Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login

Site Notices
Posted: 4/12/2008 5:45:30 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/30/2008 10:07:51 AM EST by Torqued]
Have been lurking on the beekeeping forums for the past 4 months or so. I had been hoping to build my own top bar hive, but I have been sick with several bugs that my 2.5 year old daughter has been bringing home from daycare plus I was out of commission for 2 whole weekends due to a kidney stone that took 8.5 days to pass. So, I broke down and bought a TBH from BackYardHive.com.

We spent a lot of time, $, and energy in getting our small garden plot ready as well as several fruit trees. We mainly wanted the bees for pollination and a little honey and beeswax. We also live in the middle of the city and figured a small TBH would fit in best in our surroundings. We have a fence full of jasmine that has just started blooming and one of our neighbors has some ligustrum that's getting ready to go bonkers.

I picked up my 3 lbs of bees (All Stars) from B.Weaver this morning. 3 lbs of bees is a LOT of bees to someone that's never seen more than those that come to check out the trees/flowers in the back yard. The package sat on the end of the kitchen counter until early this evening. My wife and daughter thought that was pretty cool. They sat there for about 20 minutes just watching the bees and listening to 'em buzz. They really thought it was neat to see all of the little "bee tongues" when I gave 'em a spritz of 1:1 syrup.

I made up a couple lbs of fondant and my wife had fun "painting" the beeswax onto the top bars. My daughter got in on the action by helping me take the "waxed" top bars back out to the hive. I pushed a couple of very small pieces of fondant through the hardware cloth on the bee package and the bees seemed to approve of it quite highly!

It was great weather for installing the bees. 70 degrees with a very slight breeze. Put on my "bee jacket w/ veil" that I ordered from Dadant as well as some gloves. I had already pre-placed some of my tools at the hive (spray bottle, bee brush, hive tool, etc) Got the queen cage and the majority of the bees in there and the top bars and hive top back on without squashing too many of 'em and I didn't get stung! (well.. at least while installing the bees.. ). My wife and daughter watched from halfway across the yard. Even my wife said "Wow! That was a LOT of bees you dumped in there!" I let the bees settle down for about 30 minutes and took a peek through the window on the side of the hive - quite a few bees were already chowing down on the fondant!

I was back around in front of the garage putting up tools from putting together a sturdier top for the hive and a bee must've been crawling around on my front along my waistband... I bent over and *zap* - right on the belly! It wasn't too bad - I think the stinger actually came out when I pulled my shirt away from my skin as I didn't find it after scraping the area.

Went out to check 'em after it got dark and nearly all of the bees were in the hive.

Will check 'em in 2-3 days to be sure the queen is out.
Link Posted: 4/12/2008 5:58:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/12/2008 5:58:48 PM EST by jj01]
Congrats Torqued!!!! Been thinking of doing the same out here in the burbs.....very cool
Link Posted: 4/12/2008 6:17:02 PM EST
Cool!
Link Posted: 4/12/2008 6:38:28 PM EST
Link Posted: 4/12/2008 7:50:00 PM EST
I have about 23 hives right now, and wouldn't trade them for the world! i hope you enjoy your new friends!
Link Posted: 4/12/2008 9:50:22 PM EST
my fatherinlaw had and still has them on our place. he is teaching me - a great asset and really cool to mess with. Oh yeah, the honey rewards are absolutely SWEET
Link Posted: 5/14/2008 4:06:08 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2008 4:07:11 PM EST by Torqued]
A few shots of some comb from my recent inspection.

Bees had been hived for 4 weeks at this point







Link Posted: 5/14/2008 5:08:57 PM EST
Torqued,

That is extremely cool. I don't even know what else to say, just very cool you are doing that.

KOTB
Link Posted: 5/14/2008 5:47:01 PM EST

Originally Posted By FordGuy:
I have about 23 hives right now, and wouldn't trade them for the world! i hope you enjoy your new friends!


Wow. How much honey do you get per hive?
Link Posted: 5/14/2008 5:49:59 PM EST

Originally Posted By KingOfTheBumps:
Torqued,

That is extremely cool. I don't even know what else to say, just very cool you are doing that.

KOTB


+1
Link Posted: 5/15/2008 1:46:15 AM EST
cool deal....great pics
Link Posted: 5/15/2008 2:42:54 AM EST
My grandfather was a beekeeper all his life... I wish he'd taught me the ropes before he passed away.
Link Posted: 5/15/2008 4:07:49 AM EST

Originally Posted By TheGrayMan:
My grandfather was a beekeeper all his life... I wish he'd taught me the ropes before he passed away.


It's never too late to learn. I don't know WTF I'm doing but I'm willing to give it a shot!

Link Posted: 5/15/2008 4:10:17 AM EST
Very cool, torqued!
And, IIRC, we DO have a beekeeper on this site to help ya!
Link Posted: 5/18/2008 9:14:12 AM EST
Link Posted: 5/18/2008 10:12:11 AM EST
sweeeeettttt.....


and it sure beats the hell out of Dusty C's "I've got crabs...." thread.....
Link Posted: 5/18/2008 1:11:07 PM EST
I admire your bravery and willingness to undertake beekeeping as a hobby/prep..
Link Posted: 5/18/2008 5:58:29 PM EST
How much do you have invested in this so far?
Link Posted: 5/18/2008 9:53:35 PM EST

Originally Posted By HomeSlice:
How much do you have invested in this so far?


+1
M
Link Posted: 5/19/2008 11:04:24 AM EST
I'm up early today, and decided to check the bees out. I'm casually standing there 7' away in wonderment. Then a bee torpedoes my forehead. So far the impact was worse that the sting. I would like to relocate the hive, It has been there for three years or so.
Where should I start? What do I need? How much is it going to cost me? Is the relocation a viable option? I would like to put them somewhere else on my ten acres.
It's all desert with the exception of the yard. Several large alfalfa farms in the area, and a good size mixed orchard also.
TIA
M
Link Posted: 5/30/2008 9:58:15 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/30/2008 10:03:18 AM EST by Torqued]

Originally Posted By MDS:

Originally Posted By HomeSlice:
How much do you have invested in this so far?


+1
M


Ok. I'll tell you how much I have invested, but with the caveat that you don't have to spend that much $$. I had intended to build my own hive but was short on time due to illnesses this winter that got me WAY behind on my yard work/prep for spring.

$295 - hive
$125 - beekeeping stuff (veil, smoker, hive tool, etc.)
$ 90 - bees
-------
$510

You can do this on the cheap. Top bar hives can be built with scrap wood you may have lying around.

The place I ordered my hive from (www.backyardhive.com/) actually will let you download their hive plans free. You can find the hive plans here:

www.backyardhive.com/weblinks/Build_a_Topbar_Beehive/

You can also google for top bar hive plans and get a lot of sites that will tell you how to build 'em:

www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm

topbarbees.wordpress.com/about/design/ (this site shows how you can build 2 of his hives out of one 8x4 sheet of plywood)

www.biobees.com/ has a link at the top of their page for a few different ways to download/view plans for building a top bar hive.

You can get "free" bees if you're willing to capture a feral swarm:

www.backyardhive.com/kb/How_do_I_go_about_getting_bees_to_put_into_my_Backyard_Hive?/

After you get your first hive established, you can easily "split" the bees to populate new hives.

I've been getting most of my top bar hive education on these sites:

www.biobees.com/

www.beesource.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=254

Natural and Organic Beekeeping Methods at Beemaster

I did a quick look on Google and found that organic honey is often being sold for $10+ per lb. That's for 1 lb packages. You can get it for less if you're buying in bulk. But if I wanted to take some of my honey to our local farmer's market, I could get away with selling it for $10+ per lb.

At backyardhive.com, they detail harvesting the honey from a single top bar and indicated that out of a 6.5 lb comb, they harvested 6.3 lbs of honey. That 6.3 lbs of honey from the comb from 1 top bar filled a 1.5 quart jar.

I had to get into the hive last night because a bar had gotten pushed back somehow and there was enough of an opening that bees were trying to build comb on the inside of the roof. I saw that the extra bar I added to the back of the hive 3 weeks ago had been about 90+% built out and was full of honey! I need to get back in there for an inspection this weekend, so hopefully will have more pics and another update.

I've only been stung twice so far.
Link Posted: 5/30/2008 1:35:19 PM EST
How much space do you need in order to keep bees? I've been thinking about looking into getting a hive but we live in the suburbs on less than half an acre which I am thinking is not enough space.
Link Posted: 5/30/2008 1:54:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/30/2008 2:14:54 PM EST by KwaiChangCaine]

Originally Posted By Cytic:
How much space do you need in order to keep bees? I've been thinking about looking into getting a hive but we live in the suburbs on less than half an acre which I am thinking is not enough space.


Our lots here are 0.43 acres and my neighbor has kept them just 10 feet from my property with no problems for nearly 10 years.

Well, no problems until that hive died off. The ones he replaced them with were different than before and were a bit aggressive towards us for weeks after the hive was disturbed. He moved them to more rural property this Spring because of that.
Link Posted: 5/30/2008 2:04:18 PM EST
So with these top bar hives, do you have to destroy the comb to get the honey?

What's the advantage of these over a standard Langstroth type hive?
Link Posted: 5/31/2008 12:00:55 AM EST
Thanks for the links and info.
I'm still not sure how to deal with my "nest".
M
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 3:36:15 AM EST
Oh well, now I'm "stung" as well!
Printed out the plans: on my winter project list.
Link Posted: 6/7/2008 3:28:31 AM EST
OK. I did it. I ordered lots of stuff to try to relocate my feral hive (in the shed wall/underneath?) today. I should have it all up and running in a month or so.
If you hear of some goofball bee stung to death in Nevada, that'll be me.
Wish me luck. I'm going to really need it.
M
Link Posted: 6/7/2008 7:15:44 AM EST
Any news or theories on the big Bee "die offs"? I'm a year or so out from buying some rural property - just worried there may not be any bees left when I'm ready.

Thanks. Peace and Freedom.
Link Posted: 6/7/2008 7:55:12 AM EST
Good topic. I got the garden thing going this year along with collecting most of my rain water. The next project on the docket will be building some hives over the winter months. I've got an acre up in NW NJ and have hardwood forest around me and several large homes with in the ground pools behind me.

My biggest concern is am I liable in case someone gets stung and they have a bee allergy? Hard to prove that it was my bee, but in the PR of NJ, it would cost me thousands to defend myself. $20-50k in legal bills buys a lot of honey.
Top Top