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Zach England
04-27-2012, 5:25 PM
Are there any small-space hobby bee keepers here? I think it is going to be my next DIY plunge and would love to get some insight.

Lee Schierer
04-27-2012, 5:42 PM
Not to be a wet blanket on your idea, unless you have prior experience with bees, I suggest finding a local training course or beekeeping mentor to work with. Trial and error can be painful and frustrating when dealing with honeybees. You will also need to check your local ordinances to see if honeybees are permitted in your location. Beekeeping can be fun and rewarding once you know what you are doing.

It is possible to keep bees even in a city. I've seen roof top apiaries as well as some that were inside a building with a tube leading outside.

Mike Henderson
04-27-2012, 6:10 PM
Working with bees is not hard but there is a lot to know. Check out "The Practical Beekeeper (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1614760640/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i02)" by Michael Bush. Also, here's (http://www.beeguild.org/CA_Beekeeping_V2.pdf) a free book in pdf format. Also, check your area and see if there's a local beekeeping club. Those people will help you and can set you up with your first hive. There's a lot of parasites and diseases that you need to know about and you want to make sure your first hive is clean.

You'll get different opinions about what's best so you'll have to make your own decisions. I don't think you have Africanized bees in your area - at least not yet.

If all you want it a hobby hive, you should be able to do that fairly easily.

Mike

[There's a decent amount of equipment required for beekeeping, and the hive and frames will cost you. While you can buy a full fledged bee suit, you can begin by going to HD and buying a paint filter for a 5 gal can. Use a wide brimmed hat and pull the paint filter over your head. Tuck it into the neck of your long sleeved shirt and button the shirt up tight. Use gloves and tape the sleeves of your shirt tight, not forgetting the slit on the lower part of the sleeves. Tape your pants to your high top boots. You do not want bees inside your clothes, especially coming up your leg! Light colors are better than dark colors.]

Zach England
04-27-2012, 6:22 PM
I have checked into the ordinances and can meet the requirements easily. I just ordered three books on the subject. I have also looked at the continuing ed classes offered by the local universities, but they always fill up too quickly.

Chris Padilla
04-27-2012, 8:08 PM
Well this sounds interesting. What intrigues you about this, Zach? Want to have your own honey?

ray hampton
04-27-2012, 8:52 PM
Well this sounds interesting. What intrigues you about this, Zach? Want to have your own honey?

Royal Jelly or maybe Bees Waxes ?

Michael Weber
04-28-2012, 1:05 AM
I used to keep bees on a lot in town that was kind of private. lots of fun and fascinating creatures. We moved to a new neighborhood and the bees never did well there. I think it was because of all the people spraying insecticides. Got rid of my hives and have since moved again and am thinking of restarting. Just a couple of hives like last time. It can cause problems with the neighbors especially if one of your hives swarms and ends up hanging from a branch by their front door:rolleyes: New disease going around the last I heard that devastates hives so you may want to check to see if that has spread to your area. Good thing about a woodworker keeping bees is that you can build your own hives and supers.

ray hampton
04-28-2012, 1:25 AM
I used to keep bees on a lot in town that was kind of private. lots of fun and fascinating creatures. We moved to a new neighborhood and the bees never did well there. I think it was because of all the people spraying insecticides. Got rid of my hives and have since moved again and am thinking of restarting. Just a couple of hives like last time. It can cause problems with the neighbors especially if one of your hives swarms and ends up hanging from a branch by their front door:rolleyes: New disease going around the last I heard that devastates hives so you may want to check to see if that has spread to your area. Good thing about a woodworker keeping bees is that you can build your own hives and supers.

I understand that the disease primaly affects hives when there is a number of hives together but not one or two hives as quick

Zach England
04-28-2012, 2:36 AM
For the same reasons I grow vegetables and keep chickens--I like feeling more connected with my food and with a little slice of the natural world and encouraging urban biodiversity...at least those are the slightly moralistic reasons. Mostly I just think it sounds fun.


Well this sounds interesting. What intrigues you about this, Zach? Want to have your own honey?

Matt Marsh
04-28-2012, 10:25 AM
Its a great hobby Zach. It was a passion of mine until about 18 years ago, when I finally gave it up after moving to bear country. I tried for a couple years after, but the bears finally won. I sold all of my equipment shortly thereafter, but have since regretted that I did. I keep thinking "well maybe I could have tried this", or "maybe this would have worked". I still keep the supply catalogs coming every season. I miss the bees, I miss the smell of the hives when you're in them, I miss everything except the heavy heart that I got when I found my hives all obliterated with nothing left but a pile of sticks.

I was lucky and had a mentor that taught me the craft back in the 1970s. He was an old disabled guy that was a commercial keeper and farmer until he was severely injured in a farming accident. At one point I had around 18-20 hives going on my Father-inlaw's farm in Southern Minnesota. We sold extracted honey by the jar and by the 5-gallon buckets for a few years out of our house. The biggest honey flow in that area was the basswood bloom. It yielded the clearest, sweetest, and mildest honey ever! MMMM! Just stay away from the buckwheat! It will ruin your entire crop!

There is one of the largest beekeeping suppliers in the USA just a couple towns over from here called Mann Lake Supply. They would be a great help to you. Dadant & Sons is another. You'll also want to be sure to call your county ag office, they'll probably want you to register your hives. I'd highly recommend not buying used hive components. Used woodwork and wax can harbor disease. However, you can save a bundle by buying used tools, clothing, honey equipment etc., if you can find it.

Two books that helped me get going back in the 70s were "Practical Beekeeping" by Enoch Tompkins and Roger M. Griffith, and another one called "The Art & Adventure of Beekeeping" by Ormond & Harry Aebi. I also have oodles of pamphlets that were published by the U.S. Department Of Agriculture, the Minnesota Beekeeper's Association, Inc., and several by Dadant & Sons.

Good Luck Zach!



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