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Old 08-08-2017, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
21,366 posts, read 54,474,617 times
Reputation: 20759

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I have considered getting a couple of bee hives ever since I discovered the new flow hives where you do not have to spin the honey and throw your back out. I like the idea of helping pollinate things in our area and always having honey on tap. I want to try my hand at making mead. There seems to be a lot of dispute, but it looks like once you set up the hives, all need be done is to inspect them twice a year (or twice a month depending on whom you ask), and open the tap and collect honey now and again. It does not appear much else is involved, is that correct? If you inspection reveals a problem, what do you do? You cannot change the available flowers, or the chemicals your neighbor may be using. I suppose you can move the hives a bit and see if they do better in a different location.Not sure what else you need to do with bees.

Once you get the honey, you just pour it into smaller bottles and put lids on them right?

Some people online seem to make it out like it is a huge deal requiring tons of work, constant study and all kinds of specialized knowledge, while other people have told me basically once you are set up, you buy some bees and collect honey. If/when the hive dies out, you buy some more bees.

It is a big investment, about $1000 for two hives and all the equipment (a little less, but with tax and shipping etc, probably accurate). I do not want to spend that much money and then find out I hate it, or it is just more demanding of my time than I can commit.

Also it seems like some of the people I know are always trying to get rid of honey. They have too much and cannot sell it fast enough. I do not mind giving away excess to friends or relatives, but do you end up buried in honey with two hives? I really do not want to spend my time sitting at a booth at the farmers market or along the road trying to sell it. Maybe I can donate it to charity groups if I end up with too much.

Not sure where to put this question here or hobbies, but since I want the bees in part to pollinate things, this seems like a good place.
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:38 PM
 
Location: S.W. British Columbia
4,325 posts, read 4,676,436 times
Reputation: 5950
I think it's a bit more complicated and time consuming than what you've outlined. I have relatives who are beekeepers and sell the honey, and now they have just recently purchased and moved to a bee farm in the country. It started out as a hobby (to make mead ) with two hives housed within their city house attic and it grew and grew until it turned into a full fledged business with dozens of hives put out on other people's farm lands and then recently the relatives purchased an operating bee farm composed of many acres.

Although I don't know much about the honey business or keeping bees I do know that my relatives visit each hive two or three times a week at all times of the year to ensure that no mishaps have occurred, and that collecting, cleaning, filtering and pasteurizing the honey for sale can be a messy, time consuming but necessary job. There is more than just liquid honey in those honey combs, there is also bits of wax, pollen granules and bits of other odds and ends of organic "stuff" in the raw honey being collected and all of it has to be dealt with.

I don't know if there are beekeepers on CD forum, and if not, I'll make a suggestion that it may be helpful if you were to register with one or two beekeepers forums and ask your questions there. You can get the full lowdown from them as to what exactly is entailed with keeping bees and what the laws and regulations are for selling honey in your state.

Here's a couple to give you an idea:


https://www.beekeepingforums.com/

https://beemaster.com/forum/


.
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Old 08-08-2017, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Boydton, VA
1,625 posts, read 2,209,030 times
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Maybe the new invention is not all it's hyped up to bee....

article

I got out of the hobby beekeeper business in the 70's, due to the amount of investment/upkeep/labor.

You are better off finding a local beekeeper and convincing him/her to place a hive on your property.

Regards
Gemstone1
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Old 08-08-2017, 06:02 PM
 
10,315 posts, read 38,031,142 times
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as one who has attended some "beekeeping university" sessions ... and has had hives on our farm/ranch, set up by others to do all the work for which we get a share of the honey ...

there's a lot more to beekeeping than the "visit the hives" work a couple times per year.

Much, of course, depends upon your climate and the available feedstocks for the bees, predators in the area of your hives, and so forth. The bees, like any other livestock, need to be fed all year 'round. If they don't have food habitat to visit during your winter months, than you'll be feeding the hives with syrup.

You'll also need to keep tabs on your local agriculture spraying outfits for when to close up or relocate your hives. Keep up with the mites and other predators that have been affecting bee hives in your area, and the local stats on "colony collapse".

I'd suggest that you contact the resources in your area that deal with beekeeping and get their take on the realities of your locale. Perhaps your County Extension Office, 4-H'ers, local community college, or maybe a local/state "beekeeper's association" will be of assistance.

Last year, we planted "pollinator habitat" acreage food parcels with local/native wildflowers around our alfalfa field center pivot corners. Perhaps there are some farmers/ranchers in your area who have done the same and would appreciate your hives nearby.

Best to plan your hive sites where you can have reasonable access to them even in the winter months. You will need to visit these sites then, too.

Unless you're planning on raising honey strictly for your own consumption, do keep in mind that gathering, processing, packaging, labeling, and selling/distributing your product is a whole 'nother set of obligations as part of the beekeeping hobby.

Good luck with your venture.

Last edited by sunsprit; 08-08-2017 at 06:10 PM..
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Old 08-09-2017, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
28,059 posts, read 44,121,966 times
Reputation: 15056
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
I have considered getting a couple of bee hives ever since I discovered the new flow hives where you do not have to spin the honey and throw your back out.
If you hurt your back extracting honey, you are doing it wrong. I have never heard of such an injury.



Quote:
... There seems to be a lot of dispute, but it looks like once you set up the hives, all need be done is to inspect them twice a year (or twice a month depending on whom you ask),
Once or twice a month is more accurate.



Quote:
... and open the tap and collect honey now and again. It does not appear much else is involved, is that correct?
The new 'flow hive' supers are new. There are many established beekeepers, yet so far there are no experienced 'flow hive' keepers.

In our beekeeping club, there is one keeper who bought a flow hive, but his bees died. He paid for his 'flow hive' before they began production, so he got his before they were openly available. By his bees dying, that sets him back one year. To find anyone who has experience with a 'flow hive' you need to wait until mid-2018, to find someone who has had a 'flow hive' a year.



Quote:
... If you inspection reveals a problem, what do you do? You cannot change the available flowers, or the chemicals your neighbor may be using. I suppose you can move the hives a bit and see if they do better in a different location.Not sure what else you need to do with bees.
You may need to re-locate a hive, or re-queen, provide more food, or medicate. It depends on what the problem is.

For my this year, nectar flow has been horrible. I have had to keep feeding my bees. That means 10 pounds of sugar to make syrup and giving them the feed every week.



Quote:
... Once you get the honey, you just pour it into smaller bottles and put lids on them right?
Some customers want their honey filtered.

I have customers who want extra pollen in their honey.



Quote:
... Some people online seem to make it out like it is a huge deal requiring tons of work, constant study and all kinds of specialized knowledge, while other people have told me basically once you are set up, you buy some bees and collect honey. If/when the hive dies out, you buy some more bees.
Somewhere in the middle of that.



Quote:
... It is a big investment, about $1000 for two hives and all the equipment (a little less, but with tax and shipping etc, probably accurate). I do not want to spend that much money and then find out I hate it, or it is just more demanding of my time than I can commit.
You can get started for $500.



Quote:
... Also it seems like some of the people I know are always trying to get rid of honey. They have too much and cannot sell it fast enough. I do not mind giving away excess to friends or relatives, but do you end up buried in honey with two hives?
If your bees survive, and if you have good nectar flow, then you may produce as much as 100 pounds from each hive.



I have had bees for about 15 years.
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Old 08-09-2017, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
21,366 posts, read 54,474,617 times
Reputation: 20759
Thanks. I will see if there are any beekeepers on our island to talk to. I know one family kept them, but they moved. They used to sell the honey at the local farmers market. To me that is not worth the time. I am not good at sitting around. I will just give it to friends and family or to charities that feed people.

We do not have much agriculture on the island, but there is an azalea farm less than 1/4 mile away. Most people have flower gardens and/or fruit trees in their yards. Lilacs are everywhere. There are farms in Canada, but it is almost 2 miles across the water. I do not think bees go that far. The Michigan side of the island is closer, but no real farms for many miles inland.

My Father in law hurt his back spinning honey when he kept bees. That is why he gave it up. When I ask him about it all he says is it is a ton of work and with my back problems I should not consider it. But with flow hives,I think you do not have to spin right?

How do you transport the bees to take them someplace to pollinate? My dad has a small apple orchard it would be good for him and for them to take them there. His best friend has a large commercial orchard too. He would be happy for me to bring bees.

Since I will only give honey away and not sell it, I will just let the people who get it filter it if they want to. Although I may filter it for specific people who would get grossed out by unfiltered honey. Is that what they mean when they sell "raw" honey? They sell it for making Meade at some events we go to. They seem to have lots left. One guy gives me 5 pounds every time I help him load or unload his stuff. He offers me more, but I have no use for it until i learn to make Meade myself. We just eat it, It is fine. I do not know why it is called "raw"

Really I can probably get enough honey for free if I want. I just like the helping with pollination idea and the concept of farming it myself. Just like I love growing fruit, but am not much into eating it. I do not know why probably some kind of psychological disorder.
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Old 08-09-2017, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
28,059 posts, read 44,121,966 times
Reputation: 15056
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
Thanks. I will see if there are any beekeepers on our island to talk to. I know one family kept them, but they moved. They used to sell the honey at the local farmers market. To me that is not worth the time. I am not good at sitting around. I will just give it to friends and family or to charities that feed people.
I understand.

I have been a vendor in a Farmer's Market myself. This year my wife has began as a vendor. 'babysitting a parking lot' is not for everyone.



Quote:
... My Father in law hurt his back spinning honey when he kept bees. That is why he gave it up. When I ask him about it all he says is it is a ton of work and with my back problems I should not consider it. But with flow hives,I think you do not have to spin right?
I am not sure what this 'spinning' is. Most beekeepers use an extractor. You put frames into a structure inside a drum, then you hand crank a handle and it spins the frames.

'Flow hive's might not require any of this. Nobody really knows, yet, they are too new. Nobody has harvested from one, yet.



Quote:
... How do you transport the bees to take them someplace to pollinate?
In a truck or on a trailer.



Quote:
... Is that what they mean when they sell "raw" honey?
That is marketing. 'raw' means un-cooked. The opposite would be if they had pasteurized it.

I know many beekeepers, none of them pasteurize their honey. It is all 'raw'.
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