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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Los Osos, CA
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    13

    Default Unattended TBH in a remote location?

    Hi everyone.

    My question may have been answered here on the forum before, but I searched and couldn't find anything.

    A little backstory.... First off.... I am a total newbie. But I am super stoked on having bees at my house. I built my first TBH 2 weeks ago, after having a local beekeeper cut bees out of a wall in my business. He let me help him and I found the entire process unbelievably interesting. I was so excited by the whole process that I went home, did a bunch of googling, bought the 3 part Michael Bush eBook and built myself a TBH out of some pallets and other reclaimed wood I had laying around. I called the local beekeeper, John, the next day to share the news and then later on that week he was transferring the bees he cut out into my hive. The bees are eerily calm. I still don't have a smoker or a veil yet (waiting on UPS to show up) but I have been able to open up the hive and take out the 3 bars that have comb to do an "inspection" without any protection on and I haven't been stung or bombed by bees at all. All I can say is that I am amazed by these creatures.

    I can't stop walking up to the hive and watching them fly in and out. I want them to do well and I look forward to the day I can split them and start a few more hives....

    ...which leads to my question.
    My wife's family owns 100 acres on a gigantic ranch totaling over 15,000 acres. It is in the middle of nowhere in coastal California. It is all native vegetation. It is a place we visit a few times a year, to go camping and hangout. But its darn remote. Is it possible to put a TBH or Warre hive out on the property and just let it do its thing? I figure the bees can take care of themselves just fine. Maybe harvest the honey every spring just before the nectar flow starts. I think it would just be nice to help the bees have a home out there and if we can get a bit of honey, beeswax and propolis out of the deal once a year, that would be a bonus. I wouldn't care if they built screwy cross comb or anything like that. And I highly doubt a bee inspector would get involved.....

    Is it possible? Would there be problems I am not thinking of? Am I nuts and just excited and should just go one step at at time.....

    Well, that's it. Curious to hear what you all think.

    -John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Marin, CA, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Unattended TBH in a remote location?

    I am a new beekeeper, so I have very little hands-on knowledge and only a few hundred hours of research knowledge at this point, but I don't really see many problems with your plans.

    Someone on here mentioned the disparity between beekeepers on the time between inspections, and I think annually was noted as an option. The main problem that was mentioned was the lack of constant information on how the hive is doing: pests, disease, swarming, temperament, etc. And if they were to not survive a winter, you wouldn't really know until you went out to harvest honey next year.

    Anyway, that's all I can think about, but like I said, I'm new here. I'm sure some of the more experienced would have something better to say on the subject!
    I am very much interested in the answers everyone else has to all your questions!

    Best of luck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,974

    Default Re: Unattended TBH in a remote location?

    You will probably find it more trouble than it's worth.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Los Osos, CA
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    13

    Default Re: Unattended TBH in a remote location?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bakk View Post
    The main problem that was mentioned was the lack of constant information on how the hive is doing: pests, disease, swarming, temperament, etc. And if they were to not survive a winter, you wouldn't really know until you went out to harvest honey next year.
    What I was envisioning was basically letting the bees go wild. If they swarm, they swarm. So be it. If they don't survive the winter, so it goes... I've read a lot about the benefits of NOT treating for diseases and what not. It makes sense to me. I have a hive at my house (with an observation window) that I plan on learning with and being closely involved with. The remote hive would be, I guess, just trying to give some bees access to a native environment with little human interruption. If I go ahead with this, Ill definitely keep you posted!

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    You will probably find it more trouble than it's worth.
    Where is your adventurous spirit?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Unattended TBH in a remote location?

    This is only my second year so my opinion is based on that short experience and what I have read but I don't think KTBHs are best suited to that type of beekeeping. Most TBH keepers seem to inspect more frequently and manage their hives a lot. From what I have read Warres may be better suited to this but my caution to you is that most treatment free beekeepers manage their hives so you may go out in the spring to find a deadout instead of a honey harvest.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Unattended TBH in a remote location?

    If the TBH has comb established, and all comb is already drawn out, then it should be fine. However you cannot leave a new TBH to thier own devices, they will begin to draw cross comb and you will have head aches.
    Colleen is correct, if you arent planning to inspect them often, a Warre or lang is better suited for low inspections.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,974

    Default Re: Unattended TBH in a remote location?

    I'm not saying you may or may not enjoy the endeavor, but leaving a hive like that out then expecting to drop in and grab a few frames of honey etc... easily is most likely a pipe dream. You will probably have to cut a lot of comb and make a huge mess and be more disruptive then if you paid regular attention to it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Los Osos, CA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Unattended TBH in a remote location?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenzero View Post
    If the TBH has comb established, and all comb is already drawn out, then it should be fine. However you cannot leave a new TBH to thier own devices, they will begin to draw cross comb and you will have head aches.
    Colleen is correct, if you arent planning to inspect them often, a Warre or lang is better suited for low inspections.
    I think your suggestions make a lot of sense. A Warre is probably a much more appropriate hive for this application.

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    I'm not saying you may or may not enjoy the endeavor, but leaving a hive like that out then expecting to drop in and grab a few frames of honey etc... easily is most likely a pipe dream. You will probably have to cut a lot of comb and make a huge mess and be more disruptive then if you paid regular attention to it.
    I hope that I didn't make it seem like I was doing this for the honey. Its an experiment in seeing if the bees can thrive just fine without human involvement, and an opportunity to give bees a chance at a home they wouldn't have normally gotten. A relocation from a split. If my home hive swarms and I don't catch it (which I doubt, due to my lack of knowledge) and it puts up in a neighbors back shed and they call the extermination company, what a waste...... not expecting to get honey, I wouldn't really be expecting anything. I know its a longshot...... just the thought "I wonder how those bees are doing out there? I hope they are happy in their new home" is kinda intriguing...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Unattended TBH in a remote location?

    If you think about it, the typical hive swarms every year. If all swarms and their parents succeeded the population of bees would double every year. Soon the planet would be knee deep in bees. Obviously this is not what happens. Bees in hive survive because we feed them when the summer and fall drought would have left them to starve. We split them to make up for winter losses. We requeen when they swarm and the new queen (in the old hive) doesn't make it back from mating. If we didn't half of them would die. My prediction for your unattended hive is that it will swarm most every year and sooner or later will end up queenless and fail. That could be in one year or 10 years, but it's bound to happen. Luckily your winters are mild, so winter may not be an issue...

    But that's not to say it wouldn't be fun and worth doing...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Los Osos, CA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Unattended TBH in a remote location?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    My prediction for your unattended hive is that it will swarm most every year and sooner or later will end up queenless and fail. That could be in one year or 10 years, but it's bound to happen. Luckily your winters are mild, so winter may not be an issue...

    But that's not to say it wouldn't be fun and worth doing...
    Definitely worth a try, I'd say. I think with just a little bit of yearly maintenance, it could be a worthwhile experiment

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Los Osos, CA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Unattended TBH in a remote location?

    Reviving an old thread It's been about a year since my last post and my original hive is doing great. Today they swarmed and i was lucky enough to find the swarm and knock it into a nuc. I might just have to try out my experiment!! If I do, I'll keep you all posted

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Yakima WA USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Unattended TBH in a remote location?

    If you do the remote hive you should look into the "Perone" hive. It is a large leave alone hive.

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