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Old 02-02-2017, 06:59 PM  
Iowanian Iowanian is offline
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The bee keeper diaries

It's a great time to buy stock in eppy pens.

This thread is a repository for bee keepers or those interested.

A couple of years ago, a couple of friends an my brother started puttering with honey bees. I didn't buy off because, well, I've never been a big fan of bees or getting stung by them. Last summer I tagged along a couple of times to check their hives and to remove honey bees from a house, public building and an old garage.

I realized at the end of the summer when I was helping them process some, that it's actually pretty interesting, and fits into my expanding "grow my own" logic. I'm not full blown hippy but I see a lot of logic in the self sustaining food thing and I'm doing some of that too.

That said, this thread is about bees, honey bees, bee keeping and bee fighting war stories.

I'm taking the leap and plan to get 2-3 hives this spring and maybe build some bee swarm traps to make it cheaper or to make a few bucks.

Join me and I'll share the real life lessons of an ameture bee keeper. I'm sure I'm going to learn some things the hard way.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:40 AM   #376
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The bee keeper diaries

Friend of a friend had a swarm enter their rotating composter. It would have been easiest to retrieve asap, but the homeowner was hoping they would leave on their own.

Fast forward a few days and now they wanted me to come get em.

Bees in a swarm cluster are gentle. Nothing to defend. Newly housed bees are often not as friendly. New home to defend.

These were friendly thank goodness. Scooped em out one handful at a time. Did see the Queen at one point, but she was fast and not interested in the sunlight. Couldn’t see if she went into the box or not.

She must not have, cause all the bees we did put into the box went back to the composter by morning.

So we scooped again. Golf ball size of a comb has been built overnight.

We got her this second time and we took em across town to our place.

Made a new floor and gave em one additional box to grow into.

All is well, but it was just a few pounds by the time we got to em.




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Old 05-18-2020, 10:10 AM   #377
Iowanian Iowanian is offline
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That's awesome Grove.

I took off a little early friday and did a cutout in a big old cedar tree at a cemetery, I figured it would take an hour or so, but it took closer to 4 since I was alone, and I'm not confident I got a queen. I got most of the comb but there were a lot of holes in the inside of the rotted tree for her to hide.

I checked the cutout I did a week ago and I had put queen cells in there but no sign of eggs yet, so i probably need to buy 2 queens.

While I was working hives saturday, I saw a swarm cluster....a big cluster in a cedar tree. I'm sure they swarmed from one of my hives but I got them and it was easy...put a box under them, gave the tree a shake and I was done in 10 minutes.

Saturday afternoon I helped a friend bait and set a swarm trap. His grandmother used to keep bees and had equipment. I had agreed to help her get bees this year because she wanted some...but she passed away. My friend still wants them to honor her, so I set him up. While there, I saw in the barns that his grandmother had kept hives for Mason bees in every barn......It's not a honey maker, but I'm intrigued by that and might consider putting one together for the native pollinator.

Did a quick check of 2 of my traps and I have a swarm in one of them that I'll go get tonight or tomorrow if it rains.

I bottled 5 gallons friday night.

I'm going from bee poor to running out of equipment pretty fast. Time to spend some money I guess.

Cutouts are so much harder...take so much more time.....and so much less chance of a queen I'm giving that second thought unless they are easy.

Happy Bee hunting.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:20 AM   #378
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I've been on a mini-rampage. I've done an additional cutouts, caught another swarm in a trap and got another swarm last night. I've got more bees than I have equipment, so I think I'm going to buy 8 more hives of equipment from one of the guys on my old bee team that is out of the mood.

2 of the cutouts I did, including the one my son got his ass kicked didn't have signs of queens, and I couldn't even find the queen cells I put into those hives? I found that odd, but couldn't see a queen, the bees were agitated and no eggs or brood. I had one hive that has more bees than chinamen in china it seems. I pulled a couple of really full frames of brood that had queen cells on them and installed those to try again to queen the two cutouts. If I don't see sings of queens in 10-14 days I'll buy some.

The hive that was my strongest and best producer last year has really slowed down this year. I'm not sure if the queen is old or if it's just weather related. Still early so I'm not freaking out save one thing.....There have been a lot of black ants in that hive on top of inner cover. Any suggestions on ant control?
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:46 AM   #379
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Not quite up for a bee keeping hobby at this point, but I'm interested in getting a few solitary bee houses around the gardens. The frames are easy enough to build yourself with scrap wood laying around, but I'm not sure about the tubes. Some products on amazon say they are cardboard, but that seems strange unless you have a really long awning on the roof. Any thoughts on the inserts (wood substitutes, no concerns with elements/weather)?


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Old 05-22-2020, 09:54 AM   #380
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I've been on a mini-rampage. I've done an additional cutouts, caught another swarm in a trap and got another swarm last night. I've got more bees than I have equipment, so I think I'm going to buy 8 more hives of equipment from one of the guys on my old bee team that is out of the mood.

2 of the cutouts I did, including the one my son got his ass kicked didn't have signs of queens, and I couldn't even find the queen cells I put into those hives? I found that odd, but couldn't see a queen, the bees were agitated and no eggs or brood. I had one hive that has more bees than chinamen in china it seems. I pulled a couple of really full frames of brood that had queen cells on them and installed those to try again to queen the two cutouts. If I don't see sings of queens in 10-14 days I'll buy some.

The hive that was my strongest and best producer last year has really slowed down this year. I'm not sure if the queen is old or if it's just weather related. Still early so I'm not freaking out save one thing.....There have been a lot of black ants in that hive on top of inner cover. Any suggestions on ant control?
My friend that has hives on my property always uses ground cinnamon sprinkled on top of the inner box for the ants. He said the cinnamon acts like little razor blades on ants. It seems to work, I never see ant activity when he gets in the boxes.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:06 AM   #381
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I'll try that Renegade. Thanks for the tip, I'd not heard it before.

La, Those are Mason bees. I've recently became interested in trying to do something for them as well. In a little bit of research and something I saw at a friend's farm I've seen a few different ways to make those. They can be very small hives made of everything from straws to wooden 4x4 drilled out in pattern.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:11 AM   #382
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I'll try that Renegade. Thanks for the tip, I'd not heard it before.

La, Those are Mason bees. I've recently became interested in trying to do something for them as well. In a little bit of research and something I saw at a friend's farm I've seen a few different ways to make those. They can be very small hives made of everything from straws to wooden 4x4 drilled out in pattern.
I like the drilling out idea. Are both ends of the tubes/holes open, or do the bees just have one entrance and exit? Every picture I've seen only shows the front angle.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:17 AM   #383
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Google search DIY Mason Bee house.

There are a lot of different designs.
the holes should be 5/16
cover with hardware cloth to prevent birds from getting them.

I've seen designs that look like bird houses with the tubes like you have above, small logs just drilled out, or scrap wood glued together and drilled. Some drill from the end of the grain and some from the sides.

https://www.hobbyfarms.com/make-a-mason-bee-house/
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:26 AM   #384
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowanian View Post
Google search DIY Mason Bee house.

There are a lot of different designs.
the holes should be 5/16
cover with hardware cloth to prevent birds from getting them.

I've seen designs that look like bird houses with the tubes like you have above, small logs just drilled out, or scrap wood glued together and drilled. Some drill from the end of the grain and some from the sides.

https://www.hobbyfarms.com/make-a-mason-bee-house/
Thanks, that looks good. Just one entrace/exit per "nest," at least six inches deep.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:07 AM   #385
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I put a couple of mason bee houses on the north side of the shed a couple of years ago. They really took off this year in the early spring. It's fun to watch them flying around. The ones I put up were a gift, and they're not as deep as they should be. They need to be at least 6" deep because the female eggs are deeper in the hole than the males. If they aren't deep enough, you'll get too many males and not enough females. Males die after mating, and the females are the ones that do the bulk of the pollenating.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:51 AM   #386
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Off the wall question: I'm in PA for the last couple weeks and have been noticing a huge spike in the bumblebee population this spring.

Has anyone else noticed this or is this locally isolated?
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:11 PM   #387
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I put a couple of mason bee houses on the north side of the shed a couple of years ago. They really took off this year in the early spring. It's fun to watch them flying around. The ones I put up were a gift, and they're not as deep as they should be. They need to be at least 6" deep because the female eggs are deeper in the hole than the males. If they aren't deep enough, you'll get too many males and not enough females. Males die after mating, and the females are the ones that do the bulk of the pollenating.
I have more ash wood logs than I'll ever use for recreational purposes, so I want to drill the holes into those. I'm fascinated by this idea from hobbyfarms.com that the builder is advised to decorate with a colored symbol to orientate the bees to the correct nest.
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Old 05-22-2020, 02:26 PM   #388
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uses ground cinnamon sprinkled on top of the inner box for the ants. He said the cinnamon acts like little razor blades on ants.

Cinnamon is more of a scent-acid-type repellant similar to cayenne.

The “little razors” type is diatomaceous earth.

I usually let my hives co-habitate with the ants unless severe. You can do the borax-sugar mix or you can put the feet of you hive stand in containers that have oil in them.

Lots of methods with varying levels of effectiveness and hassle.


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Old 05-22-2020, 04:41 PM   #389
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Dumbass was busted here for stealing hives. Some guy put a gps in his and they tracked him down. He had several I guess
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:05 PM   #390
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Dumbass was busted here for stealing hives. Some guy put a gps in his and they tracked him down. He had several I guess
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I read about that today. He'd been stealing hives in 3-4 counties and had hit the same spot a couple of times. The crafty bastard who owned them did put a Gps tracker in a hive I. The same spot that it was stolen and they tracked the guy to his house and I think found like 18 hives.


I wouldn't have those gut of that, but he might have stepped in a hole in the ground or something.

Glad thy caught him...this is far too much work and expense to have some shithead steal them.
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