HEAD when it came to handling bees, the worse case was a removal I was trying to do at a neighbors home - the bees were making it under my hood and I was getting slammed on the throat ceaselessly.

Of course, the 200 stings I got in about 30 seconds after dropping a super which fell apart in my hand was no picnic either and not to forget the one that got into my boxer shorts  shocked

There are great and not so great stories we all will gather, but the memorable ones are usually the ones which get us into the hobby in the first place.

The best thing that ever happened to me bee wise though was building my wedsite and "one day" realizing I had the capability of admining a forum or many forums using the "package" of software features included with my site-hosting service. Beemaster.com has introduced me to many wonderful people and opened the door to projects that I never would have had a chance to participate in otherwise.

I like to say I teach beekeeping on my site, but a better word is I "Introduce" people to beekeeping - either way, I think I have been blessed in many ways, and the biggest blessing is helping people to find the Beekeeper in them.

I hope everyone here has that experience - having a chance to mentor new beekeepers is a wonderful thing, and I strongly suggest you spread the word on this peaceful, educational, family friendly and education hobby.
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« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2005, 06:38:57 PM »

I have friends who had a cabin on the edge of the state game lands in northwest Pennsylvania.  One spring about 12 years ago they  discovered a feral colony of bees in an old tree across the road from the camp.  With teaspoons, duct tape and screen door screening draped over their hats, they transferred the colony into an old bee-box they found in the woods.  No frames, just a box with a lid and a base, with holes drilled in for an entrance.  That colony didn't stay, but another one they got from the same place about three weeks later did.  Getting the honey out in the fall was a bit of a fiasco, which is another story in itself.  

The next year my friends set up two hives at the camp.  Unfortunately, there was a bear in the woods, that tended to sniff about the hives.  Fortunately, I was out of work and rather "unanchored" at the time, so I babysat the hives, staying at the camp in the evenings with a shotgun, with instructions to stick the gun out the door and fire it off to scare the bear away if I heard it sniffing about.  I only fire it once.

I wasn't able to help them any longer after I moved in 1995, but I kept in touch with them through the years.  They lost their colonies to wax moths about 3 or 4 years ago, and haven't yet re-populated their hives.

Although I wanted to do the same, it seemed impractical to set up an apiary in South Philly.  But as soon as we got our spread in Jersey, I began making plans and learning all I could about beekeeping on the internet.  I think I read through Beemaster's website for a year before making the decision to purchase my first hive and package.  And on April 22nd of 2004, I hived my first colony.  It's been an interesting year!  I have two more packages ordered and hope to have 4 hives working by late next spring.

-- Kris
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2005, 08:58:26 PM »

My dad is so into bees now he wants to start a business too lesli. I love the thought of my dad and I working side by side raising bees for products and building hives for sale. We are also looking into what it would take to sell bees to the country, does any one know? thanks, bye
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« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2005, 09:20:56 PM »

I'm not sure what it takes to sell bees, but I'm going to give it a shot next summer--not the selling, but building up for it. We do have a fair number of beekeepers in this region, and I'm hoping that if I can raise queens and nucs (rather than packages) for local beekeepers, it might provide some extra. In any case, I want to have "spares" on hand for myself.

I suspect that raising bees for packages is quite a bit different from raising bees for honey. For one thing, you have to have the packages ready in April--a lot earlier than an Upstate NY hive is going to ramp up, I suspect. And these days, what I see advertised is SMR and Russian and all the rest. I couldn't do that, not with open mating.

But I could do nucs for May or June, I'll bet.
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« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2005, 09:21:17 PM »

Quote from: trail twister

Jay cool pictures, appears the beekeeper used a regular shop vac to get them?
Cheesy Al


Yes Al, a regular shop vac but he ran it through a beesource.com type design bee vac. So he was using the shop vac as the suction through the bee vac boxes. Those are the varnished boxes with the big 2 inch holes cut in the sides and top that you see him using, and dumping into the white hive boxes in the pictures.

Dumping the bees into a hive box from the inner bee vac box.



See the hose from the shop vac comming out of the top of the bee vac box?



The inner bee vac box on top of the hive box, and the outer bee vac box on the lawn to the right with the cover up.



Dumping the bees out of the bee vac box into the hive box, looking for the queen. See the comb in the cardboard box to the right on the lawn?



These I think are the young nurse bees who don't know their way around  outside the hive, and they are trying to climb up the ladder and the vaccume hose to get back inside the hive!




I have some pics I left out here, maybe I'll post them in the pictures section of the forum. Then you can see everything I got!!
Al, I am building one of the beesource.com bee vac plans. I'll let you know how it comes out. I have already listed myself as a source for catching swarms for the spring!! Cheesy
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