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Old 12-28-2012, 04:29 PM   #11
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Doesn't sound like you need any further motivation, but I'll say Go for it. I did it for 3 years until I moved to China. I got book smart first. A large local supplier, Dadant, and the local beekeeping club held a full day seminar in the winter which I attended. All of which helped me get started.

I started with 2 hives which is quite standard, went to 4 the next year and then 5. You get more than that and you'll actually regret when it comes harvest time in a good year due to all the time and effort to manually harvest.

It's another great hobby and once set up is minimal time throughout the season until a harvest day.

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Old 12-28-2012, 04:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quaker
Doesn't sound like you need any further motivation, but I'll say Go for it. I did it for 3 years until I moved to China. I got book smart first. A large local supplier, Dadant, and the local beekeeping club held a full day seminar in the winter which I attended. All of which helped me get started.

I started with 2 hives which is quite standard, went to 4 the next year and then 5. You get more than that and you'll actually regret when it comes harvest time in a good year due to all the time and effort to manually harvest.

It's another great hobby and once set up is minimal time throughout the season until a harvest day.
How much honey were you getting from 2 hives in a year? My wife loves local honey. She heard its good for allergies so she takes a spoonful everyday. It gets pretty pricey with the prices in paying. If I could get 12lbs a year plus some to make some mead with, it would be great.
I figure it's an easy way to convince her that we could really benefit from this new hobby. She is scared of the hole getting stung thing (her and our dog) . That's her only argument against this.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:48 PM   #13
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My local deli sells honey for $14 a pound. It's way too expensive!
Whoa quite pricy. Should mention that all varieties (except tupelo) are currently $38 per gallon at Kallas which comes to about 3.17 per pound..... Hence the 2 hour drive a couple times a year to Milwaukee is well worth it
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:15 PM   #14
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Short answer: 20-50lbs per hive in south east Wisconsin.

Long answer, my tale:

Well my rookie year I harvested 100lbs total from the 2 hives. And the trade-off was that the bees didn't make it through the winter. Although the true cause was freezing before they actually ran out of food, but they would have starved before spring. That year in Wisconsin beekeeper a on average lost 45% percent of their hives over winter. It was a terrible one for bees.

Year 2 I aimed to get my bees through the winter. I started with 4, but soon combined 2 of them; one was a little weak and the other had a laying worker. I only took about 10 frames total among the 3 hives remaining. I wrapped the hives for winter and still lost them all. One made it through, and I was feeding it. But in April it swarmed and left without notice or queen cells.

So year 3 and disgruntled, I decided I'd take more honey. I started with 5 hives and reduced to 4 during the season, combining 2 weaker hives. It was a banner year. I harvested 200 lbs. in late July, early enough for them to build up more winter stores, and still left a super on 2 of them for added food. All 4 made it through the winter, but I was already in China. The spring was long and wet into May, and without me there to feed them to get them through they struggled. As I would visit home once every 2 months I'd combine weak ones until there was only 1 remaining in the fall of 2011.

At a small scale of 1 or 2 hives it would be cheaper to find the local club and inquire who has bulk honey to sell. But if your not doing it to save money, then it's a great hobby. I bottled mine and sold it at work for $5/pound which offset some of the costs. Another 100-200 pound year and I probably would have paid off my equipment and it would be paying for itself.

That and my garden/orchard are the 2 thing I miss the most due to living in China now. So brewing gets all my spare attention.

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Old 12-29-2012, 12:41 AM   #15
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We are like 75 miles west of you, 48$ gallon (I know someone can get it cheaper, this is a walk in help yourself place), between us there is a group in Frederick Md, a homebrew shop there, also serves as a brew on premise place, sells local gallons at the same price, then you have the Montgomer county MD beekeepers, and the eastern shore beekeepers, if you cant find cheaper honey you are not looking very hard. WVMJ

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My local deli sells honey for $14 a pound. It's way too expensive!
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:50 AM   #16
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It would be very bad for me to live close to Dadant! My mentor positioned hives to be facing my black raspberry and blackberry Wineyard. The wife had to wear a suit to pick berries, she complained a little but we got a lot more berries. My dog on the other hand, doesnt have much belly hair, has shown us he can do many dance moves and twists. Its funny when you read how some of these big guys got started with one hive, got really into it and ended up with hundreds, a big truck to haul everything, built a honey house,started rearing queens and are still doing it even into old age. Thats my plan anyway WVMJ

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