Well, I am a total newbee to bee keeping. Not too long ago I was terrified of bees. I left them alone and tried my best to allow them to leave me alone. This was mainly due to being stung by a bumble bee about 20 years ago. The odd part in it is that I love honey and I love the smell of beeswax. I do know that honey bees are not the same as a bumble bee. I mainly didn't like the idea of a stinger in my arm again.
Today, I have had a bit of a change. I have gotten it in my head that I would like a hive of bees. What sparked the idea was PBS special on honey bees.
I do have some obstacels to overcome.
1. I live inside city limits with a street on two sides of my property. I have not come across any No Bee Laws.
Link to areal photo of house: http://vintagerifle.net/images/misc/House.jpg
2. I have an almost 4 year old daughter (one that I hope will come to love honey bees).
3. I have a wife that is allergic. She gets a nice sized knot when stung. We do not believe she is allergic to the point of being killed by a couple of bee stings. She has not expressed concern when I talked to her about putting a hive on our property.
Now for what I would like to do:
I would like to put a single bee hive on our property. There is at least one property about 1/4 mile away that I have seen 4 hives at during the springtime so I do not believe we have any laws against having bees in the area. I am also not able to find any doing an online search for local laws and ordinances.
I have read several articles on the net about getting started with beekeeping and have noticed that most suggest starting off with a Langstroth bee hive as they are easier as far as getting help form other bee keepers. However, I am more interested in the Top Bar Bee Hive. My thoughts on a TBH is that they are easier to construct, appear to not easily be tipped over, and produce more wax that honey. I am interested in honey, but I am also interested in wax or making bullet lubricants for my own use. My understanding that a TBH has the ability to produce more wax than honey.
My plan is to construct the hive over the winter, which really will not take very long to do and probably can be done in several hours once materials are obtained. I am currently debating on a source of bees. I may try to catch wild bees, or order Italian bees. Since I have a wife that is somewhat allergic and a young daughter, I have been leaning more to the Italian bees. However, being able to catch some wild bees would be a cost saver. I do have a possible source for some bees in the spring. This will all depend on if the person wants the bees removed from his old barn or if I can catch a swarm at some point.
I must say that seeing and smelling honey dripping from the wall of an old barn is something to behold. These are wild bees and appear to be fairly docile as they do not bother the chickens that are housed only a few feet from the bees and the humans on the property that tend to the chickens.
That is all for now. Looking forward to possibly being able to set up a TBH at my house. I have also ordered a copy of First Lessons in Beekeeping.
Hello and Welcome!
I spent a summer in Findlay many years ago working as an intern at Marathon (I went to school down in Ada). Still have some friends in the area.
A few comments about what your wrote:
Having a local reaction (i.e., "good sized knot") is not considered "allergic" - that's a normal reaction to a bee sting. Allergic is a systemic reaction - people who are allergic carry Epi-pens because a bee sting can be life-threatening.
In addition to the book you ordered, check your local library for books and videos. Also, get involved with a local beekeeping club. Clubs are good places to find mentors, get some hands-on experience, and get connected with local beeks. There's a club near you:
Tim Arheit, of Honey Run Apiaries
is the contact person, and also posts here on the forum ("tarheit"). Give Tim a call - he can probably arrange for you to come over, see his bees, and help get you started.
Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress!
Thanks for the information.
Since you are from the Ada area, you may know Jerry and Nancy Althauser. These two folks along with their kids got me hooked on beeswax. Use to buy many beeswax candles and honey sticks from them as a kid and still have a few of those candles around. I am not much younger than their kids and was in 4-H about the same time.
I am hoping to give them a visit if our schedules work out. Got to see them at the State Fair on Saturday. Daughter loved the beeswax candles and wall hangings. It didn't take long to spend more than I had planned in their booth. Daughter got a turtle candle, snowman Christmas ornament, and an apple tree wall hanging.
Welcome to Beesource, you will find answers to just about any question you can come up with here.
Your wife is not "allergic", if her swelling is at the sting site. This is a normal reaction and will probably go away if she is stung every now and then. Most beekeepers have some local swelling the first stings of the season, then none for the rest of the year. The body builds up an immunity so no swelling.
As for TBH producing more wax, the wax is harvested as a part of the "crush and strain" harvest process and you can do the same thing with Langs. Typically frames are extracted to save the bees the labor of rebuilding wax every year but they can be crushed as well.
After looking at your areal photo I would recommend a privacy fence or tall shrubs about six feet tall on three sides of your hive that face your neighbors and the street/sidewalk (the open area would face your home). This would cause the bees to have to fly up and over the fence or shrubs to so their flight path isn't directly into a neighbor or pedestrian. The obstacle doesn't need to be right next to the hive as you will need room to work and the bees need to be able to have good circulation.
Originally Posted by FindlayBee
Good luck with your plans, it's always nice to see people getting started on a great hobby.
I would love to put of a privacy fence. However, local ordinances keep me from having such a fence due to my lot being a corner lot. We tried to get one when we got our dogs. Max height of any fence I am able to get is 3 feet max and cannot be a privacy fence.
I might be able to create a garden like setting with shrubs or other items going up to 5 feet without getting into zoning conflicts.
Another possible option would be to put the bees on a flat roof at the back of my house. However, I would have to create an easier way for me to access the roof. Currently I do this by ladder or crawling out a window. I maybe able to turn one window overlooking the roof into a door. Will have to check with the wife on that.
I would also like to thank you all for educating me on what a bee sting allergy is. Now I must pass this info along to my wife. She has always said she was allergic due to her swelling up around the bee sting.
Here are what I think are 3 possible options for placing the hive.
X1: This is located to the East of my attached garage. There is a garden that extends about 6 feet from the wall of the garage. I could possibly put up a fence or trellis.
X2: The black area surrounding X2 is a flat roof over an enclosed porch. Access is through a double hung window.
X3: This is out in my side yard. The front of my house faces to the right (East). This photo is old and some of the trees in the photo are no longer there. However, this are now 2 apple trees to the right of X3. I would have to put up a trellis or some other barrier here. I am not allows a privacy fence as I am on a corner lot.
Image is here: http://vintagerifle.net/images/misc/HouseX.jpg
I have kept bees in the middle of our small (2500 people) for the last 2 years, no problems. I do have a 3 sided privacy fence up this year to hide the hive. Last year I had a non descript TBH in a corner of the yard that was screened by a lilac bush on 2 sides. I think some of the neighbors thought that it was a bird house. TBH's are definitely easier to hide if that is a concern. The TBH is nice for harvesting wax because you can take it as they are building before the queen starts laying in it or they start storing winter supplies in it. That is what we were gonna do this year but then the buggers didn't make it through the last cold snap this spring and my new packages were all put in langs. I was just going to keep the one TBH for the wax. Maybe 2 would be smarter.
Whatever you decide, it's a blast. I haven't thought bugs were this interesting since I was 4. Oh yeah, I have a 4 yr old too, and he loves sitting with me watching the bees.