Welcome to OrchidsForum.com. We are a friendly online community for Orchid Growers all over the world. If you haven't joined yet we invite you to register and join our community. Hope to see you on our forums!

My most recent hobby

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by KellyW, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,412
    Likes Received:
    2,188
    Location:
    Redding, California, USA
    Started in early March. The hive has done very well and I harvested some honey last week. Just the one hive so far but I hope to split it in the spring into one or two more. It has been a lot of fun but with a steep learning curve.

    Hive1-900.jpg Hive2-900.jpg
     
    J E, RustyExotics, Foozil and 2 others like this.
  2. rico

    rico Active Member

    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Minnesota
    That looks so cool! Have you been stung a lot?
     
  3. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    12,734
    Likes Received:
    2,395
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Congratulations! Another addictive hobby. Good for you and good for the planet.
     
  4. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,389
    Likes Received:
    1,058
    Location:
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    That sounds like fun. Our neighbor has a hive, too. But I think they have to get the new colony every year.
     
  5. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,412
    Likes Received:
    2,188
    Location:
    Redding, California, USA
    It is fun. I've been stung a few times but it's no big deal. For the most part they are very gentle.

    Yes. I think it is going to be very addictive.

    Lots of fun. Over-wintering a colony in your area would be a challenge, maybe impossible. My biggest issue is heat.
     
  6. ash1de

    ash1de Active Member

    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    144
    Location:
    Central Michigan
    We started with 2 hives about 4 years ago and the learning curve is fairly steep. Challenges include varroa mites, over-wintering colonies in Michigan, and losing 2 hives to a bear.
     
  7. RustyExotics

    RustyExotics Nicholas - It's a terrestrial thing

    Messages:
    410
    Likes Received:
    268
    Location:
    Georgia
    That's wonderful! I have always wanted to start bee keeping, but unfortunately never had the time to actually take care of a hive. Perhaps one day I'll be coming to you for advice.
     
  8. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,412
    Likes Received:
    2,188
    Location:
    Redding, California, USA
    Hi David. I certainly have the varroa mite issue to contend with, too. I think the mites will be my biggest issue and have been using several control methods. Bears are around but rare here in town. Skunks come in the yard but I haven't caught them at the hive (yet) with my wildlife camera.

    Nicholas, it is fun but I wouldn't say that it is easy. With one or two hives the actual amount of time involved managing the bees isn't huge. I have spent a significant amount of time learning about bees and the what-and-how to do with the colony to be successful. It's fascinating.
     
    RustyExotics likes this.
  9. Cor van Honk

    Cor van Honk Member

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Vlissingen
    Wow! I picked up beekeeping again in 2018 after having given it up in 1980 to travel the world for 38 years. If you are successful, you may doubling your number of hives annually without buying any new bees. Just make sure to get the right type: docile and industrious! It halves the workload and doubles the fun.
     
    Marni likes this.
  10. ash1de

    ash1de Active Member

    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    144
    Location:
    Central Michigan
    Hi Kelly--we lost a hive last year to mites after successfully over-wintering them at our cottage in northern Michigan. They were active and seemed fine but 2 weeks later were all dead. It was only then that we saw evidence of mites. We are trying apivar strips this year. What approaches are you taking?

    The two hives that we lost to the bear were also up north; now we have a hive at our home in central Michigan where we can keep a close watch. The bear is a regular in the northern neighborhood each spring and fall. We did not see the bear, but it looked like a tornado had hit the hives, with frames spread over a 20 foot radius and a large paw print in a nearby flower bed. That hive is now protected by a solar powered electric fence.
     
  11. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,412
    Likes Received:
    2,188
    Location:
    Redding, California, USA
    Hi David, I have tried 3 different mite approaches. The first was Mite Away Quick Strips which is formic acid. Very effective but hard on the bees. The second method was oxalic acid vapor. It kills mites but doesn't get under the caps to kill mites on the larvae. I have now removed a honey super and installed the Apivar strips just 2 days ago. I will probably continue to use all of these methods depending on the season.

    At least here we don't seem to have the small hive beetle to contend with.
     
  12. ash1de

    ash1de Active Member

    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    144
    Location:
    Central Michigan
    Thanks Kelly, We are just getting ready to install the Apivar strips. I have a friend here who uses vaporized oxalic acid and does not seem to have mite problems.

    We also have used beetle traps, but thus far they do not seem to be an issue.

    It is a fascinating hobby. One of our hives swarmed and that was quite a sight.
    David
     
  13. DarleneJay

    DarleneJay Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    752
    Likes Received:
    649
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    I appreciate all of you doing great work with bee keeping. I consistently plant pollinator friendly gardens and watch what I am spraying. Actual bee keeping it not for me. Seems fascinating though
     
  14. Cor van Honk

    Cor van Honk Member

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Vlissingen
    If all fails to reduce the varroa pressure, you run a substantial risk of not getting your hives safely through winter. In that case an old-fashioned acaricide which is also used to dip sheep against scab is a last resort, but try not to let it go that far and try the other solutions first.
    After removing the last honey crop we prepare our bees in Northern Europe for winter by feeding them sugar as a replacement for the removed honey. You would put a newspaper page between brood chamber and super and would make three brush strokes of 12% Amitraz on the newspaper. Brush strokes of about 2 inches long and don't overdo it with too much of the solution. Keep a white sheet of paper below the hive and do a daily mite count both before, during and after treatment. The mites tend to drop down quickly after application of Amitraz and the important thing to watch is too see at which count it stabilises after application, about a week later. The daily count should drop below ten with one brood chamber.
    If your bees do not fully recover after this quickly, it may be wise to unite them with another hive as their chances on their own look grim.
    Use gloves and don't breathe the stuff. Google and read up on the product.
     
  15. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,412
    Likes Received:
    2,188
    Location:
    Redding, California, USA
    Cor, thanks for the info.
    I have removed all the honey I plan to this year. Just 5 days ago I installed Apivar strips which have Amitraz as the active ingredient. Those strips will stay on until late September. I haven't done a mite drop count since I installed the strips but will do so when we get some cooler days. It is 109F today.

    I'll read about the newspaper/Amitraz process. It's probably cheaper than the strips.
     
  16. Cor van Honk

    Cor van Honk Member

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Vlissingen
    Amitraz is gradually being banned in the EU, but you can still get it on EBay. A liter of the 12% solution sells at about 70 $US. That should see you through for many years with many hives, so pricewise it is definitely the better option.