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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Bangor, PA, USA
    Posts
    22

    Post

    This is a good thread. Interesting!

    I added bees to the farm about 5 or 6 years ago. Our pumpkin crop failed to set a good fruit due to decimation of wild bees by mites.

    Prior to that my only interest was the respect I had for a massive wild colony that had lived for years in a hollow old tree in the fencerow (apparently the mites got to them because they are gone now... ); and a passing interest as a child digging around in an old hive box I found in the same fencerow, left over from the 30's.

    I am not fond of beekeeping, but it is absolutely necessary for successful pumpkin production. We let the bees keep all of their honey and don't harvest any. They seem to be prolific..probably because they have acres and acres of beans and alfalfa and are likely the only bunch of bees around!!

    I really only want to keep 2 hives (the pumpkins are setting fruit just fine under that number, so any more becomes a waste of effort and money) But last year we ended up splitting a hive and overwintered 3 hives. Then we just caught a swarm the other week and now have four hives.

    Hoping one of my sons decides that the beekeeping would be a good chore to take on when they are old enough to contribute to the farm! But they both seem to be more fascinated with the tractors and implements!

  2. #42
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    Have you tried the local scout troop, 4H, Guidance Counsellor, Juvenile judge? How are your neighbors pollinating their crops?

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Bangor, PA, USA
    Posts
    22

    Post

    I don't even think we have a Vo-Ag program anymore in our school system. Farmland is quite dear around here.

    And I'm can't be liable for anyone else coming on my property without their own insurance...so I doubt a local scout troop or 4-H would work for me. With my luck, a kid would get stung, have an alergic reaction and die! It's not worth it for me to lose the farm over bees!

    In Pa, you are supposed to register your hives and have them inspected. I attempted to do that, but extension never bothered to call me back. :confused: Or else because I only have a few hives? I should probably try to get back with extension to register again.

    I have to assume that soybeans can rely on other insects to pollinate. It is not necessary for alfalfa (and alfalfa is frequently cut prior to full bloom to get max protein content anyway). I really can't think of another pumpkin producer locally, so there's the answer to that!

    What is a "juvenile judge"?

  4. #44
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Plano, North Texas
    Posts
    318
    I worked for a beekeeper in HS, but it didn't catch on with me. Then some of my extended family who are BIG beekeepers in So. Calif. stopped at the service station in Utah where I was working one summer, to fill up with diesel. They had a screen over their bees, but a lot of bees flew out while the truck was stopped. After they left, the bees got mean and I got about 40 stings on my face. So I was kind of nervous around bees after that but I realized that it didn't have to be permanent.
    After my stint in USMC 1969-1972, I got a degree in biology, emphasizing entomology. Shortly after I was a bee inspector in Imperial Co. Calif. and I loved working with the bees. My nervousness went away quickly [img]smile.gif[/img] . The inspectors were somewhat adversarial to beekeepers at that time, so my family was not happy, but I think I improved the relationship over the next year or two. I acquired a couple of hives of my own during that time, but had a hard time keeping them alive. I put them in my Dad's cotton field until he got in a hurry to kill pests one day and had the field sprayed without telling me. The hive survived, but with few field bees for a while. So I put them out near an orange grove and someone stole them. End of beekeeping. All that was long ago.
    This year my brother-in-law and I decided to get into bees. I built 4 Top Bar Hives. We have two packages installed and growing, and we have located 2 bee trees from which we will probably harvest honey.
    The funnest thing that happened this year was arriving at the farm where we have our bees to be met by the owner who was excited that he'd found us a swarm. In one week's time they had 18 combs built between his screen door and the wooden door of his house. It took us 5 hours to remove all the comb and put them into a hive. I suspect it was an absconded colony rather than a swarm, because it was BIG! Sadly, they absconded from my perfect hive - they were probably africanized and AHB are prone to absconding.
    We plan to expand slowly until we retire. TBH is good for old men's backs, so I'll probably continue with them. My bro-in-law wants to buy "real" hives and make lots of honey. Maybe we'll do both, or maybe we'll go our different ways. Who knows? Life with bees is great!
    "Before I speak, I have something I'd like to say. . . . I will try to keep this short as long as I can." Yogi Berra

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Central Georgia
    Posts
    48

    Post

    History? Heck, I've been keeping bees ever since George W. Bush was president, and gas was $2 a gallon! We got our first two hives way back in the middle of April 2005!

    We moved to Central GA onto five acres last fall, and bought them as another hobby to add to my wife's collection. (She collects hobbies, don't ya know!)

    It's been good as a shared interest for both of us, since we can both agree on keeping bees. This is wholly unlike our discussion about chickens; she wants `em, and I say, "Fine, so long as you keep `em in the freezer." But that's another story for another day.
    Joe<br /><br /><br />\"The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell\" -- Confucious

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,034

    Post

    It all started with "Little House on the Prairie."
    We homeschool our kids and were doing a unit study based on the "Little House" books. There's a chapter "Pa and the Bee Tree" in one of the books, and as part of our study we visited a local beekeeper (sideliner with about 400 hives) who gave us a tour of his honey house and a lesson on beekeeping. When we moved last summer from the city to the country, the wife says "we ought to get some bees". She used that "we" that every husband understands as "YOU." (e.g., "we need to get the barn cleaned out", "we need to cut down that dead tree"). So I read about bees for several months, began checking a few bee forums daily, went to "bee school" in January, and finally got my bees (a nuc) a couple of weeks ago. Much more fun than cleaning out the barn!

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    GA, USA
    Posts
    183

    Post

    Don't mess with the sea monkeys. I am 22 and had sea monkeys, sent away by mail for the accesories and everything.

    My grandfather made a few remarks about keeping bees in the 70s as part of a get rich quick scheme. I got interested, then my grandmother told me I wasn't going to do it. I decided then and there that I would do it.

    My dad got me my beginners kit and I've been beekeeping since 7th grade.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Stronghurst,Illinois
    Posts
    168

    Post

    Just started last year . I got very lucky in finding a man that decided to get out of beekeeping due to his age and health . He buys my honey wholesale as well as is a great source of information as well as a friend .

    I started with 2 nucs and with his hives and swarms I am now up to 29 hives provided all swarms stay and the splits do well . They are split between 3 yards nopw all within 8 mile radius of my house .This is another habit forming hobby I have blundered into LOL .

    Drifter
    Some can learn by others mistakes , others have to whizz on the electric fence for themslves .

  9. #49
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,760

    Post

    Well, the message somehow got garbled but here's a response along with the original inquiry. I was asking whether there existed an oral history project on beekeeping in the United States. If there isn't one, there should be. Seems like there are pieces and parts, and that a project like this would fit in with documenting a particular part of American history. I'm too dense to undertake something like this, but it seems like it would generate some money for an aspiring graduate student if anyone is currently feeding one. Grants and fellowships and all that.


    Dear Mr. Digman:

    I just realized that we never sent a response to your May 5 inquiry. A
    reference assistant compiled some information, but it was never actually
    forwarded to you. I'm very sorry for the oversight.

    The reference assistant reports the following:

    The Archives Center doesn't appear to have anything. A check of SIRIS (our
    online database, www.siris.si.edu) indicates there are some photographs of
    various beekeeps (?) in the National Anthropological Archives and the
    Archives of American Gardens; also, the SI Archives have the personal papers
    of Paul David Hurd, who is apparently a bee specialist. None of these
    appear to answer the researcher's specific question, however.

    From what I can tell, the National Museum of Natural History doesn't have a
    bee exhibit per se, though they do have an insect zoo (bees don't feature
    prominently in that). I've emailed Heather Rostker (the website said to
    contact her with exhibit inquiries), but I haven't yet received a response.
    [This is probably why the message was not sent.]

    The Archives Center is always interested in obtaining collections that
    document a particular aspect of American history, and beekeeping would
    qualify.

    Coincidentally, a quick Googles search reveals that the University of
    Tennessee at Martin has at least two oral histories of beekeepers from that
    state. Lindsey Wilson College (KY) and the Boulder Public Library (Maria
    Rogers Public History Program) also have some oral histories about
    beekeeping. Cornell University's oldest endowment, the Phillips Beekeeping
    Collection, might also provide some of the material this researcher is
    looking for. Also, Tammy Horn, a professor at Berea College (also in KY)
    has just published a book called Bees in America; her bibliography might be
    of assistance.

    Sincerely,
    David Haberstich, Reference Coordinator


    Archives Center, MRC 601
    National Museum of American History
    Smithsonian Institution
    P. O. Box 37012
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

    202-633-3270 voice
    202-786-2453 fax
    archivescenter@si.edu
    www.americanhistory.si.edu/archives

    &gt;&gt;&gt; "Barry Digman" &lt;digman @ animas. net&gt; 05/05/05 12:38PM &gt;&gt;&gt;
    Does the American History Museum Archives Center have material on
    beekeeping in America? I subscribe to a message board and a recent thread on
    how people got interested in beekeeping popped up and has elicited responses
    from folks who have been keeping bees for decades, including a fellow in
    Texas who started in 1934. If an oral, written, or video history project
    doesn't exist I think it would be a wonderful undertaking.
    barry digman
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  10. #50
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Placerville, CA
    Posts
    6

    Post

    My wife and I bought 5 acres of land in the foothills of California about 6 years ago. I wanted to start keeping bees, but I was waiting to set up an area and collect the equipment and knowledge to be successful. Enter brother-in-law. He’s a stucco contractor and had designed and built some insulated stucco hives that he had just started using on his own property. On a Wednesday he called me and said how fun beekeeping was, his stucco hives were the cats meow and that I need to start myself. I told him that I was going to wait, take a class ect. On the following Sun he invited himself and the rest of his family over for a BBQ here and in the back of his truck was an example of the stucco hive he was making and would I like that one. I thanked him for it and told him I wanted to take the class offered by the Sacto Beekeepers Assn, the next year, before I actually got the bees. Well, he informed me that he had already ordered my bees and that they would be here in about two weeks. Great. Next day I was at the bookstore getting bee books so I had a bit of information before the bees arrived. My initial hive survived in my wife’s garden last winter and has turned into a boomer this year. Now it’s her hive. This March I finally took the classes, both the beginning and intermediate beekeeping classes offered by SBA. The beginning class was taught by a beekeeper with 40 years experience who offered anyone there to come out to his property and work bees. I have been apprenticing with him since the beginning of April, 6 days a week. What a great education. Now I have 53 hives and I plan on adding more every year. I’ve decided to stay out of construction, my primary occupation for the last 30 years, which I left last Nov and become a commercial beekeeper. I absolutely love it.

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    &gt;his stucco hives were the cats meow

    What do they weigh? It sounds heavy. Certainly durable, but heavy.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Post

    After attending a seminar at longwood gardens in Kennett square Pa., I was hooked prior to buying my first book. I bought several that first winter and read them many times until spring and my first package.

    My family never had bees so I am "crazy" in most of my families views.

    I had two hives my first summer, and that lasted till the first swarm. What an experience it was that my first swarm happened in front of me and I tracked them about a half mile till they landed. Then I was off to buy more equipment. And somehow that never stopped.

    Fast forward a few years. I now have 445 hives. I own Bjorn Apairies in Pennsylvania. I stopped my sales career, my auction business dreams, and have begun the transition into a full time bee operation.

    I am vey fortunate to have a wonderful wife who I call my "cash cow", which allows me to pursue wild ventures like beekeeping. I hope to build a successful business to hand over to one of my kids one day. I have a 23 month old daughter, and 5 month old twins, boy and girl.

    Beekeeping has been very good up till this point and I have had no problems renting ALL my hives out, selling all my honey, and turn potential customers down every week. I plan on stopping at about 1200 hives. Time limits everything including how fast I can grow without taking on additional help. I am trying to hold out as long as possible for that. I move everything with my pick-up but will be looking to put hives on trailers this coming year. Or get a boom. Can't keep lifting as I am doing. I see the old timers, and thats not for me.

    I am a certified breeder for Pa. and have only sold commercially this past year on a limited basis. (Hopefully there are not too many bad comments. [img]smile.gif[/img] ) Although I have bred bees for myself for a number of years, taking orders and meeting timelines for others with all that can go wrong, is a very eye-opening experience. Harder than it seems, thats for sure.

    I also am a state bee inspector for pennsylvania. I took the job for the experience and to meet people and make the most of opportunities before me. I will keep it as long as time permits, but giving it up may be sooner than I wish.


    I have experience with FGMO, small-cell, and most other items. (not the tumbling hive though.) I am currently changing over most of my operation to russians. I have not treated 180 hives two years ago, 285 hives last year(100 were treated), and will let most of my hives go through winter again without chemicals. I am trying to breed a northern hardy bee with various IPM techniques which could allow an exceptable winter-kill of less than 20%.

    If your ever in the area, stop on in and have a beer.

  13. #53
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Placerville, CA
    Posts
    6

    Post

    (What do they weigh? It sounds heavy. Certainly durable, but heavy.)

    Mike, the stucco hive body, 9 5/8 deep, only weighs 10 lbs. Heavier than wood, but it never has to be treated for the elements. It would last outdoors, virtually for ever. The stucco finish is not a three coat system typical to most homes, its 2 inches of foam covered with nylon mesh, a thin cementations layer and then a thin finish coat over that. It is a synthetic stucco system used primarily on commercial buildings. Unfortunately it proved to be too labor intensive to produce commercially. Now he is trying a different system with a FDA approved, spray-on finish with UV inhibitors. It has an outdoor, in the sun, life of a minimun 25 yrs. I’m curious myself to see how the new, improved product turns out.

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Chiefland, Florida
    Posts
    4

    Post

    My interest in honey bees began after I was stung twice and my Rheumatoid Arthritis was relieved. I did Apitherapy, gave up all drugs and now can walk and do normal activities. Purchsed my first two hives this Florida spring - one swarmed so now I have three. Am having a beginning problem in that hubby does not want to have the bees produce honey for us or to sell - He'll just come home one day to find a queen excluder and a honey super on each. Oh well, maybe he'll try to control something else. LOL

  15. #55
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    First year production may not be enough for sale. Especially if you spread the wealth as in Christmas presents, etc. Raw honey is valuable. Pure and Clean. But also can be used to cure allergies. Worked for mine.

    Good luck,

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

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