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Old 11-25-2014, 10:39 AM
 
Location: San Francisco, CA & Sharon, VT
168 posts, read 187,592 times
Reputation: 391

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I'm curious about setting up a beehive (in the spring!), mostly to aid pollenation of garden crops, but potentially also for some honey. (A friend in Mass. has 2 hives on a suburban plot and gets 30+ pounds of honey a year!)

Does anyone here keep beehives? Thoughts? Without intending to sound lazy (but more like, "I've already got more than enough to do!"), I'm wondering how labor-intensive it is to keep bees. If my main goal is to aid pollenation, and honey is a very secondary goal, can I just set up a hive and let the bees have at it, without needing to check on them from time to time, or do any kind of ongoing maintenance? Or is that just likely a waste of money, because the bees might die out if I don't do such-and-such every week / fortnight / month?

Thanks! (Or should I say, Happy Thanksgiving!)
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Old 11-25-2014, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
542 posts, read 630,148 times
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I don't know much about beekeeping but am interested in it generally and have looked into it a bit. If honey production is only a secondary goal, then you might look into Mason Bees, rather than honeybees. Check out this site:
Home

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!
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Old 11-25-2014, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Western views of Mansfield/Camels Hump!
1,942 posts, read 3,236,524 times
Reputation: 1085
We are starting beekeeping this spring. I spent most of this year attending local beekeeping club meetings and also have gone to a few workshops and classes. It is absolutely fascinating to learn about these amazing creatures.

I too was concerned about the amount of work involved. Based on what I've been told/etc, it really doesn't matter all that much if you don't want too much honey. Obviously, the number of hives you have is a huge factor - we are starting with two, so we can compare and take notes how each hive goes throughout the year.

You'll need to check on them on average every week; you will need to check for disease, mites, make sure you haven't had a swarm, the queen is producing well and also to make sure they have enough food. Weather plays a huge role in how things progress. This was a banner year for beekeepers - the weather was fantastic. But they also had huge losses from this past winter. I was told that every VT beekeeper loses, on average, 30% of their hives overwinter. You definitely do not start beekeeping to make money lol.

I would highly recommend joining the Vermont Beekeepers Association (it's $15/year) and attending some local workshops or meetings and also getting a mentor (or if you are patient, it's best to take a season and learn before you jump in). The VBA's website has lots of resources, and there is tons to read on the internet. And if you haven't already, I would place your bee order now. Most folks who sell packages or nukes sell out early.
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Old 11-25-2014, 01:33 PM
 
Location: San Francisco, CA & Sharon, VT
168 posts, read 187,592 times
Reputation: 391
Default Vermont Beekeepers

Thanks tkln!

For anyone who's interested, here's a link to the beekeepers' website:
Vermont Beekeepers Association - Home
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Western views of Mansfield/Camels Hump!
1,942 posts, read 3,236,524 times
Reputation: 1085
Sorry, I probably should've linked to that lol.
Beesource is another good site.
Beesource.com - Beekeeping resources for beekeepers since 1997!

Feel free to PM if you need any more info. Though at this point, I only have non-hands on experience lol.
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:15 AM
 
5,911 posts, read 6,714,947 times
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Ask This Old House just did a two part segment on starting, maintaining, and harvesting your own beehive. I'll bet you can find the video on the interweb and in 15 minutes you get a good primer on how to raise bees. It doesn't "look" particularly intensive in terms of time, labor and cost.
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Western views of Mansfield/Camels Hump!
1,942 posts, read 3,236,524 times
Reputation: 1085
Between equipment, bees, hives...I'm looking at close to 1K for 2 hives lol.
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