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I Forge Iron

Our honey bees will be here soon


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I've been helping a friend with three colonies since last Spring.
Three Nucs and a package are ordered for sometime this month if the weather holds out.
We are planning to go foundationless and chemical-free.
Here is a shot of the four hives in the "beeyard".


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A friend had 2 hives on my land; my neighbor has 20 acres in alfalfa...

Unfortunately last year we lost the hives (winter of 2010) and he hasn't re-started them. Of course we haven't used up all the honey that was our share yet either.

He's doing a top bar no foundation set up.

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I had a wild honeybee hive in a black walnut tree in my yard. It stayed in that tree for two years and then moved to the tree next to it, a box elder the next spring but after just a couple months the bees vanished. :(

I'm a little worried about them disappearing like that. One day they seemed fine and the next day gone. Einstein warned if we lose the bees humanity would have about four years and then ourselves would become extinct.

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Its great to see I'm not alone here with an interest in bees. B)

Phil, strange thing about my friends bees this Winter.
The weakest colony going into Fall built up its population throughout Winter and has been booming for months.
Those mild temps must have really helped.
The two strongest colonies going into Winter didn’t do as well. One had a population loss and succumbed to freezing. We believe there weren’t enough bees to stay warm in the cluster.
We also think there may have been a varroa mite issue that weakened them.
The queen had been located just a few weeks earlier on a very warm day so we knew she was still around.
The other one had a population reduction but was still hanging in there.
We saw them bringing in pollen all Winter. Colors ranged from red to orange to a pale yellow and are capping honey already.

Thomas, were both of the lost hives the TB style?
My friend just built a TBH from a kit he purchased from these folks: http://beeauthority.hostedbyamazon.com/Bee-Authority-Top-Bar-Hive/dp/B006IIKXVY?traffic_src=froogle&utm_medium=organic&utm_source=froogle
I’ll be giving that style a go later on sometime.

Beth, its fairly diverse here.
His colonies are set-up on some farmland at the base of a small mountain which is heavily wooded.
Ragweed, mustard (mustard is going gangbusters right now), wildflowers, tulip poplar, black locust, maples, dead nettle and I’m sure lots more.
The honey is light colored and very good. We always sample some of it when cross comb breaks a few cells open.

Ferrous, that must have been a treat to have them as neighbors.

I wonder what Einstein would have said about Monsanto.

Ron, thanks for that link. I go there often but am signed up at www.Beesource.com and my username is Allen.

David, how many colonies have you lost?

By going with foundationless frames we hope to get some beeswax next year for our ironwork.
And the bees will eventually build smaller cells that are natural for them. Which is supposed to help with the varroa mite issue.
If the girls survive over the long term, we’re hoping the sale of honey and maybe even some splits will help recoup our initial start-up costs.
Profit motive isn’t the primary motivator in starting our bee yard though.

Here is an album link with some images of my friends bees from an inspection in mid-March:

This image was taken last November. I had sprinkled some sugar water on the back of my hand and the little gals were happily drinking it up.

This is a new bee being born:


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We had plannd to build our own from scratch.
But then my friend found after purchasing all the materials, the TBH at the above link was about the same price which includes all pieces cut and some assembly already done.
So he returned all the wood to Home Depot and ordered the Bee Authority hive.
It saved him a lot of time.


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we found also that building your own cost a lot more - got ours in kit form and built them from ready cut. they look good i will get some pictures.. there is a lot of veroa disease here, and we lost one nucleus iin the winter, but they were weaker from the start and the others are going really strong. my husband deals a lot with historic buildings open to the public, and he is on an emergency list to collect swarms when they appear (which they Do Not want in public places) so that may be a good source of bees this summer! :)

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Thanks Beth for the compliment. :)
Hope you get some swarms!

We are using powdered sugar dusting to help with mites.
Have you tried that?

Here in Pennsylvania we had a whacky Summer.
First, it rained a lot in Spring, then there was a long dry spell throughout the Summer months.
Because their honey stores weren't built up enough towards Fall, we started feeding them sugar water.
When they stopped taking that, we placed granulated sugar on top of reversed inner covers.
The moisture from the bees moistened the sugar just enough for them to munch on it as needed throughout Winter.

Am starting to work without gloves.
Only got stung once when I didn't watch what I was doing while picking up a frame. I trapped one of the girls and got nailed. :o :P


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I have been a beekeeper for several years. All our hives died last winter (2010-2011). It was a real bad one here in the Northeast and many hives were lost. We decided to take a year off. Then just as the time was approaching to order packages for this year, we found out that my wife needed heart surgery. She came home yesterday, but the recovery will be several weeks. So I won't be doing the bees this year. I miss them. Love watching them come and go.

Enjoy the bees Allen - it's another great hobby.


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I've got 2 hives. they are the best- Bees are. I made my hive bodies and assmbled premilled frames. Seemed the most cost effective for me. Here is a picture from last month, checking on them before heading off to John C. Campbell Folk School for a blacksmithing class with Daniel Miller....


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It seems strange to hear you all talking about helping the bees and here I am hiring a guy to come out to my house and kill them. It has been a bad year for me and Africanized bees colonizing my house. Wood Peckers dig holes in the stucco and then the bees get into the wall and soon I have a full grown colony of very aggressive Killer bees that attack with little provocation. I hate having them destroyed but it's just too dangerous to have them around. Yesterday I was working in yard and swarm flew overhead and I followed it across my yard and it landed on the southeast corner of my house and in about thirty minuets it had all but disappeared into the wall. So I had to call the exterminator to come and pump the wall full of dust. You know the citrus trees are just starting to bloom and the Palo Verde tree too, sure makes for some good honey. One year I had to have the exterminator out six times to kill of hives in the walls. A fellow was killed up in Carefree by a hive of Africanized bees that he disturbed, very aggressive bees. Kill a few dogs every year out here too.

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Bentiron1946, your safety comes first so don't feel too bad.
How did you know they were AHB?
Its amazing that the AHB is almost identical to the european honey bee and they have a much meaner disposition.

Here is some info on them: http://www.lawestvec.../beebiology.htm
And a map: http://www.ars.usda....id=11059&page=6
I've read that they were introduced to Florida via a container ship from S. America.
Maybe its just a matter of time before they reach the DelMarVa-area via ship too.

A member in our bee club traveled to S. America and worked with some beekeepers who maintain AHB colonies.
He commented it was the first time in his long life that he was really afraid.


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Usually you identify them by how aggressive they are. Normal honey bees I mowed the lawn right up to their hive box---no problem. I had a friend who did bee removal in the oilpatch in TX and he talks of having to wear *FULL* equipment and being chased 1/4 mile down the road by AHB's. He says they make good honey though and being so aggressive it kept him employed---though wearing a full suit in west TX in the summer would not be my choice of employment!

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Here again man has created quite the monster, "Hey, let's cross these two bees and see if we can get more honey production". I talked to the fellow at the state department of agriculture about some feral bees I had to see if he knew of someone who would come out and get them. He said no one would take an Africanized hive, all the bee keepers were having a hard time keeping their hives free of African queens anyway so he gave me the names of some exterminators. Made me feel real bad to have them killed off and every year since then I have had to have two to six hives killed off. These Africanized bees are sure prolific when it comes to starting other colonies. If disturbed they will pursue you two to three times further than a normal European bee and their aggression is just unbelievable. They came up through Mexico and have been moving steadily north and for awhile they though that they would go no further north than some 33 degrees north but so far that magic number hasn't stopped them. They seem to be relatively cold hardy which was unexpected because of their tropical heritage. They set up hives in any out of the way place it seems. Sure are a bother to me, $125 every time I have to call the guy out to kill off a hive, gets expensive over a year.

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