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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,238

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    I have used starter strips great if there is a flow and not so if the is not a flow if they don’t build comb right away they end up chewing all the starter strips out.

    Foundationless are good if use in between two good frames and you are careful with them until they attach to bottom which can take awhile.

    Also are your bees regressed to 4.9 if not them they will build 5.1 first time coming from 5.4

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,996

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Some of the things we have so far:

    • Simple outer covers
    • Foundationless
    • foundation strips instead of full sheets
    • Make your own gear
    • Solid bottoms
    • Catch swarms and raise bees
    • alternative/low cost/reclaimed materials for hives


    I'm thinking that having as few yards as possible has to help. Running to 5 yards of 5 has to cost more over the course of a year than one yard of 25...

    Others?

    Adam

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Quote Originally Posted by eastsidebuzz View Post
    pick a different hobby like rock collecting.
    not an option

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Somebody in PA has found the ultimate cost saver-steal someone else's hives��
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike haney View Post
    Somebody in PA has found the ultimate cost saver-steal someone else's hives��
    That only works until you get caught.

    No, seriously - my costs saving methods are to use home-built hives (mostly long boxes, not regular langs - 3 or 4 boxes for price of one), foundationless frames, feral bees, and small things like discarded ice chests with lucite covers as wax melters, or wet dry bucket vacs modded to become a bee-vac. I also use an old water cooler bottle with the bottom cut off for a swarm catcher - it is mounted on a wooden closet rod. Top bar hives are pretty cheap too, until you count the labor involved in straightening out the comb. I use a lot of wood and materials from the dump - especially old corrugated tin from roofs. These become sun-shields and tin bee-hive roofs.

    I do mostly treatment free with feral derived bees. Not sure you could do it with more domesticated bees. When I do treat - it is with soft treatments like smoking with Juniper bark, but I rarely need it. The bees seem to do all the work.

    I do feed my starter hives, but I only buy sugar in bulk when it is on sale.

    Word of warning - You must be very careful with feral removals, it can get pricey driving around and chasing bees. I do it mostly for the genetics these days. My increases have been mostly from aggressive splitting with a few feral removals tossed in for diversity.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    423

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McCarty View Post
    When I do treat - it is with soft treatments like smoking with Juniper bark, but I rarely need it.
    Paul,would you please elaborate a little on the Juniper bark treatment?How and why it works.I have not heard of that one before and it sounds promising.I assume it has to do with the aromatics in the cedar.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    It's a Mexican/Desert treatment for mites. You use some type of juniper - mostly the shag bark type, or you can use Creosote leaves/branches. You seal up the hive after dark and smoke like heck for 30 seconds or so. You do it again several more times over the course of a several week period. It seems to work and there is some scientific evidence from USDA validating it - not sure it is a sure thing though. The smoke appears to be toxic to the mites. I am sure it is to the bees too in larger doses. It is quite acrid.

    I haven't seen any problems. I have only seen exactly 4 mites on my bees in 3 years. I used to smoke them every Spring and fall, but have not really done so lately - I have only done the smaller 1st year hives. I do brood breaks around midsummer too, so that might play a part, and my bees are mostly wild, so they groom each other. I have sat and watched them groom mites off each other.

    So take it or leave it, the smoking probably works to a point, but I am sure the other stuff factors in too. Also keep in mind the feral derived bees have mostly adapted to the mites. The sheer fact they exist at all shows this to be true. They should not need much help, that being the case. We don't have a huge beekeeping industry or hobby in this region, so most of the bees are truly wild. Not so in most other parts of the country.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,276

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Try to do as much as one can in each yard to avoid additiuonal trips.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  9. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    423

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Thank you Paul.I will have to try that on a couple of hives next spring using our local juniper/cedar bark.I do realize we may be talking about different species of juniper.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    The species in question is this one - http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=JUMO the One Seed Juniper. Others may work too, but this is the one traditionally used.

    This is the other plant used - http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=LATRT the Creosote Bush.

    May not help you guys in Florida much. I hear there are some other plants that may have an affect too. These treatments were first popularized here by Les Crowder, ex NM head bee inspector.
    Last edited by Paul McCarty; 10-11-2012 at 03:47 PM.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anthony, New Mexico USA
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Juniper, or "Taskate" in native Tarahumara is used for many diferent home remedies by the locals. The Creosote Bush or "Gobernadora", is used by the Tarahumara people to heal some types of cancer and many different things. We use both at the orphanages. The Creosote tea, is used to soak the children feet and that cures athletes foot. If you wait for it to bloom, you can make a paste with the flowers and cover bad bruises or cuts and they will not get infected and heal soon. The taskate is brewed into a strong tea and mixed with honey for respiratory problems.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    423

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    The one we have is commonly called red cedar.This is it;
    http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=JUVIS

  13. #33
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,410

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    I try to make everything I can, if it is cost effective. I do not factor in time because its a hobby and something I like doing.

    I make my own nucs using the Coates design.
    I made my own extractor for a 1/6th of the cost of a new one.
    I make my own tops, telescoping covers till now, migratory from here on out.
    I make my own SBB, but after I use up the mesh I have I will go to solid bottom boards and see how that pans out.
    I buy boxes but will start making my own soon as well.
    I will keep buying frames because I can save on other things and just dont want to mess with them.
    I collect swarms and split instead of buying bees. That is a huge savings and catching swarms also educates the public.

    Since my start in beekeeping I have learned a lot from here, and from trial and error. I am learning where I can make short cuts, and where I shouldnt. I still love sitting and watching the bees, so that is why I am trying to get more efficient when working them so I can spend more time watching instead of working!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,587

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Other than raising my own stocks, which is of course huge, weighing hives to determine the correct amount to feed for winter...if they need feeding...has saved me big time.

    I used to heft the back of my hives to estimate weight. That works okay, but trouble is, after a yard or two they all feel heavy. So, I always overfed...just to be sure. When feeding bees, it's just like feeding teenagers. They have hollow legs. I could easily overfeed my bees one, two, three or more gallons of 2:1. At $4/gallon, and almost 700 colonies...I could spend a fortune on sugar that the bees don't really need.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Siloam Springs, Arkansas
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    With all due respect Mr. Palmer, where does the 'what they don't need' go? Into early spring feed, which is fuel to forage the nectar made into honey, that is accumulated at an earlier time?

    Or am I wrong as usual....
    Trying techniques that I doubt will work because I like to be right!

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,150

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Don't buy bees, don't feed and above all don't buy chemicals.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,587

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Nothing wrong, and a valid question...

    Certainly, any extra feed is in the hive and can be used. But, if a colony requires say 80 pounds of stores to winter, and they have 100+, what's the point of feeding more just to be sure? That extra feed will be there in the spring as honey not consumed. It will then be there taking up space needed for colony expansion. But the greatest benefit in my apiary is in the savings on my feed bill. If they don't need it, I can't afford to feed it.by weighing every hive, I know. Also, it helps me in my breeder queen selection. I look for colonies in each apiary that make the best honey crop without needing any additional feed. If a colony produces 100 pounds of honey but has to be fed 50 pounds of sugar, isn't the real production of that colony actually only 50 pounds?

    I don't routinely feed sugar to every colony. I try to manage my bees so they don't need extra feed in the fall. Usually, proper supering...not adding that extra super for goldenrod...and proper management and breeding, means heavy colonies going into winter.

    Does that make sense Ozone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozone View Post
    With all due respect Mr. Palmer, where does the 'what they don't need' go? Into early spring feed, which is fuel to forage the nectar made into honey, that is accumulated at an earlier time?

    Or am I wrong as usual....

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,587

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    [QUOTE=Acebird;858172].... don't feed....QUOTE]

    How is a ban on feeding sugar in your apiary a cost-saving method? If the colony needs feed to survive until spring, and you don't, you have a dead colony that has to be replaced. And, figure the cost of the replacement bees and lost honey production next summer.

    The correct method, in my opinion, would be to feed colonies that need feeding, and requeen them next season with queens raised from colonies that didn't need any additional feed.

    Acebird, are you a beekeeper or a bee-haver?

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,603

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Hi Adam, this is an excellent question and one that provides a lot of interesting responses. This question is probably what makes beekeeping so interesting and exciting. I had the exact same question about 10 years ago and I still am looking for the answer. Efficiency all lies in you operation set up, from you hive equipment set up to your honey house set up.
    Basically my answer is to look at or try a few different equipment approaches to manage your hives, find the one that seems to fit your management route-en, and then switch everything to that equipment management style.
    Once you have made a choice on equipment, DO NOT LOOK BACK.
    There is nothing more expensive than choosing one system, then wanting to change it out completely so research and test different approaches before you decide on a system.

    So, Ill tell you what equipment design I settled on,

    What I run is single and double brood hives, with a migratory lid on top, and a two hive bottom board pallet underneath. I feed through a hole in the top of the migratory cover which I plug with a plastic bung. I use a 2.5 gallon feed pail to feed spring and fall.
    Pallets for everything. The hives are on bottom board pallets, honey boxes are hauled on pallets, pails are hauled in tote crates. I use two totes tanks to haul feed around to the yards with and I have two 2500 gallon tanks that will take a tanker of syrup.
    I use a lift truck for all my honeyhouse work, and a skid steer anywhere else outside.
    I have two satisfied 52 foot dry van trailers which I use for hauling and storage. During the winter I fill them with boxes and equipment. Through the production season I use them as empty and full barrel storage. I will send the van to my barrel supplier to pick up my empty barrels, and as I fill barrels I store them in the other dry van trailer. When the van is filled with honey, I send the trailer to my packer for honey delivery. Works real slick, and saves so much space in my honey house and also save me from having to move barrels of honey more than once.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,287

    Default Re: What are some of your cost-saving methods?

    Being a pollen sub producer, we now grow some of the products that we use in Nutra Bee, we just couldn't find what we were looking for, so being from Calif we just decided to start growing some of the supplies that we use in our sub.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

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