Any Beekeepers?

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WindRiverGuy

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Just wondering if anyone keeps bees. I started last year with two hives. I got about 10 gallons of honey last year. Things were looking good for both hives until we got a late March storm that blew the lid off of one of the hives. It never recovered so I'll have to get more bees for that one this spring. I also picked up another hive this year at an auction. So if all goes well I'll have 3 hives going.

The hive that made it through the winter came on strong. I pulled about 8 gallons off in August and I suspect I have at least another 8 gallons out there now.

Very fun hobby and the honey is fantastic.
 

SpaceInvadingMonkeys

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I wish I ran a bee hive!

I think my dorm might have some reservations about me having a beehive on my balcony... I'm already in some kind of grey zone for brewing; I don't think I should press too hard on it... :p

I am very jealous though! I hope the honey is delicious and makes some good mead!
 

Smogre

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That's great!
I looked into it about a year ago and some day, I will follow through. I don't live in the right area for them to thrive.
 

MultumInParvo

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Space Monkey, I think you're thinking about it all wrong. You have the bees as a way so they can't bug you about the brewing. You really think your hall advisor is going to complain about some brewing when there killer bees in there!

Sounds like quite the interesting hobby...
 

SpaceInvadingMonkeys

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Hahahaha, I suppose.

I live in on campus apartments though... So being 21, I can have booze but not in containers of greater than or equal to 5 gallons. BUT, my contract says nothing about making booze...

There is no reason to attract undue attention here though... :)
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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Not in containers of greater than or equal to 5 gallons.
So you doing 4.9 gallon batches? :)
 
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WindRiverGuy

WindRiverGuy

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Do you have to be licenced and registered to OWN hives (even if you're not selling any honey) and have inspectors come and inspect them like in IL?
No Wisconsin doesn't require registration. I know some states are even offering grant money for hobby beekeepers to get them started. This is to boost the declining bee population which is becoming a serious problem in some areas.

For anyone interested and not having the space- If you know anyone who has some land out in the country ask them if you can keep a hive at their property. Usually doesn't require any more than some honey in return. If you don't know anyone, try looking for someone with a big garden or just any old farmer. More than likely they would be willing to let you set up some hives.

Bees really don't take much management. I check on them about once a month. I have them in a fenced area since bears, skunks and other critters would love tearing into the hives. I get most of my stuff from Mann Lake Ltd in Minnesota. I buy most of my stuff un assembled and un-painted. I have a Bostich air staple gun so assembly is pretty easy. If you don't have a gun I would get stuff assembled. Lots and lots of parts!
 

homebrewer_99

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Yeah, IL requires registration and regulation...along with notifying your neighbors that you PLAN on keeping bees...I'm certain anyone who doesn't like it could kill your plan. (IMO, this is probably stricter than if I were a child molester...)

The good thing I'm the last house in town. There's a farm house next to mine, but they're cosidered outside of town limits...go figure.

I could probably set up on their property without any problems...except maybe the bee inspector.

I've also read it costs at least $250 to get an initial set up with a queen and a bag of drones...they're sold by the pound I think.
 
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WindRiverGuy

WindRiverGuy

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homebrewer 99-

I wouldn't be too concerned about getting inspected. They are primarily concerned about CCD and some other diseases. Don't think you would get too hassled by the man for a hive or two. I would contact your local bee club. There seem to be one for every region in the country. They can be a great resource for advice, equipment and bees.

It's not cheap to get started. I got two hives and all the gear (smoker, tools, suit, gloves etc) for about $500. Although when you figure honey is selling for about $3 a pound, and I've gotten about 180# in two years (with one hive going down on me this year) payback is pretty quick. The other hive I got at an auction I got for $62 about a 3rd of the regular price.

They used to ship packaged bees in the mail but have quit doing it. I got my packages from a guy about 1 hour from here. They came from CA. 3# of bees and a queen. They were $32 for a package. I had to order in Feb for delivery in April since they seem to go fast. They are difficult (if not impossible) to get if you don't order early.

The other plus is pollination. I have about 1/4 acre vegetable garden and have really seen an increase in the yield. I think it is due to the bees. My neighbors also noticed more yield on everything also.

Oh and drones are the male bees, which in the bee world are pretty much worthless except for insemination. A mature hive will have about 60-80 thousand bees and each hive will only have a handful of drones.
 

homebrewer_99

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I was already aware of everything you said (in your last post), but at $3/lb that's expensive considering I get it now for $2/lb.

The inspections are for moth mold (or whatever it was I read about moths)and such...and an inspector is absolutely necessary whether or not you sell it or use if for self consumption.

I'm better off staying on the course I'm on until a later date I guess.

Thanks for all the info though. ;)
 

Emerald

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I am a big fan of Mother Earth news mag and they had an article on "Top Bar beekeeping" and it shows how to build your own top bar hives. It might be just the thing for a beginner.
Here is a link, I hope that I have enuf posts to put it up.
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustainable-Farming/Top-Bar-Beekeeping-Method.aspx
Just make sure to click on the photo gallery to see the pictures. Very cool way to keep bees for fun and honey but I would think not for a business.
 
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