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Galen

Any beekeepers?

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Any beekeepers out there?

I husband 2 beehives. Last year we got about 40 pounds of honey. But this last week with the snow finally off of them, I checked on them and all my bees have died. I spent yesterday and today taking the hives apart, melting off the remaining combs and straining out the dead bees. They appear to have starved over the course of the winter months. I called a lot of bee suppliers today and they are mostly sold out. Apparently lots of beekeepers have lost their hives this winter, and the queenbee breeders who normally sale queens and new hives are out of stock. I did finally locate two queen’s packages (a queen with a small attendant colony of 3,000 – 5,000 workers) and they are scheduled to arrive 1May.

With so many Beekeepers without bees or low on surviving colonies, the prices of honey may rise. It may also have an effect on fruit, vegetable, and nut harvests this coming fall.

I guess that a long winter with warm weeks and cold weeks are hard on bees.

A warm period can cause the bees to come out of hibernation increase metabolism and eat their stored food, then a cold period puts them back into hibernation again. After a bunch of these their food is gone.

I also wonder if perhaps with so much selective-breeding to produce docile heavy-producing bees perhaps we have lost some of their constitution or stamina. If we have been left with bees that are weaker and unable to survive wide ranging weather conditions.

I tend to use ‘Italian’ honey-bees, rated to be fairly heavy producing and with a coverage area of up to 20 mile radius.

Does anyone else keep bees?

Galen

ET1 SS

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Galen -- sorry for your loss. icon_frown.gif:(-->

Never realized (YES -- it is with a "Z"!) that there was such a science to this. Our winter in Minnesota was steady, but no sudden thaw, and then a deep freeze effect, like you described.

Poor bees! icon_frown.gif:(--> Guess our Peanut Butter and honey sandwiches will now cost more.

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lovebugs.gif

Sorry for your bees, too.

I am a beeliever in bees, although we do not raise them, I sure love what they give!

We have a friend in Folsom, CA who raises bees -- no snow there -- perfect for weak bees.

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Galen,

While I don't precisely raise bee's I did have a hive in a wall of my house up until this winter. They survived being sprayed by the roofers who early last summer(after my assurance they weren't going to bother them) waited till I left and sprayed... grrrr

Now they are gone and I am saddened...

Once I get resettled in a place of my own I plan on adding bees to my garden, hope your new brood

works well for ya.

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Hi Galen,

Back in 1981, in Spokane, Wa., I took a course on beekeeping at Spokane community college and bought a hive off a beekeeper who trained me to maintainharvast the hive "without"

hoods, gloves, or netting. This was one of the most effectual training lessons in "having no fear, maintaing a stayed mind; and self-control" (especially after one bee stung me), I have ever been subjected to.

I thank God, to this day, for that wonderful set of lessons. The beekeeper had been doing it netless for 25 years and he was a Christian, with the peace of God "glowing" out of him.

For many of the Corps, Lead was what cured them of fear. Well, this beekeeping hobby did it for me, with lasting rewards.

I now do maintainence around residential homes and it's nothing to knock down a hornets nest stuck to the side of a residents house or in their eves. They just cannot believe that a human can be so fearless.....Little do they know what I have gone thru.

Thanks for bring this subject up, Galen.

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herbiejuan:

It is so wierd how some domesticated livestock can become so 'dependant' on men, and totally unable to survive on their own. Whereas animals in their 'wild' state are often far smarter and more sturdy.

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Bees may be on their way out within a couple of years.

There is a mite that likes to live in the air passages of bees. This causes the bees to suffocate.

This mite has been spreading for a number of years.

The domestic honeybee may soon be extinct!

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Lightside:

"Back in 1981 . . . I took a course on beekeeping . . . This was one of the most effectual training lessons in "having no fear, maintaing a stayed mind; and self-control" . . . with the peace of God "glowing" out of him. . . . beekeeping hobby did it for me, with lasting rewards."

Cool.

Keeping bees can have a great deal to teach us.

Our 13 yr old son did have an over-powering fear of insects. He has been active in 4-H for a number of years (94-97 and 01-now), we started these beehives as his 4-H project. he does not mnd beng around insects anymore.

I first got a beehive in 1990. To learn more about being a better husband.

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Galen,

I've never kept bees but I used to help my dad who did. Got stung a few times. No big deal. In fact, some folks say its actually healthy for you. Protects against allergies supposedly.

Anywho... he kept just a few hives but something got 'em about 5 years back. I forget what he said it was. Could've been mites like Steve! mentioned but I'm thinking he said it was some sort of bacterial infection. Whatever.

He never got delicious honey from those hives anyways. Must have been all the dang locust trees around the place.

sudo

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Lightside said:

quote:
I now do maintainence around residential homes and it's nothing to knock down a hornets nest stuck to the side of a residents house or in their eves. They just cannot believe that a human can be so fearless.....Little do they know what I have gone thru.
Lightside, how do you keep them from attacking you and stinging you when you've knocked down their nest?

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Lightside I had a similar experience with wasps hornets etc as I used to do alot of pressure washing and would sometimes disturb a nest without knowing it.

When I first moved to my house here the woods were trashed, literally. So one day I started picking up trash and sorta got into it, forgettign where I was n all. So finally when I looked up there were hundreds if not thousands of yellow jackets flying all around me. I thought to myself hmmm this is weird I wonder how long these guys have been here (I also thought that this would NOT be a good time to panic). So I did what any good person would do, I kept on picking up trash. Every now n then I'd mess around with them by poking at them or saying BOOO realy loud to see their reaction and for the most part they were just as curious about me as I was of them.

The funny thing of this was that the day before I had wondered if animals were as afraid of them as humans seemed to be and shortly thereafter I saw a few of them fly around my dog n cat and saw that they paid them no heed. that got me to thinking about fear and how potent it can be in eliciting a negative response from critters that sting (or bite) and I guess it was a sign from God or sumthing cuz the timing of it was so, ummm well timely?

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Sudo:

"... he kept just a few hives but something got 'em about 5 years back. I forget what he said it was. Could've been mites like Steve_!_ mentioned but I'm thinking he said it was some sort of bacterial infection. Whatever."

Varroa Mites are a big thing, they have hit a lot of beekeepers badly. A tiny red-brown spider that fills a bee's trachea / lungs.

'foul brood', Dysentery, hive beetle, wax moth, there are a number of things that can mke an ouch on bees.

"He never got delicious honey from those hives anyways. Must have been all the dang locust trees around the place."

Too bad.

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When I was around 12 years old, Dad decided I should be the one to go up into the grain bin above the milk stalls and shovel the hot rolled barley to keep the auger cleared and get the full truck load up there. Went up there and there had to be 100 wasps, the big yellow-jackets that can sting and sting.

So I quickly ran down and informed Dad of the horrible dangers waiting me up there. We will have to spray and wait for them all to die! Dad told me to just get up there and keep my mind on the grain and forget the bugs, if I left them alone, they’d leave me alone!

Dang if it didn’t work. So well that in high school I did some odd and end jobs for a man that included setting out his bees. He wore all the gear and got stung. I had on a T-shirt and never got bothered.

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there is a family here in Colorado that would be more than happy to give you their Queen and her large attendant family, FREE for the taking.

It seems a large honeybee colony has overtaken their home. It is estimated that 250 pounds of honey are in their walls and attic, and perhapps 40000 bees. The ceiling fixture in their bedroom regularly fills up with enough of the critters to totally blacken out the bulb with dead (fried) bees.

They are now concerned that the weight of the colony and honey may collapse their ceiling on their heads while they sleep.

The only solution they have heard so far is to cut 12' hole in their roof and suck them out with a bee vacuum. That is a 2 or 3 thousand dollar job.

Want to come get them for free?

~HAPe4me

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HAPe4me:

"there is a family here in Colorado that would be more than happy to give you their Queen and her large attendant family, FREE for the taking. It seems a large honeybee colony has overtaken their home. . . . 250 pounds of honey . . . Want to come get them for free?"

I thank you for the offer.

Sometimes depending on where I have been stationed, people have asked me to collect wild bees.

Wild bees are not thought to produce nearly the same level as commercial honey bees do, and they should be significantly more defensive.

A colony that is in a tree limb, you can easily wrap burlap around and tie-off with twine. Cut-off the limb and drop the whole thing into a contractor's garbage bag along with a rodent smoke-bomb.

A colony in a tree limb, if you are SURE that they recently came from a beekeeper's hive (every spring healthy colonys 'split' so one new colony may travel the neighborhood looking for their new home), you can gently open the swarm, look closely and if you can find the new queen, carry a hard-sugar candy in your hand and hold it up to the queen. She will climb onto your hand to lick the candy. You can then slowly walk away, toward anywhere you want to bee colony to be. You can slowly set this queen down into her new hive, and back away and all of her colony will be right there with her. I have done this, it can be done, it does look really cool. 5,000 bees swarming around your head and body. thousands of them landing on your arms, head and shoulders. If you have issues with 'bugs', dont try this one.

In a house? I would set-up a shop-vac with extra long hose, suit-up and start sucking them up. Have someone else with a smoker blowing smoke into the eaves, just enough to keep the smell of the smoke in the bees (smoke makes the bee's think their hive is burning so they gorge themselves and they get too 'drunk' to fly or fight). After all bees have been sucked into vacuum bags. Cut the comb into small sections carry them down and drop each section into slowly boiling water in a LARGE pot. After all comb has been melted down, let the pot cool and one solid piece of wax can be lifted out of the pot, leaving honey beneath.

If you put the bees into burlap bags (or any stray animals) and need a very humane method of putting them down, run a spare dryer vent hose from your car exhaust into the burlap sack, after 45 minutes they can easily be buried.

I purchase a carefully bred strain of 'Italian' queens rated for the highest production and to travel a radius of 20 miles in search of pollen. I get them shipped here, for $57.

Would I take in 'wild' bees? Within the county of where I am yes, if I have an empty hive, but I am sorry it is just not worth it to me, to travel long distance for questionable bees.

Sorry.

:-)

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quote:
Originally posted by Kit Sober:

http://www.members.aol.com/kitsober1/animals/lovebugs.gif

Sorry for your bees, too.

I am a beeliever in bees, although we do not raise them, I sure love what they give!

We have a friend in Folsom, CA who raises bees -- no snow there -- perfect for weak bees.


Kit,

Are you familiar with the McClatchys of Central Valley California? I think they were bee farmers, and the patriarch is the owner of several TV stations and newspapers in that reigon. All the TV stations have a bee for a trade-mark, and all his newspapers are called "The Bee" ie. Sacramento Bee, Modesto Bee, Fresno Bee, etc. Just curious.

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awww Galen, and here I thought you would want the adventure. Actually, the best of the bee folks around here still hasn't come up with an ideal way to handle this crowd. Right now, they say the buzzers are likely to leave after another 2 or 3 years. they have been there for 2 years already.

At least these are not the African ones, and nobody has been attacked by them yet. However, even after they leave, the estimated 200 pounds of honeycombs will attract mice and other vermin. These folks have a mess to deal with and it is a sticky situation.

When Eric goes back to italy, maybe I cn have him send you some from there.

~HAPe4me

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my dad kept bees for a few years and he loved it. my dad is a hillbilly all the way and if you knew him, you'd laugh with him when he told the following story.

one day he was in the back looking at the hives when something agitated them and they swarmed him. he took off for the house covered in bees stinging him. by time he got to the back door most of them had hit and run. my mom got him in the bathroom and started wiping him down with a towel and said the towel was covered in stingers. he went to the dr and they took another 250 out of him and I'm sure he looked like one big welt.

the next day he says he felt better than he had in years and the dr had told him it was from the venom.

I told him he needed to get swarmed once a week. he said, I didn't feel that good. icon_smile.gif:)-->

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Sorry about your bee situaltion Galen.

In my Master Gardener classes we learned a LITTLE teensy bit about bees.

Here In Las Vegas they have mostly been overun by the africanized bee. icon_eek.gif

So yes we humans are screwing up everything,

Some idiot in the 60's or so thought it would be a good idea to bring Bees from another continent, and wham they started to breed with the normal bees of this continent. icon_frown.gif:(-->

Just another sign of the beginning of the end.....

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I helped my dad care for a dozen hives 35 years ago. He would work on the hives bare handed and rarely get stung. Meanwhile, I'd have on 2 pairs of pants, 2 shirts, 2 pairs of socks, the long gloves rubber banded, and the bee veil. That was hot in July and August!

We'd get two or three calls a year to capture swarms of bees. One or two hives would die out during the winter and the swarms replaced them.

You could tell from the sound of their buzzing whether they were angry or not. One time when I was young, my mom gave me a wool sweater to wear to the bee yard. - Big Mistake! The bees thought I was an animal trying to get into their hive and attacked. I got stung a number of times even through the double layers of clothing.

I wonder how bee keepers are doing down South where the African breed is spreading.

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