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Author Topic: Q&A with a Treatment-Free Beekeeper  (Read 4375 times)
T Beek
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« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2013, 05:06:03 AM »

Oh me Oh my  Undecided  Sad  Cry

A common mistake;  believing that "anything we can do" to help is OK.  Its not!

Sometimes (most times) doing NOTHING is the best thing "we" can do.

There is nothing "natural" about dumping substances "we" assume or were told are going to assist our bees.

BEES ARE THE ONLY EXPERTS.  Resist all the so-called "help" provided by humans and GROW a Garden instead.  

What is killing bees?  WE ARE KILLING BEES  Cry
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charlie b
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« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2013, 10:20:37 AM »

From a real newby. I'm in upper Wisconsin, nestled in on the shores of the Great Lake Superior. Just 15 mile south of it....My ambition is to raise totally natural, Lake Superior bees that can totally keep going, year after year, with very little help from me....My yard is 45'x45' and will soon have a electric fence around it...

One question I have is how far to space the hives apart?

Appreciate this thread greatly. I know T Beek is only about 75 miles SW of me and has a lot of the same winters and am very encouraged by his natural methods of keeping...Looking forward to future posts here and will be asking questions, a lot, when I get started this coming spring.

Hoping you all have a great overwinter success. I am very impressed and hope I can say the same, 1/23 loss. My hope is to go into the winter of 14 with 6 or more hives.
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T Beek
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« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2013, 10:57:04 AM »

Hi charlie b-How's the weather? Smiley

Proximity is the Beeks choice.  Some have their hives right next to each other (overwintering this way seems to help).  Some prefer to space them some distance apart, mine are roughly 6 ' apart, but I've got the room. 

Think like a bee, perhaps the most difficult part of beekeeping, but it really helps.  Bees in the wild would never think of building their nests right next to each other but that is how we generally do things as keepers.  I think over saturating an area is more problematic, but then I never hear my bees complaining  laugh.  Keeping several hives, say 20-25 in one area likely saturates that area.  Nectar collections seems to suffer when there are more IMO.

So......spacing is really your choice.  As long as you can work on one colony and not disturb the one nearby...that is what I'd try to accomplish when spacing.
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charlie b
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« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2013, 11:13:31 AM »

Thanks Beek. Oh, I believe my weather is about the same as yours. laugh As for the spacing, I have planned on about 5 feet or so. I am going to take pics of the yard in it's present state. You'll see how much work I have to do yet, BUT!! I have a vision.

All ready talking to people about bee yards on their property when mine get saturated....Have some really good spots. Thing is, when I build a new yard up here, I need to put up am electric fence for the bears tongue Cost? Solar would be around $250.

Looking forward to keeping with a great passion. bee bee
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charlie b
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« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2013, 12:54:20 PM »

Here are a few pictures of our present (future) yard that we will be keeping our bees. It is roughly 45'x45'. Any thoughts? I hope this isn't getting off subject, but I'm hoping to let you get a feel of how I am getting started in Natural bee keeping with the start and layout of the yard......https://www.facebook.com/charlie.beyersdorf/media_set?set=a.10152167173497454.1073741840.793507453&type=3
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T Beek
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« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2013, 02:13:16 PM »

I've been hit by bear twice since 2007.  Completely wiped me out the last time.  That was with 6 strands of electric surrounding the yard.  I caught him in the act one night, he ran right through the fence as if he'd done it before to some other beek.  We eventually trapped him, an old boar with bad habits and no fear.

Lesson;  there are few ways to ward off a determined bear.  With my electric I've also been using those 'niteguard' lights, advertised in bee mags for $20.00 a piece-I've got 8 of them all around the beeyard.  They do seem to be working.  I've since had bear in the driveway eating garbage (my fault) and in our compost pile, but none have touched the bees since I put the lights up 2 years ago.

Your yard looks great!  BIG!  Didn't notice we had gotten off topic  Wink  Leave that to others...........
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charlie b
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« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2013, 03:18:22 PM »

Beek. Ever try hanging raw bacon on your fence? Just a thought as I heard that it works really, really good! At our last club meeting, the DNR said that they would come trap any problem bears. Lord willing, I won't have one. Sorry about your loss.
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Robo
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« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2013, 04:42:00 PM »

Beek. Ever try hanging raw bacon on your fence? Just a thought as I heard that it works really, really good! At our last club meeting, the DNR said that they would come trap any problem bears. Lord willing, I won't have one. Sorry about your loss.


Bacon goes rancid or dries out rather quickly.   The best thing that I have found is slathering peanut butter on small pieces of #8 hardware cloth and bending it over the hot wires.   Alternatively,  if you fold aluminum foil over the wire,  you can put peanut butter inside the fold and it is protected from the sun and rain.

I have a couple Niteguards, but they only work best in one direction,  so it gets quite expensive if you try to get all directions covered.     I have two driveway alarms that I purchased from Harbor Freight on sale.  The are motion sensor activated and I have but them on the outside of the electric fence facing each other on opposite sides.   They not only flash red LEDs, but also set off an alarm.   I purchased two of the same channel,  so if either detects, they both sound off.  I have had them 2 years now and "knock on wood" no bear issues.   I know there are bear around as I routinely see neighboring houses with their garbage cans tore open on my way into the bee yard.

http://www.harborfreight.com/wireless-driveway-alert-system-93068.html   you can get them on sale for $12-$13 on occassion
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T Beek
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« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2013, 05:29:41 AM »

Agreed;  Bacon gets rancid.....AND.....its also very attractive to BEARS  shocked.  Much depends on the bear if bacon is used as bait.  A young one may get shocked and move on.....an old determined one, one that knows what is waiting beyond the fence will not be detoured.

Peanut butter, wrapped in some tin foil and then wrapped around a few strands of wire is said to work.  I've tried it a few times but have given up since adding the niteguard lights.  IMO for about $100.00 its been cheap insurance. 

The 8 I have are certainly cheaper than replacing even one of my hives.  I have them placed behind my hives, in front and to the sides, pretty spread out.  A BEAR wondering into my yard will feel like he is surrounded....so goes the theory of how and why they work so well.  I'll likely buy 4 more by Spring, although the originals from 2 years ago are still working fine.  I wonder if they sell stock in the company  Wink

Bottom line;  we live in BEAR Country and I can only attribute these little flashing lights that our bees haven't been bothered (they've been keeping the skunks away too)
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charlie b
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« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2013, 08:08:19 AM »

Robo and Beek....Some good thoughts to ponder there guys. Thanks.
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Robo
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« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2013, 08:13:42 AM »

Agreed;  Bacon gets rancid.....AND.....its also very attractive to BEARS  shocked.  Much depends on the bear if bacon is used as bait.  A young one may get shocked and move on.....an old determined one, one that knows what is waiting beyond the fence will not be detoured.


My experience has been different.   Older bears seems to get shocked and move on,   it is the yearling males that cause the biggest issues.  Once they get into a yard,  they are next to impossible to stop.   I have had them climb up the back of a building and go over a 20ft peak roof to get to the other side where the hives where located.  Once a yard gets hit,  the best recourse is to move the hives immediately.  

For a secondary precaution, I have all my hives ratchet strapped.   At first I was skeptical when I was told about this,  but have become a true believer through experience.   If/when a bear gets through your fence,  they will knock over a hive or two and it they don't break open,  8 out of 10 times they will give up and move on.  

BTW, If you're looking for the best bear attractant,  it would be dirty diapers.
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edward
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« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2013, 08:30:06 AM »

I Think a Finnish studies showed that only a Small amount of bears (black) become honey bears, about 3-5%

But once they have started they wont stop + they also teach there cubs to be honey bears.

The only way to stop them is with fast moving hot lead  Jerry

Once they have started eating a be yard they will stay until they have eaten all the hives or if a fence i installed, but if they want it bad enough it wont stop them and the bee yard will have to be relocated.


mvh Edward  tongue
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T Beek
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« Reply #32 on: October 31, 2013, 09:15:52 AM »

QUOTE from edward;  "if they want it bad enough it wont stop them and the bee yard will have to be relocated"..........or the Bear will Wink  to my freezer if necessary.  In my own experience bears ate mostly bees and brood leaving most of the honey.  I've heard tell they can smell brood a mile away  Undecided  I agree on the % of bears that disturb bees, if were any higher we'd likely have more issues.  We are literally surrounded by bears and relatively speaking we have minimal problems........until one gets nervy.

Robo;  "dirty diapers"  lau lau I agree, I agree, they love em......oh my, my jaw hurts now........Unfortunately my only grandkid still in them is living on the west coast.......maybe I'll place an ad in the local paper. grin
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charlie b
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« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2013, 10:19:15 AM »

Ratchet straps....I find that as a confirmation to my thoughts on my hives. I have them on my "shopping list" when I start ordering bee yard equipment in March of 014. I have seen a lot of beeks using them and being in bear country, I do plan on using them.....I am going to put two heavy duty eye screws into the pallet, one on each side of the hive and ratchet it tight....
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edward
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« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2013, 10:22:36 AM »

In the spring time when they wake from hibernation they need protine, larvae are a great source.

In the fall they need to build up fat stores, then they go for the honey.


mvh Edward  tongue
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merince
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« Reply #35 on: October 31, 2013, 10:36:14 AM »

Charlie b,

I love your yard - I could not tell the composition of the forest from the picture, but I hope you can make quite a bit of "forest" honey like linden or locust.

I am glad, though, that I don't live in bear country.
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T Beek
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« Reply #36 on: October 31, 2013, 11:20:25 AM »

In the spring time when they wake from hibernation they need protine, larvae are a great source.

In the fall they need to build up fat stores, then they go for the honey.


mvh Edward  tongue

We've had no bear issues in the Fall.........yet!  Likely because we're much more on guard by then. 

#1 Garbage cans go into the garage upon the first sighting and #2 Lots for them to forage on by Fall both naturally and as the area Resorts and Snowbirds start closing up for the season, leaving packed dumpsters all around our lakes they feast. 

Ever seen a Bear feeding frenzy?  There's folks up here who make videos of them rolleyes.  Fill a dumpster with some smelly stuff and wait.......It'll make one appreciate open feeding honeybees or at least put it in a different perspective.
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charlie b
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« Reply #37 on: October 31, 2013, 11:38:01 AM »

Merince.

We have a lot of 40, 80 acres fields around here within 1 1/2 mile radius which is planted in clover. Some, like immediatley across the road, within 100 yards, is a 40 wich is pretty much left to it self. They "hay" it once a year but havn't planted it in more then 10. All pretty much native wild flowers...

The woods consist of Maple, Birch, Bass Wood, Ash, etc. If I do harvest any honey for myself, I wonder what color it will be and what it will taste like? The honey is for the bees to overwinter on. It's a long season up here. Winter that is. Golden Rod is over in Sept. and then, comes Late March, and April.
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merince
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« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2013, 11:40:58 AM »

Charlie B:

Both clover and basswood make light honey. Keep us updated how it goes next year!
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charlie b
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« Reply #39 on: October 31, 2013, 02:47:19 PM »

Will do Merince
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