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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    137

    Default Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    Please ignore any question you find to be "stupid." we decided to look into bees yesterday. Yup, yesterday. I've watched roughly 40 how to videos on youtube covering the various aspects of beekeeping, but as many questions as it answered, it created just as many. (Very boring job, lots of spare time). Anyway, any questions anyone could answer would be greatly appreciated

    DRONES:
    Drones mate the queen, have no stinger, and venture out looking for new spaces for before a hive split or swarm?? Is that correct and is there anything else I should know about drones?

    HIVES:
    What are the Pros and Cons for a beginner between a langstrom and a top bar? Do the bees prefer one over the other?

    FOOD:
    Bees want pollen obviously, any things they preffer over others? Perhaps it can be worked into local hunters food plots with some persuading, if I knew some things perhaps they and deer both enjoy

    SWARM TRAPPING:
    Pros and Cons? As I understand it, bees in swarm mode are extra docile? And any tips on locations of swarm traps or perhaps good bait?

    Any answers I can get would be awesome and greatly appreciated. Again, sorry if my questions are dumb but I seriously have only 2 days of knowledge. Also would be awesome any random tips or tricks anyone would be willing to share I'm all ears

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,453

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    >DRONES:
    >Drones mate the queen, have no stinger, and venture out looking for new spaces for before a hive split or swarm?? Is that correct and is there anything else I should know about drones?

    I don't understand the statement. But here is the rundown on drones:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbasics.htm#drone

    >HIVES:
    >What are the Pros and Cons for a beginner between a langstrom and a top bar? Do the bees prefer one over the other?

    There is no such thing as a "langstrom" hive. A LangstroTH hive (invented by L.L. Langstroth) and a top bar hive are compared here:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#management

    >FOOD:
    >Bees want pollen obviously, any things they preffer over others? Perhaps it can be worked into local hunters food plots with some persuading, if I knew some things perhaps they and deer both enjoy

    Most any legumes are good honey producers. Birdsfoot trefoil, chicory, all kinds of clover except red (too deep to reach most of the time for honey bees' short tongues).
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#planting

    >SWARM TRAPPING:
    >Pros and Cons? As I understand it, bees in swarm mode are extra docile? And any tips on locations of swarm traps or perhaps good bait?

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesferal.htm#baithives
    A swarm trap (or bait hive) is not the same as capturing a swarm. When you find a colony in your bait hive they will no longer be in "swarm mode" and no longer be "extra docile" as they will have a colony to defend.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Vermontville, Michigan
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    Michael can (and did) answer your questions better than I could, so I'll just so welcome from another Michigan beek. I don't know where you're at in relation to me, but if you're relatively close by and want to get out and see hives/bees in person, you're more than welcome to get in touch and I'd be happy to show you around a bit. Just send me a PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    502

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    Where in MI are you from? I'm in MI just North of Midland. As I drive around the state, I've been stopping in anyplace that has a "honey for sale" sign and buying a bit of honey then BSing with the beekeeper for as long as they'll keep talking. It's amazing how many of them have no computers, no desire to have an online presence, and an aversion to technology in general it seems. Many of these old-timers have had bees for longer than I've been alive, so they seem to be a great palce to gather information. On the other hand, many of them seem to be stuck in their ways and do thing "because that's the way it is done."

    In the last month since I decided to keep bees, i have become much more aware that there are small apiaries all over the place that I never noticed before.

    As far as your questions go, Michael has better answers than I do, and certainly more experience to base his assertions on. I will touch on swarm traps and hive style though. I have built 4 swarm traps so far and plan to build more before too long. As I plan to scatter them around central and western Michigan at the property of friends and family, I won't be regularly checking them. I decided to simply make some Langstroth deeps with 'foundationless" frames. My frames actually have an inch or two of wax coated plastic foundation at the top of the frame. My thought is that IF (notice that it is a big if) they build comb straight, I could easily move them into my other equipment, or I could simply use the swarm trap in the hive stack. I'm hoping that this will reduce the amount of cut-outs i have to do on these traps. Of course this assumes that I'll even snag a swarm with them.

    On hive styles themselves, I elected to go with Langstroth for two reasons. They are more manipulable and have a stronger presence as far as products and support are concerned. Also, they are in a vertical orientation which seems to me to be more likely to survive winter if we get a cold one. I'm not sure if the winter survivability is a big issue, but to my uneducated mind, it makes more sense that the bees would be able to move upwards much easier than they could sideways. As and added bonus, i can extract honey as opposed to crushing and straining, or use foundationless and crush/strain or have cut comb. It just seems more versatile and better suited to our weather.

    The big downside to the added versatility is that it does require frames, which take more time to make and assemble. Since this is a hobby for me, I don't mind the time involved.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    Thank you for the info, soon as i get to work im going to read everything on the links you provided, and a trapped swarm being trapped is no longer swarming is a good point...

    As for which part of michigan its in the thumb... Country life between port sanilac and lexington (north of port huron)

    Actually a few miles away on my aunts property a beekeeper has close to 40 langstroth hives... He has kept bees back there for years apparently and i intend to pick his brain a bit... We clearly have alot to learn, but we are very looking forward to beekeeping

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,357

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    Maybe you can buy Beekeeping for Dummies. It will remove alot of mystery about keeping bees for you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    Already ordered lol... Just hasnt arrived yet

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,357

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    Mike does have a good read on his website. Maybe you should wait to read his site until after you get the book and read it, or atleast go back and reread his site after reading the book.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    502

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    I used to salmon fish out of lexington, but the fishing slowed and now I do all my salmon stuff out of Manistee. I'm vaguely familiar with your area. I doubt this is a concern for you considering your population density, but check and see if your county sprays for mosquitos. When i moved back to MI last year, I found that Midland county has a mosquito control board. They treat everything from standing water, to roadside ditches, to arial treatment of vast sections of wetland. If you have anything similar, sme of the chemicals will kill your bees. I was lucky that the operations director is a fellow beekeeper and understoon my concern. He placed my property on the 'do not spray" list. It's worth making a few phone calls about.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,453

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    I think the best, short and simple beginner's book is "The complete idiot's guide to beekeeping" especially if you want to keep bees without treatments.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Salem, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    Michael Bush is a godsend to the beginning beekeeper and I applaude his efforts and love his website!
    As for hive construction, I had several Langstroth hives and a single top bar hive I took into winter. All have survived so far except the top bar. In my opinion stay with the Langstroth. John.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    I will look into the chemicals in my county, but as a farmer who works at one a locally grown sugar beat factory ive never heard of anything like that... Seems like a horrible idea... I understand nobody likes masquitos but there are better ways than chemicals...

    Yea, the fishing around here has dropped off heavily in the last 15 years or so... Its a shame.. My kids will never know the fun of a day sitting on the beach with a pole in the water... Thank god for bass ponds

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    Im going to just google michael bush i think... Also, we intend to buy one of those small plastic kid pools and put in near the hive area... The reason is to hopefully cut down on bees in the dog water and chicken water... Is there a reason not to do something like that? There is a natural water source not far from the area but it dries out mid summer most years... Last year for instance didnt seem like it rain at all
    Last edited by Stanger; 03-06-2013 at 11:13 AM. Reason: i have a touch of ocd

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,453

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    The problem with the pool is there isn't a place for them to land and walk down to the water (unless you put it on a hill or you prop one end of one of the more rigid ones up) and they drown a lot...

    Bees are attracted to water because of several things:
    • Smell. They can recruit bees to a source that has odor. Chlorine has odor. So does sewage.
    • Warmth. Warm water can be taken on even moder-ately chilly days. Cold water cannot because when the bees get chilled they can’t fly home.
    • Reliability. Bees prefer a reliable source.
    • Accessibility. Bees need to be able to get to the water without falling in. A kiddie pool, horse tank or bucket with no floats does not work well. A creek bank provides such access as they can land on the bank and walk up to the water. A barrel or bucket does not unless you provide ladders or floats or both. I use a bucket of water full of old sticks. The bees can land on the stick and climb down to the water.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    Good stuff... Since we have the small pool and nothing else to do with it we might as well put it out... As you said add sticks or rocks or something for them to land on... Whatever will cut back on them in the chicken water cuz the chickens have no problem eating a few bees when given the chance... Already bought a cheap small pool anyway, if they dont like it the dog will

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    I started my first beekeeping experience with two top bar hives. One died at the first onset of winter. Second is thriving very well here in Colorado, we still have snow on the ground. I still like the idea of TBH's, but the cross combing drove me nuts and I almost quit all together. I've ordered 4 Langstroth hives for this season. I will probably use the dead TBH to eventually split the strong TB. Keeping them warm was not a problem, just wrapped them in black paper like any other hive, just had to staple it up. We built really amazing roofs filled with insulation.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    I use large aluminum drain trays for hot water tanks from home depot, install a pvc reducer with a threaded plug as a petcock and fill it with flat rocks that taper down to smaller ones in the middle so the bees don't drown. I use drip irrigation on my trees and run two into each and have one installed and will install two more on two other trees as well, they work great they overflow and the trees get their water and I know the bees have fresh water too, win-win for both.
    Jack Moore ~ Sticky Bear Apiary
    Zone 7a ~ Elev: 4840ft. ~ https://www.facebook.com/StickyBearApiary

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: Lots of Questions, Any takers?

    This is a picture of the aluminum hot water tank pan I mentioned above. As you can see there are bees using it. DSC01624.jpg
    Jack Moore ~ Sticky Bear Apiary
    Zone 7a ~ Elev: 4840ft. ~ https://www.facebook.com/StickyBearApiary

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