beekeeping for mead

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BuckDwayne

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Hi there, this is my first post. I've been keeping bees for a few years now with the generous help of Steller Apiary here in Michigan, and have finally harvested my first real haul of honey (with only two hives I'm still just a novice), and have started my first batch of mead. I'm looking forward to getting valuable advice from this forum about brewing. I would like to offer my knowledge about beekeeping to anyone with questions about bees, and hope to get some questions I can't answer so I can build on my weak areas.

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nitack

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I've been hoping to start keeping bees for some time and hopefully will be able to start in a couple years. I'm moving across country and for at least the first year will be in a rental, so no bee keeping while my duration is unknown.

I think it is an awesome way to make mead making a more affordable hobby. Every time I start a new batch of mead my wife asks me how much money I dropped on the honey...

The MBA student in me also is thrilled at how you have vertically integrated your supply chain...
 

damdaman

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I bought a top bar hive this year, it's currently baited with lemongrass oil, but no one's moved in yet. :(

I was too late in the season to get on any swarm lists and the package bees are all sold out. You don't have any way of hooking a brother up do ya?
 
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BuckDwayne

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If anyone is considering keeping bees, I recommend doing some research about beekeeping, and seeking out other beekeepers in your area for lessons or just an introduction to the hive.
damdaman, it's great you have a hive, finding bees can be tricky, one: look carefully for feral swarms in trees on houses even bbq grills, two: pest control/exterminators get calls every year for honey bee removals, three: I have heard of people finding bees (to remove from a home, or for sale) on Craigslist.
Making mead for cheep I think has led many to this rewarding hobby or even business, the benefit is more in the quality and knowledge of the honey going into the mead more than cost savings.
 

WVMJ

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We are in our locust tree flow right now, hoping the tulip poplar starts soon, so much stuff blooming right now. We are using foundationless in Lang supers and have a couple top bar hives for fun, they make pretty pictures of combs full of honey. We got one of the Mann Lake top bar hives this year, only 100$ for everything plus they use Lang length top bars which makes switching back and forth easy. WVMJ
 

troutcatcher413

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My aunt planted 2 or 3 acres of wild flowers on her property last year as part of a state funded project to bring more bees. I was thinking of asking to put hives there next year, where is a good place to start my research on bee keeping
 

peachcarmelsoda

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if i like mead i'll probably start beekeeping.

my fater was a beekeeper and still has the honey sligers/suits and everything really.

Hope my 1st batch of mead turns out right so i'll know if i like it or not
_______

On a side note I may bee wrong but i think you can just buy a queen been and leave her i a hive and other bees will swarm to her. I could be completely wrong. It was many years ago when i delt with bees
 
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BuckDwayne

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Troutcatcher, start your research talking to local beekeepers, and there are many good books about bees and beekeeping, and depending on what kind of beekeeping you consider there are more focused books on hive management, good ol' YouTube has plenty of videos.
 
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BuckDwayne

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Peach, if you like mead or not beekeeping is a great hobby that benefits the whole community. A note about the queen, yes you can buy queens individually but the queen bee herself is helpless without her attendant daughters to feed her, clean her and protect her, so a queen alone will die and a queen with two or three attendant bees can only last so long without the support of the colony, so putting a queen into an empty hive is not likely to attract a random queen-less swarm.
 

chickabeelane

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Not to be a Danny downer, but I would caution anyone who is trying to save money on honey by becoming a beekeeper. While it is true that, over time, beekeeping as a hobby can pay for itself in honey sales, the initial start up costs are rather high. It's not just the boxes that you would have to purchase, you need to think about smokers, bee suits, gloves, honey supers and frames, and treatment options for things like mites, etc. and, of course, extracting the honey.
I keep bees myself, currently four hives, and it is an awesome hobby, just not as cheap as most people think.
 

chickabeelane

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chickabeelane said:
Not to be a Danny downer, but I would caution anyone who is trying to save money on honey by becoming a beekeeper. While it is true that, over time, beekeeping as a hobby can pay for itself in honey sales, the initial start up costs are rather high. It's not just the boxes that you would have to purchase, you need to think about smokers, bee suits, gloves, honey supers and frames, and treatment options for things like mites, etc. and, of course, extracting the honey.
I keep bees myself, currently four hives, and it is an awesome hobby, just not as cheap as most people think.
 

WVMJ

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For us it pays double, we have a Wineyard full of raspberries, blackberries, apple and cherry trees. When all the feral bees vanished we put some hives in and our production was much better, the fruits better formed and filled out. We can sort our own honey depending on its color and flavor and make meads and melomels from our own fruit and honey. Hard to put a price on that.

One cheaper method to get started is using top bar hives, people can build them at home or buy them, Mann Lake sells a complete top bar hive for $100, everything included for a hive. No extractor needed in top bar hives, just cut and strain or crush in a press. Minimal protective equipment would be a vail, gloves are optional but I dont think a vail is optional at all.

WVMJ
 
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