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Author Topic: WHY DO WE.....  (Read 6821 times)
fiveson
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« on: January 31, 2005, 07:49:25 PM »

I read somewhere (was it Finman?) someone wrote that if you do the math - the extra honey you get by not overwintering and leaving an extra super and just buying packages in Spring - works out better $ and easier. So I am wondering why do we bother to try? Cretainly it would make requeening easier.

Also - I have seen plans for hives that always include some kind of 'locking' joints - then nails and glue. Is there a reason one couldnt skip the woodworking challenge of the locking end joints - and just glue - use nails and or screws - and external 90 degree bracing via angle braces? Wouldnt that be strong enough?

Rob
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2005, 08:48:06 PM »

It has been suggested by many that it may be more economical to take all the honey from a hive and not worry about trying to winter your bees, and just buy a package in the spring.  I choose to be on the other side of the fence on this argument as well.  I personally feel that a hive is in a much stronger position after being overwintered and will build up much faster than a package.  I also feel that there are risks that you take when you purchase a package, for instance you don't "know" the temperment of a package like you know your existing colony.  You also take a risk at introducing new parasites to your apiary with each new package you purchase.

If the shortage of bees wasn't bad enough as is, imagine what it would be like if more keepers chose to kill off their hives every year.

As for the need for box joints, it all depends on the durability you expect out of your hive bodies.  You most certainly may build your boxes with just butt joints, glue, screws or nails, but they will not withstand the same amount of abuse that the box joints will.  How much time do you expect out of your hive bodies?
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2005, 10:19:02 PM »

I've learned over the years to ask my self what would mother nature do she seems to have it figured out I know bees like to work and be productive I try to assist them in there work and if I do a good job there might be some extra for me I don't try to let money enter in Mother nature dosen't I don't think the Supreme being dose either.I read this book by Sue Hubble and learne to let the bees do there job try to help them Its a Zen thing I got my self a purpose to try and help save and promote how important it is to have pollenators its more important thay oil
kirk-o
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2005, 08:22:07 AM »

Reading many bee keeping books the authors say not to expect to harvest honey the first year from packages. I know there are exceptions to that rule but for many it is the norm. If I relied on package bees alone I wouldn't have any bees at the present time. Both the packages I bought last year were diseased and had to be killed off. Not only would I have not gotten any honey but I wouldn't even have any drawn comb for them to start building on this spring.
For me it goes againest the grain to kill insects that are so beneficial to man.
Many people say setting near flowing water heals their soul. For me setting by the hives and watching the bees hum about doing the task required of them heals my soul. I wouldn't drege a creek nor destroy a waterfall, so why would I kill my girls?

Yes butt joints do work in hive construction. internal braceing would be hard to fit inside due to the frames needing the room leaving so very little area to brace.
I think the hardest thing would be to keep the hive bodies square with the butt joint.
I wouldn't not build my own bodies just for the fact I didn't have the tools to make the finger, dovetail or rabbitted joints. Just expect to spend some extra time in maintaince.

 Cheesy Al
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Finman
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2005, 09:54:32 AM »

Quote from: fiveson
I read somewhere (was it Finman?) someone wrote that if you do the math - the extra honey you get by not overwintering and leaving an extra super and just buying packages in Spring


When you named my name, I again write. In Finland we use packages at all.  We overwinter bees and winter is long.

In my experience if hive is during winter in 2 box, it takes 1,5 month to get itself ready to gather honey.

If hive is less than full langstroth box, it takes 2 months to get in condition.

If hive is less than 5 frames, it is difficult get it big enough from May to July to gather honey .  

You have there longer summers.  It is able to get hive in condition. But in cool climate, when you have uninsulated boxes, and the brooding is slow during spring.

Rob write extra honey? We take all honey away and we give sugar for winter. I don't undertsand their "surplus" honey or "extra" honey. If you understand business, the profit of company belongs to the owner, not to workers  Cheesy

The key is that the beginning is so big that colony have good start for summer. As I wrote I help week colonies giving them brood from strong hives.

When honeys flow starts, I put colonies togethet so they have hives big enough for honey cathching. Also I may take queen off and I return it after 2-3 week brood stop.

What I talk is new for Finland too. I have asked to give lessons this spring, how to get small hives to produce honey.

But most important: If you have poor pastures, no matter how big you hives are, from nothing comes nothing. Pastures are more important than  big hive.





Rob[/quote]
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Rich V
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2005, 10:09:06 AM »

I don't yet have the experence many of you have. The reason I started beekeeping is because I think the honey bee is a fascinating creatue. I didn't give a though to the honey. To kill them off, I would be destroying the very thing that brough me to them. I think part of the challenge is bringing them through the winter.

Rich V
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fiveson
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2005, 10:28:52 AM »

I stand corrected that it was NOT Finman who I was recalling suggesting we not bother to overwinter.

I was not advocating the killing - juts wondering what the logic (beyond the obvious) was in not doing so.

Finman - when you remove the queen for a few weeks - you put her - where - and keep her alive - how?

Does she need to have some workers around her during that time?
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2005, 10:49:34 AM »

Quote from: fiveson
Finman - when you remove the queen for a few weeks - you put her - where - and keep her alive - how?


I change queens every year. I have mating nucs, wher I take the new one. Hive raise to itself a new queen, but i take it off and I give a new egg laying queen. When hive have no brood, thay accept the new.  3 weeks bake is too long.
 
To raise new queens is the most interesting in beekeeping. Selling honey is most boring thing, and extracting honey is second boring thing.  Tongue
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asleitch
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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2005, 11:42:28 AM »

Fiveson,

In answer to your question, you are right, I believe this is conisdered economic - I'm not sure in which area of the world but I have heard of this.

The entire hive is harvested for honey.

In a way, this is no different to the way honey used to be harvested, not that long ago, by killing a skep over a sulpher pit, and harvesting the honey for consumption, the larvae for protein and the wax for sale to churches.

In many developing countries, the protein from the larvae is the most important part of the harvest - I wonder if they have any tasty recipes! It is only western "developed" countries that would consider it "odd" to eat larvae - it's not any different though to scallops, or mussels or such like.

Only in a highly commercial environment would this be economic - I thought I'd seen this was the case in northern Canada - the nectar flow is strong in the summer, and the sub zero temperature (worse than Finland maybe) is so poor it is difficuilt to get any hive to overwinter - so best not to try even - bring the hives undercover and kill the bees.

As hobbiests, we do this for very different reasons, to help the environment, for interest - and to us overwintering a hive is very inportant - as we must work to our local conditions. We do not have the benefit of bulk purchases from warmer regions where it is easy to produce and start "packages".

I'd not think it was "easier" on a small scale.

Adam
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fiveson
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2005, 12:10:50 PM »

Adam

Thank you for the very well considered answer and the intriguing historical facts!

The protien issue was unknown to me - though I have seen numerous references to being able to add the larva to eggs. I winder of they would taste sweet also!? When you make the analogy to scallops - I actually want to try them! I live on the edge of woods in Va - this past year we had the 17 year locusts emerge and there were all sorts of recipes etc in the papaer. I did get sent a video of a French man who not only showed how he prepared and ate them (with great relish I might add) - but he also showed how to freeze them for later. I have to admit though that in the case of those bugs - there was too much of a crunch factor to appeal to me (I dont want to eat insect wings). I did eat fried scorpions in China though.... so you never know.


I think part of the reason I am asking about why we even bother to overwinter is that I fear my girls have either died - or flown off. I checked them a few times with a stehescope recently and hear absolutely nothing. So I am distraught. They did give me lots of great honey though!!

Whoever it was that wroite that they like to just sit and watch the bees fly around the hive - I was glad to read that because I thought perhaps I was weird.  This past year was my first - and I found myself doing that a lot. My neighbors must think I am totally weird or fearless because half the time I am getting really close and just observing - I am in my robe!

Rob
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2005, 12:56:04 PM »

Quote from: asleitch
the nectar flow is strong in the summer, and the sub zero temperature (worse than Finland maybe) is so poor it is difficult to get any hive to overwinter


The case is such that we should use facts.

"difficult to get any hive to overwinter", that is not true. I know that in Canada they make big barns where they put hives for winter. Also in Northern Finland they put mostly in undergoud cellars. The ground gives warm and the temperature is near zero. Hives will be carried out when willow starts to bloom.

When winter is over, where did they get hives?  Canadians cannot bring from USA. From where then? New Zeland?

European Union forbid to bring bee nucs outside EU.

If summer is so short, it is not  possible to get nucs ready to collect honey, as you talked just.  If you do not get honey from nuc in south, how it happens in north?
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BigRog
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2005, 01:04:33 PM »

Quote from: fiveson
Adam


Whoever it was that wroite that they like to just sit and watch the bees fly around the hive - I was glad to read that because I thought perhaps I was weird.  This past year was my first - and I found myself doing that a lot. My neighbors must think I am totally weird or fearless because half the time I am getting really close and just observing - I am in my robe!

Rob


Hell I have a chair out by C3
Great way to start the day enjoying my coffe and the girls flying all around me.
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Lesli
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2005, 05:58:08 AM »

Quote
Hell I have a chair out by C3


I do, too. I sit, watch, and throw a ball for my dog. He lost 10 pounds last summer. Smiley
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latebee
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2005, 11:47:55 PM »

As far as I am concerned, we do it because it is a challenge,an ongoing learning experience and an attempt to return to a simpler more thought provoking frame of life. Sure for some the almighty dollar comes into play, if one does it to sustain a livelihood,but for the most part I must conclude that we do it because of the stimulation it provides for us. We all learn from each other and we all have strong opinions and approaches. Glean what information you can use,and it will make lifes journey that much more pleasurable.
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Lesli
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2005, 06:22:40 AM »

Quote
As far as I am concerned, we do it because it is a challenge,an ongoing learning experience and an attempt to return to a simpler more thought provoking frame of life.


In John Vivian's book, he has a few paragraphs where he talks about different kinds of beekeepers. Some will go for the big harvest. Some want to create the perfect comb honey, even if in small quantity.  Some are interested in complex manipulations, to see what works best, and so on.

When I mentioned getting honey bees at work, one guy asked why I don't just buy a bottle of honey at the supermarket. Smiley

For me, it's curiousity and a sheer enjoyment of watching nature does what she does.  The bees will do what they do, whatever our attempt to manipulate them or "out think" them.  

That doesn't mean I don't want to get some extra honey to sell, of course.
 wink  wink
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latebee
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2005, 10:55:07 PM »

Leslie,

            Could you tell us what book by John Vivian you are referring to? Thank you.
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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2005, 08:37:41 AM »

The title of the size John Vivian book I have is Keeping Bees
So far it is my favorite book on bee keeping. I also have the Bee Keeping for dummies, Richard Bonny Keeping bees, Have just finished Sue Hubbles a book of bees. Am now reading Hive and Honey Bee by Langstroth. Next sitting waiting for me to get to it is The Honey Bee by James L. Gould & Carol Grant Gould (no longer in print search for used books), and a new one that just arrived yesterday, The bee Keepers Hand Book by Diana Sammataro & Alphonse Avitabile.
 Smiley I have Five books coming from Kellys who has a 5 for $25.00 book deal in this years catalog, but still doesn't have one other I want the ABC & XYZ of bee culture by A.I. Root. I don't want the new copy.

 cheesy  cheesy Yes I like to read, when I have an intrest in a subject I tend to read all I can get my hands on about the subject.

 Cheesy Al
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propolis
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« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2005, 04:26:58 AM »

IMO, the fact that this question can even be asked is a sad reflection on the way mechanisation and commercialism have taken over the human psyche.

BEES ARE LIVING CREATURES and therefore deserve our respect - they are not just commodities to be disposed of at our whim. Any responsible beekeeper should look at them in the same way a farmer regards a herd of cattle or a flock of sheep in his care.

Your question reflects the typically US 'throw away' mentality that is the root cause of so much destruction in the world today. All living things are part of the big picture, and if they are in our care, then we have a responsibility to treat them with compassion. Regarding animals (and insects) as 'disposable' is just one step away from treating humans the same way. Don't fall into the Victorian trap of regarding the rest of the living world as being there only for us to dominate and control - we are part of the global ecology and we abuse it at our peril.

And, BTW, commercial beekeepers should take a hard look at the way they operate these days. There are way too many chemicals being used and way too much oil being burned running around over thousands of miles with hives.
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Lesli
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« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2005, 06:29:11 AM »

I don't think beekeepers routinely kill hives for the honey anymore, with the possible exception of those in Alaska and northern Canada. While Finman can overwinter his colonies, it is apparently all but impossible in these places--or has been considered to be impossible. I know of an Alaskan beek on another list who is working at breeding bees that tolerate an Alasaka winter.

Propolis, I don't think anyone here would advocate it. As a rule on this board, we care for our bees as much as most people love their pets. I know that I do. While most of us would like to make enough money to offset the cost of this hobby, and maybe a little extra, I doubt any of us would be crass enough to take all the bees' honey and then kill them or let them die.

Sentiment aside, it wouldn't make much sense these days, since a package of bees hived in spring won't produce as much as an overwintered colony, costs the equivalent of 60 or so pounds of honey, and would probably entail more work and risk than overwintering in a climate that doesn't have extremely long, cold winters.

I agree about the throw-away society and the chems, though. For me, it isn't all about the harvest.
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« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2005, 08:26:40 AM »

cheesy My girls are some of my pets. On Saturday the 5th we set a new local record temp of 49F. I was sitting out in the bee yard watching them come and go, Feeling their little legs tickle my neck, ears and the backs of my hand. I noticed that there was no activity at two of the hives and was saddened to discover the death of all the girls with in them. I had sort of told my self in the fall going into winter that my weak hive would probably not make it but it still saddened me, just hope they went quick with out pain or suffering.
 Cheesy  Al
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Jay
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« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2005, 02:39:43 PM »

Propolis, be careful about labeling "throw away attitude" as uniquely American. That is like saying all French are aloof, or all Germans are stern. Remember, when you point a finger at someone else, there are three more pointing back at you!! shocked
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fiveson
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« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2005, 08:45:41 PM »

I am the original poster of the question.

You are a pompous pontificator my friend. I am guessing you live somwhere that the US has saved. How dare you make such sweeping and inditing genralizations.

This is a discussion group and I was not asking the logic of letting my bees live as much as the logic behind not!

The fact that you are 'anonymous' tells me that you consider intellecyual discoure "throw away" - as you snipe from the comfort of you lurking and anonymous position.

Perhaps the real problem is not as much the "American" attotude - as it is the judgemental and self riteous persepectives and pronouncements that foster  hatred based nationalism. OBTW - I am Canadian.

Robert Fiveson
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fiveson
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« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2005, 08:47:22 PM »

I was so 'moved' by that insipid post I threw all spelling to the wind - apologies to the English language.

RF
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« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2005, 09:57:01 PM »

propolis in MY opinion you are comparing apples to oranges. Collectively, we as beekeepers  are aiding a group of insects that are not even native to our country, helping them to prosper and flourish(THATS REAL AMERICAN ATTITUDE MISTER).IMO if you or a loved one was sick from infection and refused antibiotics,or if YOUR body was being destroyed by parasites,I might suppose you would look at the BIG picture and refuse ALL treatment,maybe that opinion seems a little foolish. I really think that your crusader mentality might better be turned to some real desecraters of our planet and not towards an entire group of caregivers who care for and respect one of God's real gifts to the universe-namely the honeybee. Enough said!
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« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2005, 10:01:34 PM »

Let me guess.. um.... vegan??? martian?Huh?
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latebee
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« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2005, 10:46:52 PM »

Martian----------------
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propolis
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« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2005, 04:59:26 PM »

This is what I was responding to:
>>I read somewhere (was it Finman?) someone wrote that if you do the math - the extra honey you get by not overwintering and leaving an extra super and just buying packages in Spring - works out better $ and easier. So I am wondering why do we bother to try? Cretainly it would make requeening easier. <<

How am I comparing apples to oranges?
The writer was apparently advocating going back to the old days of destroying bees, which I condemned. Sentimental? Pompous? Only if you are some kind of robot.

No, I'm not a vegan or a Martian, but a beekeeper at Buckfast Abbey in Devon, UK.
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fiveson
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« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2005, 05:47:23 PM »

Funny how close my name Robert is to Robot.

Any logic can be constructed to support a position.
You made some pretty harsh assumptions - and apparently have a need to be right.

Yes I am an unfeeling robot. I dont even own bees. I am an exterminator by trade. My baby brother was killed by a flock of bees and carried off never to be seen again.  I hate them.

Gee you busted me. Im so ashamed.
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« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2005, 06:00:05 PM »

Nobody is advocating the killing of bees.  The original question,  in regards finmans post, was incorrect.  Finman does many things, including use terrarium heaters, polystyrene brood boxes, and feed supplements to build up and keep his bees healthy and productive.  What Finman has done is pointed out that he takes the honey... all of it,  and feeds back syrup for winter stores.  Many of the people on this board are discussing leaving on 60, 80, and up to 100 lbs of honey for winter feed, which puts him at odds with some of the hobbyists.  Economically, it doesn't make sense to him to leave the crop in the field, when he can feed sugar much more cheaply.   If you look back through his posts, you can see he is an advocate of overwintering his bees, and points out that in the harsh conditions of northern canada, they do it regularly, as he does in Finland.

On another front, I would guess Brother Adam killed alot of queens, weeding out inferior stock in his drive to develop the buckfast bee.  Would you condemn his efforts as cruel and inhumane?  Or possibly label him as a proponent of a throwaway culture?
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« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2005, 05:20:06 AM »

Do we have a language problem here? I seem to be failing to make myself understood, despite my best efforts.

I was NOT responding to Finman - what he does or does not do is entirely irrelevant to my argument. I WAS responding to the original post in this thread, which quite clearly suggests that it would be more economical to destroy colonies at the end of the season than to overwinter them.

My response was an attempt to drag the thinking away from pure economics and to introduce the notion of 'compassion', which appears to be a new concept for some people here.

Of course Bro. Adam destroyed queens in his breeding program: any breeder of plants or animals has to cull out poor genetic inheritance, but that is entirely specious and in no way compares with the wholesale and routine destruction of colonies purely to avoid over-wintering.

I hope I have now made myself clear and there is no need to continue this ad nauseam.

BTW - I appear to have two identities on this forum - my apologies, I must have set one up on my other pc and forgotten about it.
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« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2006, 05:42:55 PM »

Quote from: asleitch

 
In many developing countries, the protein from the larvae is the most important part of the harvest - I wonder if they have any tasty recipes!


I have dry roasted bee larvae in Africa .I used a frying pan and just a touch of oil
shaking the pan as they cooked. [Like a stir fry.] They are very nice to eat - rather like peanuts
david Cool [/quote]
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BEE C
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« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2006, 04:26:37 AM »

Hey,
I'm from Canada's warm south, but most beekeepers try to winter hives here that I know of.  Due to the fact that cyanide is no longer legal for snuffing hives in Canada, and you can't really be a beekeeper if you snuff em, eh? Cheesy Even on the prairies or up north beekeepers that I've talked to are trying to develop good stock or methods for wintering.
I have to also say its good karma not to snuff these beautiful little creatures.  I'm also glad I'm not the only one out in my robe lying to the side of the entrance watching them.  I spent a good hour today laying on the ground near the entrance entranced by the cleaning, grooming, and other activity that goes on at the entrance landing board.   cheesy
The economics of wintering are such that it really doesn't make sense to kill off hives here at least.  I took most of the honey except for two frames for each hive, and spent eighty dollars for sugar and medicine.  I couldn't buy one package of bees for that, and I got 140 pounds from my two packages in the first year.  I can't remember who said it but its true that the forage area is a big factor in how much honey gets collected from packages or wintered hives.  And not using a darn queen excluder.... embarassed
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gulfcoastgardens
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« Reply #32 on: October 03, 2006, 11:46:01 PM »

Aside from the basic error in logic for most beekeepers to kill thier bees, I bought one package of bees in spring 2005- by fall had two FULL hives, early spring three, summer four, and now six. All from that same package!!! (And buying a few queens & catching one that swarmed & hid below its sister hive.) I even had a decent honey harvest this spring. Granted, this is the long "growing season" of the south. But the point is, why would I want to buy 3/5/6 packages each year in order to grow? Bees are great... (The neighbors probably don't think so.)
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