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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
     
    J-H's Avatar

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    Default Beekeeping in the Playground

    Any beekeepers here? I have a top bar hive and will be buying a package of bees from someone in the local beekeeper association this coming spring.

    About to order the rest of my gear (gloves, veil, etc.).

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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    Not a beekeeper myself, but my brother has about 8 hives in his backyard. I think they are mostly top bar hives. He caught most of his bees by putting up swarm traps around the neighborhood in the yards of family and friends. He just finished his honey harvest for this year and I think he told me he got about 25 gallons of honey. He has been beekeeping for about 5 years now and really enjoys it. He keeps saying he wished he got into it sooner.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    My father-in-law used to do it many years ago (he was also an ornimental blacksmith, used to be a fireman - and probably had many other strings to his bow that I haven't found out about).

    Alas, I am not in a position to give advice, but good luck with it.
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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    I'm more fascinated with wild bees. Not possible to keep those, strictly speaking, but I plan on buying a suitable nesting aid (or whatever those are called with regard to bees) and hope some move in.

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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    To make a hone bee nest, or, attract scouts, you only need to smear pollen all over a place day over day after day. That will make them think it is fertile, and, is rather cheap. Choosing a warm area is a good idea! Maybe smearing honey all over the area will work too, remember, get the pollen of trees too! That will half process the honey and they will think it is Christmas, like a hive outside of the hive, strange, hey?

    Might work, hardly a lot of effort.
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    Aedilred's Avatar

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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    My dad is planning to take it up when he retires (his father was also a beekeeper, until he developed an allergy to their stings). He and I went on a beekeeping course a couple of months ago to get an idea of the basics.

    Although they are low-maintenance livestock they do require monitoring and so while it's not a lot of effort you do need to be fairly disciplined and ensure that if you're going away for more than a couple of weeks, you have someone who knows what they're doing to drop in and inspect the hives.

    You also need to be able to identify the warning signs both of disease (particularly foulbrood, which must be dealt with quickly and decisively, especially if you have multiple colonies), a non-laying queen and/or an incipient worker revolution. Otherwise you risk the collapse of the colony, or swarming. I read recently that Germany has had a big problem with swarms from novice beekepers, and that it can take five years or so to know what you're doing.
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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    I read recently that Germany has had a big problem with swarms from novice beekepers, and that it can take five years or so to know what you're doing.
    I didn't know about that. There's the occasional funny video about a bee swarm that takes up residence in a car, but with the ubiquity of beekeepers, it is easy to find someone who will gladly catch and keep them.

    I only read that Germany has a massive problem with beekeeping being so trendy that people keep bees in cities like Berlin.

    For a few bees, that's nice, because no pesticides.

    But bees are like cows, they need food. One meadow can only feed so many cows, and so many bees. And a balcony with flowers is almost nothing. So the Berlin bees swarm out and "graze" on flowers in the surrounding countryside, to the detriment of wild bees. Just unlike with cows, it's not visible to humans that the land is being overused.

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    TherianTheorist's Avatar

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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    Not a beekeeper, but I know one, and intend to read this thread to them, next time we meet.
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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    I'm more fascinated with wild bees. Not possible to keep those, strictly speaking, but I plan on buying a suitable nesting aid (or whatever those are called with regard to bees) and hope some move in.
    There are a lot more wild bees that don't form colonies, as well as other pollinators (including wasps, etc.) than there are colony-forming honey-creating bees. Honey-colony type bees are like 4 out of 1,000+ species.

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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    The closest I ever got to this was bee keeping merit badge when I was in Scouts. I do have a family friend that keeps a couple of hives (thus the reason I was able to get the merit badge)
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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    I'm more fascinated with wild bees. Not possible to keep those, strictly speaking, but I plan on buying a suitable nesting aid (or whatever those are called with regard to bees) and hope some move in.
    I wrote my thesis on wild bees. Generally, you shouldn't worry too much about actually getting some, if there's a garden nearbye and you place your nest right, you usually get something. Depending on where you live, there are also companies that sell filled nests. Once you have some, they'll come back every year.

    Generally, you want a place with a lot of sun exposure but maybe not too much wind and rain. Morning sun falling directly on the entrances helps them get started in the morning, when they need to warm up, so they look for that.
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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    There are a lot more wild bees that don't form colonies, as well as other pollinators (including wasps, etc.) than there are colony-forming honey-creating bees. Honey-colony type bees are like 4 out of 1,000+ species.
    Yeah, given that most wild bee species are solitary, and based on what I've seen in the way of wild bee homes, I think a fairly standard "bug box" with hollow sticks for bees to nest in would work, at least in principle, although the diameter of the opening may be significant to help ensure that it's bees who set up home there rather than random other insects.

    Being wild, though, they can probably look after their own housing arrangements if necessary. What is probably more important is planting appropriate flowers nearby to attract and sustain the wild bees in the first place.

    (I missed Eldan's post above. He probably has a better idea of what will work than me).
    Last edited by Aedilred; 2019-11-22 at 06:31 PM.
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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    Yeah, given that most wild bee species are solitary, and based on what I've seen in the way of wild bee homes, I think a fairly standard "bug box" with hollow sticks for bees to nest in would work, at least in principle, although the diameter of the opening may be significant to help ensure that it's bees who set up home there rather than random other insects.

    Being wild, though, they can probably look after their own housing arrangements if necessary. What is probably more important is planting appropriate flowers nearby to attract and sustain the wild bees in the first place.

    (I missed Eldan's post above. He probably has a better idea of what will work than me).
    The standard bug box with hollow sticks is pretty standard for wild bees, actually. And given that different solitary bee species vary wildly in size, you probably want a set of mixed diameters of anywhere between 2 and about 15 mm anyway.

    Edit: also, housing is in some ways limited, at least in urban areas: many need dead wood (replicated by dead sticks), others need open, sandy soil, and both are not commonly left in gardens, so they may have difficulties in urban areas. On the other hand, urban areas are excellent in a lot of other ways for many bees: they like steep cliffs (replicated by building walls), they like warm climate (cities are consistently 2-5 degrees warmer than the countryside around them) and they like a diversity of flowers (cities are often more diverse than the landscape on the small scale, as surprising as that may sound.)

    So, putting down a bee box with some sticks and maybe a pot of something like 2:1 sand to flower soil is very nice too. But planting a few wildflowers in a big balcony pot certainly won't hurt, either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kleve View Post
    Don't you worry that they will sting you?
    Not with solitary bees. A lot of them can't sting humans and pretty much all of them won't, unless you, like, sit on them. Some will abandon their nest for a while, rather than fight for it, even.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2019-11-25 at 04:02 AM.
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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    Not a beekeeper yet, but looking to get into it as soon as we become able to afford a plot at a reasonable location (alas, still probably a number of years depending on how much value I can generate out of my daily hours). So I'll be following this with keen interest.
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    I am not a beekeeper but I do hope that you will enjoy so much time with your new hobby. Keep us posted, looking forward for some photos.

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    Default Re: Beekeeping in the Playground

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    Any beekeepers here? I have a top bar hive and will be buying a package of bees from someone in the local beekeeper association this coming spring.

    About to order the rest of my gear (gloves, veil, etc.).
    I did it from 2014 to 2019, but just recently sold my hives and equipment because this last summer, my bees' temperments changed and became really aggressive. My neighbors started complaining.
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