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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    reading material...

    abc-xyz in any of it many additions. my wife especially likes for me to read from my old copy (early '70's edition) with it very dated prose. she has commentedthat this older books really does reflect how much beekeepers love their girls.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Madison County, Alabama
    Posts
    487

    Default To all beginning beeks, just know this...

    There are ABSOLUTELY NO ABSOLUTES when it comes to keeping bees.

    As soon as someone tells you that bees always do this or always do that, or never do this or never do that, then DON'T believe them. There is absolutely NOTHING that bees will ALWAYS do. There are things that bees will MOST LIKELY do, but bees follow NO rules 100% of the time. Anyone who tells you they do, don't know bees very well. Things like beespace--MOST (99.8%) of the time bees regulate bee space, but NOT ALWAYS.

    The other piece of advice is get Iddee's phone number. I don't know how many times I've called Iddee in a pinch. He lives in North Carolina, I live in Virginia, 40 miles west of Washington, DC. His phone # is plugged into my cell phone. He is a modern day G.M. Doolittle and does not mind one bit answering questions!

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Phillips County, Colorado
    Posts
    16

    Default

    Subscribe to the beekeeping magazines: American Bee Journal & Bee Culture

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Macomb, Mo
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Maintain perspective. calm and relaxed. easy does it with everything.

    Bees are just lovely, fascinating bugs with a pointy end ( avoid ) and the other end that collects nectar and processes it into something wonderful... But bugs nonetheless. And they have been getting along and surviving without our meddling since creation.

    You will have your successes and failures. Sometimes you get honey, other times not. You will make mistakes on occasion. And in spite of the screw ups and errors, somehow they survive and make increases for you. Other times, you do it all right, and for no discernible reason, the colony dies out depsite our best efforts.

    Learn, relax, enjoy, and harvest honey when you are so blessed.

    if you must stress and worry about something, may I suggest working on a solution to rid us all of those nasty parasites that cause more financial loss and problems than all others.... NO, not mites. Politicains.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, PA, USA
    Posts
    114

    Default Protection!!

    Do find out how you respond to being stung - yes it will happen. Good to know if you're one to swell up big time before you're in a situation where you get multiple stings.

    But it HURTS! Many of my mentors (very experienced keepers) urged me to "get used to it"..."handle the frames with bare hands so you don't squish bees"..."just get a veil, suits cost too much"...."stings are good for you".

    I think they love pain. Perhaps after going through hives, they like to slam fingers in car doors. Not for me.

    The money for the full suit was the best money I spent. I always zip into the suit and put on gloves, 20 seconds and presto chango. Haven't felt that intense pain of a sting since - so I love the girls once more.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Madison County, Alabama
    Posts
    487

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by clgs View Post
    But it HURTS! Many of my mentors (very experienced keepers) urged me to "get used to it"..."handle the frames with bare hands so you don't squish bees"..."just get a veil, suits cost too much"...."stings are good for you".

    I think they love pain. Perhaps after going through hives, they like to slam fingers in car doors. Not for me.
    You gotta do what's best for you. I choose not to wear gloves if I can help it. It is not a macho thing for me, it just makes me feel closer to the girls and closer to nature. The thrill and pleasure of having bees crawl over my hands far outweighs the pain of stings. It's common for me to get 5-10 stings a day when I visit my 8 hives and 4 nucs on a sunny Saturday like today. The more stings per week, I consider the better. It increases my resistance to the poison.

    I can tell an aggressive hive right away, 50-100 bees pour out of a hive 10 seconds after you open a box. In that case I wear gloves, always. But when the nectar flow is going strong, I wear my veil with t-shirt, shorts, and sandals. Gentleness is VERY important to me, An aggressive hive results in a pinched queen, and she's replaced in an instant.

    Do I slam doors on my fingers? NO, that HURTS!

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Luzerne County, Plains, PA, USA
    Posts
    162

    Default Newbee interjection

    From my point of view, there are many and varried things i'd have done differently starting out.

    I started beekeeping blindly, mostly for the benefit(s) of pollenation for my garden (and the neighborhoods as well). I thought it was a matter of "buy bees, equipment, woodenware, and VIOLA!!!! You're a beekeeper. That was a huge misconception on my behalf!!!

    As i "restart" my adventure, i have to say READING is key (i didnt see that mentioned yet ). There is certainly no shortage of books and informational material available, I'd bet many of the senior keepers on this site wish they had as much information available to them when started.

    If making a 50$ or so book purchase is out of budget to start with, then a simple googling of the phrase "beekeeping pdf" will net enough results for a great beginning for free.

    As for a mentor, i wish i had contacted one ahead of my experience, rather than at a point where my bees are in trouble. There is no written word that can fill the void of "experience".

    Other resources would be things like the Apiology and Apiculture online course offered by the University of Deleware (i am currently attending it myself).
    A beekeeper is not what I am, it's what I aspire to become.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    vernon,Wisconsin,usa
    Posts
    47

    Default

    Hello-
    Just gotta say along with everyone else READ. I am new to this too, and I have read a ton, and still am. Your local library can be your best friend. I personally bought a couple books, the rest I borrowed from the library. There really is a lot out there! I photocopy some stuff & highlight for reference. Saves a lot of $$$ to use your FREE local resources!

    Good Luck!

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Nomadland, NY, USA
    Posts
    157

    Default

    Smoker - always
    Veil - sometimes
    gloves - almost never

    I personally don't like it when they get in my pants....

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,837

    Default Youth loans to start beekeeping

    There is a lot of good information on here about getting started with beekeeping. For the younger people who are interested in starting, but don't have extra money for the initial setup there is a youth loan program through Farm Service Administration (FSA). It is a great Government program. You have develop a business plan and be a member of 4H or FFA.

    This is how I got started. I was 13 and had to join 4H to qualify for the loan, but I barrowed $1500.00. It took me a lot of summers to pay it back, but the up side was that when I turned 18 and wanted to finance my first car I had a credit history and did not have to have a co-signer.

    It taught me financial responsibility and the basics of business managment. I would encourage any youth who is interested in getting into beekeeping or any other agricultural project to this program.

    Here is a link: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?a...paca&topic=you
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Western Colorado
    Posts
    25

    Default Use the search Function!

    I've been keeping bees for about 5 years now and a lurker on this forum for about 3.
    Along with the all the reading of various books the search function on this forum has been one of the most useful tools for me.
    Thank you all for the excellent insight over the last few years. I've never had a real mentor beekeeper and you've been invaluable in my search for beekeeping knowledge.
    Chuck

  12. #32
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    chilliwack, bc
    Posts
    628

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Focus: What needs to be considered before taking the first step.
    I would think the first is your physical abilities since supers can get very heavy, others would be where you live (rural, ect). I'd talk to local beeks and attend some bee club meetings as well. Read up on the subjects "begginers" "hive managment" and " activities in the hive" chances are that your state or provincial department of agriculture will have pamphlets for beeks new to beekeeping. If after that you feel your up for the challenge (and a challenge it is) then it's on to the next step of aquiring the supplies.

    even though it is a challenge the rewards of keeping bees are well worth it.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    La Crosse, WI
    Posts
    18

    Default

    After I read, what should I do??
    Last edited by Barry; 09-03-2010 at 12:15 PM.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,696

    Default

    I've read all the posts, very good information for learning. One thing is forgotten. Well two maybe.
    1. a business plan.
    a) is your goal to always be a 1-2 or 10 hive farm?
    b) is this your way of starting out getting the feel and then go "whole hog" life style change
    c) figure your costs. Start up, capital cost, day to day expensed like feed and treatments, repair costs on hives, on extraction
    d) cost per hive then the price paid for honey
    e) if your goal is to sell "farm gate" then your cost for packaging and bottling

    Know where your $ go. At the end of the season you might see and increase in the bank, but what did it cost to get that increase?

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Pigeon Falls, WI
    Posts
    2,526

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by marty_rk View Post
    After I read, what should I do??
    Acquire equipment, buy bees, install them and be ready to learn what the books can't show you(find a local successful mentor). An unsuccessful mentor can show you what not to do! Good luck. No matter how book smart you get "hands on experience" is the best.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    North Hills, CA USA
    Posts
    451

    Default Beginning Beekeeping Reading Material

    West Coast and Western U.S. beekeeping is slightly different than most books portray as they seem to be written for the Eastern beekeeping operations.
    If you are interested in the West or California Beekeeping operations there was a paper back book published in 1971 and revised 1987 by the University of California. It is now out of print.
    These two booklets may be downloaded free from the Santa Clara Valley Beekeepers Guild.

    URL: beeguild.org
    Click on left hand coulomb "Books"
    When screen opens read text and scroll down to: (Download) Fundamentals of California Beekeeping as a 2.7 megabyte PDF and or Beekeeping in California as a 1.9 megabyte PDF.
    Walt

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,245

    Default Re: a) Overview, the big picture

    Always the maverick, my views differ from most of the above.
    Yes, it's a good idea to read a beginners book, like First Lessons to become familiar with the unique jargon of beekeeping. (I didn't - didn't know they existed) When I bought a copy after a few years of winging it, to see what it contained, was disappointed. It's not perfect. I remember a picture of a new beek, in a new suit, standing beside a new hive and the caption implied that swarming was prevented because he had foundation in place. Not true.

    My recommendation is seek out a local beekeeper and ask to buy an established hive or two to pollinate your garden. Plainly identify your ignorance of beekeeping, and watch his eyes light up. Ah, here is a know -nothing that I can teach in my way. Built in mentor. Take everything he tells you with a grain of salt. But he is likely to sell his hives to you at a price that would compete favorably with all new - unassembled. It might be a little shabby, but it is functional and contains a live colony. You are up and running on day one. Learn as you go. Speeds up learning process.

    Walt

  18. #38
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Richland, Washington, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: a) Overview, the big picture

    You might want to get an overview of some of the alternative hives besides just the Langstroth: horizontal top-bar, Warre, dodecahedron. We've recently posted an overview of all three alternatives at the Micro Eco-Farming Center.

  19. #39

    Default Re: a) Overview, the big picture

    The advice in here is right on track in my opinion.

    1) learn all you can about honey bee biology and behavior. This starts with reading the many good books and sources listed in previous posts.

    2) Find out if keeping bees is really for you. spend time with someone who has bees and see if you can get over your fears, see if you are allergic, gain some familiarity with bees before getting your own.

    3) Know what you want to get out of working with bees. Is it to be a hobby, for the relaxation and health benefits of raw honey and the experience in general? Do you plan to sell honey and/or wax products? Is it a path to a full time income as honeyshack hopes? Knowing what you expect to get out of the experience before you get into it. It will help you prepare better for the methods and equipment you will need.

    4) Be prepared to make mistakes. Bees are tougher than you think and will handle some mistakes. They will also contribute heavily to letting you know when you have made a mistake. Be Prepared to be stung. Accept it, own it, get used to the idea. once you accept that idea and are mentally prepared, you will find you can be more relaxed and calm thus better able to handle bees without rushing and being shaky, clumsy, etc... which also helps to keep the bees calm.

    5) Respect the bees. These are living, breathing creatures trying to make their way in this world just as you and I are. Appreciate that these are creatures that we can collaborate with and that will tolerate being worked with as we do so that it comes out in a win/win for all involved. pollination happens, honey is made, wax is made, bees have a cared for environment to build healthy populations, the list goes on. This happens best when we have respect.

    Big Bear
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Hardy, Arkansas
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: a) Overview, the big picture

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    read and study a bit... read some more. one of the real changes in my lifetime is information is so much more at your finger tips than when I started beekeeping.

    find an individual beekeeper or club and do.. get into a hive, build some equipment. try to implement at least part of what you learned.

    and yep always smile (enjoy)... the girls are easier to sneak up on when you smile.
    You people sound so much like myself.. I read until my eyes bleed then get back to reading,, then I dont show what I have learned but thats when my ears start to work,, I listen,, much like life isnt it
    A man once told me ,, a person can know for sure how smart I am when I start talking.

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