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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Ok, based on the replies, I have the following for action items:

    1. Continue to read/learn/watch instructional material
    2. Ad on CL seeking space for bees.
    3. Attend local and state bee club meetings (volunteer and seek mentor once comfortable)
    4. Consider DIY top bar hive instead of Langstroth (need lumber pricing; find out considerations for management, especially in subsequent years)
    5. Research commercial and/or independent operators for different perspectives
    6. Find out hidden beekeeping costs, especially for years 1 & 2


    Have I overlooked anything? After reading the replies, I feel more optimistic that we can work things out with adequate planning. As far as that's concerned, for equipment purposes, the plan is to get smokers and commercial veils, but go with TIG welding gloves (husband already has these) and painters' suits (cheap) - at least in the short run. For the hive, we were originally thinking about contacting Dadant or Virginia Bee about 8-frame medium hive bodies. I have RA, so lifting anything heavier by myself is a no-go without my other half. (I'll have to do some research on the top-bar hive to see if that might work out.)

    Are there any ways to potentially save money when buying packages or nucs? I'm kind of assuming that we don't want to skimp on bee quality, but have to ask.

    Thanks again, everyone, for your time.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,744

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    These are all pretty good suggestions, I'd particularly agree with joining a club and shadowing a beekeeper (there will be someone at the club who is willing).While you're waiting, check this out: http://www.ohiostatebeekeepers.org/beekeeping_class/
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -H.S. Thompson

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Since you're on a budget check out http://www.pigeonmountaintrading.com for protective gear and smokers.

    The quality isn't as good as some of the major suppliers but they'll get you through a few years with a couple hives.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    710

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    If the bee club as a swarm list, get on it. And/or, if you make some arrangement with a local beekeeper you might be able to make part of that arrangement that you'd be able to help collect swarms and as long as he/she gets an adequate number, you get dibs on any others. If winter plays nice and the swarms next spring are like they were this past spring, you may get lucky and get a call. But if you do this, *be prepared*. Have the place ready, your equipment ready, the hive built, the frames built....everything sitting and waiting for bees. But hey....free bees!

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    snip...[*][*]Consider DIY top bar hive instead of Langstroth (need lumber pricing; find out considerations for management, especially in subsequent years)
    Snip...
    I have RA, so lifting anything heavier by myself is a no-go without my other half. (I'll have to do some research on the top-bar hive to see if that might work out.)
    Snip...
    Are there any ways to potentially save money when buying packages or nucs? I'm kind of assuming that we don't want to skimp on bee quality, but have to ask.
    For info on cheap DIY top-bar hives check out Phil Chandler's biobees website. If you have access to some simple tools you are supposed to be able to make them from scrap wood. I made a temporary three foot long one in a night with scrap lumber I had on hand. Check out the top-bar hive section on here too. You'll learn about some of the pros and cons on them, and some modifications to the Chandler design that most make. It may be better for your RA because there is no box lifting.

    I second the swarm recommendations. Free Bees! You can requeen them in the future if you need to but at least you would be hands-on learning! I missed out on one at a friend's house this past April because he didn't know I was starting beekeeping. Major Bummer! If you don't manage to lure one into whatever hive you have set up (check out the swarm/trapout section for pointers on that) you will be ready to go if your name comes up on the swarm list or something.

    Good Luck! (And keep in mind it is my first year and I know next to nothing about beekeeping -in context of how much there is to learn.)

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Thanks for the link. We will read up on the pros and cons here as well. I'm not sure how much the RA will come into play other than I know having 10-frame deeps is out of the question. It's nice to see how much flexibility there is in beekeeping.

    Please don't think I was ignoring the swarm advice. I hope we get lucky in that regard, but I won't get my hopes up until we've made some contacts. Our immediate area seems so monoculture central: Mostly stunted trees and sterile, well-manicured lawns with a choice of maybe 5 different plants. It's not my thing, but the rent is unbeatably low. I'd pity the honey bees that wander near this place! Though beekeeping is prohibited in the covenant, we do our best to help by growing a few pollinator-friendly herbs and flowers.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,789

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Based on my initial experience, your first purchase should be a bee suit or jacket with zip on veil of some type. The rest is easy - but to volunteer to help, or to deal with a suddenly appearing swarm, you can patch a box together to get them through a day or 2, but you need a suit or jacket and heavy jeans. With hood. and I use $4 heavy nitrile gloves from Home depot.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, guess I will teach permaculture in drought. The bees are still alive.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,544

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsi View Post
    Based on my initial experience, your first purchase should be a bee suit or jacket with zip on veil of some type. ..
    Yes, totally agree - without reasonable beesuit,you could not go to the class or help with swarms. It is approximately $50 apiece plus free gloves and sometime shipping. I saw somewhere on beesouce that currently, hive bodies are $8 for the deeps and $6 for the mediums plus free S&H. Top bar hives are also inexpensive. I would probably prefer local bees rather "imported" ones. Based on my experience, one need to plan at least two hives. One hive is not realistic to keep it especially at the beginning. Bee-club is very good idea,but read the books! Good luck with your project, Sergey
    Серёжа, Sergey

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    Thanks for the link. We will read up on the pros and cons here as well. I'm not sure how much the RA will come into play other than I know having 10-frame deeps is out of the question. It's nice to see how much flexibility there is in beekeeping.

    Please don't think I was ignoring the swarm advice. I hope we get lucky in that regard, but I won't get my hopes up until we've made some contacts. Our immediate area seems so monoculture central: Mostly stunted trees and sterile, well-manicured lawns with a choice of maybe 5 different plants. It's not my thing, but the rent is unbeatably low. I'd pity the honey bees that wander near this place! Though beekeeping is prohibited in the covenant, we do our best to help by growing a few pollinator-friendly herbs and flowers.
    RA shoudnt be a factor-i just use one arm and manage by taking the frames out one at a time until the deep is empty,then move it. put the removed frames in a cardboard box,cooler,spare deep,etc.
    practice undercover beekeeping to get around the covenant-put the frames in a cooler,hide the whole hive in a doghouse or storage building,camoflage/screen with vines/bushes, use your roof or attic.
    i would consider such arbitrary rules and financal limitations as a challenge to be overcome.
    if all else fails,deny,deny,deny and claim the bees are wild and defy them to prove otherwise.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    as far as a suit goes, i used white pants over jeans and a long sleeve white shirt from GOODWILL (or other "thrift" shop that may be local) for years. a "mosquito" or bug veil from a sporting goods store or (in season) WALMART over a wide brimmed straw hat (from GOODWILL) is actually my choice over a traditional veil. the gloves from HOME DEPOT would absolutely work great too.
    with some luck and dilligence you can suit up for $5
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    You will eventually want some food grade buckets, probably for honey. Don't buy them! Go to your local supermarket deli and ask if they are tossing any fondant buckets or other food grade buckets. Eventually you might want to fit one or more of them with a honey gate, but you could probably get by without that until you want to buy it. To find wood for hives, check out new housing developments. Talk to the builders and ask to raid their scrap wood piles. There are often some excellent pieces of wood in there that is perfect for hives, top bars, covers, etc. Keep an eye out for demolitions too. You might find free lumber there, along with free bricks, stones, etc. Bricks and stones are great for holding covers down on hives.

    I don't recommend Phil Chandler's top bar design for use in the US. I would recommend going a lot simpler than his. I have complete designs on my blog (link below). I can build a top bar hive for about $20 for the hive body with new wood from Home Depot. Bars are a little more, but can easily be made from scrap, or from 2x4s from the cull bin at Home Depot which cost $.51 each.

    Ted

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,151

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    but go with TIG welding gloves (husband already has these)
    I wouldn't use these gloves they are too open at the cuff. Nitrile and coated garden gloves work well. Tape the cuff of the painter's suit to the gloves.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    You guys have no idea how uplifting this thread has been. I am truly thankful for the time you've taken to share these ideas. Hopefully, I'll be in the position to help out a newbie someday!

    Quote Originally Posted by mike haney View Post
    as far as a suit goes, i used white pants over jeans and a long sleeve white shirt from GOODWILL (or other "thrift" shop that may be local) for years. a "mosquito" or bug veil from a sporting goods store or (in season) WALMART over a wide brimmed straw hat (from GOODWILL) is actually my choice over a traditional veil. the gloves from HOME DEPOT would absolutely work great too.
    with some luck and dilligence you can suit up for $5
    Quote Originally Posted by mike haney View Post
    RA shoudnt be a factor-i just use one arm and manage by taking the frames out one at a time until the deep is empty,then move it. put the removed frames in a cardboard box,cooler,spare deep,etc.
    practice undercover beekeeping to get around the covenant-put the frames in a cooler,hide the whole hive in a doghouse or storage building,camoflage/screen with vines/bushes, use your roof or attic.
    i would consider such arbitrary rules and financal limitations as a challenge to be overcome.
    if all else fails,deny,deny,deny and claim the bees are wild and defy them to prove otherwise.
    This actually crossed my mind, but the HOA has an inspection person who randomly walks everyone's property for noncompliant items. I decided not to buck the system seeing as the landlord is an in-law and actually very cool. It was tempting though!

    What about assembling frames a few at a time? They're way cheaper unassembled. I'm still looking at the top bar hives, but if we end up with conventional boxes frames will be a factor.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike haney View Post
    as far as a suit goes, i used white pants over jeans and a long sleeve white shirt from GOODWILL (or other "thrift" shop that may be local) for years. a "mosquito" or bug veil from a sporting goods store or (in season) WALMART over a wide brimmed straw hat (from GOODWILL) is actually my choice over a traditional veil. the gloves from HOME DEPOT would absolutely work great too.
    with some luck and dilligence you can suit up for $5
    What about some white voile (sheer curtains) for the veil? I have some left over from another project and could put it on my hat.

    Any reason why leather TIG gloves wouldn't work? They come in white, fit tighter, and are thinner than other welding gloves...trying to think of stuff we have on hand. Dark leather work boots ok or do I need to make white spats to slide over them?

    Quote Originally Posted by taydeko View Post
    You will eventually want some food grade buckets, probably for honey. Don't buy them! Go to your local supermarket deli and ask if they are tossing any fondant buckets or other food grade buckets. Eventually you might want to fit one or more of them with a honey gate, but you could probably get by without that until you want to buy it. To find wood for hives, check out new housing developments. Talk to the builders and ask to raid their scrap wood piles. There are often some excellent pieces of wood in there that is perfect for hives, top bars, covers, etc. Keep an eye out for demolitions too. You might find free lumber there, along with free bricks, stones, etc. Bricks and stones are great for holding covers down on hives.

    I don't recommend Phil Chandler's top bar design for use in the US. I would recommend going a lot simpler than his. I have complete designs on my blog (link below). I can build a top bar hive for about $20 for the hive body with new wood from Home Depot. Bars are a little more, but can easily be made from scrap, or from 2x4s from the cull bin at Home Depot which cost $.51 each.

    Ted
    What about 5 & 6 gallon fermenting buckets? Too big? We hadn't gotten around to selling our brewing gear and it seems like a lot of it could be useful at some point for honey storage and processing.

    Thanks for sharing your hive plans. Cheap and probably the easiest to follow of the ones we've looked at.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I wouldn't use these gloves they are too open at the cuff. Nitrile and coated garden gloves work well. Tape the cuff of the painter's suit to the gloves.
    Should the gardening gloves be coated all over or will the ones with coated undersides (fingers and palms) do?

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,713

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    What about some white voile (sheer curtains) for the veil? I have some left over from another project and could put it on my hat.
    You may want to look at the veil plans at this link, courtesy of Beesource member Katharina:
    http://www.klamathbeekeepers.org/Bee..._a_budget.html

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    Any reason why leather TIG gloves wouldn't work? They come in white, fit tighter, and are thinner than other welding gloves...trying to think of stuff we have on hand. Dark leather work boots ok or do I need to make white spats to slide over them?
    Regular [dark colored] boots should be fine. And your TIG gloves should be OK if you can close the cuff so skin is not exposed.

    And your brewing buckets will be useful, too. You might someday even want to make some mead from honey.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  16. #36
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    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    Should the gardening gloves be coated all over or will the ones with coated undersides (fingers and palms) do?
    I would want gloves that are coated all over. The bees will sting through the fabric.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    What about 5 & 6 gallon fermenting buckets? Too big? We hadn't gotten around to selling our brewing gear and it seems like a lot of it could be useful at some point for honey storage and processing.
    If these are food grade buckets they should work fine.

    Ted

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    10,151

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    What about some white voile (sheer curtains) for the veil? I have some left over from another project and could put it on my hat.
    I don't think you would have enough visibility
    Any reason why leather TIG gloves wouldn't work? They come in white, fit tighter, and are thinner than other welding gloves...trying to think of stuff we have on hand. Dark leather work boots ok or do I need to make white spats to slide over them?
    For the gloves you want a close fit between the glove and the sleeve so the bees can't crawl in. Any shoe works as far as I am concerned (I wear crocks with holes in them). Just wear socks and pull them over your pant legs. For pants I use genes.

    What about 5 & 6 gallon fermenting buckets? Too big? We hadn't gotten around to selling our brewing gear and it seems like a lot of it could be useful at some point for honey storage and processing.
    Yes save the brewing gear for mead. mmmmm
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,151

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    Should the gardening gloves be coated all over or will the ones with coated undersides (fingers and palms) do?
    I have used these and you can get stung very easily through the cotton side. For starters try the welding gloves and tape the cuffs real good until you loose your fear of getting stung. It is the fear that is worse than the actual sting if you are not allergic. I like the feel of the garden gloves and the fact that they breath but if the bees want you they can get you. If I am really digging into the hive like harvest time I use the throw away nitrile gloves.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Newbie trying to find alternative ways to get involved with beekeeping

    For the welding gloves, it sounds (from your veil question) like you can sew. If you have some canvas or cotton scraps and elastic you could make extensions for the gloves that go up to mid bicep. Simple loose tube gathered at the end so the bees can't get in. My purchased gloves have them and they look simple enough to replicate.

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